Mother’s Day is upon us. That Sunday in May where a lot of us will be planning something special for the mothers in our lives.
For the most part, we will try to give thanks to mothers for their love, encouragement, blood, sweat, and tears spent raising us in this world.
Some of us will cry on this day over the mothers we have lost — or cast our eyes downward in disappointment over the mothers we never knew. Hopefully, more of us than not will be able to call, send a card, or see our mothers in person.
There also exists a certain group of women out there who may find this day awkward, disappointing, or even painful.
Being a stepmom myself, I know this feeling. Whether you’re more of a full-time stepmom, an every other weekend stepmom — with your own biological children or not — Mother’s Day can feel like a poignant slap in the face.
Although there is now a “Stepmother’s day” on the Sunday following Mother’s Day, it’s not exactly widely known or accepted in the same way that Mother’s Day is.
But just to let all of you brave stepmoms out there know — this is okay.
It’s okay that you don’t have an “official” day where everyone has to stop and intentionally recognize you. You’re still amazing. You’re also still worthy, and you still have guts of steel for continuing on your step-mothering journey.
Some of us stepmoms are fortunate enough to have stepchildren who do make us cards or something special to pay tribute to our efforts.
And… some of us don’t.
Obviously, I think we should appreciate all parents, grandparents, guardians, teachers, and people in our lives who help raise our children on a daily basis. But — traditionally — in our culture, there are those very popular days assigned to special people and Mother’s Day happens to be one of them. As a stepmom, this doesn’t necessarily need to be a day to feel bitter or depressed.
It’s normal to feel resentful about not getting recognized on Mother’s Day when you may do a lot of the grunt work in raising your stepchild or stepchildren. It’s okay to feel that. You’re human.
Your role is more imperative than you may realize.
But it’s also okay to then let it go.
Whether your stepchild or stepchildren’s mother is a huge presence in their lives or a more distant one — she is still their mother. Whether you like her or not — she is still their mother. Whether you agree with her way of parenting or not — she is still their mother.
Learning to allow your stepchild or stepchildren’s biological mother to get her credit on Mother’s Day is not an acceptance of defeat and it doesn’t mean you won’t ever be appreciated yourself. Don’t give up and remember on this Mother’s Day the important work you are doing.
Being a stepmom is a relationship like no other. Even the seemingly impossible challenges and fights will bond you to your stepchild or stepchildren for a lifetime. Your role is more imperative than you may realize. The lessons you can teach, the love you can give, the laughter you can make — are all yours.
There are lessons you will learn about yourself over time being a stepmom. These may be lessons you would never have learned otherwise. They are gifts.
As a stepmom, you still have the power to help create a child or children who grow into productive, caring, wonderful human beings. You are a teacher, a protector, and a guide. Your impact can be powerful. Mother’s Day does not and should not detract from that.
You are phenomenal. You are courageous. And you are playing a role that not everyone can.
So maybe you don’t get a stepmom Oscar this year — or even get nominated. But you are in the role of a lifetime and it can reap some rewarding benefits. It may not be this Sunday, or even the Sunday after that — but one day you will know that all your hard work, tears, love, and determination have made a difference in someone’s life. And in your own.
This Sunday treat yourself like the queen you already are — and stay resilient.
Michelle Zunter is a Canadian-turned-American living, loving, & writing in California. You can read Michelle’s lifestyle blogs about love, sex, relationships, marriage, divorce, parenting, step-parenting & much more at The Pondering Nook. You can also listen to Michelle co-hosting at The Broad’s Way Podcast discussing similar topics.