What to do with MIL who wants your baby to grow up calling her "mommy" or "mama" as well?!?

Erika - posted on 04/17/2010 ( 147 moms have responded )

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My 5 month old son Keiran is the first grandchild in both of my hubby's and my side. Unfortunately, my MIL is soooooooooo clingy to my baby, shows him off a lot and even introduces him as her baby to other people. She'd show him off and tell others that my LO resembles blah blah and blah from their side of the family even if it's a distant one already, almost everyone except ME! Annoying? Yes!!! Worst part is that she wants my LO to grow up calling her "mommy" or "mama" as well! Any advice ladies?

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Siobhan - posted on 04/20/2010

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im sorry but YOU are your lil one's mother! NOT your MIL!!! your MIL should at least reconise that its a bond that you and YOUR child should share. im quite thrown by what you have said. you need to tell her straight for all your sakes x

Jennifer - posted on 04/20/2010

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I say Nip that in the butt as fast as possible! Its not only annoying but really silly! I get frustrated just reading what u have to say, coz I go through the exact same thing! Its as if I never gave birth to my own child!
the only thing to do is stop it now, before it comes down on you. I suffer from an axiety disorder because of my problems... Its not from raising a child and being a stay at home mom, its from worrying too much about what ppl think of me and everytime my hubby and I make plans to spend the day with any one of his family members I immediately go into this defensive mode and I start panicking. Its not healthy, and it's easy for someone else to say "don't let it bother you" but the truth is, it does! coz its constantly directed at us- the moms! We are the ones that look after our children and do all the work, yet get no credit for it! We need that, in order to cope with stress. we need the appreciation.
I wish you all the courage and all the patience in the world.
Good luck.

[deleted account]

Or Gama!

Chelle: OMG! My SIL insists on calling my daughter, " HER BABY! " ......everytime she comes for a visit or even over the phone she says, " HOW'S AUNTIE'S BABY? ".......I think it's strange!

Chaya - posted on 04/20/2010

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Not to sound mean, and it would take guts on your part (took me a while to stand up to my MIL) but if you publicly correct her in the nicest tone of voice....she might get tired of being embarrassed in public! and change her ways. As for calling her mommy, too? I would not stand for it! My 24 mo old daughter calls my mom ma-maw (m-hard "a" sound-m-soft "a" sound) Maybe this would satisfy her because it's close to mama, but just a little different.

Hope this helps and I didn't repeat what others said to much :o)

Adrianna - posted on 04/20/2010

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I sw that ur mil is only 44 well my mother was 35 when she was grandma for first time and SHE never once expected my sisters kids to call her mama or mommy, call her mammy that or grammy

Adrianna - posted on 04/20/2010

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i would just put my foot down with my mother in law and let her know she is his grammy Not his mommy, that u went through the 9 mths carring him and that u gave birth to him. but i am a very out spoken person so i wouldnt tollorate it at all and if you dont want to start stuff with her have ur hubby tell her she will listen better to her son then to u anyway in less u just point out to her that if she don't Stop she just wont be part of his life anymore i had to tell my mother in law that in till she stops talking shit about me and my family when my son was there she wouldn't see him and i actually kept him from going there for over a mth before she realized i was serious

Laura - posted on 04/19/2010

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If i were you i would tell her that this is hurting your feelings because of some of things she says, that it unacceptable for her to want your child to call her mommy because you are the childs mother and if she doesn't stop you may have to withdraw contact of her seeing her grandchild unless she complies. That's what i would do. Be up front.

Donna - posted on 04/19/2010

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I dont have the problem with the MIL wanting my daughter to call her mama. My problem is she keeps saying "nananananananananana" to my daughter trying to get her to say nana first. She tells Nevaeh "you cant say mama first, you have to say nana." makes me super mad. lol.

Chelle - posted on 04/19/2010

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I can relate in part to your post Erika. When my little man was first born i had both his gran and his nana referring to him as "hows my little boy". Occassionally my husband would pipe up, i'm fine thanks. But seriously, he is not theirs, he is ours. He is their grandson, not their son.

Thankfully i have not had the issue with my mum wanting to be called Mum or mama or anything ridiculous. If she did suggest something like that i would tell her that in no uncertain terms am i to be known as his mum and you can choose something more age and relative appropriate. I see your MIL doing this as a way of exercising control and it definitely compromises the boundaries!

Off topic though, my mum always talks about how i should be getting this and that for my NANA for mother's day!!! What's with that? I have started saying, no i won't be getting her a present for mothers day as she is not my mother, she is yours?? But i don't understand why i even have to have this conversation in the first place??

Kel - posted on 04/19/2010

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I called my grandmother mama, not at her insistance but of my own accord. My mother said she felt like I was using parts of mommy...my mother was mommy, one grandmother was mama and the other was mimi.

Carrie - posted on 04/19/2010

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My advice to you is since this is your MIL have your husband speak to her. In my opinion it sounds strange to me that she wants him to call her mommy or mama since there is only one and that is you. Also alot of times kids start calling people what they want to call them for example my daughter started calling my mother NeeNee when we tried to get her to call her Nana, but we decided to leave it NeeNee. You should feel flattered though in some ways that she loves your child that much though. She also might just not want to feel like an "old grandma" just yet by being called grandma, grandmother etc.

Kat - posted on 04/19/2010

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You need to put your foot down and tell her that he is your son and you are the only one he is going to grow up calling mommy or mama. I mean she had her kids already now it's your turn. Set your boundaries clearly and firmly and don't sway or let up.

Danielle - posted on 04/19/2010

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You need to put your foot down with this immediately and stay firm because from the sounds of it this is the first of many battles ahead for you. I have dealt with some major boundary issues myself with my MIL and when I finally realized it, I was able to just set those boundaries and hold strong through the storm because that is exactly what came my way when I did it. That is your child... not hers. Ask her what her children called their grandmothers and how she would have felt? I am sure she will have to reflect on that one before answering! Good luck but my best advice I can give you as a mother of 4 is HOLD STRONG! LAY DOWN THE LINE, SET THE BOUNDARIES AND DO NOT SWAY!!!! She will eventually get the picture after many failed attempts on her part.

[deleted account]

Kinda off topic but something I really hate is when people that aren't aunts or uncles are refered to as aunts and uncles......friends of mine ( sometimes not even close friends ) that encourage my daughter to call them, Auntie Nikki, for example! NO! Drives me nuts!



Carry on...

Suzette - posted on 04/19/2010

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You could always hope he mispronounced Nana so it did come out as "pus" and have him call her "Nana Memaw" ... the pus monster. LOL. Sorry, but I have a MIL who isn't exactly roses either!!! I know how it goes!! All I know is if my MIL ever suggested my LO call her "mama" or "mommy" I'd roll on the floor laughing, right in front of her. Then, I'd pick myself up and look at her asking if she were serious. If she said yes, I'd laugh some more and tell her to get over herself. Then again, I don't have much respect for my MIL, and hubby knows it all too well.
All of the names that have been suggested were ones I was thinking of. The only other thing I can suggest is to tell her if she doesn't like the names you're offering up... he can always call her by her first name. Give her the choice between "Grandma" or her first name. IF she's got any sense, she'll choose Grandma. lol. Good luck!!

Hayley - posted on 04/19/2010

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thats Crazy. it's your baby darl. just put your foot down.. you are your babies mummy, nobody else.. Dont let anyone take that from you. She's Nan! And let her know that.

Sara - posted on 04/19/2010

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I love my MIL to death, and she helped me so much throught my pregnancy. She really is a great person, but as soon as I heard she wanted to be called "ma" I was really put off by it. I told my husband, and he, of course, sided with his mom, which I expected of him. I'm not really confrontational until a point where a situation gets out of control. So until my son can talk ( he's only 5 months), I always make sure to say things like "look, grandma came to see you!" And little inuendos like that, to kind of show her, I'm not going to allow him to call her "ma" or any variation of that word. Because "ma" was his first word, and he was trying to say "mama". if she insists on him calling her that, he will have a unclear line of where the boundaries are. Because, I strongly believe in the whole family heirarchy thing. Like, the mom is the mom, the dad is the dad, and the grandparents are just that. Grandma and Grandpa. But, I decided not to put too much thought into it right now, because she is still pretty young, not even 50, so I guess she is trying to avoid the "g" word for the time being. However, when he starts addressing people, I won't be afraid to tell anyone what I will be allowing my son to call them, whether it's one of his aunts, uncles, or grandparents. I don't believe children should adress family members by their first names, or call them misappropriated titles like "ma" instead of "grandma"

Kyle - posted on 04/19/2010

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Ohhhh NO! I would not allow that, if u are ubconfortable with it i would tell her that it is NOT going to happen. The way I look at it is, he is YOUR son, he live in YOUR stomach for nine months, he came out of YOUR hoohah, YOU have the battle scars to prove it! YOU deserve YOUR title of Mommy. maybe a mamaw but I would tell her she is stuck with grandma because if you do give her the Mamaw name (if she is a deceiving person) she could very easily confuse your son when you are not around and try to get him to call her mama.

Kristin - posted on 04/19/2010

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Yikes, I would definitely get your husband involved here. Put it in terms of how would he feel if your dad started doing this. You both need to talk to her about just how clingy she is. It's one thing to be involved in your grandchildren's lives. It's another to take over and try to replace the parents, which is what it sounds like is happening.

You can't do much about who people think your child resembles. They see what they want to see. Personally, I think all babies most closely resemble their mom's for a long time and then kind of grow into both families. You can always come back with, interesting my so and so has that same feature too.

Good luck.

Heather - posted on 04/19/2010

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WOW! I had all the same problems you described except for the call me "Mommy/Mama" part. My MIL would take our son and run him into the party/relatives houses first so she could show him off and so much more.
I think in this case you need to just tell her (or have your husband tell her) that YOU are Mommy and SHE is grandmother and you are not comfortoable with your child calling her Mommy. Then explain why.
Tell her to pick what she's want to be called but it's not going to be Mommy.
My childrens grandmothers are - Mom-Mom and Na (MIL). Maybe Mom-Mom would work.
Grandfathers are Pop-Pop and Pop (FIL)
The Na and Pop just formed. Not sure how. I think it was because it was just short of what my son said.

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My daughters call one set of grandparents Grandma Colleen (my MIL) and Grandpa Rich (my FIL), and the other "nanny and papa". My in-laws are very upset and find it disrespectful to be called by their first names and are more upset that my parents get the "cutsie" names. They have tried to come up with names for themselves that they want the girls to call them like Memaw and Pops, but they still call them by their first names! I think when they are older I will let them decide for themselves what they want to call their grandparent's, maybe you could do that with your children and tell your MIL that it is the children's choice of what they want to call her.

[deleted account]

Well I have gone through this situation. And my daughters grandmother would answer to mommy and mamma. I told her grandmother that she can be mamma since she is grandma but i will be mommy. So i had to train my daughter to call me mommy and not mamma. I would never answer her when she called me mamma. So she now calls me mommy and her grandma mamma. Which is fine. But what is funny is when i am at her grandmas house and my daughter says mommy her grandma answers and my daughter will say I am not talking to you. Which is kinda funny cause she still thinks she can answer to mommy but my daughter makes sure that she knows that she is not mommy.

Cheraki - posted on 04/19/2010

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Tell her she is NOT mom, momma, mama or any thing that goes under a mother category.. Tell her you are. Deffinately put your foot down on that deal.. My mom tried that crap with my kids.. Everytime she said no call me mommy.. I said NO you are NOT mommy.. You are grandma... if you don't stop it now she's gonna walk all over you .... There's only one mother... I am a step mom and even my step children don't call me mom I wouldn't allow it.. There are other things one can be called..

Good luck and Best wishes

[deleted account]

Wow!! I thought my mom was the only one with that crazy request. My oldest was her 1st grandchild. She wasn't possesive like your MIL seems to be...but she definitely wanted my daughter to call her "MahMee". She claimed it was TOTALLY different from "mommy". Didn't see it then...don't see it now. I HAD to put my foot down on that one...which was hard because...she's my mom. I love and respect her. But in the end, she had to respect MY request. There was only going to be ONE MOMMY (or whatever she wanted to call it) in my daughter's life.

My advice...let your husband know how this annoys and affects you. Then ask him to speak with his mom, and tell her that you BOTH are in agreement that your son will only call YOU mommy (or anything related to it). It will probably be accepted a lot better coming from your husband verses you.

Good luck with that!

Gwen - posted on 04/19/2010

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Hey Erika.. that would annoy the hell out of me too... My great aunt's grandkids call her "mother" granted this started bc of a situation that happened with one of my cousins but it stuck... would you and your MIL compromise on something like that.. I mean what litttle kid calls their mommy "Mother" LOL... my mom is 44 and didnt want to be called gramdma she wanted G-mom so we compromised on Gima (saying g-mom all together kinda fast) LOL... sometimes its easier to try and find a compromise than cut them out. GL hun!!!

Giovanna - posted on 04/19/2010

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I have the same problem! It annoys the heck out of me, but when thing to know that your baby will call MIL whatever she/her desires. My little cousin calls her grandma Meimyam, for about 5 years now. Another thing, if you dont want him to call her that dont say, "You want to go to Mama's/Mommy's house?" You refer to her as Grandma, or whatever you prefer. Finally, your son will always know who his mom is, because to him the word mom is the "being" who nourishes, loves, and nurtures him.

Erika - posted on 04/19/2010

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@ Lisa Haas, I really appreciate that Lisa, thank you. I suggested to my hubby earlier about why not use Meemaw or Mawmaw, and he grinned. Both sounds cute and unique, however like I've mentioned earlier in my post, those terms in our country means "monster"...so, hubby told me it's not gonna work, LOL!!! I was thinking of Nana, but should my LO mistakenly mispronounce it someday, it would mean "pus" in our language, eew! im now thinking about Grammie, or GM, or Granma...hopefully MIL would cooperate.

about the film you've mentioned, I haven't heard of it but I sure will find it so I can watch it too. =)

Brittany - posted on 04/19/2010

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Erika,

My husband is in the military and our son will 10 months in a week. He is the first GC on his side of the family. His parents as well are real obsessed with TJ. Dylan's(husband) middle sister passed away Aug 08 and then a month later I was preggo. His family feels TJ came into the world bc Molly(the sis) passed away. So he was their way of mourning and healing. While I understand that I do not like how she and my FIL call TJ their baby. She as well would accept compliments when somone said TJ was cute blah blah blah.....So I completely know what ur going thru. Its hard to say sumtin to ur MIL and not come out looking like a B****. Just have ur husband have a talk with her and see why she wants to be called that. Her bein 44 isnt a excuse. My mother became a grandma at age 36. Sometimes its their way of trying to get attention too. I hope it works out for u.

Nikkole - posted on 04/19/2010

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i wont let that go on. I would tell her no, my son is not going to be calling you mommy or mama! i have never heard of that and i think that is so odd.

Melani - posted on 04/19/2010

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Okay that's weird & touchy because it's the Mother In-law & back here on our planet most kids know that is there grandparent, lol Since she is a bit different, maybe give her Maw but NEVER mom or what YOUR child calls you. Plus what does her REAL child say about this?

Dorie - posted on 04/19/2010

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My MIL did that with our daughter at first too and sometimes still tries to and my daughter is now 9 years old. Erika, the only thing you can really do is put your foot down and let her know that while you appreciate the fact that she feels too young to be a grandma that that is what she is. Remind her that you are the one who gave birth and that she can choose any other name EXCEPT for Mama or Mommy because you alone have that right. I wish you the best of luck! :)

Lisa - posted on 04/19/2010

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Wow, this is totally disrespectful to you as a mother, I would not stand for this! One time my son said Momma to get my attention and it was right in front of my mother, she turned around and asked me if it was ok for him to call her that too and I was livid. I explained to her that he was calling out for me and it was not directed to her. Her name became Meemaw which I figured out later my son derived it from him saying Mommy over and over again, if you say the syllables backwards it sounds like Maw-Mee. I earned the title Momma from both of my children and I would not tolerate this in the slightest. Do not let that woman do that to you I don’t care how much she loves your son, this sounds a little bit like the movie “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”!!

[deleted account]

Its one thing to be so proud of your grandchild which is wonderful id love to have wonderful grandparents for my children who thought the world of them.



With that said you have to understand your limit as a mother in law your not the mother but Gran,nan or nanny what ever its called but not mama or mommy thats over stepping it.Put your foot down in a loving way as shes just so darn proud of her little grandson you cant blame her(even if shes a bit of a pain lol) feel blessed to have such loving people in your sons life.:-)

Kryss - posted on 04/18/2010

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Umm put your foot down and tell her to back off! I have a ten yr old and had this problem from day one since my son was born, i went through literal hell to get my point across and yeah it took almost every bit of 10 yrs...my mil was clingy and wouldnt stop till i stopped it...now she isnt and is allowed certain hrs with my son...when he wants to stay..gl with this bc i know the battle i had and im glad its over.

Melanie - posted on 04/18/2010

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A friend of mine's mother doesn't like to feel old either. She has her grand children call her Mamee. When I was pregnant I announced to all the grand parents that all names besides Grandma and Grammie were useless. I would call them by those names and therefore so would my child. When I saw the hurt look on their faces. (I did this to each one seperately) I asked if there was something I might consider. One asked to be called Nana. I told her that was fine but to expect the occasional "G bomb" lol I tell my daughter "We are going to visit your grandma, Nana."
I don't know if this will help. Because I did that so early. But I think the long intro may make her realize that there's no avoiding the truth.

Erika - posted on 04/18/2010

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@ Elizabeth: my, we thought of the same thing...yes, having an MIL who's such a drama queen has made my already colorful life even more like of those in the movies. well she seems nice though until one gets to know her, she always has that nervous grin and laugh around me. although she's "kinda nice" in some ways, she still gets into my nerves a lot...well i can't blame her, we're from two different cultures (if that counts for an excuse) and luckily im not her daughter.

well hubby has had his share of talking to MIL about these concerns, but she never seems to understand nor even listen. i somehow pity hubby coz he's kind of caught in between considering that he's a good hubby to me and son to MIL, i even told him that i would not want him to choose between us but he's married now with a family on his own and he's gotta stand up for me and LO, right? told him that should things like this continue, he couldn't blame if i were to put my b*tchy side upfront. but of course that would spark a lifelong rift.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/18/2010

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Erika, you should start a blog. I'd read it. Hollywood would make a movie out of it. You'd be rich. :-)

Erika - posted on 04/18/2010

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hey beck, thanks for that...i sure will keep you guys updated about it...well, for now im thinking about cutting down the number of times MIL sees/visits LO (that includes convincing hubby too). you see, she comes over almost everyday/night, even if she sees all the lights in the house are switched off already for the evening (LO likes to sleep with minimal lights and noise), she'd come rapping at my window until i open the door for her, thereby waking up poor Keiran. it's annoying coz it takes so much to get LO into sleeping mode now that he's at the age with bursting energy.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/18/2010

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Oh my goodness....I did a double take on this post.

BOUNDARIES!!! This seems like something from the movies. If they do a sequel to monster-in-law...this will be part of it!

What does your husband think of this?

My suggestion is to put a big "heck no" to this. If she doesn't like to be called Grandma, you can find an alternative together. Grammie, Kiki, Mee-maw, Nanna....but "mommy, mom, momma, mother" are off limits, reserved only for you.

You have to be the biggest sweetheart to be even be questioning this.

Good luck!!!

Erika - posted on 04/18/2010

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Tasha: thank you for that, am i glad i was able to make you smile at the thought of that term..yup, i am from the Philippines, and the terms "mawmaw", "memaw", "emaw" are kids' terms for "halimaw" which means "monster". isn't it just so apt sometimes? actually, grandmoms here are generally called "lola" by their grandkids, and yes MIL does not like to be called "lola"....how cool is that right? only if she knows that "lola" is pretty name (well, for me at least) across the globe.

Christi - posted on 04/18/2010

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umm hell no. you need to put your foot down and tell her. say look, i am so happy you love him and whatnot, but he is not your son, he is mine. he will call you grandma, meme, gigi, nanny whatever you like, but i am his mother and if you try and teach him to call you mama or mommy, we will have problems.

Kelli - posted on 04/18/2010

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I'd kill her. I am dealing with a somewhat similar situation with my MIL and I HATE HER. So soory you are going through this also!!!!!!

Tracey - posted on 04/18/2010

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yeah i think you need to put your foot down. things may have been different for your spouse back in the day, but not these days. if your not comfortable with it tell her. i'm sorry my MIL was the same age when my daughter was born and she had always wanted a girl i'm glad that she did not try and pull something like this. but you need to tell her how you feel now before your son learns to call her mommy/mama he's at that age that he can pick it up and you don't want that. plus your his mother she is grandma he may not understand who he is to show the proper respect too as a parent figure. cuz the grandparent names are there for the grandparent but there job is to love and spoil. the mom/mommy/mama/mother's roll is to parent her child. i would if it were me put my foot down NOW, that would not be okay in my book. i earned the right to that name. she has that with your spouse not her grandchild.

Beck - posted on 04/18/2010

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Hey I have never had this problem, but would love to know how it is working out for you and what you have done. Maybe your hubby needs to grow some balls and stand up to her about this as it is a issue of your heart. No offence to your hubby, I'm sure he is a wonderful man and loves you and his mum very much. Keep us posted

Rebecca - posted on 04/18/2010

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im sorry you are having this problem with your MIL. My SO parents are divorced and have remarried so my son has 3 sets of grandparents and they all asked that they have a certian name eg: MIL and FIL #1 are nanny and poppa. MIL and FIL #2 are granma and grandad and my parents are granma and pop. my grand mothers are GG(great granma) and old nana my SO grand parents are nana Bird and poppa Bird(their last name)

i would deffinatly put my foot down and say NO to wanting YOUR kids to call her mommy/mama

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