I always have commentary on this.
This year, I got a Happy Mother's Day text from my youngest step first thing in the morning! I was barely awake! Super awesome. It made my day. I didn't need the cards they had prepared a week in advance, but those had actual thoughtful notes in them as well! Amazing! I was shocked. I was also shocked to hear from my oldest step, super late at night- another text. Nice of her, but not really necessary, given the card and that we are not on good terms right now. So, especially given those facts, pretty impressive.
The most amusing, and beyond obviously telling, was the card comparison. One got me a full blown, sappy, fantastic Mother's Day card that says "Mom" on the front. The other is a non-specific random card, but the fact that there are sentences in there that specify recognition for doing stuff for her- Sure. I got it. I understand. It's fine. The sentences, written in her handwriting, were the part that mattered anyways! (And then later, my husband admits to picking the card himself, and all that meaning goes way out the window...But also shows that he knows his daughter quite well enough.)
That being said, as other stepmoms have pointed out in cyber world, I am getting this (newly) consistent and day-of recognition now, after 9 years. Someone aptly pointed out that they noticed that stepmoms with older skids were the ones often with a phone call or other type of honor. I think last year was the first year I got texts from both of them the day of. My husband, though, also would usually have them do something "for" me the weekend before or week after. More his effort than theirs.
I read a smattering of articles out there about what you should expect on Mother's Day, as a stepmom.
Don't listen to other people maybe. That's my first piece of advice. Even "expert" stepmoms are full of crap sometimes.
I hate how in their articles of "Stepmoms are decent people trying really hard" they bury in archaic, inapplicable, or just out of touch advice.
Look, if you do a ton of crap for you stepkids, you deserve some sort of honor in some way. And if it isn't on Mother's Day specifically, that's OK- but your husband, family, others, need to respect your choice and role to put yourself into the center of the fire. Bonfire, if you will. Your stepkids DO need to learn how to honor people of importance in their lives, especially the person who fills in for the mom role every other weekend, during the summer, or whatever it is.
It shocks me that the articles about Stepmoms on Mother's day are still saying things like, "You are not mom." No, f' no. No, you are not. We FREAKING KNOW THAT. Stop telling us that!!!! Why are you still even typing that!?!? We freaking, really already know we are not their birth moms, and we remember on a freaking DAILY basis. Stop even printing that like there's an assumption we're all morons, unclear on where our stepkids came from!!
But those same articles usually go on to say that Stepmoms play an important role and describe it, like people who aren't stepmoms are even bothering with this article. Give me a break. Stop the age-old placation. Start with "Stepmoms do a lot of crap, by the way, world. And if they function as a mom to their skids, maybe they should get some credit."
I'm sorry, but it is NOT so wrong that the kids texted me "Happy Mother's Day" on Mother's Day. No, it is not. Get over yourself. I did not spend the day with them. I did not take them away from their mom. I did not demand that they spend time with me. THAT would be ridiculous, especially in my situation. As a matter of fact, every full-time stepmom I've ever read articles from has said how they welcome Mother's Day as one of the only days of the year where they get a break and are super happy to let the kids be with their mom. It's really the non-custodial or partial that hurt, and we are the ones who have absolutely NO SAY in whether the kids spend an ounce of time with us pretty much any day besides this somewhat random holiday.
Stating in articles that a Stepmom doesn't have rights to Mother's Day tells me that you don't know very much. I've never heard, seen, read that a Stepmom wants the rights to Mother's Day. The Stepmoms crying on Mother's Day are hurt by REJECTION. Complete, total, day after day rejection. There's a LOT more going on than just "Their real mom gets attention on Mother's Day" (said by no stepmom ever).
A Stepmom DESERVES SOME CREDIT unless she has no presence in her step's lives. And by no presence, I mean that- not what the child or adult child "perceives" as no presence. (There is a major difference.) And the no presence stepmoms? I don't know why, but then they actually fit the "Dad's Wife" category, and it makes sense. UNLESS they at some point DID in fact help raise the kids in the past or are attempting to have a part in their skids lives. Then, they still deserve some credit. Did they raise their stepkids through their young years, and then custody changed because Mom wanted them back or something changed- completely out of stepmom's control, always, of course- and now they hurt? Now they wonder what happened to the kids they spent so many years substituting for their "actual" mom?
Stepmoms deserve credit. Get over it. We're not out to steal Mother's Day, but we want recognition that we are here, that we clean up after your kids, that we take them to soccer practices, that we sacrificed our careers too, buy the groceries and watch them disappear, pay for your Netflix obsessions, renewed the Xbox subscription, help your Dad maintain the mortgage and bills, planned the vacations, made sure you were signed up for camp in time, etc., etc., etc..... Oh man. Just let us have that.
Really have issues with Mother's Day and Stepmoms? Why don't more articles published right before Mother's Day cover some super BASIC ways of celebrating Mother's Day Stepmom style? Why are these not making it to the major websites and "Stepmom Coach" websites yet?
Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day for Stepmoms (because you still don't "get" it...)
- Celebrate before or after. Make it a specific day, or don't. Whatever works. (There is a specific Stepmother's Day, so that would work, too. Make it legit.)
- Have the kids get her a card or flowers before, and she can open it on Mother's Day when she's ultimately questioning all of her life's decisions.
- Can't even get the kids to get her a Mother's Day card? How about Thank you cards? Funny cards they picked out if they're young and not super snarky yet? Something is seriously better than nothing, and exactly how hard is this? (Oh right, not. Not at all.)
- Ask that they simply send a private message on FB, text, Twitter on Mother's Day to say "thanks for all you do and have a nice day!" Which is code for "thinking of you, recognizing you, but in no way ready to honor you as mom" - which is FINE. Completely fine. Recognition is what it is, no matter what words!
- If the kids are so insanely manipulated against your wife/friend who is a stepmom/family member, then MODEL YOUR recognition of her. Take them with you to go get a card for her, for all she does for them, the house, the pets, her husband. Can't take them with you (probably due to so little custody...), then just get her Mother's Day cards, gifts, flowers, etc. that the kids will see. Post it on Facebook. What you're doing is letting the kids know that other people recognize your stepmom as doing something like a mom. You're teaching, and you're honestly flat out helping the family. You're also making sure that the Stepmom feels loved on Mother's Day if she doesn't hear a single word or get anything from her skids and/or husband.
- GO ON VACATION. Make plans with friends or do something special every year to make sure Mother's Day is a low, low level concern. Get out of town, or make sure she has friends to hang with (because normally she can't hang with friends, cooking dinner and all that.................)
In all honesty, the Stepmom often looks a bit crazy on Mother's Day because you are seeing the culmination of bewilderment, self-hate, and pure hurt. It's not about taking away from their mother; it's just literally the #1 day where we are reminded of how worthless we are to everyone we work so hard for IN our OWN home. Don't believe me? That's how it feels, whether it's true or not. And who are you to know how it feels, unless you're in my particular court custody arrangement nightmare? Unless you are also a victim of child parent alienation? Unless you have the same situation?
Yeah, you get it now, don't you?
(And if you don't feel free to comment, so that I can realize what I've missed.)