Here's a really cool idea, courtesy The Step Mom's Toolbox: on Mother's Day (Sunday, May 10th), send a card to the "other woman." Meaning, if you're the mom—send a card to the stepmom. And if you're the stepmom—send one to the mom. Madness, isn't it?
Will you do it?
I know a lot of you might be rolling your eyes, as in, Why the hell would I want to send this woman a card? I can't stand her? Well... think of it this way. If you send her a card, perhaps she'll have a heart attack and die and then think how happy you'll be to be rid of her!
(Okay, kidding. Hopefully that joke translated properly through the internets.)
Seriously, when two sides are tugging on the same rope, what happens if the one side stops pulling so hard (slowly, so the other woman doesn't fall)? The other side feels it. And then, that person becomes curious.
And sometimes curiosity leads to openness.
And openness leads to movement.
And who knows, you might even be able to set some wonderful changes in motion with one simple gesture.
Your card doesn't have to be all schmoopy and weird. You could just simply say, "Thank you!" and leave it at that. Here's an excerpt from our book in Carol's words about this very subject:
"On my first Mother’s Day, Jennifer gave me a very simple, elegant card that said something like “Thank you so much for being a great stepmom to my kids.” It really moved me. A card shows that you’ve gone out of your way; it shows you were thinking about the other person. There’s intention behind it, it’s pre-meditated. There’s also something about a card that allows you to say something truly sappy that you could never bring yourself to say in person. And that’s how I took it: It was real.
Also, they had nothing to do with David; they were meant only for me.
I couldn’t just ignore this the next time I saw her either—I had to thank her. Just imagining that act alone made me realize something. I kept playing out over and over in my head how I might do this, even visualizing giving her a hug, which was something we’d never done before. I mean, physical contact is huge! And whenever I’d imagine that, I’d feel really good. I’d imagine the relief of it all, instead of what it was normally like, not getting along.
But along with all the positive feelings, there were also still the negative ones, because challenges continued to happen. We would go backward on a regular basis, but it was all those good things peppered in there that eventually pulled us forward, because the good things went both ways.
She became my friend. And what better place to have a friend than in the enemy’s camp? Except gradually, there was no more enemy.
For a while, there were two of her in my mind. The Jennifer I liked and got along with ,and the Jennifer I disagreed with about parenting/money/etc. issues. I had to keep them separate so I could move forward with our relationship. Eventually, I realized that you can love someone without having to like everything about them.
Creating a harmonious relationship with the other woman is a very gradual process and it doesn’t happen overnight. But it can work."
(Note from Jennifer: I don't remember doing this on the first Mother's Day that Carol was in my children's lives. More like the second. But as you'll see in our book, we often have completely different memories of the exact same event. Or... no memory of it at all. Chalk it up to two completely different experiences. And the aging process, ha.)
Now if you wanted to be TOTALLY hard-core, you could even take the initiative and help the kids do something special for the mom or stepmom in your life. That takes some huevos.
Or as writer Rivka Solomon likes to say in her awesome book, That takes ovaries!
I dare you.
Let us know what you decide to do... and why!
© 2009 Jennifer Newcomb Marine All Rights Reserved