Will You Have A Happy (Step)Mother’s Day?
Why does the thought of Mother’s Day worry so many stepmothers? Do we feel like we’ve merited some sort of recognition that we know we won’t get? Is it because we secretly hope that perhaps this will be the year that our stepkids have a grand epiphany that we’re pretty darn amazing, we do a lot for them, we put up with a lot as a stepmom and gosh darn it, we really do love them?
“My mom says you’re not a real mom,” one stepmom recalls what her stepdaughter told her one year.
“My mom is mad because I asked to see you today,” another stepmom said her stepchild told her.
Obviously, there are so many factors working against a stepmom in embracing this day. For many, especially if they don’t have their own biological children to celebrate the day with, it becomes a moment they can only watch from the outside of the department store window. And every commercial on the television set revolves around all the wonderful deals and sales and gifts we should all rush out to buy for mom… and rightly so! Our stepchildren DO have a mom and they should celebrate her. Yet we are our husband’s wife! We share and keep a home with our precious blended family, we cook our stepchildren’s meals, help with homework, wash their laundry, change their bedding, take them shopping for the things they need, sit on pins and needles through emergency room visits, entertain them and help them thrive, yet often times, there is no place for us on Mother’s Day.
Many deny us the right because they simply don’t understand. We may deny ourselves the right because even though we wish to be celebrated, but we don’t accept Mother’s Day simply because we don’t want to suffer the probability of being left out.
The truth is, not many will accept us as a part of the holiday. Not a lot of people understand the emotional investment that we give as stepmothers. They don’t realize that as the woman of the home, we become a mother, taking care of all the things moms take care of in their home. Maybe people at work won’t consider you a mother, maybe your friends will overlook it, and painfully, maybe your own stepchildren will overlook it. And I pray not, but maybe even your husband will overlook it.
Are we just annoyed women pining for some sort of recognition? Are we here tapping our toes with arms folded across our chests because we KNOW we deserve to be recognized in even the smallest way? Do we feel like all the work we’ve put in all year is worth nothing because this day passed us by and we were left out of it? Does it all come down to this one day that is dictated to us that we are to celebrate motherhood?
Here’s what I say: I’m a mother because I’m a stepmother. And even before I had children, I learned, and learned quickly, what it meant to become a part of raising my stepchildren.
YOU are a mother, too because YOU are a stepmother. If you, like me and many others, want to be a part of Mother’s Day, take things into your own hands:
1. Express your wishes to be recognized as a stepmother on Mother’s Day. You aren’t asking to be a mother, you’re simply asking that your role as a stepmother over your stepchildren be recognized. If your church is having an event for mothers, take the Pastor’s wife aside, or the pastor, or someone over the event, and let them know to please include you. If you’re too shy, enlist someone, a friend, your mother, even your husband, to make this request for you.
2. Express to your husband that you’d like to celebrate Mother’s Day. Hey, if you can’t tell your husband how you feel, who can you tell? He’s your best friend and confidant. Is there something special the two of you can do on this day, even if it’s just going out for ice-cream together, because most likely, your stepchildren will be with their bio momma on this day.
3. Make plans to celebrate this occasion with your husband and stepchildren on a different day if your stepchildren won’t be with you on this day. Make it a family event when this day comes, even if it’s not on Mother’s Day Sunday. Also, make sure that this celebration is explained to your stepchildren. They need to understand, especially if they have reservations about their relationship with you, that you are not being a Mother’s Day dictator, but because you are your husband’s wife, which makes you their stepmother, and because you love and care for them, you will be respected and celebrated as well. If your stepchildren see your husband valuing this day, no matter how many days before or after official Mother’s Day, they will learn this valuable lesson as well.
3. Celebrate yourself!! If no one else will celebrate your hard work, you have the financial means, go out and buy yourself a gift. OR, even if you don’t want to spend money on yourself, treat yourself! Is there a special dinner you love but only cook on special occasions? Treat yourself! Do you wish you could take a nap but never let yourself rest? Treat yourself! Make yourself a cup of coffee and sit down and do nothing but watch a movie, or read a book. TREAT YOURSELF!
Don’t be weary of Mother’s Day. YOU determine how you receive it, regardless of outside influences. Embrace your day!
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