For Stepfamilies, Mother's Day can be a day of mixed emotions. As a biological Mother, I am always excited about whatever my children do for me. In fact, just hearing them say Happy Mother's Day and spending time with them makes me smile. When they were younger, they had to depend on their biological father to assist them with card or gift buying etc. As I mentioned in a previous blog, it wasn't about the gift, it was the thoughts and expressions of love that mattered. In biological families, the father will lead the effort to make sure Mom has a wonderful day. Dad will suggest to Mom to relax and he will work with the kids to make it a great day.
In stepfamilies, there may be some confusion about what to do for stepmoms and ex-wives on Mother's Day. The year I remarried, my husband wanted to make sure I had a fabulous day. He inquired of my children if he could assist them with anything and they assured him that they had it taken care of. They had sought help from their biological father because he had always assisted them, even after the divorce. My husband focused solely on assisting his children with purchasing a gift for me. His children struggled with selecting a gift for me because they had not yet gone shopping for their mother and didn't quite know how to ask for their father's assistance. I really didn't have a lot of expectations from his children, because I expected them celebrate with their own mother. I would have been pleased with a phone call.
Since they had been out shopping most of the day Saturday, I was surprised when they came in the door empty handed. Later that night, I asked my husband what his children had purchased for their mother, only to find out nothing had been done. He assumed the older children would have taken care of it. He was wrong. Feeling guilty, I got dressed and went to the store to purchase something for the bio-mom for her children to give to her. This was their first Mother's Day weekend away from their mom. When my stepchildren woke up on Mother's Day at our home and prepared to go to their Mom's house, they were in no mood to wish me a Happy Mother's Day before they saw their own mom.
So many lessons were learned that first year. As a result I have suggestions for stepfamilies: 1) Regardless of whose weekend it is, stepfamilies should follow the standard visitation rule with children being with their biological mother on Mother's Day weekend. 2) The biological father should assist with younger children in purchasing cards, gifts, etc. 3) In stepfamilies, husbands should suggest acknowledging the stepmother, but not force his children to do anything they don't want to do. 4) Stepmoms shouldn't have big expectations from their stepchildren. 5) Regardless of what is done for you as a stepmom, be appreciative.
With all that being said, I hope everyone has a wonderful day. "Happy Mother's Day".
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach