Stepmoms: Our Holiday Gift to You

Stepmom Holiday Gift
Brenda Ockun and her husband, Gregg.

A Message from Brenda:
I receive letters from readers all year long but, the messages I receive this time of year are always a little extra special to me. I think it’s because I understand how challenging the holiday season can be for stepmoms.

Earlier this month I received a letter from a stepmom who shared her thoughts with me. She said: “Since I moved in with my partner and his kids I’ve felt unhinged. But reading the magazine makes me feel like someone has crawled inside my head. It is the best gift I could have given myself this year.”

Her note made me think. Continue reading “Stepmoms: Our Holiday Gift to You”

A Holiday Survival Guide for Stepmothers

By Brenda Snyder, LCSW Originally published in the Nov. 2012 issue of StepMom Magazine.

The holiday season is upon us! It’s “the most wonderful time of the year!” But sometimes, for stepmoms, the very times that are supposed to make us the happiest can have the opposite effect.

As a childless stepmother, I couldn’t wait to share my mother’s awesome Christmas Eve tradition of having Santa Claus visit from the North Pole. Continue reading “A Holiday Survival Guide for Stepmothers”

National Stepfamily Day is September 16

National Stepfamily DayChristy Borgeld, a remarried mom and stepmom, initiated National Stepfamily Day in 1997. Her goal was to create a holiday that would bring the need for stepfamily support and awareness to the nation’s forefront while, at the same time, provide today’s modern family with an opportunity to recognize and celebrate their relationships. Continue reading “National Stepfamily Day is September 16”

Mother’s Day Advice for Stepmoms

We know from experience that, for many stepmoms, Mother’s Day can be one of the hardest days of the year to handle gracefully. Little acknowledgement or recognition for all you do for your stepfamily year ’round can compound this. Add in the mother of all holidays and you may wind up feeling especially sad or unappreciated.

On an internal level, of course, we’re fully aware that we’re not our stepkids’ parents. Yet, we still want to be celebrated. Our first suggestion is to revel in the quiet knowledge that you do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do. Sure, we know: Being recognized is nice. But if you’re not? These “5 Tips” will help:

Stop pretending.
If Mother’s Day is difficult for you, shift your perspective and your approach. Don’t pretend that your feelings don’t exist. Don’t tell your partner “it’s OK” you were overlooked or that you “don’t care that much.” Be honest. That doesn’t mean rattling off a laundry list of things you do for your stepkids. It means being vulnerable enough to create moments of intimacy that’ll benefit you both. It can also mean being honest with yourself, identifying how you’re feeling and why.

 Celebrate yourself.
The contents of your heart and the way you conduct yourself are more important than what anyone else thinks of you. As a woman and a stepmom, your worth and identity aren’t defined by or dependent on your marital or maternal status. (Read that again.) They’re yours to define. This weekend and always, know that you’re enough and that what you do matters; not just today but every day. Use this occasion to celebrate you, spending time and energy making yourself feel special.

Do something fun!
Wanna know how to make the most of an otherwise difficult day? Hatch a plan that sounds like fun and leave room for spontaneity. Do all sorts of things which bring you joy! Give yourself permission to plan the day around your interests—going it alone or partnering up. Sleep in. Eat your favorite foods. Practice yoga. Read or do crossword puzzles. Have a glass of wine. Take a bubble bath. Take a hike. Do anything and everything your heart desires.

Don’t go it alone.
Managing ourselves and our expectations is easier when we’re willing to accept advice from other stepmoms who have been there, done that for years. Now is the time to call that stepmom friend who understandsand never judgeshow you’re feeling. Don’t have any in-person stepmom gal pals? The StepMom Magazine private forum is available to subscribers 24/7/365. Find a thread that resonates with you. Or start a new one!

Help a sister out.
Mother Teresa wasn’t anybody’s mother, yet she’s celebrated far and wide! If the mother of all holidays has you feeling left out, consider reaching out to someone who’d appreciate your kindness. Let another woman (any woman) know that you admire her and why. Write her a note. Call her. Invite her to lunch. Helping others is an act of healing. So, pay it forward, stepmom. It’ll make her day (and yours) a little brighter!

Whether or not anyone else says or acknowledges it, you’re an incredible woman. To accept a job that offers little security, few accolades and no promise of unconditional love—while also managing the inherent complexities of stepfamily life—proves that you’re one strong, brave … and, among other things, kickass stepmom!

Don’t let Mother’s Day get you down.
Get the guide:
Stepmom Guide to Mothers Day