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Why I don’t include my stepchildren in our Mother’s Day tradition


I’m a wife, stepmom x3 and mom x 1. When I couldn’t find the stepmom support I was looking for, decided to create it myself. I love mac + cheese, distressed denim, sauvignon blanc and all things Dateline. 

Hey, I'm Jamie


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This year will mark my fourth Mother’s Day as a mother. My fifth Mother’s Day as a stepmom but my fourth Mother’s Day as a Mother. 

For the last few years, my daughter and I have had a special Mother’s Day tradition that I have every intention of carrying out for the rest of my life. 

I hire a professional photographer and we have a photoshoot, just the two of us. 

Even though it is me who books the photoshoot, it is a gift from my husband. 

Now I am about to be very straight forward and honest here… 

There are going to be people who read this post and question why I would do a photoshoot with JUST my daughter and not my stepchildren too. There will be people who are completely outraged.

In fact, I know this for a fact because I originally wrote this post three years ago. Every year since, I have received nasty comments.

That’s okay. They roll off my shoulders.

I’m going to keep sharing this post, because in addition to those angry emails, I get messages from fellow stepmoms, thanking me for saying what they are afraid to.

The first year I did photos with just Reese, as expected, I got questioned about it. The person wanted to know why I didn’t include my stepkids in the shoot.

While the question came with some judgement, I was more than happy to answer. 

That being said it is a difficult question to answer. I need to tread very lightly, because the answer could come out/or be interpreted very, very wrong. 

So before I go ahead and answer it for all of you, I want to make it very clear that I love my stepchildren VERY much. 

Before I even met them, I committed myself to them. I committed to never treating them like they were anything but my own, and making sure that they were always considered in every aspect of our lives. As I’ve said over and over,  they are my people and I absolutely adore them. 

But the bond that I have with them is very different than the bond I have with my daughter. Gasp. Yes I just said that. It’s different!

Before I had my baby girl, a few mothers said to me “you won’t understand until you have kids of your own”. This comment used to make my blood boil. I felt like it undermined the love I have for my stepchildren. 

But then I had my own child, and I realized that they were right.

Just as there are some things about being a stepmom that you’ll never understand unless you’re a stepmom, there are some things about being a mom that you’ll never understand unless you’re a mom.

For me, it is a different relationship.

Notice I said “different”, not “less important.”

Trust me when I say, it took me a VERY long time to feel comfortable saying this out loud.

I am Reese’s Mom, and I am their stepmom. In our family, and in our specific family dynamic, the two bonds are different. 

  1. I came into their world later on in life.

  2. They have a great Mom, who they have a special bond with. Just like I have a special bond with Reese.

That bond is something that I honor and respect. 

Which is why, on Mother’s Day, while they are with her, I don’t feel bad about getting photos taken with Reese.

My stepchildren celebrate Mother’s Day with their Mom. Reese celebrates Mother’s Day with hers.
They have their own traditions and we have ours.

This is how we do it here!

Now it would be one thing if I only ever had photos taken with Reese. If our home was a shrine of photos of our “ours baby” and very little of my stepchildren. That’s just not the case. There are probably more photos of them than her!

Every year, when I can twist everyone’s arm, we do a family photoshoot with the entire crew. To be honest, I can’t imagine trying to convince everyone to do photos more than once a year!

The way I see it, we have one big family, with sub-families within!

These Mother’s Day photos mean the world to me. I cherish them more than I will ever be able to describe. I love looking back and seeing how much we have changed, and love having someone capture those special moments between us (because we all know that moms rarely find themselves in-front of the camera).



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Comments +

  1. steph14jenner@mailcatch.com says:

    Hi Jamie! Great blog!
    Do you have any tips for blending a family with different religious backgrounds?
    – Steph

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