Besides all of the happiness that Mother’s Day brings to many, it also contains a sadness factor for stepmothers. Mother’s Day is the one day of the year that’s specifically devoted to showing love to your mom, so it can get a bit tricky for those who may feel a sense of loyalty to their mom or have spent the majority of their lives referring to their stepmother by her first name rather than calling her mom.
If there’s anything that stepmothers share with one another, it’s the ability to empathize with one another over the frustration of feeling neglect from their stepchildren or even a certain kind of sadness upon realizing that no matter how much effort and care you invest into them, you may never be acknowledged on Mother’s Day.
Just like other moms, stepmoms go through the same, if not very similar, experiences with the children in the household. They’re there to cook homemade meals, sit through the break-ups and heartbreaks of their angst-filled teenage girl, financially support them in any means possible, and do all the other hundreds of things that moms do. By the time Mother’s Day rolls around, stepmoms can’t help but want to be thought of as a real mom by their stepchildren.
It’s common for many stepchildren to just skip gifts that many other moms are used to receiving. To compensate, many husbands make it a point to give Mother’s Day gifts to their wives to remind them that they appreciated. Unfortunately, receiving a Mother’s Day gift from your husband just isn’t the same as receiving one from your child. Some may even feel embarrassed by the gesture, as if it’s an “honorable mention” prize.
As hard as it may be to feel that type of neglect, it’s essential to come to terms with it because at the end of the day, you can’t (and you wouldn’t want to!) force someone to love you.
However, being able to relate to other stepmothers about Mother’s Day can really help put you at ease. Empathy is an undeniably powerful remedy for curing embarrassment or feelings of inadequacy. Remember this: you’re not alone. Meeting other stepmothers (one way of doing this is looking for online support groups that are targeted at stepmothers) enables you to share your experiences and in turn, realize that others have had very similar experiences and feelings. Gaining that feeling of being understood may not make your stepchild run up to you and call you mommy, but it will help you feel the love and support you may not even know you needed.
Of course, having that social network in your group with people you actually know on a personal level is fundamental. However, sometimes when we choose to confide in people that aren’t in our position, we feel misunderstood and it can cause growing frustration. The truth is, being a stepmom is one of those things that is impossible to understand unless you’ve been one yourself.
It’s expected that many stepmoms want to be acknowledged on Mother’s day because after all, they spend year round playing the mother figure so it’s only right that they get to partake in the holiday. However, it can be often overwhelming and too much to ask of the child to provide that kind of acknowledgment. It’s very possible that the child loves their stepmom but just feels conflicted about the holiday.
Are they allowed to show love to their stepmom AND mom?
Some will say yes, while others will say no. The best way to deal with this kind of situation is letting the child choose for themselves and dealing with their decision to the best of your ability.
While it may seem like one of the longest days of the year, it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of channeling all of your energy into feeling inadequate (because trust me, you aren’t!), try spending the day with YOUR mom or someone who serves as a mother figure for you. By showing love to that woman in your life, you yourself will feel warmth and love you may have long forgotten about.