Navigating Mother’s Day in Chicago with blended families

Mother’s Day is a day for moms to sit back, relax, and let their families pamper and take care of them as thanks for the other 364 days of the year when they are doing the pampering of others. However, Mother’s Day can be very stressful when your family may include a mom, a stepmom and/or a girlfriend-mom.

How do you navigate through this quagmire of a holiday train wreck without offending anyone, sending “birth” mothers in to an ego driven tail spin, or drive yourself to the brink of insanity? Having been a woman who has looked at Mother’s Day from the perspective of all three, here’s how I’ve managed to keep myself sane for 20+ years.

Relatively speaking.

When you are mom in a household where are the children are yours and the partner that you are with, it makes it easier. WAAAAYYY easier. There is no discussion about who is supposed to take the kids to buy a gift, and who takes the lead on managing the kids for the entire day of Mother’s Day so that you are free to do what you want (if it is something other than spending it with your family). That’s up to your significant other.

Easy Peasy.

Where things start to get tricky is when you no longer live with the partner that you had children with. My feelings are that, as parents, we are still responsible for taking our children out to purchase gifts, cards, etc. for the other parent on holidays such as these (and including Christmas and birthdays). Regardless of not being together any longer, we are the two adults who chose to have kids. That makes us mom and dad of those kids for life (or mom and mom/dad and dad, whatever your family composition may be).

This is HARD. I’ve been in situations where the other party didn’t subscribe to this mindset. I’m happy to say that in the situation I have now, we both get it and put the kids first when it comes to holidays. But it’s not always the case.

Next, lets add a stepmom or a girlfriend-mom to the mix and the wheels are sure to fall completely off the bus. (Don’t know what a girlfriend-mom is? She’s someone who’s had a long-term – I mean YEARS – relationship with the kids other parent and been an influence on the kids.) Are these people you want to honor on Mother’s Day? I think this is ABSOLUTELY UP TO THE KIDS.

Ladies, put your ego aside. If your step-kids want to focus on their mom, LET THEM. Moms, if your kids want to show the stepmom/girlfriend-mom some love on that day, LET THEM. It doesn’t devalue who you are in their life. Be secure with who you are and what your place is in the kids lives.

Now, is it my responsibility to take my kids out shopping for my ex-husbands wife for Mother’s Day? Nope. There’s a line, and that’s it for me. The responsibility there falls in his corner, as it would for my partner and his kids to do something for me.

Try your very best to think about what the kids need on Mother’s Day. I know it stinks when we, as moms, spend every day putting our kids first and Mother’s Day is supposed to be about US. But if we don’t put any rules or regulations on who our kids love and who they can honor on this very special day, then we are really are worthy of the title of “mom.”

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who does the job of a mom. We are all fabulous – regardless of the label.

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