Welcome! I’m your host, Maria Natapov, Stepparenting Coach and Strategist.
Today we have a very special episode for you. We’ll be discussing Mother’s Day for Stepmothers.
This is a loaded episode, both emotionally and literally because we have lots to cover. We’ll be delving into several areas. Like, why this is a particularly challenging holiday, what this holiday feels like for many stepmoms, and how to ensure you have an amazing Mother’s Day holiday.
You’re going to want to share this info with your loved ones, so grab your spouse and step-kids and be sure to share it with your family, bestie, and friends.
This episode is designed to shed light on the stepmom’s experience and challenges around Mother’s Day so that you feel seen and heard and know that you’re not alone.
And to help the rest of the world, and most importantly members of your inner circle, gain awareness and understanding to support you during this holiday and time of year.
The Stepmom Experience
Many who are not in the unique position of being a stepmom, most likely don’t realize how painful and isolating this holiday can be. Stepmoms arrive to their role for a variety of reasons.
Some, become a stepmom because they happened to fall in love and build a life together with someone who has children from a previous relationship. Yet others, become stepmoms because they always wanted children and may not be able to have their own.
So they see the opportunity to create a life with someone with children, as the answer to their dreams of becoming a parent and giving their love, support, and resources to caring for a child that is not biologically theirs.
In every case these courageous, generous women are giving of their time, energy, love, and resources – be they emotional, physical or financial or any combination of the three – to show up for other people’s child.
This is no small feat. It requires tons of self-awareness, self-control, resourcefulness, and energy. More than anyone can reasonably anticipate at first glance. None of which are fully realized, until you actually devote yourself to the relationship.
At which point the nuances start to suddenly sort of come out of the woodwork.
Why is Mother’s Day Difficult for Stepmoms?
Regardless of how a stepmom arrived at her role of stepparent, she will often be looked at by others as a distant 2nd to the bio-mom. Sometimes she might not even be acknowledged at all, particularly if the bio-mom is still actively in the picture.
It’s logical and understandable that you would want to be celebrated for all that you do. Especially that most often, you’re doing it all behind the scenes. So it’s easy for all your hard work to go unnoticed and your valuable contributions to be overlooked.
So, of course, it feels terrible when your spouse or stepchild doesn’t acknowledge you at all. Not a card, not a nice gesture of doing something special together, or something you like, or a small meaningful gift. Nothing.
Or perhaps they are trying to to do something special with you to commemorate everything that you bring to the table. But maybe celebrating bio-mom or time demands with bio-mom are taking over everyone’s time making celebrating with you so difficult it’s virtually impossible.
Ensure You Have a Special Mother’s Day
I know that it’s felt painful and upsetting. And no doubt all kinds of emotions might be coming up with simply the time of year approaching. But you don’t have to be a passive participant in how this plays out.
If you’re feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable in this very moment, I invite you to:
Get to an emotionally neutral place.
- Check out episode 11 titled 7 Key Components of the Stepparenting Sanity Routine for lots of great suggestions and effective options at synergisticstepparenting.com/11.
- Choose and DO 1 or 2 of them.
- Rinse and repeat until you feel centered and grounded.
Identify What you Want
Take some time by yourself to identify what you want and what you’d like that to look like. Be sure to and give yourself space. Remember that it may take time over several days for you to arrive at the answer.
Or maybe it’s just about taking a few minutes several times throughout the day to think about it. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. Anything you need is okay.
Re-evaluate Your Blended Families’ Traditions and Beliefs Around Mother’s Day
- Listen to Episode 12 titled How to Have Difficult Stepparenting Conversations at synergisticstepparenting.com/12. And Episode 10 titled Feeling Out Your Blended Families’ Traditions and Beliefs at synergisticstepparenting.com/10.
- Identify the strategies you will use to have a conversation with your blended family about how you feel. And invite them to brainstorm how you guys can build a tradition of your own that will feel special.
So, for example, if the timing is sticky and doesn’t seem to work out, perhaps you can make a rule that you guys celebrate on Friday evening, or on Saturday before Mother’s Day. Or maybe even choose a different weekend altogether.
Remember ultimately you just want to have a good time and have an opportunity to build good memories with your blended clan. So rather than focusing on what you can’t control, gift yourself the opportunity to prioritize connecting with your blended family.
- Talk to your blended family. Be sure to be considerate giving them a heads up about what you want to discuss and schedule a convenient time giving a chance to mentally prepare beforehand.
During the meeting be sure to actively listen to them, considering their needs and point of view. Remember everything might not get resolved in one conversation. But starting by having it is still creating progress towards what you want by planting the seeds.
This is a big ask with often heavy emotions surrounding it. So be prepared that it may take several tries before they consider it. Because as humans when it comes to new things, it often takes time and several exposures to a new concept to warm up to the idea.
How to Enjoy Your Mother’s Day Regardless of Your Stepfamily
Maybe you haven’t been able to get on the same page with your blended family about a celebration that feels good to you. That’s okay!
If you are still new to the stepmom role or don’t feel comfortable talking with your blended family about a way to celebrate that includes you. Of perhaps you’ve started the process but are still working through agreeing on a plan. You can still have a great Mother’s Day holiday!
Celebrate yourself on Mother’s Day in a way that feels good to you.
Plan a celebration of your own. Whether by yourself or with a girlfriend or two. Plan a fun, relaxing celebration of your own. Maybe it’s getting mani pedis and going to brunch. A day of spa treatments.
Maybe you’re just excited to be by yourself, stay in your jammies all day and read or catch up on some movies or shows you’ve been meaning to watch.
Or for you it’s going on a nature walk or a hike and taking yourself out to lunch at your favorite restaurant. Whatever your definition is of filling your bucket to recharge is – DO IT!!!!
You deserve it! And it will only be a benefit to your well-being and the well-being of your blended family. Because feeling good, relaxed, and recharged and tending to your mental health is not a luxury – it’s a necessity!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, go to synergisticstepparenting.com/work to see how I can help you transform family chaos into meaningful and harmonious co-parenting.
Ok step-mommas, happy celebrating and wishing you a very happy Mother’s Day!!!
Until next be well!
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