The Scrooge Stepmom

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Let’s face it.  If ever there was a time when stepmoms have to balance a lot, it’s Christmas.  We have to balance:

* Expectations from our stepkids.

* Expectations from our husbands.

* Our feelings as an “outsider” at a time full of rituals that we may not be included in.

I’m about to share something with you.  But first, please remember rule number 1 in the Stepmom Club:  no judging!

Christmas gets dicey in our house too.  Yes, I have heard my stepkids proclaim with glee “I get two Christmases!”  And we have fun decorating our tree together.  I’m always wow’d at how amazing my stepkids are at decorating the outside of the house. But still, we have those moments.  You know the ones.  Where you feel like you’re not being treated well, not really visible, and kinda like a doormat.  Christmas can be tough for stepmoms.

And here’s the don’t-judge-me-part.  I admit that on more than one Christmas I have threatened to return all of the Christmas presents under the tree.  Yep, take them all back to the store.  That’s me….Scrooge.  Evil Stepmom.  Grinch?  The truth is, I have felt like I wasn’t treated well during a couple of Christmases.  And here I had been shopping for months, trying to make sure that Christmas was special for my stepkids.  I realized that there was a real inconsistency between the way I was being treated and my stepkids’ excitement about the gifts.  It wasn’t that I wanted to teach quid pro quo or tit for tat, but I did not want the lesson to be that you can treat someone unkindly and feel entitled to gifts.  After all, I am trying to help raise healthy kids who will someday be healthy grownups.  So I explained to my stepkids that if our relationship is so impaired, if this is the way you want to treat me, that’s fine.  It’s your choice.  However, when you treat someone this way, the other person doesn’t usually give a bunch of Christmas gifts to the person who is mistreating them.  So the Christmas presents can go back to the store.  This caught their attention.

In the end, each year we had apologies, reconciliation, and more humble hearts.   Every year things go more smoothly.  And I will never ever forget the first Christmas that one of my stepkids bought me a gift with her own money.  I treasure that.

So while I don’t recommend threatening to return all of your stepkids’ gifts, I do acknowledge that Christmas is hard for stepmoms.  I wish us stepmoms peace in the true meaning of Christmas.  Jesus was born on Earth to the Virgin Mary.  He came to rescue us.  That is true love from our Heavenly Father.  I am thankful that this is where I get my peace from, not from the status of my earthly relationships or the number of gifts under the tree.

John 14:27 (NIV):  “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What are you thankful for today?

p.s. this year we are focusing less on gifts and more on the real meaning of Christmas.  We are doing 3 gifts per person (wish us luck).

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