How I feel about Mother’s Day by “The Happy Stepmom”
On May 14th, 2017, I will celebrate Mother's Day with only two of my five children. Year after year, month after month, day after day, I absolutely love being with my family. My big, beautiful, blended family consists of myself and my husband and "our" 5 kids, Luc, Abby, Michael, Kate and Ashley. But, I only gave birth to two of them. My other three children will spend Mother's Day with their biological mom. And I am absolutely good with that. Friends always say to me "But you have 50/50 custody. You spend just as much time as she does with the kids. Don't you think you deserve a little time with them on Mother's Day?". They are right. I do spend the same amount of time as she does being with them. And during that time, I do everything a mother does. I help with homework, give the little ones a bath, take them shopping for clothes, take them to the doctor when they are sick, etc. But I am not their mother. I am "Aimee", their Stepmom.
I love my stepchildren and I am extremely lucky that they love me too. I have an amazing relationship with all three of them. I know that I am one of the lucky ones. The two youngest girls always request to make two Mother's Day crafts at school. One for me and one for their mom. And it is extremely special when they give it to me with a big hug and kiss. I am always so grateful for that. But when it comes to Mother's Day, I want to spend it with my two children. My son and daughter are the reason I have the title of Mom. Most Stepmoms with both biological children and stepchildren will tell you that it is a different kind of "love" that is felt between each. I have amazing stepchildren, whom I love very much, however, when it comes to Mother's Day, I want my biological children to have all of my attention. They share me with their stepbrother and stepsisters all year long. Mother's Day is for us. I enjoy that special time with them. And my stepchildren deserve to be with their mom on that special day as well.
A Stepmom friend of mine asked me why I don't get offended or upset when my stepkids don't call or email me on Mother's Day, I told her that I have a few thoughts on the subject......
Here are a few "Happy Stepmom" tips on how to survive Mother's Day this year:
1. "Expectation is the root of all heartache" ~ William Shakespeare
Lowering your expectations is absolutely number ONE on this list. If you expect flowers from your Stepkids on Mother's Day, you will absolutely be disappointed when the delivery man never arrives. Why would you waste an entire day sitting there, hoping that you get some sort of recognition for all the work you do for those kids? I can honestly say that I do not expect my stepchildren to call me on Mother's Day. Their loyalty is to their mother. And I don't want them to feel like they are offending her by sending me a message or calling me on the phone. I respect the love they have for their mom and I would never want to be the reason they experience a loyalty bind. And because I never expect anything, I am never disappointed.
2. Try to look at the situation from the children's perspective.
You are so very valuable to their lives. You know that and your husband knows that and one day, your stepchildren will know that too! But for now, do you remember what it was like to be a kid? Did you ever have deep, emotional thoughts about the people in your life and how they must feel? Your stepkids are so busy making mom breakfast in bed, they aren't stopping to think about how you must be feeling at home alone! They are making mom happy on her special day. Your investment in their lives is for the long term. Children have not had enough experience in life to understand the impact that you are having on them. As the years go by, you will see how your example has helped to shape who they are. I have heard so many beautiful stories of stepchildren acknowledging step parents once they became adults and looked back to realize how much they did for them growing up. Don't give up!
3. Enjoy your Spouse!
The reason you are privileged enough to call yourself "Stepmom" (yes, that's right, I said it - PRIVILEGED), is because you married a man with kids. He should be the one to celebrate you on Mother's Day! If you don't have biological children of your own, spend Mother's Day with your amazing husband! Let him acknowledge all of the effort you put in to his kids lives. Go out for dinner and a movie! Celebrate the love you have for each other. You wouldn't be a Stepmom if it wasn't for him. Shift your focus to your relationship! Enjoy a night out!
4. Celebrate Stepmother's Day! (or another special date)
My husband and his kids have been amazing at making me feel special on Stepmother's Day. They know that I take my role very seriously. I am not here to replace their mother, however I am here to be a loving adult and parent in their lives. I have never been one to get caught up in celebrating a special event on an 'exact' date. So even if my stepkids don't happen to be with us on the official date of Stepmother's Day (the Sunday after Mother's Day), we celebrate it on another date. You can also do something special on the day you first became a "step or blended" family, or the day you first met. Create your own special, family traditions!
5. Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn't give you credit for it.
I do ALOT for my stepkids and my family. Do I believe that I get the recognition that I deserve for all the time and effort I put in? HECK NO! But I don't do it for the credit. I do it because it is the right thing to do. Even though I am "just a stepmom", I have a significant amount of influence on my stepchildren. I want them to grow up to become caring, respectful adults. I know that I am a role model to them. We all have a duty, as adults, as parents, as step parents, as aunts and uncles, to teach children how to became amazing people. Why wouldn't we want that??
So don't let the arrival of Mother's Day get you down. Keep doing what you are doing! Being a Stepmom is the hardest job in the world. I'm convinced of that. We make difficult choices every single day. We choose to love and care for children that aren't ours. We choose to manage this life with a smile on our face (even when we are angry or sad on the inside). Just remember that what is happening is merely what is happening. How you feel about it is another matter.
- Aimee Allen
"The Happy Stepmom"
The Happy Stepmom