Can I call you mom?

Brie - posted on 12/05/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Ok so my husband and I were talking and then I read a post about step parents on here and decided to bring something to a debate or get opinions...
My husband has a son from his previous marriage. I have never met him. He is 8 years old and the last time my husband saw him he was 3. When some babysitting stuff didn't go her way she got mad and took off with him and ever since she keeps promising after this or that happens then they can talk about him seeing his son. It never happens so now we are trying to get joint custody.
We have a son together.
Now to the point, when we get custody or visitation or whatever, I am kinda feeling a little weird about him potentially calling me mom. Now, if anybody asks me how many kids I have I say two because I count him but for some reason I can't shake the weird feeling.
I grew up where you only have one mom and one dad. Not to be disrespectful but I know in my eyes if my husband and I split then I would have a very hard time hearing my son call another woman mom.
Even though his ex has done these things to my husband I feel it is disrespectful to her and I don't want to cause problems in their relationship.
Now what is kinda funny about this is that I was in a previous relationship involving kids and it didn't bother me when they said that their mommy wasn't their mom that I was.
I wonder if it was because I actually knew the kids or their father and I weren't serious...
Does anyone see anything wrong with this or do I sound bad by thinking this way?

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Barb - posted on 12/06/2010

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The court system is the best way to go. It maybe tedious and time consuming, but it protects him (your husband) in the long run. Do EVERYTHING through the court system so there is a record of it.



We have a friend who is a farmer that when he sold his crops every year would give his ex wife the year in support by writing a check to her. In the state of Indiana, anything that doesn't go through the courts is considered a gift. She went to the courts to establish child support and said he never gave her any. He is now in arrears something like 80,000 and none of those canceled checks count.



If your husband is ordered to pay insurance, dr bills, dental, anything, make sure she has to submit them to the court and he pays them through the court so there is a record. It will protect you.



It's not being mean, it will set boundaries so everyone will know where they stand and lessen the chance for miscommunication which leads to drama which always leads to trouble.

[deleted account]

That's a horrible situation for everyone involved Brittany, all you can do is remain polite and civil for the sake of the kids and from what you have said I should imagine you are going to need a lot of patience because things like this can take years.

I wouldn't worry about what your SS calls you as long as it's polite, but first as the others have said focus on your husband and his sons relationship, it will take time 5 years is a long time for a child not to see someone, give them the space they need for his son to feel comfortable with his daddy before you and your son get thrown into the mix. Just one final thing if he does choose to call you mom/ mommy after a while I would look at it as a compliment because it means you have gained his trust and respect, but you don't sound bad by being concerned about the relationship you will have with him.

Ez - posted on 12/05/2010

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Children only have one Mum and Dad. I am a firm believer that giving anyone else that privilege should come from the child, if at all (if it was early in a relationship I think it is the adults' responsibility to impose some common sense and not allow it).



I come from divorced parents who both remarried. It would never have occurred to me to call either step-parent mum or dad. I am a single mother and my ex is not involved. If and when I enter another relationship, I would not be comfortable with my daughter calling the man Dad (not until a significant amount of time had passed, anyway).



If your step-son has been absent from your husband's life for 5 years, I would think it is very unlikely that he will feel connected enough to want to call you Mum.

[deleted account]

Since it has been so many years without the father/son relationship, I think it might be best to consider family counseling. The 8 year old has no relationship with his father. That should be the priority and a professional family counselor should facilitate building a relationship. Then the next step is introducing his step-mother & half-brother. It's a lot of emotional dumping on the 8 year old to say "OK, here's your new family" without some professional transition. As far as the relationship between the boy's mother and you, well you're both adults. Again, a family counselor should help guide you through the uncomfortableness of working together for the emotional well-being of the 8 year old child. Obviously, you know that he is not your child, so being called by your first name is an appropriate title. He has a mother. But this boy may not even be comfortable calling his father "Dad" if there is no relationship. It can't be forced. Good luck to everyone involved.

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Alecia - posted on 12/09/2010

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No, you are so right for feeling this way. He should not call you mom, cuz you are not his mom. eventually he might come up with something to call you, if you guys become really close, but i feel that you should just ask him nicely to call you by your first name. I know that i would never stand for my daughter calling someone else mom while i was still living and part of her life.

Meghan - posted on 12/09/2010

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I always felt kinda weird about it and I didn't allow my ex's son to call me mom. If it had been a situation where his mom wasn't involved then that would be different. But he had a mom, he lived with her, and she was a damn good mom (not a nice person, but a good mom). Same goes with my son. I would be LIVID if my ex allowed my son to call another woman mom. They can come up with a different name.

Brie - posted on 12/09/2010

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yeah we know that much... they did find the child support case though... he does and has paid child support since she left but paying child support has nothing to do with visitation.. if he paid or not he would still have his court mandated visitation... there was no legal ruling for custody so it was assumed to be taken care of outside of court when truly it wasn't and she told them in divorce court that juvenile court took care of it so her lie there is documented and we have the emails of her promising visitation saved and time stamped to take with us to help prove our case as well...
again thank you ladies for the help i really do appreciate it... this was just something i had to get off my mind...

Brie - posted on 12/05/2010

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also to clarify my husband has done everything aside from legal stuff to find her and be in his sons life.. she just recently resurfaced within the last year or two and we just found out about no custody order... but he has been trying just now we are going to have to go through the court system!

Brie - posted on 12/05/2010

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thanks ladies for the support. like i said i won't force him and i know its early to think about it but i would like to be prepared for it if it comes up

[deleted account]

I think that because you have not been in the child's life and he knows his mom, it would be disrespectful right now for him to call you Mom. If the relationship continues and you two get closer and HE CHOSES to call you Mom, then I don't think you should stop it UNLESS it makes you uncomfortable. I'm sure there is a happy medium in there! :) Just be sure to not force him to call you Mom, since THAT is definetaly disresectful to everyone involved.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, my oldest daughter is my stepdaughter. She lives with us full time and she hasn't seen her mother (who lives over 2600 miles away from us) in almost a year now. I have been in my daughter's life constantly longer than her bio mom now (the bio mom left when our daughter was barely 3 and our daughter is 8 now... in fact tomorrow is the anniversary of when bio mom left...). Even with all that, my daughter didn't call me Mom until she was 6 years old. I was Holly Mommy since I moved in with her and my hubby (before the wedding) until she turned 6. On her 6th birthday, my daughter turned to me and told me that the best birthday present she ever got was me (my hubby proposed the day before her 4th birthday) and she wanted to call me Mommy. It was HER choice, and nothing I ever even talked to her about, so I think that, with our circumstances and such, it's not disrespecful to the bio mom at all.

Amanda - posted on 12/05/2010

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I don't think you are wrong for feeling the way you are. My 2 oldest just started seeing their bio dad and he's remarried and he tells them to call his wife mom even though her 2 children don't call him dad. I have met a great guy and all 4 of my children CHOSE to call him dad. They say that they have 2 dads. I was raised also where you only have one dad and one mom, but I think every situation is different. I cringe thinking of any one of my kids ever calling someone else mom. I don't think dad is as big of a deal as mom. I mean we are the only person who has honestly been there for them through absolutley everything! We gave them life, and if you are truley a good mother than you deserve with all respect to be the only mom the child ever has. Idk what to tell you I guess if he were to start calling you mom, politley say I am your mom in a weird way, I'm your step mom. you can call me that! I dont know how else to put it to a child that young. But keeping it simple should help. He may not even want to call you mom, just hang in there and try not to stress about it! :)

Lacye - posted on 12/05/2010

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I have a step mother, who I absolutely love to death, and one of the main reasons why I love her so much is because she never pushed me to call her Mom. I was about 6 years old and I asked her if it was ok. She looked at me and said "You can call me Mom if you want to, or you can just call me by my name. I'll love you either way." Wait until he brings it up. I am getting married in the next year and my bf has a daughter from a previous relationship. I am not going to push the Mom thing until she brings it up. and I will tell her the same thing my step mother told me.

I'm sorry you have had so much trouble with the ex. I wouldn't worry too much about her. Just get your visitation settled and then just continue to be polite, which is what you have been doing all along.

Nikki - posted on 12/05/2010

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I have never been in a step parent type of relationship so I am not the best one to give you advice, I do agree with Barb though. I will say this. The thought of being in your husband's ex's position myself makes me feel sick, I can understand why she might not react in an appropriate way. Your husband has been absent from his life for a ling time, it must be terrifying for her to think things may change with her son.

Brie - posted on 12/05/2010

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ok to add a little to the story.. so you guys can see why i think it will be bad... When my husband and I moved back here where I grew up from the other side of the state where he grew up my mom sat me down and informed me, after 21 years, that I had an older brother somewhere in texas and it hurt me to know about it and that my parents never told me (my dad got a girl pregnant when they were 14). Shortly after i found out I was pregnant with my son and so putting aside what happened to my husband I reached out to her in a letter (on myspace, the only way we could get ahold of her) basically asking if nothing else for the kids please let him come around. I had no intention of hiding his exsistence from my son and I would sincerely hope that for our childrens sake she would consider giving us visitation. I explained what happened to me in the letter.. I told her that i didn't want there to be a bad relationship between them but what would happen if both boys grew up and never met but my son decided to go find his brother when they are both adults and what would happen when he does... not only could it screw up his life knowing these things but it could mess up his relationship with his mother and i don't want to see that.. now keep in mind i made sure i was extra nice writing this letter when there are so many things i could have said after watching my husband break down every year on his sons birthday! I waited forever it seems until it finally showed that the message had been read and I waited a couple more days and when i signed on i had a message from my sister in law telling me that she forwarded the email to her and she didn't know why and nothing was wrong with it... So i waited a few more days and never heard anything back so i tried again... after writing it when I hit send it popped up a message that she had blocked me... when they got divorced and the judge asked about custody she told him that it was already taken care of and my husband said he had never been to court... and not to long ago we called the court house and they said there was a child support case but there was no case at all as to who has custody of their son so now we are going to fight... I also am kind of nervous that she will try to pull something along the lines of saying that i am the reason his dad left him or something like that even though they divorced and she took off in 2005 and i never met my husband until 2008...

Barb - posted on 12/05/2010

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Is there something you can do to keep it from getting ugly? That might be the best thing you can do in starting a good relationship with your SS.

My son has a step-mom. We have a good relationship with each other. At one point i told her that if she was jr's dad we would have never gotten divorced. LOL She didn't get the humor, but that's ok.
One of the ways she accomplished this was in placing my son's benefit and sometimes mine, before hers. She would ask, "what can i do to help Jr's relationship between him and his dad?" or "how can i help Jr feel more comfortable while he's here?" the best one for our relationship was "i know this has to be very difficult as a mom, how can i make this easier for you?"

Since Jr's dad and i had a past, but her and i didn't, she was the neutral party that was respectful, selfless, kind and considerate. When she gave that, she received that.

I don't suggest going into this expecting her to act like she did in the past, if you do, she will probably fulfill your expectations. Give her a clean slate and the benefit of the doubt and see how that works.

Brie - posted on 12/05/2010

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oh i knoww that... but i'm the type of person that i just want to be prepared before a situation creeps up on me... I won't ever ask him to and I made sure my husband knew that I didn't want him to encourage my SS to call me that either... and thank you for the luck i have a feeling we will need it because i think this is probably going to get ugly from what i know of the ex

Barb - posted on 12/05/2010

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I don't think you sound bad thinking this way. I think you are jumping the gun a bit and over-thinking it, but i still think it is nice that you are this concerned about your relationship with not only your stepson but how the whole dynamic with his mother is going to work.

It has been 5 very formative years of this young mans life that he has been without his father. The most important relationship is going to be between the two of them and your biggest job is going to be in encouraging that one for awhile.
The relationship between the two of you is important as well, but my advice is to let him bring it to you.

The choice of what to call you has to be his, outside of his parents involvement.
You can make suggestions like "my friends call me Brit or Brittany if that is what you would like to call me"
I wouldn't suggest asking him to call you mom or having your husband ask that either. That is a sacred boundary he has to cross on his own for a legit reason.

Best of luck to you!

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