One of the hardest hurdles to cope with as a stepparent is the reality that we make the same sacrifices as a biological parent but reap very few rewards for our efforts. In his book, The Smart Stepfamily, Ron Deal gives three reasons why the stepmother role is even more difficult than the stepfather role.
“First, children tend to maintain more frequent contact with their noncustodial mothers. Second, children’s attachment to their biological mother is believed to be stronger than their attachment to their father, making the acceptance and bonding with a stepmother even more difficult. Third, because society expects women to achieve a higher relational standard than men, stepmothers feel greater pressure to build a strong attachment with stepchildren.”
We know it’s not easy being a stepmother, right? Thus, we have every reason to celebrate and affirm ourselves on Mother’s Day for what we do for our stepchildren. But we don’t have to wait and let our stepchildren’s response control our day.
It’s natural for stepchildren to honor their biological mom on Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, that could mean the stepmom gets left out.
So why not choose to create your own special day? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Spend Saturday night at a Bed and Breakfast and wake up Sunday morning to a breakfast prepared for you. Re-connect with your spouse as you reminiscence and celebrate the good things happening in your stepfamily.
2. Find another stepmom who’s having a difficult time and spend the afternoon with her. Encourage her efforts and talk through her challenges. Laugh together and affirm each other for the special role you’re playing as you’re making a difference in your stepchildren’s lives.
3. Abandon your house and spend the day at a nearby lake, beach, bike path or hiking trail. Absorb the beauty of nature and remind yourself of God’s love for you through His creation, His sovereignty over your life, and His willingness to walk with you through difficult times.
4. Attend your favorite church service with a beautiful corsage on, signifying the important role you play as a stepmom. Then spend the afternoon with your spouse creating a “God box” that outlines prayer concerns for your stepfamily on small pieces of paper. As you drop each concern in the box, pray for your family’s needs. Keep the box going for an entire year and re-visit the box next year to see how God has answered your prayers.
5. Give yourself the gift of relaxation with a good book, time at the movies or a day at the spa with a girlfriend. Eat at your favorite restaurant and tell your family you’ll be taking the day off from chores. Pamper yourself in whatever way feels special to you.
Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be a difficult day for stepmoms. Plan your own celebration! You deserve it! And if your husband’s looking for a gift idea for you, tell him to send you to the Stepmom Retreat in September. It will be a great time of fellowship with other stepmoms and a place to find help, healing, and hope on your journey. Go here for details: http://blendedandbonded.com/events/
How are you celebrating this week-end? I would love to hear about it!
Pic by posterize. This post was originally posted 5/9/2012