BY ANGELIA CORNATZER
Most of us do not know that the Sunday following Mother’s Day is nationally recognized as Step-Mother’s Day. As of 2017, one in every three families was a blended family. We can assume that number is even higher in the current year. There was a study done by Brandon Gaille that concluded over half of Americans will be a part of a step-family in their lifetime and that each day there are 1,300 new step-families forming. With that being said, step-families are just as common as, if not more common than, the typical married mother-and-father household.
Personally, I have been blessed to have not two…but four amazing parents in my life! My mother and father both remarried and I grew up having four parents cheer me on. With a household of mom and step-/bonus dad and a household of dad and step-/bonus mom, holidays have always been eventful. Throughout life, all four of my parents have allowed and encouraged me to love and celebrate all parents involved. Therefore, I am a huge fan of Mother’s Day and Step-Mother’s Day! These amazing and separate days allow the mom, the step-mom, and the child to enjoy each moment instead of being stretched or stressed.
As we approach these holidays that can be filled with pain, insecurity, or tension, let us take on new perspectives as we see how to embrace Mother’s Day and Step-Mother’s Day in their own unique ways.
To the “bio-” mom:
You will always be bio-mom! No situation can ever take that from you. Rest in that fact with confidence that your child will always be your child, and you will always be their mom! If your child is gaining or has gained a step- mother figure, look at this as an opportunity for them to have another adult who cares and will be there for them throughout life. You can never have too many blessings, and maybe your child is gaining a blessing through this new woman in their life. Step-mom is not replacing you in your child’s heart; she can partner with you in loving your child and wanting the best for them. Allow, create, or embrace times or space where your child can bond with this new person in their life! Jealousy and pain can be incredibly gut wrenching, but at the end of the day don’t forget how your child is being impacted. Your child will have the best situation if you are on the same page with step-mom or are trying to accept the step-mom in their life! Try to imagine what it would be like to be step- mom in these situations. Yearn for empathy, not competition.
To the step-/bonus mom:
You have such an important role! You get to love and care for this new step-child. As you create this family and enter the life of this child, keep in mind the child’s perspective. They are most likely trying to understand what is going on and how they should operate, now that they have a new family dynamic. Allow your bonding to be organic and intentional. Allow bio-mom to have time and space with the child. Look at being a step-/bonus mom as partnering with bio-mom in loving and raising this child, not ever as a competition or tool. Keep your focus on what is best and easiest for the child. Try to imagine what it would be like to be bio-mom in these situations! Yearn for empathy, not competition.
As Mother’s Day and Step-Mother’s Day are approaching, consider how your family can be proactive, creative, and positive on these special days. Create space for the child to have input in the way they would like to celebrate Mother’s Day and Step-Mother’s Day. Always think about the feelings of your child in each situation. Remember, these holidays that happen once a year do not define your relationship with your child or your worth as a step-mom or bio-mom. At the end of the day, it is one day and there are 364 more for you and your child!