Today everyone is getting ready to celebrate Mother’s Day 2020, Quarantine Edition. Millions of moms will receive calls, text messages, hugs and gifts from their children. Subsequently, millions of stepmothers are left wondering whether they will receive any acknowledgement at all even though they do not hold the title. I like to remove the word “step” and use “Bonus”!
As I sit here wrapping the gift I purchased for my two daughters “Bonus Mom”, I realize that not everyone has a Healthy Co-Parenting relationship, and therefore some Bonus-Moms may be filled with anxiety at this moment. In my opinion, part of Healthy Co-Parenting is doing your part to make sure all parties feel respected and appreciated. I feel that it is my responsibility to show my children that different relationship adds to who you are, and it’s important to nurture them all.
Being a former Bonus-Mom myself, sometimes feel like they do a lot of the work a parent does physically, financially, and emotionally without any appreciation. Some of us have combed hair, helped with homework, planned birthday parties, attended teacher parent meetings, and gone through the puberty lessons. All the responsibility without the pleasures associated with being a mom.
For many Bonus-Moms, the only person there to celebrate them is their husband since the kids will most likely spend Mother’s Day with their biological mom. Therefore husbands, celebrating your spouse today and every other day of the year often falls on your shoulders. She loves you and your children enough to choose and accept one of the most challenging and thankless jobs in the world, please be sure that if no one else does, you acknowledge her and thank her for it.
Things you can do as a Bonus-Mom to cope with Mother Day:
If you expect your children to recognize you on Mother’s Day, you are setting yourself up for major disappointment. Let the children do what they feel most comfortable with, and if it involves you, then you are blessed, and it will be that much more appreciated. Children are sometimes conflicted, especially if there is conflict with their biological mom. They may feel that loving you and showing it translates to betraying their mother. Make it easy for them by removing any expectations.
Shift your focus to the positives rather than the negatives in your blended family life. I know all too well that it is not easy building the relationship with your Bonus-Children and that we are all in different stages of the journey. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the things that are not working so shift your focus on what is working. You may even have your own children who are wanting to celebrate you on this special day. If you do not, put your focus into planning your next family vacation or even look ahead and start planning Father’s Day since all of Bonus-Children will be with you.
Instead of forcing on a celebration with your Bonus-Children, why not spend the time with your own Mother and Mother-In-Love if you are able? Putting that effort into making this day special for them will help you feel amazing as well. You can treat all of you to a massage, brunch, or anything else you all enjoy. By doing this you are taking the pressure off yourself and taking control of your own happiness!
For us Biological Moms on Mother’s Day
If your children are blessed to have a Bonus-Mom like mine are, try to put yourself in her shoes. If you can, take an hour out of your day to drop off a gift from the kids or allow them to hang out for an hour or two. There are 24 hours in a day, what is it hurting us to give up a few of them so they can show their appreciation with a nice brunch or just some time with their Bonus Mom. It takes nothing away from our role as Mother to show appreciation to the Mother who sacrificed when she is not required to, Healthy Co-Parenting begins with you.