Once upon a time there was a woman who married a man who had kids. Despite her best intentions and best laid plans, things didn’t always work out as she had expected or hoped they would. She poured her heart and soul into nurturing his children because she loved her husband. And then came the annual tradition of celebrating women who gave birth to children day. And then her story got worse. The end.
Does that sound relatable at all? I know it does for tens of thousands of stepmoms across the globe. But I am going to give you 5 tips to help you through the tough day ahead so you can come out with your happiness and dignity in tact. I know I needed a few resources around the day when I was struggling. And so many of the moms in my social media groups brace them selves for the day, often weeks in advance.
Make your expectations clear: you may not have the kids with you on the actual day. But if you are expecting recognition, tell your spouse. If you are wanting a pedi? Ask. Want a card and flowers? Ask. Want the day off to enjoy a break without them if they are with you? Just ask. Our partners cannot read our minds. And expecting them to have magical powers is not only unrealistic, it’s unfair. I don’t know anyone who can read minds. And as far as men are concerned, my hubby said to me on more than one occasion “ you aren’t my mom, I don’t have to get you anything” yet he still does with our daughters, and I am the bio mom of 2 out of 5 of his kids. Plus there’s that little thing about assumptions that we often tell our partners NOT to do. We don’t want them to start assuming now. My only things on the do not buy list were dollar store perfume (cough, sneeze), make up (hello eye infection) or jewellery (no thank you, rash). And just an FYI, there are plenty of moms who had many Mother’s Days go by with no recognition either.
Celebrate anyway: You can actually do what you want, when you want. Nobody is stopping you from celebrating the Saturday before, the Sunday before, the Sunday after or even on the day of. I am so often take aback that we HAVE to follow the social rules and norms and spend loads of money to celebrate one day. Christmas is celebrated in our family when we can get most of our family together. It’s not always on the 25th. And many times it wasn’t even in December. The purpose behind it is to get together with family to celebrate. And if you suspect you won’t get anything even if you have been clear, plan something for yourself anyway. Treat yourself to that book you’ve been dying to read, that cute outfit you’ve been eyeing, or go to the trendy ice cream shop for that extra scoop.
Take the day off: I know many bio moms who don’t actually want to celebrate with their kids on Mother’s Day. Escaping is a legitimate way to cope with crap. With all that on-line learning when schools were shut down (three times here for us) and working from home, I might actually use this idea myself. I swear, escaping sounds really appealing as we head into the next 3 weeks of on line learning. Send me a keg of wine please.
Celebrate other mothers: your mom, your mom- in – law, grandmoms, aunties, or any positive mom role model. Go to the store pick up a few bouquets and do a flower run. Take the kids with you and role model how to honour moms and positive role models. Kids watch what we do more often than they listen to what we say. Another great idea is going to the retirement homes with some treats and flowers. There are so many moms there that are forgotten about. You have no idea the impact you can have by doing this. Especially after all the Covid isolation requirements and lack of visits so many of our elderly have had to suffer without.
Be ok not being ok: this one came from participating on the Stepmomz app coaching Q and A, and it was so good I had to borrow it and share it with you. The more you can honour your feelings, allow them and move through them, the less you will feel hurt about them. You will take your power back from allowing others to decide your value and your worth. Allowing our feelings creates the space for them to be free and not stuck, which can lead to resentment. And often resentment has a way of attracting more things to be disappointed and hurt by. You can take any of the steps above to heal that wound you are experiencing. For example, grab that iced, full fat, caramel latte, take your journal, pack a charcuterie for 1 and find a park to process those feelings. It’s ok to cry the hurt out and swear at the ducks. They won’t take it personally and the release will feel good. It might reveal more things to you as well.
An additional gem I wanted to add from the Q and A coaches panel I was on is let your stepkids off the hook to do anything for you for Mother’s Day. Many of them are experiencing torn loyalties. They think (or know) that if they like you, they are upsetting their mom or hurting her. So can you imagine the stir buying or creating something for you would create for them? Especially, if bio mom is putting pressure on the kids to show her that she is the favorite. You can take the pressure off them, and they will appreciate that you do.
I hope these 5 tips (plus one) will allow you to move through the day with ease and grace. And, do not forget that the Sunday after is Stepmother’s Day! This year it is the 16th
I hope you know how amazing you are. Happy Mother’s Day loveliness.