Happy StepMOTHER’S Day.

I vividly remember my first mother’s day as a Stepmom. It was early stages and I had no idea how it was going to go. At that point I didn’t have children of my own. However, I had a silent inner expectation that I deserved to be celebrated and recognized for my role in my stepson’s life. I was clear on the fact that I was not his “real mom”, but when he was in our home I believed I was his “parent”. I was making the daily sacrifices that a parent makes. I was responsible for his well being and happiness. I was a stepMOM.

However, that first Mother’s day came and went and it was obvious that neither family nor friends felt it was a day in my honour. There were no grand gestures of breakfast in bed or bouquets of flowers. No handmade cards or surprise gifts. I remember feeling confused, hurt and let down. How can a woman who is responsible for a child’s well being (who has voluntarily signed up to take care of another person’s son no less), not be celebrated? And to be clear, I didn’t need the “grand gestures”. All it would have taken, especially in that vulnerable first year,was a simple greeting of “Happy Mother’s Day” from my family and friends. The greeting that would have acknowledged my efforts and validated my special and important role in my Stepson’s life. And to clarify, my husband, family and friends are not assholes. They simply had no awareness of how I felt and this role of Stepmom didn’t come with instructions or a description of expectations for anyone.

So…10+ years later…if you know a Stepmom, please accept my wisdom on the Mother’s Day situation:

  • Say Happy Mother’s day to her because she took on a role that no one lists in their “when I grow up I wanna be…” monologue at kindergarten graduation.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because she cleaned up your son’s vomit at 3:00 a.m. and sat for hours with your daughter while she cried about being picked on by some 6th graders.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because when she barely had a dime to her name she said, “yes little Sammy, I will buy you that scooter”, just so Sammy could fit in with his friends on the street.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because when she heard things about herself that were degrading and just plain false, she cried in private, and then held her head up high and carried on.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because she worried about making sure Jack had a nutritious lunch packed and worked hard to educate him that goldfish crackers and Lipton cup a soup did not cover the essential food groups.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because when she was bone tired (and would rather be horizontal on the couch watching “Jane the Virgin”), she was the one sitting at the kitchen table making sure little Katie got her homework done.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because she is the one who took time off of work to take William to his dentist and doctor appointments and picked him up from school when he called home sick.
  • Say Happy Mother’s day to her because she sat in the audience of that music recital and in the stands of the baseball game clapping and cheering like a banshee.
  • Say Happy mother’s day to her because despite the drama, negativity and accusations she always maintained her integrity and insisted on taking the high road.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because when the kid from down the street was mean to little Johnny, the mama bear in her came out and she fiercely defended her stepson and sent the bully packing.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because while she is often the one making the biggest sacrifices she is often the one getting the least thanks.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because she truly has the ability to love with all of her heart. She is tough yet kind; firm yet loving. She puts the children above her own needs on a daily basis, despite being criticized for her efforts.
  • Say Happy Mother’s Day to her because she is a QUEEN — A graceful, classy and courageous act of royalty who deserves every ounce of support and validation that her surrounding posse can give.

Personally I think every saint of a Stepmother deserves her own special day. But until that happens, if you know a Stepmom, rest assured that it IS appropriate and very much appreciated to be wished “Happy Mother’s Day”.

And if you are husband to a Stepmom, well…bend over backwards…no — wait — TRIP OVER YOURSELF (all while bending over backwards standing on one foot), to make her feel special. Show her you recognize all that she does and that you appreciate every last teeny tiny fibre of her awesome being. She deserves it. And you owe her that.

Until there is a special Stepmom Day — buy the card, make the breakfast, bring the flowers, and be sure in the very least to wish her a, “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY”!