Mother's Day is to celebrate exactly that -- mothers of every kind, whether it's to celebrate your mom, grandmother, stepmother or anyone else that has played a maternal role in your life. Every type of mom appreciates the recognition for all their love and effort towards their child's well-being.
As moms, we are all special in our own ways. We make it our foremost priority to serve as a strong example; to care for, nurture and love; and to help our children succeed and grow. A child's main influences are the ones who will ultimately pass on these values of love, empathy, kindness and respect, from leading by example.
(Photo: Aleksandarnakic via Getty Images)
I became a stepmom to a three-year-old boy who was the ring-bearer when I wed his father 30 years ago. Since then, my partner and I had equal shared custody with my stepson's biological mom, one of the first paths of co-parenting we shared together.
I vowed to give my stepson a positive and balanced childhood experience, one where we would all communicate respectfully so he would not only thrive as a young child, but also as an adult. I made it my mission as a stepmom to love and care for him as if he were my own. Being a mother stems further than the DNA aspect, it is about the ability to love a child unconditionally and to guide them throughout their lives. Empathy -- the ability to stand in somebody else's shoes, to look at the world through their eyes.
Life is a series of moments. It is comprised of every hug, every time we say I love you, and the calm, quality times. The smallest moments are often the ones that have the biggest impact in a child's life. My stepson's biological mom and I have been a team with an ongoing objective to raise our son in an emotionally healthy environment. We shared this mission over the years, and ultimately witnessing our three-year-old boy grow into a loving man who now has a family of his own has been more than rewarding. Our focus on becoming a blended family has filled all of our lives with adventure, love, purpose and hope.
Together, we still continue to teach and learn from each other.
On Mother's Day, we all meet up for brunch together, and my stepson's biological mom and I both sit face-to-face, enjoying our meal with laughter and joy. My stepson surprises us both with the same thoughtful gift, with a special hand-written note in a heartfelt card for each of us, showing us his appreciation and love for what we have done for him.
One of the benefits of co-parenting in harmony is exactly this: the creation of a ripple effect that resonates with values of respect, compassion and unconditional love, which he spreads to the loved ones around him. He finds it with ease in his heart and soul to appreciate our equal efforts and the love that we both have for him. My stepson's biological mom and I both have unique traits and qualities that define our roles as a special parent in his life. We each have a common goal to love and to do what is best for our son's needs. Together, we still continue to teach and learn from each other, with a new goal of spreading our love for the next generation, our grandchildren.
My husband honours and acknowledges my ongoing efforts with his son. This should stand true for every co-parent out there doing their best -- that your efforts to your partner's child(ren) should never go unnoticed or unappreciated, and vice versa. The main role here is the parents, biological or otherwise, taking initiative in educating the children about respect, empathy, compassion and love. This starts with eradicating any negative conversations about either the biological mom or stepmom in the presence of the children.
(Photo: Mark Edward Atkinson/Tracey Lee via Getty Images)
The appreciation from my husband for what I do for my stepson goes a long way, and even more so when I can assure from my end that there isn't an ounce of negativity from my lips about my stepson's mom infiltrating into my stepson's life.
Whatever past pitfalls you've experienced on Mother's Day as a biological mom or stepmom, remember that you can change it just by how you choose to think about it. We create our own reality. We all matter in our child(ren)'s life.
Here are some valuables tips I found would help to initiate peaceful resolutions:
1) Focus on your awareness and ability to make small changes that can lead to big impacts
2) Value your qualities and traits
3) Practice empathy and unconditional love
4) Have the courage to let go of the past
5) Make the conscious decision to live in the present moment
6) Be mindful of how you speak
7) Be aware of your behaviour and attitude
8) Most importantly, remember: Everyone is important -- everyone matters
Create great memories that will light up your child(ren)'s heart and soul, this will always leave you feeling blessed.
You are all amazing moms -- You're doing a great job! Your work is not invisible to others who are in similar shoes.
Here's celebrating you -- just as you are!
Anna is a first-person advocate for Co-parenting in Harmony. As a child of divorce, stepmom and now a proud Nana, she has 30 years of personal co-parenting experience. To learn more about Anna's work, check out her latest e-book on how to co-parent in harmony.
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We know we said flowers are predictable, but these long-lasting boxed roses from Toronto-based Euphorie Des Fleurs are such a unique alternative to the traditional bouquet that we couldn't leave them out. Using a special preservation technique, the company's infinity roses last for up to one year! Get it here: Baby Pink Infinity Arrangement, $225.00
With Canada's 150th birthday upon us, Canadiana is everywhere. Forego the maple leaf motif and give your patriotic mama a beautiful, hand-crafted item made by the artisans of Fogo Island. Home to one of Canada's oldest and most remote communities, local artisans are informed by centuries-old boat building, furniture making, and crafting techniques. Treasures like this birch tray were originally made for the island's eponymous inn and are now available online through the Fogo Island Shop. Get it here: Fogo Island Shop Wood Tray, $95
Show her how well you know her taste in music by giving her a set of ceramic coasters featuring her favourite rock icon. Don't see your mom's musical crush in the shop? Don't sweat it. Upcycling It loves sourcing custom requests from their legendary library of vintage books, albums and magazines. We'll take a Woodstock-era Joe Cocker set, please! Get it here: Not Your Grandma's Coasters, $45/set of four
It's always a treat to receive something you wouldn't typically buy for yourself and the makings of a luxurious bath are likely far down on your mom's priority list. Plus, this funny bath bomb from Consonant Skincare just about says it all. Get it here: Relax Bath Bomb, $9
If your mom loves to knit or crochet, she'll appreciate this hand-crafted bowl that prevents the ball of yarn she's working with from rolling away and tangling. It looks cute enough to leave out when she's taking a break from her project, too! Get it here: Wheel-thrown Yarn Bowl, $45
Help your mom show off her green thumb with this macramé plant holder. The retro holder will show off a favourite potted plant — and have her reminiscing about the groovy seventies. Get it here: Macramé Plant Holder, $38
If there's one thing your mom really wants for Mother's Day, it's probably just to see your face. But if distance prevents you from being together, give her a laugh by sending a cookie in your likeness. We can't get over the artistry of Eat My Sweet Face cookies. Simply send them a few shots of your face and they'll ship your cookie anywhere in Canada. Get it here: Eat My Sweet Face Portrait Cookies, $35 each or $60 for two
Make your mom feel like the beauty she is with something from the new Charlotte Gainsbourg for NARS Collection. The Multiple Tint is the ultimate gift for moms who value efficiency (so, all of us) because the sheer colour can be used on both lips and cheeks. Our pick is the Multiple Tint in Jo because it's the perfect light pink for a pared-down summer face. Get it here: NARS Multiple Tint in Jo, $49 (available in May)
We love cool gadgets around here so you know we had to feature this flour-shaking rolling pin for all those moms who have a way with the oven. All she has to do is fill the cavity in the centre of the pin with flour and shake out a little at a time to quickly and easily dust surfaces. Plus, the ingenious built-in ruler ensures that her crusts will always fit the diameter of her pie plate. Get it here: Flour-Shaking Rolling Pin, $28.04
This handbag by Canadian company Poppy & Peonies essentially arms your mom with every style she'll need to take her through spring and summer. The vegan leather Multi Chic can be worn two different ways: as a clutch or as a cross-body with either one of two removable straps (a chain strap for dressier occasions and an adjustable vegan leather strap for everyday wear). Plus, the front flap is interchangeable and can be swapped out for five additional colours (sold separately). Get it here: The Multi Chic Nude, $99
If wearing a rubber fitness tracker on her wrist isn't your mom's style, but she'd still like to make sure her daily step count hit 10,000, she needs Ringly. The discreet activity tracker looks like a trendy, oversized gemstone ring, but it does everything a typical fitness tracker does, including communicating mobile alerts via subtle vibrations and light. Get it here: Ringly Smart Ring Activity Tracker, $219.95
Any home décor-obsessed mom will love the opportunity to make her backyard an extension of her chic interior, which is why this elegant bird feeder is perfect. The diamond feeder is made from brass and glass and accommodates all bird species. Get it here: Diamond Bird Feeder, $130
At first glance, these plates look like antique fine china, but they are actually break-resistant melamine, making them a must-have for the mom who entertains outside in the summer. Get it here: Vintage-Inspired Melamine Plates, $4.99 each
These Saturn white wine glasses actually prevent spills, so basically they are every mom's dream. The glasses can either stand upright or rotate in a circle on their sides, remaining spill-proof while holding up to five ounces of liquid. The perfect marriage of function and form, the good-looking glasses are even dishwasher safe! Pair a set with a bottle of mom's favourite white wine for a Mother's Day gift she can truly savour. Get it here: Saturn White Wine Glasses, $96.54/set of two
The word "mom" is synonymous with "busy," so we know yours will be down with a gadget that saves her time. This hair iron delivers perfect curls every time, minus the kind of know-how required by a wand. It also has three different time settings that allows you to choose between a looser wave and a more defined curl. But the real bonus here is the added shine, care of the frizz-fighting tourmaline ceramic-coated barrel. It's a no-brainer for moms who want to look and feel their best without sacrificing their entire morning to do so. Get it here: Curl Secret infinitiPro by Conair, $119
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