For some, I will not say most, being a Stepmom can be a bit of a conundrum. With Mother’s Day coming up, the Stepmom in your life may be feeling a tinge of stress. Perhaps she lives in a parental purgatory of sorts, not quite worshiped and certainly not damned. Or perhaps she is married with her own children in the mix and on occasion feels like she’s doing twice the work for half the love.
These feelings may not be 100% accurate in your eyes but they are still justified and as a husband and co-parenting dad in a blended family there are a few things you can do to make the holiday a bit smoother.
Perhaps as a stepdad, you know this already but a stepmom with her own children is constantly striving for equilibrium, of sorts. It’s an equilibrium that may never happen or happens for a fleeting moment. But that’s okay because if she is living that struggle, perhaps you are too.
So how does Mother’s Day play out in a blended family? Does she feel under appreciated or otherwise nonplussed?
As a husband and co-parent, what can you do about this?
The big hint here, it starts with the children. Chances are they did not ask for two moms, there may be mixed emotions and a little confusion on how to treat ‘The Moms’ right. You need to take the lead and help them mark the occasion. This does not mean it is up to you to determine how they should celebrate mom, everyone knows it’s you flipping the bill but let them express it in their voice and you coach them. In this moment, you are there to support (verbally, emotionally and experientially) your kids having a relationship with their mother and their stepmom.
Granted, there is a Step Mother’s Day, the Sunday after Mother’s Day. The second hint is a Stepmother is still a mother. Show some respect for ALL the moms in your life, the grandmothers, the auntie-mothers, but especially the Stepmom.
Considering all the moms in your life, does it make sense to pull together a group celebration? WIll it work for all involved and bring joy to the moms in your life?
Hint number three, this holiday is all about them (not you). This is the obvious one but is still important enough to mention. As a co-parent, you may already know it is about putting your differences aside. Mother’s Day is no different. Encourage them to celebrate their mother on Mother’s Day and throughout the year, too. Kids who have a strong, healthy, connected relationship with their mothers and fathers grow to be strong, healthy, relationally skilled adults.
Even if you find yourself in a high(er) conflict or parallel parenting scenario, focus on helping the children celebrate The Moms, it will pay off with dividends. And remember, Father’s Day is next month.