Monday Maybe: The Mother's Day Card Dare


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 momsend a card to the stepmom. And if you're the stepmomsend one to the mom. Madness, isn't it?

Peg Nolan of The Stepmom's Toolbox is challenging 5,000 women to step up and try something crazy in her post, The Mother's Day Dare.

Will you do it?

You can enter your answer into a poll (she's got two separate ones – one for stepmoms and one for moms – will be interesting to see how the results stack up over time).


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


(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

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this!!

  2. Hi Peggy,
    You’re so welcome! Let’s hope a lot of women end up trying this. I’ll be curious to see what happens. : )

  3. Hi Jennifery & Carol, my first mother’s day as a step-mom I didn’t give the chilren’s (there are three) mom a card, I helped the older two paint terra cotta pots and we bought flowers to go in them, they said things like I love you mom, you’re the greatest mom ever, I was trying and thought she would appreciate that but…I got nothing not even a thank you from her. I wasn’t trying for a thank you, I thought she’d really like something handmade from them but instead the pots sat on her porch and she let the plants die and that hurt more than the lack of thank you…made me feel like she didn’t care about what her girls had given her.
    I’m willing to try again this year and will be sending her a card, wish me luck :)

  4. Gabriella – I wish you the best. I hope your step daughters’ mom is in a better place to recieve. Remember, it’s your actions that matter, not her response. Don’t take it personally.
    And please, if you haven’t voted in the poll on, please do. I’m starting to see some results that are exciting!
    All the best,

  5. dragonmctt says:

    Heh, when the boys’ mom decides to finally send SS2 the birthday card she promised him in MARCH, I’ll think about sending her a card.
    We always have the boys call her on Mother’s Day, that’s about as good as it is going to get.

  6. Wow, i read this for the first time today.. But i did the extra mile in this article 3years ago. I took the kids to make something special for their mom for mothers day. It was the ultimate peace offering i could think of to let her know that i respected her as mom and i had no intention to step on her toes. I tried to put myself in her shoes and have understanding for her always. Somehow it didnt work. Three years later so much has happened. I think no matter what you do its never enough sometimes. Its too sticky of a sitution to battle, even with the very best of intentions. I deffinately feel like a hamster running in a wheel always trying to earn some sort of place in my home. No matter what i cant break out of thhe wicked step witch stigma. I often describe my husbands family as a pack of wolves waiting to devour me. All of them, aunts, cousins, mother, EX wife and kids. They all want me to b inhumanely perfect and have me under a constant microscope. Trying to live this way w your heart full of love and compassion is near to impossible. It has tried me in ways i have never imagined. And forget having dignity while i try to win over children week after week. Never have i tried to EARN someones love. Im coming to accept and understand that even if i was Mary Poppins, i wouldnt be able to win a spot in their hearts.

  7. West witch says:

    I still say go for it tho, be “hard core” :-)

  8. West, I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time. I highly recommend you let go of any expectations. Stop trying so hard to be something/someone you’re not; perfect. None of us and that is the standard we hold ourselves to, because we think that’s what others need us to be, we’ll be miserable, wallowing in our failures. I’m sure you’re a wonderful person with lots of love to give. Do what comes naturally and stop worrying about whether the kids (or anyone else) will accept/love/like you. Life is too short! Focus on yourself and your marriage and enjoy your life. Anyone who can’t accept you as you are can take a hike ;)

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