First I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and motherly figures out there.
Motherhood comes in so many types, sizes, and labels. Some types of motherhood are embraced and glamorized while others feel marginalized and invisible. Whether you are a typical “bio-mom,” an adoptive mom, a mom that never got to meet her babies, or a stepmom, I believe you all deserve to be celebrated. I am so proud of you for giving this motherhood thing your all!
Mother’s Day is the one day a year that is all about moms. They are encouraged not to cook or clean, the husband normally steps up to do the typical daily chores, mom gets showered with gifts and praise, and everyone from the little old lady in line at the grocery store to your long lost high school friend on Facebook are wishing every mom a Happy Mother’s Day. Flowers, cards, dinner, candy, jewelry, and all the hugs you could hope for – this is how I envision Mother’s Day. As a stepmom that isn’t normally the case. (Especially a childless stepmom. Double especially a long distance, childless stepmom. 😐 ) Just having the word “mom” in your title doesn’t make you a mom in everyone’s eyes. Sometimes the word “step” is enough for people to forget that you have some little people that you are helping raise. This makes Mother’s Day such a hard day for most stepmoms.
There are no cards for stepmoms at the store, no balloons that say “I love my stepmom,” no jewelry marketed for stepmoms, and no reminder that some families have more than one maternal figure. Society makes no mention of including stepmoms, and that can make it difficult for blended families on Mother’s Day. As a stepmom on Mother’s Day, most people will forget that you are a “mom.” This is heightened if you don’t have your stepkids full-time, and even more so if your stepkids are long distance. (Which is obviously my case.) I have a few tips that have helped me navigate through this holiday as a childless stepmom that I would love to share with you.
Set Your Expectations Low
Don’t expect your stepkids to remember you on Mother’s Day. They already have a mom that they are told to embrace on this day. They make crafts at school for one mom. The commercials show them to make sure to love their one mom that day. They aren’t encouraged to embrace all motherly figures in their life this day, and don’t hold it against them if they don’t. On that note, don’t expect other people in your life to remember you on Mother’s Day either, especially if you don’t have your stepkids full-time. Most people connect motherhood with birth. This may be an outdated way of thinking, there may be a large amount of nontraditional families in America, and it may be incredibly hurtful, but it is the reality of society that if you have not given birth most people do not consider you a mom. Because of this a lot of people just won’t remember the hard work you do as a stepmom. Don’t take it personally. Just set your expectations low. Like really low. That way if someone does remember you on Mother’s Day you will feel such joy instead of resentment for the people that forget.
It’s Just a Day
Mother’s Day is such a fun holiday. The stores are filled with flowers, candy, jewelry, and heartfelt cards. The media takes advantage of the holiday as an opportunity to fill every commercial slot with a reminder to buy something perfect for the mother in your life. Schools and daycares hold Mother-Daughter Tea Time or Muffins with Mom. Everyone on social media is pouring out their love for their mothers or the babies that made them moms. As a stepmom it is hard not to get emotional about it. It is definitely one of those times that can make you feel like you are “good enough until you’re not.” Good enough to wipe butts and cook dinner (hopefully not in that order! lol), but not good enough to get flowers and a card on Mother’s Day. You have to remember that the “I love you”s and the hugs on Monday are just as important as the ones on Mother’s Day Sunday. It may not feel like it, but it really is just another day. Don’t let this one day make you feel worthless in your stepmom role. A single day shouldn’t hold that kind of control over you.
Any day that I know is a possible trigger for me and my stepmom insecurities, I like to make sure that I have some fun plans that day! Whether it be Mother’s Day, Christmas morning, Thanksgiving Day, or any other day that I know in a traditional family would be spent with the children. I make sure that there is something planned that I am going to enjoy and hopefully get my mind off the fact that I don’t get that time with my kids.
Embrace Your Own Mom
Take the day to embrace your own mom. Tell her you love her, get her flowers, take her out to eat, and do all of the things with her that you wanted to do with your stepkids. Your mom will definitely appreciate the love, and it will make you feel better to actually get to do the things on your Mother’s Day dream book!
If all else fails you can rest assured that there is a Stepmother’s Day the Sunday after Mother’s Day! If you can’t stand taking a backseat to “bio-mom” on Mother’s Day, or if you are scared to post a picture of the kids that made you a “mom”, then you can feel free to embrace Stepmother’s Day! This day can be all about you and the important role you play in your blended family, and the best part is, you don’t have to feel bad about it! Just make sure to remind people that it is a real holiday, because it definitely does not get even a percentage of the publicity that Mother’s Day gets.
Stepmama, I have done Mother’s Day just about every way you can. My first Mother’s Day was crazy. I didn’t expect a single thing, but my mother-in-law surprised me with a card, flowers, and candy! Due to this, my second Mother’s Day I had all of these expectations that the people in my life would remember my motherly role, only to be let down. My third Mother’s Day Dan and I stayed busy going back and forth between both our moms and my grandmother. This Mother’s Day I felt all the love from everyone! My mother and stepdad sent me flowers to work, my mother-in-law got me a gift, my wonderful Dan surprised me with flowers and some new kicks, and I received so many loving texts from people in my life that respect my motherly role! I have learned not to expect it, but it makes you feel so good when your hard work is acknowledged. My stepmom role doesn’t depend on recognition from anyone. My place in my blended family is important whether I get flowers or not. The love between me and my stepkids is real even if I don’t get to talk to them on this holiday. I am secure in my position as a stepmom, and I am proud to be a stepmom on Mother’s Day.
Love your family, love yourself, and live your happiest life.
xo – jessicanicole.