What's a Step/Mom to do on a day like today? The two simple words "Mother's Day" strikes fear in the hearts of women around the world as they anxiously wonder, "Do I count? Will my husband/significant other honor my sacrifices to his kids today? Will my stepkids acknowledge my existence? Will I be reduced to a puddle of tears?"
Let me first say most stepmoms don't want to rain on the Mommy Parade on Mother's Day. They're OK with their stepkids acknowledging their birth moms today (unless the birth mom is completely AWOL like my younger belles'). It's just in a world where you're hardly acknowledged to begin with, SOMETHING, even just a card, is nice.
My Ashley has always been good about Mother's Day. I am thankful for that. I can honestly say that since I became a Step/Mom, I've never gone without acknowledgement from him or the younger belles. I would be immensely hurt if I ever did go without acknowledgement, and this is why:
Being a Step/Mom is literally one of the hardest, most thankless jobs a woman could ever encounter. I have no biological experience to compare it to yet, but I'd wager to say it's even harder than being a birth mom. Why? When you give birth to a child, you have roughly 9 months to prepare. You have the biological connection between you and that child that sustains you and keeps you from eating them alive when they tell you they hate you or they write in permanent marker all over their door. You have the benefit of remembering when they were a cuddly baby and when they spoke their first words.
When you're a Step/Mom, it's a choice - on both sides - not a biological connection to love. It means choosing to love a child even when they are acting every inch like their birth mom despite everything you've taught them to the contrary. It means holding onto your tears until you're in your bubble bath when a child says "Thank you, Daddy!" ten times for presents you helped to pick out and pay for and doesn't acknowledge you until prompted. It means biting your tongue and choosing to love a child when they look at you with spite and say, "I don't respect you!" or "You're not my stepmom!" or "You're mean! I hate you!" - all of which I've heard before.
It's easy to feel like an Impostor Mom when you hear people say things about "real moms" or you go to Walgreen's and there's Mother's Day cards for moms, wives, aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, sisters, mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law.....but not one for a stepmom. I've been on homework duty, I've cradled a sick child, I've cooked and cleaned and wiped away tears...I deserve some kind of recognition, right?
I know so many women who sacrifice blood, sweat and tears for another woman's child or children. They do all of this for little to no recognition. So to you ladies, I say, Happy Mother's Day. You deserve to hear it, even if you hear it from no one else but me today.