Friday, May 6, 2011

What's the Deal Hallmark?

Every year, as Mother's Day approaches, I trawl the aisles of Hallmark looking for those perfect cards to express my love and gratitude for three special ladies in my life: my mom, my grandma, and my step-mom. And every year, I am frustrated by the utter lack of any selection of cards for the third woman on my list.

I just don't understand. I'm not going crazy here and trying to find a card especially for every woman I know who has a child. I don't need a card for my cousin's best friend who's a new mom. Statistics estimate that on the conservative end, 40% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Census data has documented changing attitudes regarding the shape of the "traditional" family for years, DECADES! This data, in sum, means that there's a whole lotta step moms out there.

And yet, card makers refuse to react to what I'm sure is a popular dilemma. Do I get the one step mom card they have? Or do I buy one of those generic "for any woman" mother's day cards that don't really get into the special relationship between step mom and daughter? And for all of you out there who didn't come from a broken home who are wondering: Yes, it is typically a slightly different relationship than the your average mother-daughter interaction.

You can't buy the card that has Mom written all over it, because most people I know who have step mothers end up calling her by her first name and never actually refer to her as mom. Why? Well, for starters, it's just confusing to call two people Mom, and in the beginning it helps to ease the awkwardness of the step mom feeling like she's trying to step into someone elses shoes. Getting a card saying mom for your step mom would just seem weird.

Out of 204 total mother's day cards on the Hallmark website, there was 1 (one!) for step mothers. There were just as many mother's day cards for Dads (why?) in the same place. Step it up Hallmark (pun intended)! Go out there and hire some children of divorcees as your card writers. Do something! As my card purchasing mecca, I hope that I do not encounter this problem in 2012.

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