Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and women around the world were celebrated because they have given birth to children. Hallmark sold millions of cards, and many flowers and gifts were given to women out of love. Churches across the nation had special programs, gave out white and red corsages, had luncheons and such to celebrate mothers. Elementary schools helped small children make wonderful gifts for their dear mothers. Many calls and texts went out just to say “Happy Mother’s Day”. Despite having lost my own Mother a few years ago, I had a wonderful Mother's Day.
There were a group of women who did not get phone calls or texts. A card did not come in the mail and no one celebrated them at church. In fact, they didn’t even see the children they care so much about. Some spent the day alone feeling neglected and unloved. What women with children were not celebrated on Mother’s Day you ask? These are some of the women who have married a man with children and are now considered Stepmoms.
Did you know that the Sunday after Mother’s day has been deemed Stepmother’s Day? Wow, a day set aside just to celebrate women who have taken on the sometimes thankless job of being a stepmother. Did you know such a day existed? Hallmark doesn’t advertise it nor do stores and flower shops offer stepmother's day specials. It’s just the Sunday after Mother’s Day to most. I am thankful that I was appreciated by both my children and my stepchildren on Mother's Day, but not all stepmoms were so fortunate.
Here are 5 reasons Stepmother’s Day should be celebrated.
1. Stepmoms are sometimes invisible and/or ignored. Public events are especially a challenge for the stepmom who doesn’t know where she fits in. They are the ones who quietly stand by at children’s event such as school programs, games, graduations, etc. often feeling left out or unappreciated.
2. Stepmoms function in a mothering role: Stepmoms cook, clean, help with homework and do all the things that moms do when their stepchildren are with them. During visitation the workload doubles, there is more cooking and cleaning, and twice as many clothes to wash.
3. Stepmoms are not evil. Unfortunately because of Cinderella, stepmoms have taken a bad rap. Most stepmoms are loving and kind and will do anything for their husband and his children. Even when they have been wronged they keep loving and forgiving.
4. Stepmoms have feelings too. Because children often have loyalty issues, they may be so protective of their mother’s feelings, that they may unintentionally dehumanize the stepmom. Perhaps it bothers mom when the child speaks to the stepmom on the phone or gives her a hug. The child may feel like if they love their mother they have to feel the opposite way about their stepmom.
5. Stepmoms often sacrifice their own needs. Stepmoms share their time, space and resources. Noncustodial fathers are responsible for child support and sometimes alimony. A stepmom may put aside her own needs and desires because money has to go to the other household. Stepmoms cover bills and spend money to assist with stepchildren's needs, like providing health insurance and other needs often taken for granted.
Thank God for stepmoms. They have often had to stand in the gaps for many husbands and children who needed their love and support. Why not take the time to celebrate Stepmoms? If you know a woman who is a stepmom or if you have a stepmom, let her know on Sunday, May 21st that she matters!
Having grown up in a house with six people and one bathroom you learn very early how to make the best of your bathroom time. With four girls in the house I remember many of our quarrels were about bathroom or phone time. Mornings were hectic trying to get ready for school and the evening routine was just as difficult. Being the next to the youngest meant I was the second in line to take my bath before bed time. There was no such thing as a morning bath.
Our house was built by my grandfather and even though the bathroom has a shower now, there wasn’t one when we were growing up. There was only a bathtub so we had to take baths instead of showers. On a typical night, my dad took his bath first since he went to bed early. Then we would bathe in order of our age, the youngest first.
Another caveat regarding bath time was the fact that the hot water tank was small which meant hot water was a premium. Dad’s bath often emptied the hot water tank. When we were smaller it wasn't uncommon to have to reuse my sister’s bath water because water was going to take longer to warm up again and there were two more baths to be taken. I didn't like going behind my baby sister because she liked playing outside and always came in smelling like a wet puppy. Mom would always tell her, "you need a bath!”
Because of the limited time we had in the bathroom, bathing had to be done in 10-15 minutes. There was no such thing as soaking in a bubble bath. I remember the Calgon commercials with the theme, “Calgon take me away”. There was always a happy woman with a pillow behind her head in pure bliss to be able to relax in the bathtub. I dreamed of being able to soak in a tub like those women and maybe even having a big bathtub someday.
When I finally had my own place I couldn’t wait to take some time and just sit in a bathtub full of bubbles. I could run as much water as I wanted to, make it as hot as I wanted to, and stay in the tub as long as I wanted to. On weekends when I had the time to relax, a bath was just what the doctor ordered.
I enjoy baths, but did you know that taking a relaxing bath has significant health benefits? Here are 5 ways a bath can be helpful.
1. Bathing can improve your mood by helping you to relax and breathe.
2. Taking a warm bath can make your heart beat faster and give it a healthy workout.
3. Bathing helps to regulate your body temperature – On a cold day, a hot bath will warm you up and on a hot day a cooler bath will cool you down.
4. Soaking in a bathtub cleanses and moisturizes your skin.
5. Bathing can reduce pain and inflammation and reduce your levels of stress and anxiety.
So when is the last time you relaxed and took a bath? For me it’s been a while. Time is typically an issue and showers are much quicker. While I was in Phoenix two weeks ago, I had dinner with my husband’s cousin Pamelyn who has her own business making bath salts.http://gemscentbathsalts.com She gave me an assortment of bath salts and I couldn’t wait to come home and try them. I got excited just thinking about the rest and relaxation I could have taking a nice bath.
This Mother’s day after all the festivities are over, why not settle down and give yourself some peace and relaxation by taking a bath. In Matthew 11:28, we are encouraged to seek rest, especially when we are weary and burdened. Even Jesus encouraged rest in Mark 6:31 (ESV) And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day. I miss my Mom, but I am looking forward to going to church and celebrating some amazing women including my mother- in-love, spending time with my children and last but not least, dear husband can you run me a big ol’ bath?
Blessings and Happy Mother's Day,
Mother’s Day is approaching which fills my head with memories of my mother. When I was five years old, my mom became sick with tuberculosis. As a result she had to go into the hospital for almost a year. Back in the 60’s providers did not have any alternative but to place people with TB away into mental institutions until their TB was cured. It took 9 months for her to get better. During this time my maternal grandparents who lived 1,300 miles away cared for us.
I remember the day we left like it was yesterday. All four of us girls and Mom got on a plane and travelled to Maryland. Our mother was in a wheelchair with a mask covering her nose and mouth. It was my very first time on a plane. Once we arrived, my grandparents picked us up and the ambulance transported Mom to the hospital.
For the next nine months our only communication with our mother was an occasional telephone call and speaking with her through the window because we were not old enough to go inside the hospital. I think you had to be at least thirteen to go into the hospital as a visitor.
Since we were school age, we were registered to go to school right down the street from our grandparent’s home. We arrived after the Easter break and my teacher announced to my class that the Easter bunny had brought me all the way from Oklahoma. She even showed the students where Oklahoma was on the map. Even though we tried to act like life was normal being away from both of our parents and living across the country with our grandparents, the truth for me more than anything else was..
I wanted my Mommy!
When I went off to college 1300 miles away, my parents loaded my belongings in our brown Chrysler New Yorker along with my younger sister and drove me to college. One reason we chose the school was because it was where my parents met when they attended college. The other reason was because it was close to my grandparents and my parents knew the president of the college.
Being a college student was a great adventure and I loved being away from home, meeting people and learning the east coast way of life. The college president and his wife made it their mission to make sure I was well taken care of. I was blessed to have them there and I often went to visit them and had dinner at their home.
Since cell phones had not been invented, my only line of communication with my parents was the pay phone in the lobby of our dormitory. When I wanted to talk to Mom I had to call collect. If she tried to reach me she would have to call the pay phone and hope someone answered it and came to my room to get me. Usually I would make a collect call and then my mom would refuse it, then she would call me back immediately on the pay phone.
Because long distance was so expensive our calls were short and to the point. No time or money for long conversations. Parent’s day and family weekends came around, but because I was so far away from home, my parents could not attend. During those times all I could think was…
I want my Mommy!
Once I married and became pregnant with my first child I was excited about becoming a mother myself. I was blessed to have a good pregnancy but delivered about two and a half weeks before my due date. I delivered my first born in the middle of the night and there wasn’t enough time to call my mother to drive an hour and a half to the hospital.
Once we got home from the hospital and I assumed my duties as a new mother, much of it was overwhelming. Mom promised to come down after I got settled at home. I had help from my husband, church members and friends and family if I needed it, but all I could think about was…
I want my Mommy!
Even in my 40’s I was scheduled for surgery. My husband was there to take care of me and church members sent food to the house and helped with my children. However, I decided nobody could take care of me better than my own mother. In other words…
I want my Mommy!
Mom is gone now and I miss her tremendously. Mom lived long enough to read my first book and she told me how proud she was of me. I dedicated my second book to her after she passed away. When she was alive we spoke at least once a week usually on Sunday afternoons. To keep me posted on what was going on back at home, Mom used to mail articles from the newspaper or church newsletters to me. Whenever I was homesick and wanted to cook one of Mom’s specialty dishes, I would call Mom and have her stay on the phone while she gave me her recipe. When I would go visit Mom, I enjoyed taking her shopping for a new church outfit or a new pair of shoes. I always received a birthday card in the mail before my birthday.
Now that Mom is gone, there are no more phone calls, no more recipes, no more cards, no more shopping, no more advice and no visits. There are times during the year that I miss her more than others. Holidays, my birthday, and Mom’s birthday are especially tough. One of the most difficult times is Mother’s Day when everyone is celebrating mothers. Of course my kids celebrate me as their mother and the church always goes above and beyond to do acts of kindness, I still miss Mom. Even though I know she is now pain free and living in a mansion in heaven, at the end of the day when all the festivities have ended, all I can think about is…
I want my Mommy!
Happy Mother’s Day & Blessings,
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach