Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day

Mother's Day does have a habit of bringing to the surface the depth of emotions that frequently hide in a stepmum's heart. Let me share a few personal memories and thoughts with you. 

When my stepsons were small they, under my husband's tutelage, did the Mother's Day thing for me - scrambled eggs, soggy toast, hand-picked flowers in crooked vases which had been made at school by clumsy little fingers. Admittedly, my situation was different from most of you in that I had my stepsons full-time and their mother had vanished from the face of the earth. So, they really didn't have another mother to consider. All the same, I felt honoured! 

During their teen years my husband took more and more of back seat in the Mother’s Day department. By then, of course, there were my biological sons who were busy scrambling eggs and burning toast for me on that special day. My stepsons, if memory serves me correctly usually, if not always, recognised the day by giving me a gift, a card or some flowers – handpicked or otherwise. Again, I felt honoured. 

By the time they entered their adult years and my bio sons were teenagers, my usually very sensitive and generous husband decided that Mother’s Day was definitely THE KID’S CALL. He wouldn’t organise anything, wouldn’t remind them, wouldn’t do a thing – after all, I am not HIS mother. Well, where he’s right, he is right!!! However, having stepson adults who were leading very busy lives and teens who were pretty self-focused and pennnyless, Mother’s Day became quite a painful experience for me. Whilst one or the other always remembered, some of the children (sometimes step, sometimes bio) simply FORGOT.  This hurt and I did not feel honoured! 

After one particularly painful Mother’s Day experience I decided that suffering in silence wasn’t the way to go. I allowed the professional part of me to remind my hurting step/mother persona (the part of me that was feeling sorry for myself!) that people – even those really close to me (who, my mother persona was screaming, should know better without being told!) - cannot read my mind. So I told my husband about the hurt I was feeling. I let him know that Mother’s Day is an important day for me and that in order to feel okay as a stepmother and as a bio mum I need to be honoured on that day. 

This, apparently, had never occurred to him. After all, he doesn’t much care for special occasions such as Father’s Day, his birthday etc. Even though I have always made a fuss of such occasions which, by the way, are the boys most treasured memories, he had never given much thought to this. No, he is not a thoughtless or uncaring person – but he is a typical man, most likely not all that different to most of then men you girls are married to. 

However, since I decided to ‘confess’ he has been far more conscious of his part in the equation. He reminds the boys of the significance this day carries for me, assuring those whose purse is empty that it isn’t about presents but about the gifts one cannot buy. HE gives me the biggest bunch of flowers he can find and tells me how grateful he is that I a have always been a great mother to all his children. This years, a little early because he needs to go away tomorrow, I even got two bunches of flowers – one honouring me as stepmother, one as bio mum. Now, I feel truly honoured.    

My suggestion to all new stepmums is: Let the special man in your life know how much HIS acknowledgment and appreciation of your role in his children’s life means to you. Men often don’t realise this….and all things said and done, whilst it is lovely to receive a gift, soggy toast and a sticky smooch from a little stepcutie or even a step-monster, it’s their father’s willingness to honour them on that day that counts most to a stepmother. 

Men can’t read our minds, even if we think they should. Generally speaking, they are very keen to see us happy and content but because they are wired very differently to us they often have no idea what to do about this. So, give yourself the gift of letting the special man in your life know exactly what it is you need and then enjoy feeling special, loved and honoured this Mother’s Day.


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