Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day? Again?!

Among stepmoms I know, this is a very unpopular holiday. If you're reading this, you probably agree with them.

Mother's Day was instituted in 1914 when President Wilson agreed to Anna Marie Jarvis's request for a national holiday to honor the mothers who were raising America's next generation of citizens. She regretted her decision many times before she died in 1948, saying, "wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control ..."

And, if you're a stepmom who works hard all year long to help take care of your stepchildren, only to be ignored on Mother's Day - you probably agree with Jarvis!

Face it, if you married a man who had children from a previous relationship in the hope you'd get the love and affection of a mother, you were nuts! The vast majority of stepchildren (God bless 'em!) can't even remember your name on Mother's Day, much less to get you a card or candy or some freakin' flowers!

But they sure remember their biological mom, don't they? You know, that woman who whines and gripes about having to allow their dad any time at all with them; who never seems to remember to send the right clothes when they do get to visit; and who refers to you as "that woman" when she even acknowledges all you do for her kids! She may send them over dirty, hungry, and hopped up on high fructose corn syrup, but to them, she's the only woman in their lives.

How many loads of laundry have you done for her kids? How many meals have you cooked? How many times have you tucked them in and kissed them good night? And how many times have you told them you love them ... only to get no thanks for any of it?

Mother's Day! Bah humbug!

After all, you signed up for cards and candy and flowers, didn't you? Didn't you?

What? That's not why you married into this hillbilly clan?

Oh, yes. That's right. You joined them because you were in love with their daddy, and you didn't mind that he brought along some "baggage." You came into this family with your eyes wide open, your arms outstretched, and your heart full of love.

And that love is still there. Somewhere behind the sticky jelly sandwiches, the smelly clothes, and the shrugs of partial acceptance.

That's what Mother's Day is all about for stepmoms. I hope you get a pretty card, a box of sweets, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. But if you don't - and most of you won't - I hope you can remember that your love for them far surpasses the trite little gifts they may give to their bio-mom. Your love goes all the way through their daddy to their needs and their tears you help dry.

You are the glue Anna Marie Jarvis and President Wilson had in mind when they were trying to commemorate the ones who nurture our children, who shape our future. You are the picture of Christ's love to children who might reject and resent it, but who need it to overcome their wounds from their parents' divorce. And you are the one who they will remember one day as loving them no matter what they said or didn't say.

So happy Stepmother's Day to you dear, strong ladies. God bless you for your dedication, your courage, and for your love.

God bless y'all,

STEPcoach Bob Collins


Anonymous said...

Some Step-Moms are the only Moms kids know. Their biological moms may have died, left them to pursue her own interests, was tired of being a mother (responsibility)...etc. These kids raised by their "Step-Mom" love them just as much as any kid loves their bioligical Mom.
I was one of these seemingly rare cases; however, it seems more and more frequent nowadays. One of my sons is closer to his Step-Mom than to his biological mom. He was 10 when I remarried. When he got older, he really realized the "Big Picture". Maybe the old adage that "Wisdom comes with age" holds true. So, hang in there Step-Moms, and keep pouring on the LOVE!

STEPcoach said...

That's wonderful, my friend! I'm so glad your son got it! I noticed that you said he realized the facts when he got older. As is so often the case, it takes the perspective of time passing for the kids to realize we steppers were actually trying to help, not just annoy them!
Thanks for reading and writing!

Anonymous said...

My step-daughter is already now 21. It is sooo true in that I do so much for my step -daughter and in a moment of anger she erases all the good that was built. It's also true that I was naive to think that I could receive the same kind of love that she has for her biological mom. Things take though and it's definitely better after four years that I have known my now fiancé. All I can say to those who have entered into a relationship with children is have plenty of patience because trust me it will be tested! Your partner plays a key role in the process because he unfortunately has to mediator.

STEPcoach said...

I wonder how many not-yet stepparents have any kind of discussion with their soon-to-be spouse about how they intend to deal with the children. Probably not many. Yet the children are most usually the reason for most of the tension and upsets. Thank you, Patient Stepmom, for sharing your wise advice.

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