Everyone at some point in life has a mold that they feel the need to fit into. A title that comes with a checklist to be successful. Athlete, executive, husband, jock, nerd, girlfriend, pastor, coach, daughter. The list could go on. We are defined by labels and accomplishments in our culture. One mold that’s been on my mind a lot lately has been that of mother. It’s about the time of year, when we celebrate our mothers and the sacrifices they have made over the years and still make for us. I know I’m forever grateful to my mother. She raised me to love Jesus, know wrong from right. She did a lot of things right, and a few things wrong. Just like us all, she still does.
Mothers are under a lot of pressure to conform to the molds that society has outlined. Some of those things very good, but oh so many of them given too much value. Vaccinate or not? Public school or homeschool? Healthy home-cooked meal or McDonalds? It can be tough enough to decide what’s right for your family, but the added societal pressure only complicates the decision-making process.
Most girls grow up thinking about these things, though. ”One day, when I’m a mom, I’ll do it this way.” I had some of the same thoughts myself. But the one thought I never had was “One day, when I fall in love with a wonderful man and become a step mother, I’ll….”. Like many of the twists and turns that God threw in my life, I didn’t quite know how to approach Mother’s Day as a step parent. Especially when I had no idea how ‘Kala as a step-mom’ was supposed to look. On a holiday that applauds the day in, day out efforts of mothers, I found myself struggling, feeling sub-par in my role in my step-daughter’s lives. They don’t need me like a mother; they have a wonderful mother. In all honesty, they would survive just fine without me.
They do need me though. I plan meals around their tastes, tailor their wardrobes around their unique style of clothing, and talk to them about their day via video chat. I am an advisor to their dad as he and their mother co-parent the best way that they know how. I’ve earned their trust and confidence, and I love two little girls who I did not give birth to.
But there is a much bigger take away than how I rank as a “mother” figure. That’s actually irrelevant. The bigger take away is that God didn’t call me to check off a list of things that a step-mom is supposed to do. I’m really glad that He didn’t, because that list changes with every person you talk to. He has called me to honor and serve Him, to love and support my husband, and to love Ava and Hallie. Not ‘be stepmom’ to the girls. Yes, that’s what the title is, but in practicality, it’s being there for them when and how they need it most. That will look different than any other relationship out there, and will change as the years go by.
I’ve learned that I can’t compare myself to other people- biological mothers or other step mothers. The role that God called me to is His child. A loved and treasured daughter of His. I navigate the messiness of life much better when my focus is on Jesus and living in the freedom and grace that He’s given me. Living in that grace better allows me to love my girls and their daddy.
So I want to wish the mothers of all varieties out there a happy Mother’s Day, and encourage you to find your identity in Jesus, not in societal standards. Be the best treasured daughter that you know how to be in the family that God has given you. Believe me, He will honor those efforts greatly.