Oprah to announce National Stepmother’s Day!

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I just got a call from an Oprah producer at Harpo Studios, Heather M.! I had spoken to her right before our book came out last year, so it took me a moment to place her name on caller ID. But once I did, OH MY GOD, you could have knocked me off my chair with a pinky finger—or perhaps handed me an adult diaper, because I was going to need it!

As everyone knows, getting on the Oprah show is like the Holy Grail for authors, plus, this is her last season. I felt like I was either sleepwalking, hyperventilating, or both. This just couldn’t be happening!

But no….

It was.

So I tried to gather my wits about me and not sound like a babbling idiot on the phone. Deep breaths helped. A lot.

Not only does Heather M. want us on the show, which is totally amazing and awesome and mind-blowing in and of itself—but even better—Carol and I get to play a small part in a big announcement for a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts: improving mom and stepmom relationships while creating happier dual-families.

Here’s the deal.

Oprah’s staff is working on a show tied to Mother’s Day (happens here in the U.S. on May 9th) where they will be announcing the official proclamation of Stepmother’s Day!

What’s so cool about this is that I, as a mom, get to publicly acknowledge the important and vital role that stepmoms play in our kids’ lives—something I think other moms need to see, hear, and be thinking about.

I remember when Carol and I couldn’t stand each other, more than ten years ago. She was 21, both my ex and I were 35. I just thought the whole idea of them dating seemed insane and ridiculous (and a few other choice words as well which cannot be repeated here!).

The very thought of her interacting with MY kids on a regular basis (with either love or authority), made my hackles rise and my stomach hurt. Before Carol and I starting getting along about 8 years ago, I would have been hard-pressed to send any good wishes to her as a stepmom—much less any stepmom. Like many moms out there, I just wanted her out of my hair—and my kids’ lives.

What changed?

So I was a bit slow on the uptake, but I began to realize that it’s not wise to cultivate someone who will be spending tons of time with your children as an enemy. I mean, really, even on a practical level, it’s clearly a pretty dumb thing to do. What if she took out her frustrations and tensions about ME, and our relationship, ON THEM?

Bad, bad news.

Bad parenting.

And what were we showing the kids about how you resolve conflict as adults? Weren’t we all the ones acting like children back then?

It drives me crazy. I so want moms (not “bio-moms,” remember: our kids weren’t adopted) to really GET how important it is to give their kids permission to not only like, but love their stepmom too. It sucks to put your kids in the position of having to take your side, while creating all this inner turmoil for them.

Okay… I’m sorry.

Today is April Fools Day here in the U.S. and my post is totally fake. Made-up.

There was no Oprah call (although I did actually speak to Heather M. from Harpo Studios a few times before our book came out last year).

There is no official Oprah announcement about National Stepmother’s Day.

I did a search and found conflicting information. Stepmother’s Day already exists, but it’s alternately listed as May 1st (which seems like it would piss some moms off, coming before their day). Or else it falls on the Sunday after Mother’s Day, which would make it May 16th of this year.

So which one is it? Does anyone know?

I think the fact that there isn’t a clear date only highlights the fact that stepmoms are getting a bum rap, without a clear-cut holiday. A day for their husbands to acknowledge their efforts in keeping the family humming along, to get a card from their stepkids, or to gamely eat burnt toast and raw eggs in bed. Or, you know… maybe just get the hell out of the house and go get a massage, just to be away from the little buggers, like moms sometimes do.

Isn’t it time for a definite Stepmother’s Day?

And shouldn’t we all know when that is?

After all, the majority of the kids are being raised by two women. It’s about time we all knew who they were and acknowledged their contributions. I mean—look—in elementary school, most of the kids still come from nuclear families. As you get to junior high, those numbers drop. And by the time your kids are in high school, it’s pretty rare to find kids who still live with both their parents. That seems insane, but there it is.

If you’re a mom and you find yourself annoyed by the idea of a day to recognize the stepmom in your kids’ lives, you might want to think about the fact that you wouldn’t dare leave your kids with a babysitter who seemed to be giving you the evil eye before you walked out the door (sorry, stepmoms), so why are you fine with just leaving things as shitty as they are between the two of you?

If you’re a stepmom and your hopes were dashed by this post, I do apologize. I hope that someday everyone will know when Stepmother’s Day is and the day will you a feeling of validation and support.

Who knows, maybe there’s still time for an Oprah announcement!

© 2010 Jennifer Newcomb Marine     All Rights Reserved

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Our book No One’s the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for the Mother and Stepmother Relationship is a hands-on manual designed to help you navigate some really strange, disorienting territory. Get your bearings, learn tricks for diffusing conflict and creating cooperation, and create inner peace no matter what. Coming this month! A beta version of a brand new, in-depth, stepmom/mom transformation course… and details on private consultations.

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Comments

  1. Oh, man! How I wish you really could get Oprah access for your important book :) Good post, nice to revisit the core principles of your book there too. Hope you get lots of exposure!

  2. I can’t believe you did this to us! I was so excited reading your post that you and Carol were going on Oprah with your very important message!

    That is quite an April Fool’s joke!

    I’m hopeful that one day you will get that call from Heather M. or another Harpo producer so you can share your work with an even larger audience!

    Keep doing what you’re doing! You are making a BIG difference in the lives of moms and stepmoms!

    Amy McCready
    Positive Parenting Solutions

  3. Ok – so you had me going!

    I’m one of those odd ball mom/stepmom types (because I am both!) and truly feel that a separate day for stepmoms is not necessary – but then again, not everyone plays nice in the sandbox like my wonderfully weird family does. My kids and stepkids acknowledge me on Mother’s Day, my husband’s ex and I send each other cards, I go out to dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day with HER mother and family and her mother and I exchange cards and potted plants (well, we exchanged potted plants last year, which I thought was totally cool)

    And after Mother’s day, I go on vacation the following week to spend spend seven days with my mom (who is not my “real” mom – started out as my stepmom, then adopted me…) and yes, I acknowledge MY stepmom on mother’s day, too.

    Check out my Mother’s Day Dare Page on my blog – it’s up and running!!

  4. Jen, as much as I like you, you suck!! ;) I was SOOO excited that you were going to be on Oprah! haha, nice April fools joke. You totally got me! xoxo

  5. Ok… i am bummed that this was an April Fools Joke….. Reading this post actually brought tears to my eyes, because I was so happy that people are going to greater lengths to get Stepmoms acknowledged and appreciated…. much like Sandra Bullock’s Oscar acceptance speech made me cry :) I even posted something about it on stepchicks.com before i read the entire entry!!

    While I am bummed it’s not actually going to happen, I think it was a brilliant April Fools Joke… :) I hope one day, Stepmoms can be shown as great people, and would love to eventually see a Disney movie where the stepmom is actually kind and wonderful.. One day though, one day!!

    oh and btw… i wrote on Oprah’s website, leaving a link to this post.. hopefully it gets a ball rolling in your direction!!

  6. You’re right Jenna, I do suck! And Breanna, I’m sorry to have let you down like that. The whole post came to me while I was looking for information on Stepmother’s Day while I had another browser window open to see what was on Oprah that day….

    Thanks for the kind words though, ladies. And Peggy, you must have one of the most blended situations in the world!

    Hugs to all,
    Jen

  7. Oh my god, I am just reading this now… You are mean, mean, mean!!! I was getting SOOOOOO excited about you and Carol being on an Oprah show about moms and stepmoms! It was like a dream come true! I was already pulling out my calendar to write the date down so that I would under no circumstances miss the Oprah show that day!!!

    Jeez. OK, so you are not mean. But you are one darn good April Fools Day Joker! :)

    Ugh. Does ANYONE out there have a slam dunk Oprah connection?? We need to make this happen… For real!

  8. Ok – so you had me going!

    I’m one of those odd ball mom/stepmom types (because I am both!) and truly feel that a separate day for stepmoms is not necessary – but then again, not everyone plays nice in the sandbox like my wonderfully weird family does. My kids and stepkids acknowledge me on Mother’s Day, my husband’s ex and I send each other cards, I go out to dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day with HER mother and family and her mother and I exchange cards and potted plants (well, we exchanged potted plants last year, which I thought was totally cool)

    And after Mother’s day, I go on vacation the following week to spend spend seven days with my mom (who is not my “real” mom – started out as my stepmom, then adopted me…) and yes, I acknowledge MY stepmom on mother’s day, too.

    Check out my Mother’s Day Dare Page on my blog – it’s up and running!!

  9. You got me too! I wish another day wasn’t necessary – but I understand why it is. You can’t split children down the middle, and a lot of children have to go by custody agreements that have them with their parents on Mother’s Day / Father’s Day. So, even if they wanted to do something for their stepmom, they wouldn’t be there on the day.

    Our family has gotten past this by having our own “stepmother’s day”. We celebrate the Saturday before mother’s day. I know, “some people” will get upset that it’s before their day. But those people will find something to be upset about no matter what we do or don’t do (as I have learned the hard way after six years of trying), so we do what works for us.

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