Being A Stepmom on Mother's Day Is Awkward

Mother and child

As a stepmother on Mother's Day, I questioned my role in my stepson's life.

As a stepmother on Mother's Day, I questioned my role in my stepson's life.
As a stepmom, I find Mother’s Day to be a mixed bag, especially since I haven’t been one all that long. I never know how to handle the holiday when it comes around. I get Mother's Day greetings from friends and family, but I always feel a little conflicted and don’t know how to receive these compliments graciously. I can’t get over the idea that I’m not a "real" mom, even if I play the part of one day to day.

The discomfort of the holiday is compounded not only by my status as a stepparent, but my (thus far unsuccessful) attempts to conceive as well as the loss of my own mother within the last few years. Mother’s Day was never a favorite holiday of mine, but it has become even less so. I am uncomfortable with ceremony and tradition and that discomfort increases when I am even partially the focus.

My stepson has given me Mother’s Day presents for the last two years, even before I was officially his stepmom. He’s rather doting and goes out of his way to make sure that both his mother and I get recognition. It’s incredibly sweet and I appreciate it, but I can’t help feeling a little out of place and unsure of myself.

Being a stepmother with no biological children of your own puts you in a unique position. There’s always someone to (gently and unintentionally) remind you that you’re different, that you’ve never been through a pregnancy or 36-hour labor, that you’ve never lost sleep at night with an infant or had to decide whether to nurse or use formula. The vast majority of people aren’t out to make you feel bad, but there is always that knowledge in the back of your mind that you aren’t like the other moms. They’re MOMS, you know. You’re a stepmom. It’s just not the same.

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