Guest Post: Heather Hetchler of CafeSmom

Mother’s Day for Stepmoms: It’s Just Another 24 Hours or Is It?
A few years ago on Mother’s Day, a friend called me in tears.
“Can you talk?” she asked. “This day is just horrible for me. I have no kids of my own and my stepkids don’t even call to acknowledge me. I was sharing with my neighbor and she told me ‘it’s just 24 hours, suck it up.’”
Is Mother’s Day really just another day?
Perhaps Mother’s Day isn’t just 24 hours but the culmination of emotions that fill a stepmom’s heart as she relates to motherhood.
In my opinion, the reason Mother’s Day evokes the emotions it does is because it brings to light the emotions a stepmom has in her heart.
If a stepmom feels appreciated and enjoys her role, the day feels one way. For stepmoms who feel alone, isolated and like an outsider in their own home, this day can exaggerate those hurts and leave them dreading the day like no other.
For some stepmoms, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder that they have all the responsibility of mom but none of the glory. For others, the day is what it is and doesn’t have an impact either way. And then there are some stepmoms who can celebrate with or without their stepkids and feel happiness on the day.
And walk into any gift store or bookshop this time of year. You’ll see Mother’s Day displays filled with books, plaques, stuffed animals.... all celebrating moms, grandmas and aunts. You don’t often see the word stepmom in these displays. More “proof” for stepmoms that their contributions aren’t acknowledged.
While you can’t change Mother’ s Day, you can impact your experience. I encourage all stepmoms to get creative
Try these suggestions:
Create A New Tradition:
When I became a full-time stepmom, I had a dilemma -- scale back Mother’s day for my stepdaughters at the risk of offending my kids or keep Mother’s day the way it always has been and risk hurting my stepdaughters.
I invented Daughter’s Day. A day where we make all four girls (two are my bio and two are my step) breakfast in bed, give them cards and a small gift and celebrate the gifts they bring as our daughters.
All the “girls” in the house get celebrated (not just me). I still get to celebrate Mother’s Day and they get Daughter’s Day. It has become a win-win in our home.
 Click here to read the whole story.
Ask Your Husband to Do Something Special:
Your husband loves you but he is not a mind reader. He may recognize this day is hard for you but not know how to help. If it’s just the two of you, ask him to take you somewhere special. Go hiking, have a weekend getaway... spend time focused on each other.
If you do have the kids, tell him what would help you enjoy the day and then make plans to do it.
You may be reading this and thinking “you don’t know my husband. He won’t do something.” If this is you, reach out to a friend. There are people in your life that care and if they know you are hurting, they will do something to help.
Consider Celebrating Separately:
If your stepkids don’t go to mom’s on Mother’s Day and you have bio children, you may want to consider doing something separate. I’ve heard from some stepmoms who celebrate separately -- dad takes his kids to go do something and mom/stepmom takes hers somewhere and they meet at the end of the day for dinner or ice cream.
Help Make Your Stepkids’ Mom a Gift:
This can be a tough one to do. Consider when we go out of our comfort zone to do something nice for another, we can feel the blessing too. This act of service is a blessing for the stepchild.
I heard from one stepmom who helped her stepdaughter put together a photo frame for the mom and how it strengthened their relationship. The mom actually didn’t want anything to do with the gift after she found out the stepmom helped yet the mom’s rejection didn’t diminish what the stepmom did for the girl.   The girl saw her mom’s reaction for what it was. She saw the stepmom’s act for what it was too - an act of support.
When you help your stepchild build into their relationship with their mom, you are building into them.
Understand this truth:
Just like Mother’s Day can evoke difficult emotions for us, it can do the same for our stepkids. For those children whose mother has passed away or who has chosen not to be a part of their life, this day can be very hard. When emotions are hard for kids they can aim their pain at their stepmom. While children need to be respectful, give grace and compassion if you have a stepchild who acts out more around this day. Understand that their behavior comes from pain and is not a reflection of you.
Remember, Mother’s Day is a day that our culture has set a side to celebrate moms - all moms. Regardless of how your family celebrates you on Mother’s Day, remember you are celebrated and seen by God every day for being YOU!
You are not defined by the 24 hours that make up Mother’s Day or by flowers, balloons, cards or lack thereof. You are defined by your Maker and He sees you as beautiful, worthy and loved.
I pray that your Mother’s Day brings peace. I pray that you never forget the blessing that you are. I pray that your spouse will bless you for blessing his kids. And above all, I pray you feel God’s blessings.
What does Mother’s Day mean to you? How do you celebrate in your family? Do you have ideas for your stepmom sisters to make the day more enjoyable?
One way, I’d like to bless you is by sending you a Mother’s Day card. If you email me your address by May 6th at, I will send you a card. You are beautiful and you matter and I want to tell you so!
Heather Hetchler, M.A. is an author, speaker, life coach and the founder of CafeSmom. She has a passion to help stepmothers define their own positive path to success and focus on a peace filled heart rather than a perfect home. Heather brings faith based resources, encouragement and support to stepmothers while also speaking on divorce recovery, grace, forgiveness and stepfamily issues. She is the co-author of Unwrapping The Gift of Stepfamily Peace; Quiet Moments for Stepmoms (July, 2015 release) and a monthly contributor to Stepmom Magazine. Heather resides in Cleveland, OH with her husband, four children, two stepchildren and puggle. She can be reached at or @CafeSmom on Twitter; FB CafeSmom. Heather is the co-founder of Sisterhood of Stepmoms ministry which hosts retreats bringing help, hope and healing to stepmoms.




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