I am so pleased to introduce you to Karen Campos from SuperParentMom. Karen is typically an exhausted forty something, Christ-follower, daughter, sister, wife, teacher, mom of one rambunctious son, mom of one gifted son, custodial step-mom to one totally teenage daughter, avid reader, wanna-be photographer, scrap-booker, endless dieter, coke zero drinker, suburban dweller, volunteer and friend. Karen is the first in our series on Mother’s Day for Stepmoms so please welcome her to Being Stepmom and enjoy her thoughtful post.
As a stepmom and a biological mom, I approach the beginning of May with both joy and anxiety. It is emotionally charged with Mother’s Day just around the corner. I was first a stepmom for two and a half years before my biological children joined the mix. To date, I have celebrated 13 Mother’s Days as a stepmom with my stepdaughter and 10 Mother’s Days as a biological mother to my sons.
Technology Man and I take the high road in our parenting as my stepdaughter’s mother is vindictively cruel in all things regarding me and highly manipulative of her daughter. It is SO VERY hard to sit quietly by and watch as a custodial step-mom. (I’m admitting it is hard to sit quietly by, I didn’t say I could do it!)
And that is exactly where the bond between my stepdaughter and I began. She and I find some solace in the fact that whatever happens between her biological mother and father, she and I are the ones who are affected by the outcome with little say in the matter at hand. Whether a courtroom is involved or an attorney or a counselor or a policeman. It’s exhausting, but she and I can share about or cry about what change is coming down the pike next.
In spite of our sticky life story, I can keep my joy intact on Mother’s Day because I have no expectations of my stepdaughter. Some years she made me the obligatory “craft” from school but only if she had time to make a “second” one. Some years Technology Man helped her pick out a card and she wrote a short note. Some years we just hug and sit and chat a bit.
We hold to a “family rule” that helps out here. In our home, we have deemed that any and all holidays or celebrations last all week long. That alleviates the stress of “missing” out either on her part or ours. Consequently, we are not hung up on having to celebrate a certain occasion on a certain day. The boys roll with it pretty well, even being willing to wait 3 extra days for Christmas morning some years!!
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What I am intentional about on Mother’s Day is taking time to communicate to my stepdaughter that I am glad God put us together. We are richer for knowing each other and I remind her I am not trying to take her mother’s place in her life. However, I am blessed to have a courtside seat watching her grow from an adorable little girl to a beautiful young lady.
Love and respect are lifelong skills that our relationship has forged in both of us. It may not look “picture perfect,” but it’s perfect for us. 15 of her 18 childhood years are already history. I look forward to the transition our relationship will take as she matures and “court orders” are no longer part of our story. Until then, we’ll celebrate Mother’s Day on a day and in a way that works for us because time is precious.
And the pursuit of growing together takes time.
This post is part of the Mother’s Day for Stepmoms series.