If you’re in a blended family, you’re all too familiar with the differences between your family and a first family.You’ve likely also experienced the complexity of relationship building, particularly in the early years. Although stepfamilies may be complex, they’re also big and beautiful and worthy of celebrating.
Which is why stepmom Christy Tusing-Borgeld created National Stepfamily Day in 1997, an unofficial holiday to honor stepfamilies and create awareness for them. With seven children in a “his, hers, and ours” family, she and her husband get it—they understand the good and the bad of stepfamily life. Her vision for the holiday was to promote the understanding and celebration of stepfamilies—those who had successfully merged, in addition to those who were fighting to keep their families together.
Why you should celebrate National Stepfamily Day
So why should your family celebrate National Stepfamily Day? Maybe it seems awkward or insignificant to bring attention to your family. Or perhaps you wonder if your still-blending family will even want to recognize the day.
I encourage you to consider a celebration. Here’s why:
1. Celebrating offers new beginnings for struggling relationships.
Celebrating your family gives you a chance to start again after a rough patch. Maybe you’ve walked through a season with a defiant teenager, a heart-breaking custody change, or just the mundane of life that left you discouraged. Celebrations generate energy and hope to start again with renewed efforts to keep trying.
2. Celebrating gives you an excuse to do something fun together.
Stepfamilies often experience tense relationship-building seasons, particularly in the beginning. Fun isn’t part of the vernacular. But it can be.
Celebrating your family allows for intentional moments to laugh, play, and create belonging with one another. Ask your kids what activity they would enjoy as a family. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. Just different. Like a picnic on the roof or a water gun fight on a hot day. Put some thought into what would create light-hearted fun as a family. And then make it happen.
3. Celebrating creates an atmosphere for dialogue and growth.
Celebrating National Stepfamily Day fosters dialogue and helps to create lasting bonds with one another. Consider what your family needs to step into stronger relationships. Maybe you spend one-on-one time with your biological kids and ask how they’re doing with their new family and what you can do to help them feel more comfortable. Or you nurture your marriage and spend the evening at your favorite restaurant as you celebrate the strides you’ve made as a family. Perhaps the stepparent in your home needs to be honored for the important role they play that doesn’t always include rewards or appreciation.
Be intentional. Choose a celebration that fits the current rhythm of what your family needs to create an atmosphere for growth.
Awareness and understanding for stepfamilies
Stepfamilies are found throughout the Bible, although we don’t see the terms of “step” or “half.” Even in the case of our Lord Jesus, His earthly father, Joseph, wasn’t His birth father and could be termed His stepfather. When we read of blended families in the Bible, we don’t find negative stigmas or stereotypes surrounding them.
Sadly, stepfamilies today can feel judged and disregarded, particularly in Christian circles. Celebrating your stepfamily tells society that nontraditional families matter. Awareness of stepfamilies helps others understand the unique needs and complex variables of blended families.
National Stepfamily Day isn’t for perfect families
Maybe you’ve recently become engaged to someone with kids and wonder if it’s premature to celebrate the holiday. Absolutely not!
Celebrating before marriage garners energy and excitement about merging as a family. It allows everyone to come together for a mutual purpose and can be used to help foster relationship building. And if you can only come together as a couple, consider reading a great resource just released by Ron L Deal, Preparing to Blend: The Couple’s Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily.
National Stepfamily Day wasn’t created to celebrate perfect stepfamilies. It was created to challenge stepfamilies to create relationships that can withstand the complexities blended family life brings and find joy, security, and contentment in their family relationships.
Why not give it a try? There’s no need for an elaborate or complicated celebration. Just a simple gathering that speaks love to your family.
National Stepfamily Day comes around every year on September 16th. Make this the year you choose to celebrate your family!
Copyright © 2021 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Gayla Grace serves on staff with FamilyLife Blended® and is passionate about equipping blended families as a writer and a speaker. She holds a master’s degree in Psychology and Counseling and is the author of Stepparenting With Grace: A Devotional for Blended Families and co-author of Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. Gayla and her husband, Randy, have been married since 1995 in a “his, hers, and ours” family. She is the mom to three young adult children and stepmom to two.