Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Do they make mother's day cards for stepmoms?

"Do they make mother's day cards for stepmoms?" my mother asked me yesterday. That's a silly question. Why would Hallmark make a card for a stepmom? Who woud buy it?

I've been a stepmom for more than 5 years now and I can tell you that the position of stepmom is not often celebrated.

Considering that Disney, that bastion of family friendly entertainment, has never created a stepmom character that didn't try to kill her stepdaughter (snow white) or doom her stepdaughter to slavery (cinderella), stepmoms get a bad rap in the American culture. Thanks Walt!

No, us stepmoms are basically evil and don't deserve cards much less thanks or celebration.

Did any of you other stepmoms out there go into this "faux motherhood" thing as naively as I did? I should have taken it as a sign when I told my 3-year-old daughter that when I married, she would gain stepbrothers and a stepsister.

"No!" my precious bundle shreiked at hearing this news, her face turning red and her eyes wide with terror. "I don't want a stepsister!" Hmmmm. This was not the reaction I was counting on. She loved having the "big kids," as they'd come to be known, around. And my daughter and my soon-to-be husband's kids had always gotten along just fine. Which I thought was a good sign that blending the family would be possible.

"But honey, you love the big kids. I thought you'd be happy?!?"

"I don't want stepsister and stepbrother!" she reinforced much more strenuously this time.

"Ok," what to do. "Why not?"

"The stepsisters were mean to Cinderella! They'll be mean to me!"

Again, thanks Walt!

Once I explained that, in fact, I had made an error, things improved. "When Mommy gets married you'll be a full-blood, extra strength, all American, true-blue REAL sister to the Big Kids. Did mommy say 'step'? I didn't mean that at all."


I mean, I know my three stepkids like me and appreciate me. Not sure they'll ever LOVE me with the big "L" if you know what I mean. But actually hug me or give me a card? Not happening.

I mean, I'm not that evil, although I do have my moments. But celebrating me would mean a betrayal to their mom in their world. And frankly, at this point, it would seem so out of character and so strange that if it did happen I would wonder if the stepkids had been replaced overnight by pod people (or need money). Not that they are bad kids or ungrateful. They've just been through the wringer these last few years.

So, this weekend is Mother's Day. And I've got a lot to be thankful for. Just don't plan on sending a Happy "Step-Mother's Day" card.

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