Stepmother's Day
Life

Stepmother’s Day – A Year Later

Stepmother's Day
Yes, ’tis I with a balloon hat on my head.

Today is Stepmother’s Day.

Last year, when I wrote this post on Stepmother’s Day, I was not in the best place. Obviously. Reading it, immediately you’ll know I was struggling. My husband was about two weeks from finishing his career in the military and I was grieving over it. I was staring down a move to the south, leaving behind my colleagues and physical office to work remotely and I was leaving a city I adore. It all hit me pretty hard. I was scared; scared of moving, scared of Arkansas, scared of messing up as a stepmother. Truth is it was kind of easier being a stepparent from 1,500 miles away. But it wasn’t easier for my husband to be a dad and that’s why I knew we had to move. Even though I’m not a biological parent, I know that there is no greater love than a parent’s love for a child. The fact of the matter is I can never fully understand it or even fully feel it; but I know it. And I know that being nearby I have grown into more Love with my husband’s kids than I ever could if we had stayed in San Diego. I understand and feel things now I couldn’t have before…

K is ten now. She’s into shoes, dresses and nail polish. Her mom texted me photos of her all dressed up for the daddy/daughter dance and I’m thinking, “Uhhh what happened to that little six year old I heard running for the phone yelling daaaaaddddy!!!!” and I want to slow time down a little. Ten going on twenty-five ACK! M is sixteen and she is busy with sports and has a boyfriend. I admire her so much for being a strong young woman. She has such a good head on her shoulders. I feel like we’ll blink our eyes and she’ll be off to college and it makes me sad. I cannot imagine what that’s like for her mom. L is 19 and expecting. Never in a million years did I think I’d be a [step]grandma at 40! I remember when she was 16 and getting ready to graduate high school. I cherish how much closer she and I have gotten over some really great conversations on the living room sofa.

I always knew being a parent is not easy, but until I lived it I never knew being a stepparent is really not easy. You may think to yourself, “I get a lot of responsibility and very little recognition.”  Of course, becoming a stepparent, that isn’t the goal. You don’t take your vows and add on, “Oh yeah and I want your ex(es) and kids to respect me and give me a little gratitude for everything I do,” but you do go into it with the sometimes unrealistic expectation that it will be that way because you had nothing to do with what happened between them in the past. That isn’t always reality, though. Human emotions aren’t that simple (ahhh if only they were) and you have a lot to do with what is going on in the present, even if you don’t see it that way.

We’ve been in Arkansas for just over ten months. I’ve come a long way since that post a year ago. I’m not going to tell you I still don’t have my days. I do. Don’t we all? I’m still learning and laughing at myself, too (why would I send a 4th grader to school in brand-new white capri pants knowing she actually plays at recess?).

I’ve never seen myself as a “mother” yet I really don’t like the term “step” – I use bonus a lot because having the kids in my life is a bonus, yet I don’t want to liken my relationship with them to receiving a fat check at the office  (unless they want to take care of me in my old age. Totally kidding).

Is Stepmother’s Day Legit?

So Stepmother’s Day. I don’t know whether or not there should be a “Stepmother’s Day”. I don’t know whether it steps on Mother’s Day’s toes (no pun intended) and I don’t know if stepmothers should be recognized on Mother’s Day or not either. What I do know is that regardless, stepmoms want some gratitude and recognition and it has nothing to do with the biological mother. I also know it has nothing to do with stepmoms trying to be as significant to the child (we know we’re not); but in the long run most people want to be acknowledged because it feels good. Well, I am here to acknowledge you. Today and every single day, I know you’re trying. I know that despite all the trying in the world sometimes it can feel like you’re invisible…but you’re not. Know how I know?

I started writing this post before Mother’s Day. And guess what? I was acknowledged and IT FELT GOOD. Really, really good. I may or may not have bawled like a baby receiving my first Mother’s Day card with the words THANK YOU written inside. Okay, I totally bawled. It took some time, but it happened. I got text messages, too. And those texts mean more to me than any words I could try to come up with.

When it comes down to it, I think we just want to be accepted. So remember this: it’s a two way street. To be accepted, you have to do some accepting of your own…

Happy Stepmother’s Day to all of you out there doing your best.

XOXO,
Heather

26 Comments

  • Karissa

    Happy Stepmothers Day! Step parents are the best – my stepdad is my closest parent to this day (sorry mom, I do love you, but you picked a good one to be my bonus dad)! Anyway, you rock – and keep being the best step mom – it is a tough job!
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  • Bonnie @wemake7

    Absolutely I think there should be a step parents day. There are so many step parents out there that are doing such a awesome job helping raise kiddos too they deserve recognition.

  • Brandy

    I love that you wrote this, in this day with so many parents co-parenting (I co-parent with two ex’s) it is so important to give thanks and praise to that new parent who steps in and become step-parent (I actually call my Step Mom – my second mama LOL). I am not step Mom but I know when/if my children ever have one, I will totally support her and work with her to cherish her as a second mama to my kids. I am glad that this is working out pretty good and Happy Step Parents Day to you!
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    • Heather

      Thank you and cheers to you for such a wonderful attitude toward any future stepmothers your children may have. That is wonderful!

  • Eloise

    Well, let me first start by saying Happy Stepmothers day! Both my parents are remarried and I’d have to say I don’t call them stepparents, I call all 4 parents mom and dad, i also, celebrate mothers day and fathers day for them too! … and when they introduce me to others they call me their daughter! I wrote a post about stepparents which includes a video that is very touching that maybe you should check out, it’s worth watching. the post is called ‘A thank you to stepparents’
    Eloise recently posted…Live & Learn!My Profile

    • Heather

      Oh this just warms my heart. I LOVE reading this. I will definitely check out your post! 🙂 PS – I have seen that video. I don’t know if I will ever get that sort of a thanks, but one can hope.

  • Nikka Shae

    What a great post! I never knew there’s a stepmother’s day! Being a step mother is a hard job and congrats to being a wonderful parent!

  • Mike

    I think stepmothers should celebrate on mother’s day….because it’s not about the blood relative thing…it’s about the love. That’s what makes a mom, not just giving birth to someone.

  • Cally

    Hi Heather! Happy stepmothers day! I always really enjoy reading your posts and find that I can always connect with your posts. I am not a stepmother but we recently moved from one side of Canada to the other for my husbands work. I too, left my physical office for a remote one and it’s been a really tough transition for me (especially with all of our family back in Australia). Anyway it seems like your transitioning to your new home and it gives me hope that I will too. I look forward to your next post 🙂
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    • Heather

      Cally, thank you so much. That must have been such a huge move for you. I know it is tough, for sure. I’m still adjusting. You’ll get there little by little. 🙂

  • Ashley Steer

    Great post! The idea of a stepmother’s day sounds wonderful to me! Or at least have stepmothers be acknowledged on mother’s day. I think it is great that women like you can take on another man’s children, love them and treat them as their own. (The same for stepfathers!)
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  • Heather

    Hey guess what! I. A step grandma at 34! I married a man 11 years older than me and he had a 15 year old at the time we startd dating. At first I was thinking this is weird, but other than having a kid and being obviously older than me I didn’t see anything wrong, until of course now that he’s 26 and I’m 34 and he now has a baby. So yeah….it’s like no, and my kids are now uncles. Weird to say the least, but families are weird like that.
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    • Heather

      That is wonderful you have a great stepmom. 🙂 It also makes me feel good to know you developed more closeness as you got older. I see that between the oldest and me. Just wonderful. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Adrienne

    I personally think that step parents are parents, so the differentiation isn’t necessary. Stepmothers should be celebrated on Mother’s Day. Your role is just as important in the life of the child as their biological morther’s. I also don’t think kids should be referred to as step kids, either. I think the word “step” automatically creates a separation in the family that shouldn’t exist. Family is family, regardless of the circumstances that brought them together. Thanks for sharing.

    • Heather

      I think it’s hard to go in when a kid is older and tell them, “Hey, I married your dad. Now I am your parent.” I think each family should do what is right for them, but I do agree with you that family is family, regardless. THAT is what counts. Thanks for stopping by!