I know that she hates me for it (among the million other things that she already hates me for), and probably so will you, but the fact still remains that I am a Stepmom who wants to spend time with my (step)daughter on Mother’s Day.
I add the “step” for the comfort level of those who are typically appalled or in some other way incensed by my audacity to see my (step)daughter and our (blended) family as simply “a family.”
“Stepdaughter” is a title that seeks to, in some way, subliminally reduce how much we are allowed to love one another into some undefined fraction by constantly reminding us that we are less than 100% of the, “originally intended model.” In order to make some (and I stress SOME, not all) insecure mothers and those who seek to be empathetic to their neuroticism feel safe in their position in the child(ren)’s lives, despite recognizing full well that their fear is completely irrationa I use the word “stepdaughterl.” But I digress, so I’ll save that for another post equally likely to infuriate.
I know that my tone is brash, but over the years I have grown too weary to be apologetic for the calloused, thick, protective skin that has evolved in response to the endless barrage of attacks, schemes, and unsuccessful attempts to thwart the amazing relationship that I enjoy with my daughter. Attacks by the woman who asserts to love her more than anyone else, yet constantly causes our beautiful child so much strife through her shortsightedness.
My daughter came into my life at the age of two. By her own recollection, she doesn’t remember a time that I have not been in her life. Over the years, I have not been a, “four days a month parent.” I have been a parent that has attended (if not scheduled) every doctor, every dentist, every mental health appointment. I’ve been the classroom parent during the school year, and the road trip parent in the summer time. I’ve chased away bullies and monsters under the bed and the blues on bad days. I wiped away tears, snot, and the occasional drool after a really good nap.
As any mother would, I love my child and I’d like the opportunity to stand up with the rest of the mothers across the country this holiday weekend and celebrate our relationship. Should it offend her biological mother? Not in the least. Will it offend her biological mother? Absolutely.
One of the things that I find most interesting about being a “Stepmother,” not only on Mother’s Day, but on most days is the ways in which our feelings, contributions, and presence are often minimized in such a dismissive manner. If we were foster mothers, or Godmothers, we would be exalted, revered, and praised for a bond that grew from our heart rather than our belly.
But because our relationship with our child(ren) came from the ruins of a failed relationship between two biological parents who chose to no longer be together we are often eternally scorned, and cast away as some horrible, contemptuous thorn placed in the side of the eternally victimized biological mother. A mother who is now forced to not only endure our presence, but also share her child(ren) with someone that she did not ask, nor invite, and definitely does not desire to be a part of her life or the lives of her children. And because she is their (biological) mother all thoughts, sympathy, and attentiveness must go to her needs.
Before casting judgment, know that I do not take this point of view nor any other perspective shared lightly or otherwise uninformed. For I too am a mother who shares her (biological) children with another mother. But then again I also share my children with fathers and grandparents and teachers and friends and an entire world who seeks to engage them on an incredible journey called, “life.”
I learned from a very young age that children are not possessions unto one, or both, parents, but rather, that they are entrusted to parents for a very short amount of time to be taught, nurtured, and protected until they are able to sustain these things on their own. While I realize that not everyone shares this perspective, I know that I do. I know that my daughter does. And I know that is more than enough for me. I am a Stepmother who wants to celebrate (just a few hours of) Mother’s Day with all of my children. Why is that so wrong?