If you think being a mom is a thankless job, try being a stepmom on Mother’s Day. Have you seen the meme? I cringe every single time. I don’t like the animosity it represents from stepmoms toward birth moms, but I do think it pretty clearly portrays the pain, jealousy, and disappointment the stepmom is feeling.
What I Want to Say to the Stepmom on Mother’s Day
To the stepmom on Mother’s Day, I see you.
I know your pain. I know that you love your stepchildren, and you want to be honored just as much as Mom does. And I know that you deserve to be thanked for all that you do for your family. I know that you had no idea what you were getting into when you signed up to stepmom, and I know your stepchildren are lucky to have you in their lives.
I see your sacrifices. I know what you’ve given up to be a stepmom, I recognize the heartbreak you’ve endured. I acknowledge all you’ve done for your family. I respect you, truly.
You stepped in and chose to love another woman’s child. You deal with baggage, you act as mediator, you stepped up.
It’s Just 24 Hours
But I also want to remind you… This one day does not define you.
You are stepmom strong everyday. This is just 1 day, and you can’t let it affect the other 364 days in your year. You are better than that, you are stronger than that.
Separate Reality from Your Feelings
I know it hurts, and I understand why you want to spend time with your stepchildren and want them to acknowledge you on Mother’s Day. I completely get it, but I want you to also understand this very crucial point. An expression of love to mom is not an expression of un-love toward you.
So, if Mom receives a handmade card on Mother’s Day (or one of the crafts kids make at school) and you don’t, then recognize the reality that a child’s affection toward his mom is not an act against you. Your stepchild loves you too, and expressing love toward mom isn’t negating that fact in any way.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
And if you know yourself well enough to know that you wouldn’t be content without a card, a phone call, a gift, or some other recognition, then you need to voice those thoughts. Do not sit idly by and wait for the day to come to see if someone recognizes you. Tell your husband or your stepchildren. Let your wishes be known.
Our husbands are not mind-readers, our children aren’t mature enough to understand an adult’s perspective. They need help! You guys should really ask my husband how many times I reminded him to buy me an anniversary card. Because I know that words of affirmation is one of my primary love languages, I made it clear to my husband that I need to hear those words of affirmation from him on our anniversary. I know myself well enough to sense that I’d be disappointed if that need went unmet.
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for that bouquet of roses or that handmade card for Mother’s Day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for what you want.
Just remember, I think you’re an incredibly strong woman. You’re a blessing to your family, and I am wishing you the happiest Mother’s Day.
The stepmom on Mother’s Day, I see you.
PS: I shared my story about my very first Mother’s Day in this post about the realities of stepparenting.