Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Which means moms around the world will be recognized. Kids will send cards, buy flowers, and chocolates for their moms. Moms will feel like the queen for one day out of the year.
My first “Mother’s Day” is one I will never forget. At the time I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. I was looking forward to what my husband would do for me on that day to celebrate me! We had my two stepsons (2 and 4) living with us, so I was looking forward to their handprint cards and homemade gifts they made to acknowledge me!
Mother’s Day came and my only gift was a single issue of “Fit Pregnancy”. The hurt I felt was excruciating! Not only did my husband think I was fat, but there was no recognition from my little stepkids who I was raising… No card with their name scribbled on it, no handprint, nothing…
Year after year I felt the same anticipation leading up to Mother’s Day. And year after year I was faced with the same disappointment.
For most stepmoms, Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year. It is the day that most of us would just like to skip over each year. Through 14 years of being a stepmom, I have learned 10 things that make Each Mother’s Day more enjoyable.
We know Mother’s Day can be Awkward
I know first hand just how awkward Mother’s Day can be. My original Stepkids’ mom was not always in the picture. She would come and go as she pleased, but she always came on Mother’s Day. It was so awkward for me to meet her with my husband to exchange the kids. The kids would be carrying homemade gifts and cards for her, for the woman who wasn’t really involved. And for me? Nothing… I got nothing. It felt like a punch to the gut knowing I did so much and she did not much, but yet she still got the credit and I got none.
Be Thankful for What You Have
Be thankful for the things you have this Mother’s Day, rather than dwell on the awkwardness. You have a husband who loves you unconditionally. You have a home and a family that you have put your blood, sweat, and tears into you. Be thankful for the friends you have that support you. There is so much to be thankful for, so make the day about those things rather than the things you don’t have.
Let Go of Expectations
I used to have such high expectations on Mother’s Day. I had the expectations of a great breakfast and handmade cards and gifts and I didn’t get these things. Every year I was disappointed until I decided to let all my expectations go. When I did this I was able to be happier on Mother’s Day. I started to look for subtle things my stepkids did to show appreciation for me. The hug they gave me when they woke up. The please and thank you they said when I helped them put their shoes on to go see their mom. These little things became big things on Mother’s Day.
Comparisons are an evil thing and can make us all go crazy, especially as a stepmom. We have to remember that our journeys are all different. That doesn’t mean that they are less special than anyone else’s journey. They are just different. When we stop comparing ourselves to others we will find joy in our individual journeys.
You are Amazing
Even though you aren’t recognized on Mother’s Day, you are still AMAZING! You are walking a journey not many can do! We know that you have more courage than most. You have chosen to invest so much into something that is not biologically yours. The example you are to your stepkids is shaping them into who they will one day become. You are an amazing example to them!
Although Others Might Not Recognize you, we Know!
You might not feel like others recognize you, but we know! We know that you get you at 2 in the morning to get your stepkids a drink of milk. We know that you take them to the store to buy gifts for their mom. You are the backbone that keeps your family running; we know that! So while others might not recognize how much you do, other stepmoms know!
Look for the Wins
Several years ago I started looking for the wins on Mother’s Day, rather than the disappointments. As I found the wins I learned to love Mother’s Day differently.I saw little signs that I was appreciated. It was through a text that simply said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” and nothing else. Appreciation was shown with a card that was sent that only said her name and no words. These were all wins. Because it meant she remembered me. So it is time to let go of the disappointments and start looking for the wins.
When all else fails, rely on God. God knows. He knows your struggles. God knows what you do for your stepkids and he is happy with you! He knows that not many people can do what you do. That is why he gave the special job as a stepmom to you! It takes a special person to do what we do. To love how we love. It takes someone with courage and patience and unwavering love. And he picked you to do that! So when things are hard, rely on him because he knows!
Don’t Give up!
This day can be hard. It can make a stepmom feel utterly defeated and unneeded. You are needed! You have a great work to do! No one can do what you do! There is not a single person that can teach your stepkids what you are teaching them. Don’t give up, because you have a great work to do!
One day your stepkids will know. They will know that you put everything you could into raising them. One day they will recognize and appreciate the hand you played in their life. In time, they will come to realize your determination to be the best stepparent you could be for them. They will one day look back in awe at all the things YOU helped them accomplish!
So for now, sit back and learn to appreciate the little things, because the little things matter the most. I know it can be hard. And even sometimes painful. Know that you are needed. You are special and you make a difference in your stepkids lives!
So, Happy Mother’s Day from one Stepmom to another! Enjoy the little things!