fbpx
This Stepmother’s Day Throw a Stepmom Shower 

This Stepmother’s Day Throw a Stepmom Shower

 

Greetings from dreamy Deutschland (Germany)! Like many other countries around the world, we celebrated Mother’s Day this weekend.

I am so happy to report to you that our Mother’s Day was a SUCCESS!

Looks like my husband, BB, read my last blog advocating “Mindful Mother’s Day” tips. He had my {step} children, the Little Lamas, draw me the cutest homemade cards. They also wrote personalized messages and gifted me with an adorable cactus (who doesn’t love a super trendy cactus?)

PRO TIP: you cannot go wrong with a plant that barely needs water – it is the perfect prezzie for the person who wants to have a ‘Green Thumb’ but requires a gradual learning curve.

How we had a mindful Mother's Day!

Mindfulness is such a huge part of my writing and daily life. I work hard to practice what I preach. Mother’s Day this year just happened to fall on our scheduled visitation weekend. The children would go home in the early evening as they always do but about halfway through my blissful Mother’s Day. I realized that even though BioMom would see the children later, she probably missed them and the day might be hard for her. No matter how cordial things are between us, it is simply human nature to miss your children. Especially on a holiday designed to honor mothers.

Thus, I held space for her. I suggested to the children that we leave a message for Biomom on the “Big Parenting” Group Chat that I referenced in my first blog for Social Stepmom back in March 2019. My goodness, how is it May already? Before you know it I will be writing, “How to keep your kids mindfully occupied during the summer holidays”.

Sorry, I will slow down and stay present, however, if you need a refresher on ‘How to be a Team with BioMom’ check out the article I wrote about the topic!

Pressing pause on Mother's Day

It was a really nice moment to press pause on our own Mother’s Day celebrations and reach out to the woman who created these beautiful babies with my husband in the first place. To model to our children what respect, kindness, and compassion looks like is one of the greatest gifts I believe we can give them.

The Little Lamas called their birth mother right in front of me, at my encouragement, and one by one we all left a greeting for her – including my husband. Almost immediately, she replied with her own voice message expressing how much she appreciated hearing from all of us.

If love was equivalent to a color, it exploded out in rainbow beams that afternoon – each one of us basking in the light of a beautifully blended family. We displayed behavior that shows motherhood does not have to be a competition.

Unfortunately, despite best intentions, healthy relationships are not always the case for stepfamilies and if Mother’s Day did not quite go as you had hoped I encourage you to take all the time you need to process, heal and move forward with grace.

ACTION PLAN: In your own life, take the time in any and all situations to HOLD SPACE.

What does this mean?

I read a wonderful quote on @message.from.beyond Instagram’s page. It explained, “it means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they are on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts. We offer unconditional support and let go of judgment and control”.

Whenever you can, take the time to show other’s (including yourself!) affection and concern.

We live in such fast-paced, hectic times. When people seem to pride themselves on being extremely busy.

What if you took a moment out of the constant chaos and looked around. Is someone looking particularly lonesome, sad, or withdrawn? Perhaps invite them to eat lunch with you! Or go get some fresh air and create a safe space for the other person to express their feelings.

If this feels too intrusive, another option could be to leave a fresh flower on their desk. Or simply smile a knowing smile with your eyes that conveys the message, “I see you”.

Celebrating Stepmoms on Mother's Day?

I am willing to bet that the majority of people do not know that the Sunday after Mother’s Day is celebrated as Stepmother’s Day. Am I right? It never crossed my radar before I became an official stepmother myself.

As I just explained, BB and our stepchildren honour my contributions to our family on Mother’s Day and I truly appreciate that. I do not really want a separate day to celebrate everything I do to help our family function smoothly. However, I am going to propose a new tradition and way to “hold space”: STEPMOTHER SHOWERS!

Recently, an acquaintance posted photos online of her Baby Shower. She was pregnant with her second child and was expressing sincere thanks to her squad who had put together a surprise second shower.

A là Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn’t help but wonder about society and the traditions we adhere to. I was happy for my friend and all the excitement brewing around her second baby on the way. But, a small part of me felt a wee bit overlooked.

As a culture, we glorify mothers (understandably!).  It is important to shift the narrative and not always focus on motherhood as being so one-dimensional.

I now have two {step} children and yet not one baby shower. This is because I have inherited my youngsters through marriage, not birth. For many stepmothers, we all of a sudden have an instant family and yet are not necessarily prepared.  I am not just talking materially but emotionally as well.

ACTION PLAN: Throw a Stepmom shower!

If you are a friend/family member of a Stepmother, reach out this coming Sunday and ask how she is holding up. Then, sit back and really listen. That is the definition of “holding space”. No judgment, and instead, just be there for the Stepmom in your life to truly feel heard, validated and respected for the very real and yet often unnoticed and/or underappreciated work that they do.

I look forward to the day when it becomes commonplace for new stepmoms (and stepdads for that matter!) to have a big stepmom shower solely to honour their fresh status as a co-parent. Can you imagine? Instead of every Baby Shower you attend literally being for an infant what if it was for someone who instantaneously had a toddler/tween in his or her life?  Imagine if stepmom shower guests were bringing gifts suited to the age of the children that the stepparent was now inheriting as part of their tribe like a Lego set for a seven year old child or headphones for a music loving teenager.

Until then, I encourage you, my dear reader, to exercise kindheartedness and empathy this upcoming Stepmother’s Day. As compassion grows, our self-centeredness declines and we become freer and liberated to support one another, which is a gift that will always be in style.

Sending light, love and laughter your way.

Namaste,

Lara

About Lara Alsen-Armgart

Lara Alsen-Armgart is an Inclusion Expert. Canadian-born Educator and Yogi, Lara has a Master’s Degree in Special Education and specializes in promoting mindful, culturally rich lifestyles full of movement and flowing with wellness. Lara has taught at International Schools in Canada, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates and travelled extensively, losing count at 60 countries! J

Lara is a Co-Founding Member of the Dubai Inclusion Network [IG: @dubai_inclusion] established as a platform to provide expert knowledge and advice, share best practice and trainings to colleagues and families to support the learning of children with a range of needs and has been a member of the Ontario College of Teachers since 2000.

In addition to being a Social Stepmom Exclusive Guest Contributor & International Ambassador, Lara is a Brand Ambassador for ThinkLoveLive, [IG: @think.love.live] an ethical clothing brand that makes sustainable active and yoga wear in plant fabric and swimwear made from plastic.

A Yoga Teacher, RYT® 200, registered with Yoga Alliance, Lara teaches a variety of styles: Vinyasa, Aqua, Swing and SlowFlow.

Follow Lara's Yoga Journey

From May-September 2019, Lara is leading “Yoga in the Park” (for the 2nd Season!) with the Bad Gögging Tourism Board [@badgoegging] who is celebrating their 100thAnniversary in Bavaria, Germany. This collaboration provides free Yoga in a beautiful outdoor setting to the local community. Visitors welcome!

Lara is also teaching “Yoga im Schlossgarten” which literally translates into “Yoga in the Castle Garden”. That’s European living! This collaboration with VHS Abensberg [IG: @VHSAbensberg] is a new and free event and aims to be inclusive for all ages and abilities. Spring/Summer season (May/Sept 2019) #yogazusammen

After years of crisscrossing the globe, Lara is a recent newlywed and has rooted; now living in Germany with her Bavarian Husband and their two beautiful {step} children. Having earned her B1 Certificate in German, Lara is (conversationally) Bilingual and is teaching The Little Lamas her native language - English.

Follow Lara’s Yoga journey, Advocacy work and be the first to know about upcoming Retreats//Workshops//Special Events on Instagram [@The.Yogi.Lama] or connect on LinkedIn.

Special Hashtags: #LessonsWithTheYogiLama #FlowmitLara #BadGoeggingMeetsYoga #YogaimSchlossgarten