Is Mother’s Day Dread Setting In?
10 Ways to Celebrate—Stepmom Style
BY JESSICA LEON, PHD, LCSW
Mother’s Day can be weird for us stepmoms. In addition to our stepkids, we may have children of our own. In addition to us, those kids may have yet another mom and/or stepmom. Our partners may not know how to navigate these issues. We, ourselves, may want or need to spend time honoring people such as our mothers, grandmas, aunts, sisters, friends and mothers-in-law.
If you’re childless and the stepkids don’t acknowledge you with a card or a call, their silence may evoke sadness or grief. If you’re childfree, having chosen not to have kids of your own, being identified with Mother’s Day may feel odd.
However you look at it, the day can be riddled with as much stress as celebration.
That kind of defeats the whole point of it being a holiday, doesn’t it? I used to dread Mother’s Day. Dread—with a capital “D.” Yes, I’m incredibly proud of my stepson and my twin boys. I’m thrilled to be their step-/mom and I’m touched by their homemade cards and gifts. But I certainly could have lived without the pressure and the drama.
I had so many people to make happy on Mother’s Day that it became, well, about everyone else.
It became clear, after a few years with my husband and stepson in the mix, that our family’s new Mother’s Day expectations and demands weren’t going to change. So, I had two choices. I could suck it up and be unhappy or I could change the way I thought about and celebrated the day, as both a mom and a stepmom. As a therapist and a life coach, I’d helped others through this issue.
I needed to objectively observe my own situation and practice the skills and thought processes I had preached. So, here are 10 things which helped me. I’m hoping some (or all) of these ideas will help you have a happy “other” sort of Mother’s Day, too, whatever situation you’re in. …To read this article, log in and download the May 2018 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.