In Case No One Else Tells You … Happy Mothers’ Day!

“Mothers’ Day – bah humbug.”
“Whoever came up with this idea most certainly wasn’t a STEPmother!”
“I wish the stupid day would just pass me by.”

Stepmoms have some strong feelings about Mothers’ Day, and most aren’t strong happy feelings. Over 13 years of working with steppers, I’ve seen some seriously hurt feelings, but not many are worse than the ones arising from this “holiday.” Yes, Christmas season and birthdays can be hurtful, but something about an entire day set aside to point out that “You’re Not My Mom!” is especially painful to many stepmothers.

Now, you may actually have stepkids who are anxious to bless you for your contributions to their family on this special day. Although my email suggests that if that’s so, you’re in the minority.

Most stepmoms bend over backward to make their stepchildren feel accepted, loved, and part of their home. Only to wake up on Mothers’ Day to find out that that other woman gets all the glory, regardless of how much or how little she may have contributed to her own children’s well being.

It’s just unfair. Always has been and always will be.

What can you do?
First of all, prepare your mate – the biological father – for what you’re facing. He is very possibly unaware of your feelings and hopes. In his eyes, you’re his alone, and separate from his kids. Help him see that you have an investment in his children and that you are naturally hoping for some dividends this Mothers’ Day. Doesn’t have to be much: a card, a “Happy Mothers’ Day,” maybe a hug. Anything will be appreciated.

Second, focus on your own kids, if you have any. Concentrate on the blessings you get from them and allow that his kids are not yours. (“Darn right they’re not mine! They’d act differently if they were mine!”) If your stepkids offer anything, be sure to acknowledge it and thank them. Don’t overlook their attempts to reach out.

And, if the entire day passes without anything said to you, do your best to be the adult in the family. Don’t punish your stepkids for their childishness. Try not to punish your husband too much for his blindness. Next year will be better. (You might want to insure that by spelling out your feelings to your mate!)

Then, take yourself to a spa and enjoy yourself for yourself.

We love you, anyway. If you need to rebuild after some hurt feelings, write me and let me know. I can help.

Happy Mothers’ Day, Stepmom!


2 thoughts on “In Case No One Else Tells You … Happy Mothers’ Day!”

  1. At our house its all about their mom if possible….we make cards the week before, we make videos on years they aren’t together…but on the day, whether its with her or with me…we work on doing family things together. I am the mom/stepmom so I know both sides of my experience…and this is our children’s stepmom’s first year to be a mom or a stepmom. It takes both of us to keep our worlds peaceful, and I believe that there is more than enough love in our children for us both to receive it!Sweetie


  2. I’m so glad to read the post on Mother’s Day…because, as a step-mom with no biological children of my own, I find the day exceptionally hard. While I care deeply for my step-children and fulfill all the normal parenting responsibilities, there is no acknowledgement of that on Mother’s Day. They were with their mom that day (their mom will always have them on Mother’s Day per the custody agreements…which I agree is only appropriate)but they didn’t even bother to send a text(they are teens so texting is their primary language)to wish me a good day. Of course, it doesn’t help that, unlike “Sweetie”(who commented above), the mom of my step-children does not understand that her kids have enough love for everyone and makes it clear to them that I am in no way to be considered a “parent” for them. She stresses that they have only 2 “parents” (herself and their dad) and she ignores me whenever we’re both present at the children’s events to try to underscore her position that I have no business being there. I’m sure, thus, that part of my step-children’s lack of acknowledgment for me has to do with their mom’s attitude and not wanting to appear disloyal to her. Still, it makes for a very tough day every year despite my spouse’s thoughtful efforts to acknowledge me with a card and flowers every Mother’s Day. So, again, I appreciate your article addressing this topic which is likely to hit a chord with many step-moms like me.


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