Leave Jessica Jones Alone

18 May

Jessica Jones, a stepmom in Jacksonville, Florida took the streets last Sunday, May 16th to call attention to Stepmother’s Day.  She’d like to convince lawmakers and retailers to officially recognize the Sunday after Mother’s Day as the day to honor stepmothers. Now there are one hundred other things I would rather do on a sunny Sunday in Florida (probably because I live in the Pacific Northwest and hardly ever see the sun), so I admire Jessica’s efforts.  In fact I think it’s amazing that she and her five stepchildren took the time to raise awareness.  Unfortunately, not all stepmoms agree with me.

Jessica was criticized on a Facebook stepmom support page.  Women were telling her that she shouldn’t be asking for a separate day, that she should be content as a stepmom without any acknowledgement at all and that perhaps she did it to call attention to herself.  As discussions began on other stepmom sites, there was speculation that the comments came from biomoms in disguise and while I hate to say it, I don’t think that’s true.  As I’ve become more involved in the stepmom community, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of us who are quick to judge and criticize instead of listen and attempt to understand another stepmoms struggle.  Two topics immediately come to mind:

  1.  Stepmoms who don’t love their stepchildren as their own.
  2. Stepmoms who would like some kind of acknowledgement for either a job well done or for gracefully dodging slings and arrows from their stepchildren.

I’m a BioStep and I can tell you that stepparenting is much harder than parenting your own biological or adopted children.  I thought that the stepmom community would be open and supportive, and for the most part it is, but the small camp that I’ve observed that make some of us feel less than worthy of stepparenting because we are open and honest about the way we feel and about our struggles are really getting me down.  The moms that criticized Jessica Jones are among those people. 

I know that President Obama recognized stepmothers in his Mother’s Day proclamation this year, but there are some biomoms and stepmoms that feel that Mother’s Day should be set aside to honor biological mothers and adoptive mothers only.  Don’t gasp; if that wasn’t true, we wouldn’t need books like “No One’s the Bitch” or “Stepmonster”!  And if you consider that stepfamilies will outnumber first families within the next few years, it makes sense to set aside a day to honor both stepmothers and stepfathers.

I don’t know Jessica and I’ve never spoken to her but I admire a woman with passion, drive and initiative.  Jessica stood out there for ALL OF US: those that are happy in our stepmom lives and those that are miserable; those that would like someone to notice that we try our hardest everyday and those who are content within themselves without any extra acknowledgment; those with wounded hearts because their stepchild made a card at school for their biomom but nothing for them and those who happily made cards with their stepkids and had them spend the day with their biomom.  If you are content in your steplife and don’t need any acknowledgement, then applaud Jessica for working to get some nods for the rest of us who would like or need an “atta boy” pat on the back.  Leave Jessica alone and don’t criticize! Support your sisters in stepmotherhood and realize that everyone is on this journey with a different set of unmatched luggage. 

Thank you Jessica for your courage and for standing up for stepmoms everywhere!  Your efforts are appreciated by stepmoms everywhere.

3 Responses to “Leave Jessica Jones Alone”

  1. TKD May 18, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    This made me tear up!!

  2. Jessica Jones May 18, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    Thank you for such a wonderful supportive note! I just found my way to it today. I did this not only for us, but for our kids I am a BM AND an SM…I hate our kids feeling the need to choose, even if the BM and SM, or SD and BD get along..not everyone does, that is my point….giving us a seperate day does not say we are less then a BM, it is giving the kids the allowance to recognize us on a different day a special day that they do not have to worry about hurting their bio OR steps…I do not know about you but our visitation has the kids going to the bio’s for those days…thankfully I have a great relationship starting with the BM and she was willing to share Mothers Day…what about your family? My kids stepmom the kids I do not have, I let her have them on it..they are 5 hours away and I will have them all summer. Yes I could have been spiteful drove down and pick them up for the weekend, for what purpose? I told her enjoy the day, she deserved it.

    • BioStep May 18, 2010 at 10:09 am #

      Both of our parenting plans have the kids going to bios on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. BM graciously let DH have the kids on Saturday before Mother’s Day and we had them spend the day with their paternal grandmother since they wouldn’t be at our big Mother’s Day celebration the next day.

      I think it’s wonderful that you have a good relationship with BM. It gives alot of people hope!!

      And I totally agree with you that a separate day would take pressure off of the kids. Personally, I know that my kids have a closer relationship with DH than BD and would like to honor both, but default to DH because they think it’s the right thing to do.

      Anyway, it’s nice to “meet” you! Thank you for your efforts and don’t let the haters get you down.

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