What Stepmoms REALLY Want on Mother’s Day

A woman reading a card with the text I love you mom.

I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that none of us who are stepmoms actually planned to be stepmoms. Am I right?! If you were like me, you grew up thinking you would find a partner, settle down, and if you decided to have children, they would be your biological children and nothing would be complicated or unusual in the least {boy was I naïve!}. In my 20’s, I had a list of absolute deal breakers in terms of men I could consider dating. I convinced myself I would never date anyone in the military, I would never date anyone who was divorced, and I would certainly never date anyone with {gasp!} CHILDREN! {Cue the entrance of my husband and the sound of the universe’s laughter over how I thought I had everything figured out} As fate would have it, I ended up falling in love with and marrying a man who was {and still is} in the military, divorced, and has a child from his first marriage.

Eight years into my own journey as a stepmom, and I still choke on the term at times when it comes out of my mouth. #ThanksDisney! My dislike of the term has absolutely nothing to do with my stepdaughter though. I actually tell people all the time that I hit the proverbial “Stepmom jackpot” because my stepdaughter is one of the kindest and most beautiful souls I know. Knowing her for the past 12 years has definitely made me a better person and has taught me so much about life in general.  It’s just that the term has such negative connotation behind it and even in 2019, blended families are still so misunderstood and unfairly judged.

As we approach Mother’s Day, it got me thinking about some of the best and worst Mother’s Day experiences I’ve had as a stepmom. After my husband and I got married, I celebrated three Mother’s Days as a stepmom before I gave birth to my biological son and got to start experiencing Mother’s Day both as a stepmom and a biological mom. I remember the years where I got my expectations up way too high, only to be hurt and disappointed, and I remember the years where the smallest and most unscripted gestures from my stepdaughter and husband meant the world to me.

Here’s my take on what stepmoms REALLY want for Mother’s Day ::

Recognition ::

You thought I was going to say extravagant gifts, didn’t you?  Nope.  I strongly believe that the best and most rewarding thing to a stepmom on Mother’s Day is good old fashioned recognition of how hard it is to be a stepmom. After having my biological son, I can wholeheartedly say that being a step parent is SO much harder emotionally than being a biological parent in many ways {that’s an entirely separate blog post in itself!}. I have this somewhat silly rule in our house about having to actually write something in all greeting cards versus signing just a name to the card. Some of my most meaningful and rewarding Mother’s Day experiences have been attached to something my stepdaughter wrote from the heart in one of her cards to me. Whether it was thanking me for believing in her, or for all of the things I do for her so that she’s successful – her words always mean the most and make me emotional every time because they’re so genuine, pure and innocent. Partners have a strong part to play in the recognition department as well, and I can recall numerous thoughtful or appreciative things my husband has said to me around Mother’s Day that meant so much.  I can honestly say that I do not remember any of the material gifts that I’ve been given for Mother’s Day throughout the years – it’s the cards and letters that stick with me in my heart.

Not being compared to biological parents ::

Step parents are not biological parents and even before I became a biological mother, it used to make me uncomfortable when {good intentioned} people would hype up Mother’s Day around me as if I was a biological parent. Maybe this feeling of uneasiness is rooted in some of my own general insecurities, but my preference by far is to stay in my “stepmom swim lane” as it relates to my stepdaughter and not be treated as though I am one of her biological parents. As such, I always appreciate it when I receive a true stepmom card { handmade is even better!} instead of a traditional Mother’s Day card. The sentiments are always more relevant and appreciated.

Happy & well-adjusted stepchildren ::

At the end of the day, no step parent is happy if their step child isn’t happy and well-adjusted. Children of divorce have often been to hell and back for a variety of different reasons and all I truly want for my stepdaughter is for her to be happy and well -adjusted in life – both now and into the future. It’s not important to me that she grow up and want to come back to visit me all the time or fulfill a quota with the frequency in which she calls me after she’s moved away. What is important to me though is that she look back on our relationship as one of the many that helped to mold her into the amazing human that she is.

So keep these three things in mind this Mother’s Day if you have a stepmom in your life and be sure to thank her for all of the many sacrifices that come along with being part of a blended family.

Did you know?

Did you know that in 2000, “Stepmother’s Day” was observed for the first time by a 9-year old little girl who wanted to celebrate her stepmom? Each year it is now observed on the Sunday immediately following Mother’s Day:: This year it will fall on Sunday, May 19th. 

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What stepmoms really want on mother's day. A photograph of a woman reading a homemade card with the text I love you mom. Logo: Houston moms blog.

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Vicki has always had Texan blood pumping through her veins. Raised in Katy as the oldest of four girls and now a resident of Kingwood, she’s known for her undying and somewhat fanatical love of all things related to H-E-B, Amazon Prime, Taylor Swift, and Texas A&M, her alma mater {WHOOP!}. She has a passion for supporting other working moms in the workplace, as well as military veterans. Married to Paul since 2011 {also an Aggie and a veteran}, she has three kids:: step-daughter Madeline {2003} and sons Hamilton {2014}, and Harrison {2019}. By day, Vicki is a full-time working mom who works in HR and by night she’s a closet “60 Minutes” & “Real Housewives” fan. Always first out on the dance floor for “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, Vicki enjoys unwinding with friends over a glass of wine, a new craft brew and/or a H-E-B cheese ball.


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