Parenting / Uncategorized

Being a stepmom during the holidays is tough

Blended families, I’m not an expert by any stretch, but I am in one. I’ll admit, I struggled to write this for a number of reasons, but mostly because just like your motherhood experience is never the same as anyone else, my experience as a Stepmom at the holidays isn’t the same as everyone else. So, please take this all with a grain of salt {that’s hopefully stuck to the rim of your margarita glass!}.

I’m sure as December began {or in 2020 maybe when Halloween had passed} many of us began dreaming of those holiday traditions. Planning them out, as moms do, to make the months as magical as possible. It’s hard to manage holidays plans for your family. But imagine if, every time you wanted to do one of those things you first had to take these steps:

1. Check the calendar and make sure all your children would be at home
2. Think back to remember what traditions mean most to the other Mom in the scenario … and sometimes just guess because it could lead to a fight
3. Never plan anything in stone because it’ll all change 24 hours before

Would you lose a little bit of that sense of holiday magic? These are my everyday steps. You see, I’m a biological Mom to 1 & a Stepmom to 3. While I always refer to all 4 as simply ‘my kids’, for this story, it’s important you know I’m not the only Mom.

I spend many days having to jump through special hoops as a Stepmom {but that’s a story for a different day}, however the holidays make the hoops a whole lot harder to navigate. Over the years I’ve learned to adjust the expectations I have around holidays, and sometimes even make slightly selfish choices to ‘protect’ myself from the disappointment that can come. Knowing that I have minimal control over who is where and when and even sometimes what the activities we are engaging in. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas still brings me joy! However, if you bank on having that special “just us in pajamas opening presents” picture, I’d steer you far away from Stepmom life. Some years it can be that, but as soon as presents are over, kids leave to go on to their other celebrations. Or you spend the morning explaining to a 3-year-old why he has to wait to open his presents until 1:00 p.m. when his siblings arrive.

I do want you to understand, it’s not all bad. All of my kids love me {in their own way}, my husband loves me more than I deserve, and I’m very blessed to have the life that I do. We still open presents, have all the yummy treats we can get, and make special little moments whenever possible. In fact, we decided to give ourselves a break and have a local restaurant handle cooking Christmas Eve dinner this year. It’s not all sugar plums, but it isn’t all Krampus either.

Being in a blended family has allowed for some great and unique holiday memories too. For example, the year my step kids were with their Mom, so the three of us decided to randomly pack up, head to Louisville and spend Christmas night in a hotel. We swam all by ourselves and got the most adorable milk and cookies tray for our little guy. Or the year all six of us packed up with coca and pajamas to go see Christmas lights. There are great moments that the spontaneity that I live in allows for – and I’ll always be thankfully for that!
But, to those other stepmoms out there stressed about the holidays, I see you, worried about if you’re doing enough. Worried about if you’re doing too much and you’ll be perceived as stepping {or stepmomming} over boundaries. Worried that you’re doing things without someone because they’re having a celebration at someone else’s house? And mostly, I’m so proud of how strong you pretend to be. Just know, when you walk away from the holiday magic, because you need to be alone to feel all those big Stepmom feelings, I’m right there with you.

(This was an original piece that I wrote for theCityMoms)


November 23, 2020