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SOS: Mother’s Day as a Step-Parent

Dear Business Athlete,

Sunday will be Mother’s Day and as a step-parent, I can help but feel excluded. While this day is supposed to be filled with flowers and teddy bears I can't help but dread the day. What should I do about this? Any help would be appreciated because I just need to get through this day.

One of our readers sent us this message and whoa, did our hearts go out to them. Any holiday can already be triggering for a number of reasons, maybe you don’t have a relationship with your mother, or they’re no longer with us. Holidays can stir up emotions that we would rather not deal with, but remember, these emotions are totally natural.

Now, I suppose that you are dreading the holiday because you’ll either:

  1. Not get recognition as a mother

  2. Not be able to spend the day with your step-kids

  3. You don’t want your step-kids to recognize their mother as well, their mother

Now barring number 3, these are totally valid emotions. Being a step-parent can sometimes feel like a thankless job. You do all of the motions of a parent, but at the end of the day, you are not biologically theirs. So it definitely hurts when you don’t get a card or phone call on Mothers Day to thank you for all that you do throughout the year. It also is a bummer when you don’t get to see your step-kids on said day and celebrate with them if they wanted to.

Like I said before, all valid reasons. The only one we do not agree with is number 3. If you have shared custody of your step-child and their mother is in the picture, you can’t stop them from wanting to spend the day with their mother. That is unfair and you are depriving the child of having a relationship with their biological parent. It doesn’t mean they love you any less, but you should always do what is in the best interest of the child.

But back to our point, if 1 or 2 applies to you, here are our tips.

  1. Do something for yourself

  2. Take yourself out on Mother's Day. Make a reservation for a nice brunch or fancy evening restaurant dinner. Maybe you've always wanted to get a massage but you haven't had time lately, now is the time. Do things to celebrate you and know that you are a great parent, you're just one who won't be able to celebrate on the day of with your kids.

  3. Raincheck!

  4. While no one likes celebrating something days or weeks after, sometimes that's our only option. Just do a rain check with your kids and celebrate on Monday or the following weekend. It'll still be just as special because you are going to be spending it with the people who you care the most about.

  5. Sit with your emotions

  6. This one is a hard one. No one likes to be spending what is supposed to be known as a joyful day alone sitting with all of the feelings they would rather not discuss. But sometimes it's needed. It is okay to sit there and feel frustrated or upset but just know you can't let those feelings linger. Evaluate why you think it is that you feel this way and see what other areas in your life compensate for this. Maybe you can't spend Mother's Day with your stepkids but maybe you get to spend it with your own mother or maybe you get to spend it with a female figure who was like a mother to you. Always try to find the silver lining. And if you can't find one for yourself find one for the kids. They know who you are in their life and just because they're spending the day with their mother does not change who you are to them. Have peace knowing that they are cultivating a relationship with their biological mother and that that will only set them up for success.

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