In case you’ve been in a social media black hole, Mother’s Day is right around the corner (May 10th to be specific). And while it should not be necessary to have a separate category of cards and gifts for the non-bio moms in our lives, today we are going to talk about cards for step-moms. But first, we are going to talk about step-moms.
I have a step-mom. She’s fantastic. I am a step-mom. I’m fantastic. I am just going to go out on a limb here and call myself an expert in the whole step-mom category.
Mother’s Day can be an awkward thing when you are a step-mom. Actually, most things can be awkward when you are a step-mom. It really is an awkward role. Are you a parent or are you a friend? (This changes moment by moment, and often depends on the subject at hand.) What are the boundaries of your advice? What are the boundaries of your home? How do you co-parent with both your partner and the mother of your step-children? Can you even do that? How do you foster your step-children's relationships with their bio parents when everything isn’t going swimmingly? This can be some heavy stuff. And, like being a bio-mom, it is often a thankless role. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. My step-mom gave me the best advice when I married into five kids: “Smile and wear beige.” Be helpful, be supportive, but always in the background. Easier said than done.
Mother’s Day can actually be an awkward thing when you are a step-kid. No one wants to ignore Mom on Mother’s Day. But if I also honor my step-mom, how will my mom feel? How do I let them both know that they are important without offending one or the other? And how do I acknowledge the importance of someone who has such an ill-defined role?
Here’s a little secret. As a step-mom, I am perfectly comfortable telling you that my step-kids only have one mom. They have one mom. They will always have one mom. I am not in competition with my stepk-kids' mom. As a mom, I know that there is absolutely no way, no how that anyone can take my place in my kids’ eyes (except for perhaps their grandmother, but that’s a story for another day). I also know that my step-kids love their mom like nobody’s business. That is awesome.
As a step-mom, I’m lagniappe. I do things that a mom would do, but I am not their mom. I say things that a mom would say, and sometimes I even say the same things that my step-kids’ mom says, but I am not their mom. I’m not really their parent and not really their friend. I’m sort-of their parent and sort-of their friend. I’m sometimes their interpreter and sometimes their guide and sometimes the barer of unsolicited advice and sometimes I’m the bitch who makes them pick up their socks off of the floor. This is all ok. As a mom, I know that it really does take a village. I know that I cannot raise my kids without the help of the many other people in their lives – their dad, of course, but also their grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, teachers, coaches, etc. I’m lucky to be one of the village in my step-kids’ lives.
So I chose to see Mother’s Day as a day to acknowledge my mom and those who play a mom role in my life: my step-mom, my mother-in-law, and my grandmother. And it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge all the other moms in your life who you know are working hard to raise smart, kind, independent children.
For those of you who need a little inspiration in the step-mom category, I scoured Etsy for some good greetings. It’s ok to have a sense of humor with your step-mom. Trust me, she knows that her role is squirrelly and any acknowledgement will be more than welcome.
Get on these cards right away because they are all winners. If you are looking for a card for your mother-in-law, here's what I picked up. And if you are one of my step-kids, look no further than this gem:
I'd say that is the perfect card. You can even insert "step" before "mother" if that makes you happy.