Mother’s Day is just a few short weeks away. This is the day we get to celebrate and show appreciation to all of the wonderful mothers out there. I hope one day I can even be half the mother that my mom is today. My mother lived her life for us kids and now lives her life for us and her grandchildren. I am so happy my kids get to grow up and have a close relationship with their grandmommy.
Who are we really celebrating on Mother’s Day? There are so many types of mothers out there that may not carry the actual name Mom. But on Mother’s Day, whether people admit it or not, society celebrates the biological Mother.
As a childless stepmom in my first marriage, it is impossible to explain how Mother’s day felt. Every day of the year, I was expected to be the best mother figure to my step-kids, but then I was constantly treated as an outsider by people beyond our immediate family. Many times, people don’t even realize they are treating you as an outsider but stepmoms feel it. I felt (and sometimes still do) invisible in a crowd of moms.
While I faced my biggest insecurities outside of the home, stepmoms experience the Outsider Syndrome both inside and outside of the home. The Huffington Post touches upon how this Outsider Syndrome can affect a stepmom inside the home in 8 Tips for Stepmoms Experiencing Outsider Syndrome, by Jenna Korf. This article does a great job of explaining how the little things can really make a stepmom feel like an outsider.
I remember my first Mother’s Day as a stepparent in my first marriage. As Mother’s Day approached my mother kept telling me that I was a mother, being a stepmom, and needed to acknowledge that to myself. But on that day, not one person wished me Happy Mother’s Day. It broke my heart. I felt like a fool for ever thinking anyone would ever treat me like a real mom.
And then at church, when the pastor asked all the moms to stand for a special blessing, I stayed sitting. No one corrected me. No one motioned me to stand. I know I was not alone but felt completely alone at that moment.
My ex-husband and step-kids, named the following Sunday after Mother’s Day, Step-Mother’s Day (isn’t that the sweetest thing?). They tried so hard to make me feel special on that day, but it was never the same. I know no other family that did this and I loved them (and still love them for it) so much for doing everything they could to make me feel very visible.
Today I am both a stepmom and a biological (or birth) mom. Only recently have I been able to confidently stand when my pastor asked all the mothers to stand in the congregation. It felt good but I have learned that I work equally hard as a birth-mom and a stepmom. Although I work very hard to raise all four kids so they are treated equally, outsiders do not share the same respect to stepmoms. Why are we not treated equally as “moms”?
Here is a list of a few things I did and do as a stepmom:
- make lunches
- do laundry
- drive kids to school
- throw birthday parties
- buy school supplies and clothes
- wipe running noses
- take kids to the doctor for strep, bronchitis and a broken arm
- help with homework
- pay for wrestling camp with a side job
- make dinner
- take kids to baseball, gymnastic, tennis, etc
- kiss kids goodnight
- the list goes on and on
Is this list any different than what the birth-mom does? No. Now I am not writing this to disrespect any birth mothers. Far from it, it’s hard to be a mom, and birth moms deserve every bit of the love and attention that they get on Mother’s Day. And in both of my marriages, the birth mothers to my step-kids were always extremely respectful to me during this time. I know that it is not true for so many stepmoms, and I realize I am so so so lucky.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I am both a proud stepmom and biological mom. But when I am wished a Happy Mother’s Day this year, I know it will not be as a stepmom and birth mom, but only as a birth mom.
Now as both a stepmom and birth-mom, I still feel the same way I did when I was a childless stepmom. Being every type of mom is hard. For all the women out there who have never been a stepmom, please do not look down on stepmoms. Please do not think they are less of a mother because they did not give birth to their children. Know that stepmoms work hard to meet each and every need of all their children, and will love their children no matter what until eternity.
So this Mother’s Day, I wish every mother a day of love, appreciation, calorie free desserts, perfect hair, shoe shopping and tons of butterfly kisses.
In conclusion, I think Leann Rimes has said it perfectly @leannrimes.