If you're like me, you grew up with several mom options on Mother's Day. There is the actual mom, the grandmothers, the stepmothers, the step-grandmothers ... it can be overwhelming. However, it did sensitize me to the fact that there were many women who cared for me, and on that special day, they all should be recognized. Or at least telephoned to say "Happy Mother's Day, I love you."
If you're also like me, you now have your own kids, and the thought of a (god-forbid) divorce followed by your husband hooking up with some trollop makes you think, "Uh-uh. That tramp will NEVER be the mother of my kids. This is my day, b***h."
Needless to say Mother's Day can be fraught for both the children and the stepmoms.
I get that support is needed for stepmoms, especially on this day. But I also think some room for the feelings of the kids, who may be torn on what to do out of loyalty to mom, is in order as well.
So here's a guide -- for kids and the stepmoms that love (or maybe even resent) them:
DO buy (and expect) at least a card and/or phone call on Mother's Day.
It's really not hard to acknowledge someone who loves you, and if your stepkids won't even give you that -- there's an issue that needs to be explored.
DON'T expect that being a stepmom will be treated as grandly as being a mom.
Unless you raised that baby from birth and the mom is completely out of the picture, you've got competition. Don't feel bad if you just can't win. She's the mom. She wins.
DO call your stepdaughter on Mother's Day if she is also a mom.
Showing respect for all moms on this day shows your generosity of spirit. And makes your stepdaughter realize how special you are too, for acknowledging her.
DON'T sit at home waiting, passive-aggressively, for some big event to happen.
It won't. And you'll feel, and look, bad.
DO make it clear to the kids that the joy of being in their lives is enough.
Don't pout if a floral arrangement doesn't show up on your door. After all, no gifts are needed to "prove" anything, especially love.
DON'T engage the children's father in your crusade.
Yes, he should be talking to his kids about your important role in the family. But no, he shouldn't be made to feel guilty that his kids don't think of you on Mother's Day. Unless he's a jerk and tells the kids you're not important. And then, why are you married to this guy?
DO realize the importance of small steps.
Kids aren't developmentally able to sit down and really tell you how much they appreciate the fact that you make their dad happy, you keep the house running, and you always remember their birthday. If someone picks a flower for you -- that's basically like winning an Oscar.
DON'T take it personally.
I admit I've forgotten Mother's Day for my stepmothers (maybe that's because I've had three -- hey, Dad, slow down!). But all of them have been incredibly loving, open, and kind to me my entire life. Any oversights did not reflect on the ladies, only on my forgetfulness/focus on my own mom/stupid kid-ness. It was never personal, and I'm grateful for all of the women who stepped in to care for me through the years.
Are you a stepmom? How do you handle Mother's Day?
Image via goldberg/Flickr