As a stepmom, I secretly always thought to myself…what would I rather do? Face Mother’s Day or poke my eyes out with sticks? I choose the second option. If step moms were going to be honest, they would tell you that Mother’s Day is a nightmare.
Mother’s Day is a guiltfest for the stepchildren. It is just a lose-lose proposition for them. If they spend the day with their bio mom, then there is a chance their step mom and/or their dad will be angry with them. If you spend any time with your step mom, there is a good chance that your bio mom will be mad.
Sometimes, the children have to measure exactly what they are doing so that the presents or events are ‘better’ for their bio mom. Can you imagine trying to decide how to celebrate every year? The whole event is just exhausting.
Here is what has worked for me. Let the whole Mother’s Day thing go. If you think about it, the day does not really mean anything. Our thoughts give the day meaning. Tell your stepchildren that they are off the hook and to enjoy the day with their bio mom. Then, create a special day that works for you. Do something that you really enjoy and invite your stepchildren to join you. Play tennis. Go bowling. Take a hike. Take a cooking class. Whatever you do, label it with a fun title like: “She’s Not My Mother Bowling Classic” or “Cooking with the Woman Who is Not My Mother”. Then, add a ‘winner’ to the day. So, one of your lucky stepchildren will be come the champion of the bowling tournament or the top chef. Present a fun award.
Next year, your stepchildren will be begging you to repeat the event. Try it. It will work. Email me your stories at barb@TheEvilStepmotherSpeaks.com.


  1. Barbara,

    This is brilliant, and it reminds me of a woman I know who has 2 sons and has let go of having to have BOTH of them together at the same time for every holiday so that they can enjoy their holidays and not stress so much about it.

    Stepmother’s Day is a good title for it too!


  2. This was my second Mother’s Day as a stepmom, and we did exactly what we did last year. My husband helps my boys do whatever they want to do for me, usually cards and a gift. We go to church, out to lunch, and then try to fit in a movie. We let my stepdaughter and stepson off the hook with encourgement to spend the day with their mom. No expectations of seeing them at all. Dinner is take-away pizza and s’mores down at the lake. My stepson usually doesn’t miss out on dinner. We don’t make it about Mother’s Day. It’s just something special we do on Mother’s Day. I don’t get a card, and that’s ok, I don’t expect one. I’m not his mother. This year, he did ask to say grace, and he said some very sweet things about me in regard to my role in the family. I really couldn’t ask for more.

    • Love it, Deb. I know it’s easy to say. Somehow, we have to learn how to detach from these holidays. It’s a tough one.

  3. My step children for the last two years have made me the sweetest step mothers day cards, I’ve kept them all. They can’t make one for their bio mom because she is a Jehovah’s Witness and it’s not allowed.

  4. Brilliant thought Barb!

    I have to say – I was HORRID on mother’s day this year. I’ve know n and loved my stepkids for 4 years now, but this was the first one spent with them. It was a normal Sunday – we had breakfast and went to church. The girls were great – got me a lovely figurine which I adore, a nice card, and some of the flowers they got at church. But then their bio mum came and picked them up at midday, and I went into ‘doting mother’ act – kissing them and shouting ‘thanks for the present!’ down the driveway! And I was obsessed that they had given her some of the flowers from church – of course they would! She’s their mum!

    Next year, she can have them all weekend – that way there is no weirdness at all. I love my girls and try and have special times with them all the time, so I don’t think I’ll need a special day.

    It’s a good job I can look back and laugh….(must blog about this soon!)

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