Lisa Doodson, an expert on step families, has allowed me to share her thoughts as a guest blog.
“So it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday … Should stepmums expect a card, flowers perhaps from their stepchildren?
Well as always, with anything related to stepfamilies, it depends!! There are no rules. Accept anything as a bonus, but don’t have unrealistic expectations. My own view is that it’s a day to recognise everyone Mum’s (including stepmums!) do for everyone at home. For looking after all the children, whether they live there all the time, or just visit from time to time.
And I would encourage all Dad’s to help little ones make the day special! But it can be difficult for children if they feel they are being asked to choose, or perhaps feeling disloyal to their Mum – who may also be putting pressure on them (directly or indirectly). So accept any card, gift or flowers as a bonus. If you don’t get the recognition you wanted – or deserve – make sure your partner makes you feel special instead – Dad’s take note!”
Happy Steps Workshop – Maidenhead
Lisa has written a couple of books, including How to be a Happy Stepmum and runs workshops to support couples in stepfamilies, which offer advice and guidance on the common stepfamily issues. The next on is on Saturday 20th May 2017 in Maidenhead and costs £175 per couple. I have attended her training day for professionals and learned a lot that I use with clients.
I would encourage anyone who is parenting within a step family or about to create one, to reach out or read about the specific challenges that are normal. This can help you know you are not alone in your experience, understand stepfamilies have different tensions and dynamics, for example the possibility to feel an ‘outsider’, and find advice and tips to support you.
Happy Mother’s Day to all who offer mothering to children, whatever their relationship.