ReDefining Mother's DAy

When I said “I do” to my husband and his two daughters five years ago, I said “I do” to redefining motherhood as I knew it. I  was adding the job of stepmom to my life. That also meant redefining Mother’s Day.  I took on the role of stepmom with fervor and excitement. I loved being a mom and was excited to add two more children to my heart and home. But the role of mom and stepmom is different and celebrating Mother’s Day as a stepmom is a very different celebration.

I have always loved Mother’s Day. I admit it. I love having a day where I, along with the rest of my family, get to celebrate how awesome it is to be a mom. I have fond memories of making tissue paper flowers for my mom. As a mom now,  I love all the homemade cards, I love getting breakfast in bed, I love the random hugs and kisses all day from my kids just because they want me to know they love me.

Mother's Day has always been a cherished day for me and one I looked forward to but I had to really re-think this holiday for the first time when I was dating my husband because his girls hadn’t seen their mom for over a year and they hated the holiday. Actually, the word hate is an understatement of how my "soon to be" stepdaughters used to feel towards this day dedicated to moms.

Making Mother’s day cards at school and at church sent them into an emotional tailspin. Since we were not married yet, I knew that I could still enjoy my morning with my kids without offending or hurting his daughters but I also knew that once we were married and living under the same roof, I would have a huge 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 for me and risk hurting my stepdaughters... just one of the many challenges us stepmoms face!

It is moments like this when you hope for brilliance and the wish goes unfulfilled but not this time. This time, brilliance did not escape me but rather found me desperately seeking a solution to this burden weighing down my heart and the man of my dreams. So I’m sitting with my not yet husband and he’s lamenting how tough Mother’s Day will be for the girls and I say, why don’t you turn it around and make it “Daughter’s Day”?  Make them breakfast in bed, give them cards that say what great daughters they are and get them a small gift. Tell them that you are inventing a new holiday to celebrate them.  He loved it. He announced it to the girls and they super loved it. And of course in my husband’s wonderful manner, he credited the idea back to me. I don’t know if the girls were all that impressed that it came from me but they loved the concept.

The first Mother’s Day we were married, we celebrated “Daughter’s Day” for all four girls in our home and I still got to celebrate Mother’s Day. My kids woke up early, filled the tray with dry toast, a bowl of fruit loops, an apple and those lovely handmade cards and brought it to me in bed. Priceless. And all the girls felt super special with the festivities surronding Daughter’s Day!

We have now added “Son’s Day” to our Father’s Day celebration so that we can celebrate our sons.

I also let my stepdaughters know that if they make a Mother’s Day gift at school, that they can either make it and send to their mom, or make it for a grandmother if they don’t want to make it for me. I also tell them that they may ask to be excused from the craft and go to the library instead. I think it takes the pressure off of my stepdaughters if I tell them they don’t have to give me anything.

And now when I help out at school for any holiday, I always ask the children who are in stepfamilies if they want to make two of whatever the gift is. You should see the relief in their faces and the gratitude of the teachers. Most teachers don’t think about those things if they themselves are not in a stepfamily. And the offer to make more than one item removes so much anxiety from the child. No more “who will I give it to?”

Five year’s later we are still celebrating Daughter’s Day. In fact, my youngest talks about it with her friends as if everyone celebrates it. I’ve redefined Mother’s Day in our home.

Being both a mom and stepmom, I’ve come to really cherish each day with my kids. Because I co-parent, I don’t have my children every day. I don’t take the time I have with them for granted. Every day is like a Mother’s Day for me. I cherish my time with my children and with my stepdaughters. My heart aches for the mother of my stepdaughters as she misses out on their life. I made a pledge to my husband on the alter five years ago to love and nurture his two daughters as if they were my own. I seek to honor that pledge each and every day. Daugther’s day is one way that I can be a great mom to them. Redefining Mother's Day hasn't taken anything away from the day but rather added to the celebration in our home because everyone is feeling the love.


Heather Hetchler

Founder, CafeSmom


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