Mother’s Day is around the corner. For many stepmoms, the day serves as a reminder that despite all that we do for our stepkids, we are not Mom. It is a day devoted to recognizing and commending the women that sacrifice, provide and raise their kids in a loving home. Stepparents qualify for all of those things, and yet most spend this day feeling left out.
Personally, this day does not bother me. I’m secure enough in my place in my stepdaughter’s world that I don’t need a card from her to prove her love of me. On top of that, I would never want to pressure her to recognize me on a day meant for her Mom, and in my opinion, only her Mom. Kids with two homes often experience loyalty binds and guilt over simply loving each of their two families, I'm all for easing their anxiety, not making it worse by asking to be included on a day that simply put is just not my day.
Just like Moms wear their title proudly, Stepmoms should wear their title proudly. We are their one and only Stepmom, and we impact the kids' lives in our own unique way.
For me, and many other stepparents, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day isn’t so much about the children. It’s more so about our spouse. About our friends. About our family. It’s about the people in our life recognizing the pivotal role we play in our stepkids' lives, and showing admiration and appreciation. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve had moments of “What the hell am I doing?” Imagine how stepparents feel. Take that fear around possibly messing up, and times it by ten. We have tiny humans that live in our house, watch our every move and turn to us for guidance, yet didn’t come from us. Have you ever borrowed someone’s car and been nervous to scratch it? It's kind of like that.
I am not the Mother, but I am the Mother figure in our household. So what the heck does a Mom who's not really a Mom do on Mother's Day?!
Whatever makes her happy.
Mother's Day around here usually starts with my husband bringing me coffee in bed, and a fresh bouquet of flowers. I will never be with my stepdaughter on Mother's Day, and I don't think I should be. She has an active and present Mom in her life, and this is her day. I think being a Mom or a Stepmom is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and each should be honored and respected in their own ways, without stepping on anyone's toes.
My husband and I will enjoy our day together, and it's always a great one. I am very lucky in the fact that my husband thinks I wear a superhero cape, and recognizes my role in our family daily. His appreciation and recognition is all I need to feel loved as a Stepmom. I also view Mother's Day as a day to thank him for the incredible honor he gave me. He chose me as his partner...he entrusted me to help raise his daughter, the most precious thing in the world to him. He not only chose me for his wife, but he also chose me for her Stepmom. Those are two titles I cherish, and I am grateful he believes in me to succeed at these two very important roles.
For me, having my husband and family recognize the role I play is what it’s all about. The school lunches we pack, the clothes we fold, the tears we kiss away…stepparents need to feel all that they do matters. A great day to do that is on National Stepfamily Day which was founded in 1997 on September 16.
In our family, we celebrate Stepmother's Day, which is the Sunday after Mother's Day (or before, whatever works for our schedule. It's not the date that matters, it's the day). We use this day to just simply be together, and celebrate the bonds in our family. I tell my stepdaughter stories of when I first met her and the silly things she did as a toddler. It's been one of many great traditions we've started, and its what works for us. Every family is different, what matters is that you find what makes you feel loved. I think it's important to take the kids' lead as well...We celebrate this holiday because it's what my stepdaughter asked for. If she didn't care for it, or it made her uncomfortable, we'd put a halt to it. I'm a lucky Stepmom in that she looks forward to my special day, and I am grateful every year for it. But if it stopped, I'd survive and our love for each other wouldn't change.
Bottom line is...don't get caught up in the hallmark details, you do you. Do you want to be recognized on Mother's Day? Great, tell your family! Do you want to start your own Stepmother's Day? Sounds good, do it! Do you want to ignore the entire idea altogether? Awesome, go for it. Find what works for you, and don't compare your blended family to the one down the road. Find your groove this Mother's Day, and rock your Stepmom title! You deserve it.