This Sunday, we’ll celebrate one aspect of women’s lives with pink cards and red roses and lovely dinners. Our churches will have all of us mothers stand, and we will applaud our collective efforts of this past year. The kids will make some popsicle stick craft with far too much glitter and glue, and every mother is supposed to feel loved and cherished in this microcosm of community. Not all do.
But then, we will go home. Back to our non-traditional family, back to the every other weekend hurry up and do the laundry before it’s time to go lives.
Here, Mother’s Day isn’t as glamorous. Sometimes, it downright hurts like hell. My hands still sticky from glue and glitter that will never, ever, ever come off my clothes–I’m informed that being a stepmother isn’t a “real mother” so the kids give away their crafts or cards or whatever school or church made. The Mother’s Day bitter pill, swallow, carry on doing the work.
For another 364 days, we’ll hide behind how many laundry loads we do or how many doctors appointments we go to or how many mini-van loads of children we shuffle around to Scouts or gymnastics or dance or sports. We’ll bring out the big guns with puke we have cleaned up or snotty noses wiped.
But inevitably, birth mothers will lord over we stepmothers how hard it was, you know, giving birth. Believe me, we stepmothers know it isn’t easy. Somehow, pushing a baby out of your body negates every contribution another woman makes for said child. The ultimate mommy trump card.
We continue the cycle of mothering competition; a competition built on wiping asses and driving kids around. The constant barrage of “she doesn’t understand” or “she’s got it so easy, just every other weekend.” Enough. Just simply enough. No one will ever fully understand, nor can we base “ease” on how frequently the children sleep at another set of parents’ home.
Done with the bickering, the fighting, peacock posturing, cat claw meanness, justifying the work I do as a stepmother or yours as a mother. I’m done.
I’m calling in a truce for Mother’s Day, for the next 364 days, for the lifespan of every stepmother, birth mother, life partner, aunt, grandmother. A truce to celebrate the hard work of mothering. A truce to thank the community of women and men who mother our children. A truce to appreciate the contributions of another woman. A truce to give ourselves a break from the hard work. A truce to break down the walls of competition. A truce to raise our glasses high and say:
Yes, the job of mothering and step-mothering is hard. We’ve hurt and been hurt. We know the long nightmare filled nights, and we know the endless cycle of wash/wear/repeat. We know how to stain our pillows with tears when kids break our hearts. We know; we understand. We are mothers.
3 Practical Ways to call a Mother’s Day truce:
- If you choose to make Mother’s Day crafts(church, school, or Scouting group), allow the children the option of making MORE THAN ONE. Make it clear up front because some children may not ask.
- If your children want to make a card or buy a Mother’s Day card for their stepmother or mother, let them.
- Remember Mother’s Day is a celebration, let every stepmother and mother celebrate in her own way.