Is this what Mother’s Day has looked like for you? Facebook and Instagram have blown up with sappy love messages wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day or ‘I’m so grateful for…’ posts. In the same breath, you’re celebrating your own mother and mother-in-law while also avoiding this day yourself because you’re a ‘childless’ stepmom and (almost) nobody will celebrate you.
For stepmoms Mother’s day can be hard. And that’s putting it mildly.
I hear you, stepmama. Especially those stepmoms who can’t get pregnant, have been trying for years or are just not at that stage yet.
Every Mother’s Day I’m faced with mixed emotions after experiencing Mother’s Day in very different ways. It has either been full on acknowledgement with a school made present from one stepson (8 weeks into stepmom life, nonetheless), nothing at all, or their mom doing something special for me and encouraging her kids to do the same.
Exactly in that order.
Going from having no expectations whatsoever for Mother’s day to receiving a little Mother’s Day gift that very same year set me up for some unrealistic expectations the following year. When there were no phone calls, no presents and just a whole lot of silence on my second Mother’s Day I was surprised and hurt.
I wasn’t angry or pissed right the f off. But I had to acknowledge my feelings and find peace with it. Helloooooo wine. My best friend in the whole world.
I get it. I understand why and I don’t expect anything, anymore.
My stepsons don’t ‘forget’ about me out of spite. They don’t deliberately choose to not make me something at school or call me on the day. They are kids! Most kids would way rather play with their friends at school than make two presents. Plus, they rarely know which day of the week it’s, let alone when it’s Mother’s Day. It doesn’t matter how often the school or the other parent reminds them. I often have to remind my stepchildren that it’s Father’s Day or their dad’s birthday and not to forget to give daddy his present. There you have it, they’re kids. We really can’t put much blame or resentment on them when they’re young or in the early teenage years.
So, with this being my sixth Mother’s Day after becoming a stepmom, I wanted to share what has helped me get through this day, almost as if it’s just another day. Almost, I’ll explain more below and some things I have done or have considered doing.
Stay off social media
It’s Sunday for crying out loud. Put your phone in a corner, switch it to silent, not vibrate! SILENCE is key here and leave that thing alone if you feel like that’s what you need. Don’t go on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter, heck even stay away from any news apps. There is just no need to see, read or respond to any of it.
Do something for yourself
Make this a special day. Seriously, do what makes you happy. Go to the movies or on a long hike. Anything to take your mind off of ‘this day’. Indulge in your favorite food, get a workout in or leave for the weekend. Start that project that has been on your to-do list forever, now is as good of a time as any other.
Buy yourself a gift
Are you expecting not to get anything from anyone but think you totally deserve it? Which you totally do! Then get it. Mother’s Day is just another excuse to get yourself that that new dress you’ve been eying up or that awesome furniture piece that’s totally going to finish your hallway.
Skip the stepmomming for the day
Don’t do laundry, don’t do dinner, don’t clean up after your stepkids. As a stepmom, I feel like we can, just turn to our husbands and say we’re clocking out for the day.
Schedule your day. Keep busy and going
Before you know it the day will be done and dusted with, especially when your day is jam-packed with things to do. Sleep in (or not), make yourself a big breakfast and take your time to eat it. Grab the dog and go on a long hike before having lunch, at home. Go to an afternoon movie, meet up with friends or start getting your house clean and ready for the summer. I know your to-do list is probably never ending, am I right? So I’m sure there’s something that you can focus on around the house. Finish the day with dinner, delivered, and a glass of wine and a good book.
All of this can be done with your partner of course.
Plan your day ahead of time. If you’re not a planner, this is the one time you should make an attempt at it. Avoid going to the grocery store, liquor store or mall. Get everything in advance so you can spend the day at home. Still forgot something? Ask your husband to grab it.
Make plans with your kid-free friends who love and support you
There’s nothing better in the world than friends who get you, know your situation and are super supportive. Our husbands may not fully understand how we feel, but our stepmom friends do. Don’t feel bad for leaving for a couple of hours to connect with these friends on Mother’s Day.
If Mother’s Day is really hard on you, take your time to really reflect on why it’s making you feel that way and write down anything that comes to mind. Getting things onto paper and off my mind has been very helpful.
All in all, keep in mind that it’s just another day and it will be over before you know it. Don’t dwell on what’s not happening. Focus on what IS and what makes you happy.
In 2013, Gina packed her bags, left city life in Holland behind and settled into small town living in the Okanagan Valley, Canada. This is when she became a stepmom to two boys and gained a family overnight. You can read Gina’s Stepfamily and Lifestyle blog, all about stepmom life, co-parenting, love, marriage, travel with kids and much more at This Unexpected Love or connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.