What to call a "step-grandmother"?

[deleted account] ( 179 moms have responded )

My son is 18 months old and we've gone far too long without having a "name" for him to call my father's wife.

I don't consider her a stepmother since my dad married her after I was already grown and I refer to her by her first name. It doesn't seem right for my son to call her "Grandma"... he already has 2 of those.

She is a big part of his life. She definitely loves him a lot and does a lot for him so this is something that I really want to figure out but I just can't seem to think of anything clever.

Anyone have suggestions for alternative "Grandma" names?

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Ima - posted on 04/13/2013

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I have not read through all 152 comments, but I have read quite a few. I am a Grandmother. Let me just say this: there are always extenuating circumstances that just might dictate what a step grandmother should be called.

If the step grandmother was the 'other woman' responsible for the breakup of the grandparents marriage I urge you parents to consider your Mother's or your Mother in Law's feelings on this. If you have a good relationship with her and you love her - talk to her about it to see how she feels. Yes, I am the Grandmother who was left behind and I do have a good relationship with my daughter. I would be crushed if I knew that her children were calling the other woman who broke up my marriage 'Grandma'. I say I would be because I'm really not sure 'what' they call her. I have my suspicions, but I don't know. It bothers me very much that I don't know - but I don't want to bring it up for fear she will get mad at me. I love her very much. So, I suffer in silence. I just think --- isn't it bad enough that the other woman stole my husband from me (and my grandchildren's grandfather) - does she have to steal the title that "I" earned too? The title that she did NOT earn?

[deleted account]

I have been with my husband since 96, married 14 of those years, and he is widowed. He has 2 grown sons who I have always considered my sons, and it was strained at first but after we got married we all got along wonderful. Both sons always treated me respectfully, and I got along best with the younger son. In 2012 the youngest got married to a girl he had only been seeing for a short time, but worked with and I thought she was a good person. As time went on he was more and more distant, even with his dad, not calling etc. At the wedding I was not included in any way, I was just a guest, and when they announced they were pregnant at Christmas they told my husband "get ready to be a Grandpa", but me nothing. Her father is out of the picture so she calls my husband dad, and of course the boys mother had passed away in 94. I can't have children due to health issues and being a Grandmother means everything to me - and sadly my husband is on his sons side. He gets upset that I feel this way, and was very upset at me during the wedding when I found out I wouldn't be involved. What do I do,I feel like I'm an outsider - it's so hurtful. I just feel like why can't the baby have 2 Grandmother's?

Michelle - posted on 04/20/2011

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i will one day be a step-grandma. my daughter is 21/2 and my husbands son is 24 from a long time ago relationship and I do hope that one day, eventhough he calls me by my first name, that I will still be gradma, or nana to his children. I am dutch so Oma will do. But do call her something respectfull. Try nana, or grammy

Lexi - posted on 04/23/2011

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My mom was dead set that no one call her grandma. "I AM NOT OLD!" lol We call her nana, and my husbands mom is grandma. I've heard other grandmas called g-ma, grammy, opa, abuelita, meemaw. I don't consider my mom's husband my step dad either. I was 24 and married when they got married. He's a good guy tho and we see them a lot since we live in the same town. My dad is Grandpa. My mom's husband is Grandpa Bruce. My mom wanted him to be called Papa or Poppy, but papa is what my son calls my husband. We are momma and papa.

I hate my dad's wife. (she's the one he cheated on my mom wife and abandoned our family for.... ahem, I'm not bitter or anything..... lol) I have not been able to stomach referring to her as grandma yet but thank God they live pretty far away and we've only seen them 4 times in my sons almost 2 years of life. I figure eventually, even though I don't like her I will have to get over my own issues for the sake of my son. She is nice to him and it's looking like she'll be around for the long haul. It's already been 9 years. Damn the first time I had to force myself to put my son in her arms I just about wanted to throw up. My dad and I have come along way in 9 years repairing our relationship and his wife *gag* really does seem to be trying hard. For my dad's sake I've had to fight to make myself include her in my sons life. In the end, it can't hurt my son to have one more person in his life who loves him.

My moms step mom was horribly cruel to her but she was nice enough to my brother and I and my Poppy was wonderful so we called her Nanny. My mom never once let on until we were adults and Nanny had passed away that they didn't like each other. We got to have a loving grandmother in our life despite their difficulties. I think sometimes as parents we just have to deal with things for the sake of our kids. It sounds like you are lucky in that your dads wife is very invested in your son and loves him so much. Do you think you could stomach "grandma" for her sake and your sons? Have you considered asking her what she would prefer to be called? You could approach it like "It's getting confusing having so many grandmas. Is there another name that you would enjoy having my son know you by?" She will probably be touched you asked and want to include her and I am sure it would make your dad really happy.

[deleted account]

The first thing my husband's step-mother said when we told them I was pregnant was, "I'm not Grandma! Don't call me Grandma!" For the first year of my son's life (he's 3), we tried calling her "Grandma Linda" and were told that wouldn't work. She kept insisting that he call her Linda but I was raised that children don't call adults by their first names. So one day my friend was over with her little girl and she was trying to get her daughter to tell me something that had happened in school regarding her teacher, whom she called Miss Mary. From then on, Jacob has called his step-grandmother Miss Linda and that's just how it is.



So maybe "Miss "?



Edited to add: This sounds like a good compromise for you because, like you said, you call her by her first name (like my husband does with HIS step-mom). That way the child is still showing respect for adults, and it will fit with what you already call her (whatever her first name is). Hope this helps :)

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Lilja - posted on 12/04/2014

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I have a stepdaughter who has a daughter which calls me grandma....she has 3 grandmas and she couldn't be happier....you can never have too many grandmas or too many people around you to love you

I'm not stealing any titles by being her grandma....the other grandmas won't be any less grandmas

Julie - posted on 11/12/2014

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I have 7 Children calling me Nanny or Nana. Only one is an actual blood relation. He now has a stepbrother who called me the same, and is shortly to have a new half brother, who I expect will do so too. Two are my step-daughters children, and there has never been any discussion on this, they have 3 sets of nanny's and grandads, but couple the titles with 'pet names' ie grandad with no hair, or grandad with lots of hair! (or nanny and grandad caravan!). And I have a soon to be daughter in law whose 3 children also call me Nanny. I love them all - there is no difference to my feelings for any of them, and I try to treat them all the same. Yes I have to limit the amount of what I spend on presents for them individually, but not the amount of love I have for them. And to be frank I wouldnt care what they called me, as they enrich my life so much I am honoured to be part of theirs.

Vikkilandry - posted on 11/06/2014

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I have a great friend whose children call their grandmother Gma. Love it. I am a step grandmother. My step daughter and friends have always called me V or Vivi when they were trying to sucker me into something. My step daughter called with the news of her pregnancy and asked what i wanted to be called. Her and her husband suggested Vivi and that is what I am. But her Mom, Dad, and step dad decided a long time ago that it was what was best for her.

Lauren - posted on 07/19/2014

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I have a Step Grandma (my dad's stepmom) and we call her Big Mom (since that's what her side of the family calls her so it kinda flowed over to my dad's side as well). I call my Maternal Grandmother (Grandma or Gram), and I called my Paternal Grandmother (Grandma or Grandma Dorothy) until her passing in 1998 or 1999. So, depending on if you have your son call your mother and mother in-law grandma or a variation of that. Then I think maybe you should have him call her either by her first name like you do, Nana, Oma, Mima(Mimaw/Miema/Miemaw)/Mema(MeeMa/Memaw)/Mee Maw(MeeMaw), shoot you can even have him call your stepmother Gram/Grammy/Grammi/Grammie (again depending on how you want to spell it) sure it's close to Grandma/Grandmother but it's your choice have him call her (your stepmother) whatever you and your husband prefer.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/08/2014

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My mother remarried right before my eldest was born, and her husband is grandpa. My hubby's mom remarried WELL after he was grown, and her husband was also grandpa.

The point is, the kid can never have enough love, and what's wrong with having more than one or two special people that fill that grandparent niche?

CProulx - posted on 07/08/2014

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I agree 100% with Yolanda.

I too have been blessed with two kids, which i haven't given birth too. When our oldest gave birth, I have taken two weeks off of my vacation, have been there nights taking care of her, her husband and her new born daughter. Both my husband and I have been preparing meals and cleaning their home. Her biological mother has done NOTHING!!!, so YES please do call me Grandma because that is who I am.

When we got married 10 years ago, we became one family. Our kids are bother and sisters and no one in our family considers the other a step something.

It is all about how you value, respect and love each other....that is a real family.

Yolanda - posted on 07/05/2014

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My step daughter had a baby, and I am GRANDMA....NOT STEP GRANDMA. I don't believe in step. If you have someone that truly loves you then remember FAMILY IS IN THE HEART!!! Blood family can cause a person to walk out into the middle of a freeway and kill himself! I am NOT the cause of the mother and father's break up. My stepdaughter's mother died when she was 3...I wasn't even in the picture 20 years ago when they met...We met 10 years ago. So don't punish me by calling me STEP GRANDMA. I'm just a part of my grandbabies life as any other BLOOD relative. This is so hurtful. I'll do anything for my daughter and grandbaby. Yep ...I called her DAUGHTER...NOT STEP DAUGHTER.!

Emily - posted on 03/19/2014

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My late husband passed away eight years ago, I have two grown daughters . I remarried two years later .One of my daughters had a little girl five years ago. She was raised being around my new husband, and she calls him grandpa and me grandma.My daughters call him their step dad.My husband also has two grown children, a son and a daughter from a previous marriage. Some times I feel sad cause his kids call me their dads wife, they don't see me as a step mom, but yet my own kids see him as their step dad. My husbands daughter just had a baby and for the look of things ,I guess the baby is going to call me by my first name too when he grows up. I would of like for them to see me as my daughters see my husband. I just feel like a stranger to his kids.Can any one give me an advise for feeling blue from this situation ?

Hoobobba - posted on 02/21/2014

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My mother remarried after I was grown up too and there was one thing, and one thing only I called his mother.. and that was GRANDMA! She was more of grandmother to me then my real grandmothers could ever think of being one. She was only in my life for a short while, like 5 years, but she made a huge impact, and I still miss her 6 years later, it sure doesn't seem that long ago. Did I have to call her grandma? No. I called her grandma, because she earned that right to be called that.

Catherine - posted on 01/09/2014

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My mom married a man when I was 22 my kids call him pop and my dad has been with the same women since I was 24. They have been together 5 yrs. My kids call her memaw they both act like there true grandparents so they call them grandparents names You might like me me, Memaw, mamaw, nana, mom mom, Hope some if these name help

Claudia - posted on 01/08/2014

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I have this same problem, but this is how I deal with it. I have been knowing my dad's wife since I was very young because her daughter and son were my childhood friends. It's a long story but my mom passed away from cancer in 2010, and her husband passed away also from cancer in 2012. I guess since my dad and the lady felt lonely they decided to get together. She's also a huge part of my son's life since she helped me after labor and babysitting him while i am in school (college). I have always referred to her as "the lady"( la senora), and although it sounds rude in English is a sign of respect in Spanish. My son is very young but when he points at my dad I do refer to him as Grandpa (abuelito), but when he points at my dad's wife I just refer to her as "la senora". It's kind of weird but I do show him pictures of my mom and refer to her as abuelita. I just do not feel comfortable with my son calling her grandma,

Melanie - posted on 01/07/2014

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I think we humans complicate things for ourselves. Between my partner and I we have 6 young adult children, who all will likely bring the next generation into our home and our lives in the near future. If infidelity "counts" in grand-parental rights, as some have pointed out, what about when Mom is the one who deserted the family? Does that give us the right to strip her of her Grandma privileges? I think not, Mom can choose first.

I've been wondering about this lately and I'm glad I stumbled upon this question as it has reminded me to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)! I need to remember that kids aren't born knowing what the word Grandma means, they learn what it means by what they experience. So who cares what they call me? As long as that word makes them feel warm and safe inside, that's all that matters in the end.

We gather all our adult children together whenever we can, and I would expect that our kids' kids will grow up to consider each other "cousins", in which case I would love it if all of our "grandchildren" could call us the same thing because for us, family gatherings means all of us.

Maybe they can all call us Ma and Pa, Spaghetti and Meatball, Bubble and Squeak, Minnie and Mickey, Marge and Homer, Cheech and Chong even lol.. really it doesn't matter too much. It is, after all, all about the little ones! :)

Theresa - posted on 12/21/2013

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I, also, have been stggling with this same issue. My former husband and his wife were scarce in my son's life when he was growing up. The stipend that I received each month as his contribution toward my son's needs, was more than he could live with. His money was, and is
still very dear to him.
His wife was unkind to my son when he did visit,
and any mother would be bothered by that. His
father worked less than a mile from us all through
his high school years, and couldn't even manage
to call and/or meet him for a burger...or a latte, or
water for that matter.
I always predicted through these years that when his monetary obligation had ended, his father would become interested. He has a daughter with
this woman who was given anything she wanted. My son was hurt, but I tried to make up for his
dad's shortcomings.
I have always maintainted a extremely close
relationship with my son, even after his dad
began making a "showing". (I was right about
when that would be.) Until...my son met and
quickly married a new young woman. They had
my first granddaughter the following year. Since
then, his father's wife has become Grandma. I am
called Mimi, which was my choice, but I believe
that ANY such title...is just that...a title. We Earn
titles, and I just don't believe that marrying a man who hsppened to have procreated prior to your marrying, is EARING any title in my precious litttle family!. I, however, have no say in the matter, but I
DO have strong feelings about it. My
dil and my son have that final say. I have just
been hurt, and quite honestly, am shocked by my
reaction. I never wanted to be a meddlesome
mother OR in law.
I really don't think I am. It's just become a bit more cruel since in FB postings to my son and dil SHE refers to MY granddaughters as "Grandna's little girls", and "our family".
Raising my son was a wonderful blessing in my life. Easy, it was not! I can't understand whst adult gave her this title, as children learn ffrom what they're fed.
This seems to be a delimna!!! Give me some positives to help me get ok with this...or...share opinions or solutiins.
Thanks a bunch! Mimi
My keyboard is misbehaving. Please overlook or forgive.

Kristin - posted on 11/12/2013

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Ok, so I just found out today that my stepdaughter is having a baby, she is 19 years old and my husband and I were actually just joking about this topic which led me here, the true grandmother should always be asked first what she would like to be called and then later figure out the step grandmother. I am 39 years old and would be just fine with the child calling me by my first name.

Aguilar_helen - posted on 11/11/2013

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If she broke up a marriage, she should NOT have the honor of calling herself grandma, nana, boo boo ya ya... nothing.

Beverley - posted on 10/31/2013

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You should be asking your stepmother what she would like to be called. No matter what she is still your stepmother. The relationship she has with your kids is up to her n your kids. You don't have to call her stepmom thats between you n her, but your confussing the issue, not the children.

Kathy - posted on 10/24/2013

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Am curious if anyone else has found the children being confused on just who is this woman - the step-grandmother. This has just come up in my family. My husband has 2 daughters. They've never really referred to me as their step-mother. I am "my father's wife". I've been in the family for 25 years, joining over 10 years after their parents divorced. They each have 2 children. One has her children call me Grandma K and the other daughter's children call me by my first name, Kathy. The 6-year old who calls me Kathy asked the other day "are you my aunt"? She knows I am more than just a family friend but can't place how I fit. I feel bad for the children because they don't understand these adult relationships and things don't need to be so complicated.

Lilla - posted on 05/28/2013

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My mom died when I was 13 and my father found a girlfriend straight away. They are still together (18 years on) but never got married and never lived together (they live next door to each other and he spends all his time there but sleeps at his home). She wasn't involved in my life and when I went back home to give birth she wasn't interested to take part in my daughter's life either. So we call my mom "mama" (my dd likes to talk about her) and my hubby's mom "granny" and my dad's girlfriend we call by her first name.

D - posted on 05/23/2013

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It broke your heart to hear that? Well Grandmas love to hear it.. You obviously don't like the woman..

D - posted on 05/23/2013

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You don't want her to be called grandma,,,that's the problem...get over yourself...she'sa grandma...

Jennifer - posted on 05/17/2013

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This comment has helped me today. I knew no one else who could have this same problem. On learning today that my ex husband's wife is calling her self Grandma to my 16 month old Grandson has broken my heart. I waited excitedly to be called that name just like my mother before me. I've earned this in a kind and considerate way and being a good parent to my son. Life can be hard. !!

Lisa - posted on 04/03/2013

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My fiancé and I have been together 11 years. Our children call each of us by our first names. His daughter had a child 3 years ago. Since we are not married but live together I found myself in a similar dilemma. Since the child already has 2 grandmas, I decided I would like something different but not my first name. Since my name is Lisa, I am known as LiLi. Works fine for me. I still feel I have respect without needing the title grandma.

Lesli - posted on 03/11/2013

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I wanted to thank you for the response. It was helpful. I've decided not to worry so much about how I feel and focus on my child's feelings. I know his step mom has his best interest in mind. As long as he's happy and comfortable I will let him call her anything he wants. (within reason) I think it will be Grandma and the the last name. If he's happy then I'm happy.

Haley - posted on 03/10/2013

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*I guess with the first situation, we never knew the other grandmother and calling Grandpa's wife "Grandma" wasn't disrespectful to her. Whereas with the other grandparents, they were all still living and not in any hurry to feel replaced? I have no idea, that's just always what we were told to call them.
In my situation with my husband's family and our kids, my husband's parents are divorced and his dad is remarried. When our kids came along, his dad's wife picked a non-traditional nickname saying "she's too young to be grandma." But I like to think that I know her pretty well, and I think that she also wanted to respect the fact that, while she's married to Grandpa, their grandmother is still around.

Haley - posted on 03/10/2013

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Let's see. My father's father was a widower when my father was still a child, and remarried when he and his brothers were teens. It's hard to remember because they passed when I was 6 or 7, but I think we just called his wife Grandma; my mother's parents divorced when the kids were grown, and both remarried. We've always called their spouses Grandma-Firstname and Papa-Firstname.

Angela - posted on 03/05/2013

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My friend (who is NOT Russian, by the way!) wanted to be known as Baboushka when her first grandchild was born!

We have a grandchild (my son's daughter) whose mother is Swedish, so the Swedish grandmother is known by the Swedish term for Grandma - "Mormor". My ex-husbands widow and I are both "Grandma".

Grace - posted on 03/04/2013

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I think "Nana" is nice. That's what I suggested to my step mother in law.

Rachael - posted on 03/01/2013

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He's too young to identify her as "non-family," so just go with "Grandma", or pick a different grandmother name - Nana, Bubbie, Meemaw, Gammy, Gran, etc. My husband's grandparents were all Grandma and Grandpa . We call my sons' great grandmother Grandma , even though he has a plain Grandma (her daughter and my mom). He'll be at least 4 or 5 before he might question why he has 3 Grandmas, but that'll be pretty common as divorced people remarry. I've known kids with 4 grandmothers because all the divorced grandparents remarry.

Lesli - posted on 02/25/2013

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Let me start by saying that I am a father on my wife's account. My wife has a step mother that likes to spend a lot of time with our child. Sometimes I think she over does it a little bit. She calls on a weekly basis and says she is having withdraws from our child and she needs to see them. My father-in-law and wife's step mother only live a couple of blocks away so to stop in every now and then isn't really a big deal except she acts like this is "her" grandchild. She talks to her friends and family like it's her actual grandchild. She also posts pics and says look at my grandson.
This lady has two children of her own and they both decided not to have kids. So it just feels like she always wanted to be a grandma and she is going to take full advantage of the situation.
Now I guess I should say that my mother recently passed away from cancer and I am very sad that he doesn't have his real grandma. I know they would have been great friends. I know my mother passing has a lot to do with my feelings but I think it's more than just that. I just wondered if anyone thinks I'm being selfish or if anyone has an opinion at all. Thank you.

Julie - posted on 02/23/2013

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I had a step grandmother and she treated me like a step grandchild, if you know what I mean. I your step mother acts like a grandma she has earned the moniker. My kids call their great grandma "grandma" and they have three grandmas and she's the one they are closest to. If you need a separate name try Nana or Oma or Meemaw. What's in a name really, a grandma by any other name is still just as sweet.

Jamie - posted on 02/20/2013

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I have a step mom and my kids call her 'me maw'. This way she has her own special title between child and step grandparent. You may be surprised at how much a step grandparent can do for the kid. My daughter adores my step mom. She also loves her grandmas. Both of them. 'Nani' is also a good title for her. Justa couple of suggestions for you.

Amy - posted on 02/20/2013

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I don't think you can have too many grandparents. My kids have 4 grandpas and 3 grandmas due to both sets of our parents being divorced and all but one remarried. I just say if she is going to be part of their family and attend birthdays, holidays, etc. then calling her grandma shouldn't be a big deal. My kids are so blessed to have so many and I frequently say, I didn't realize there was a benefit to your parents being divorced until I had kids! My kids call them Grandma first name and Papa first name i.e. Papa Jim, Grandma Dianne and have no issue with this whatsoever.

Amy

Liz - posted on 02/19/2013

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If you love someone it doesnt matter what you call them. If it is a step or not if it is a grandma its grandma. Why such a fuss. Love is love right! He doesnt love one or the other any different...he doesnt even know what grandma means at this point and she could be gone by the time he does know! Appreciate the time and love she gives him ,not a name! I know kids that have step parents and they dont call them HEY step mom or dad.

Sarah - posted on 02/19/2013

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I think I would ask her what she would like to be called...but I like the idea of something like "Mom-Mom _____" with her name

Janette - posted on 02/18/2013

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my daughter calls my mother's husband, Grampie. He is not my biological father, but is her grampie. Those "names" are not about blood, but about a feeling. About how the person treats your child. And how they view your child. If this person views your child as a grand child,, then they are a grandparent...My next door neighbor, growing up, was not related at all, just a family friend. And to this day, I still consider her another grandma, and her husband was a grandpa. A name, is just a name, its how they feel about each other that matters. Why cant your child have another grammie, grandma, grams, anything of the sort!

Lauren - posted on 02/18/2013

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I don't see why your child can't have 3 Grannies! In this day and age I would WELCOME another Granny to help! If she is a part of his and loves him...wouldn't it be great for her to be called Granny. I reckon you shouldn't make an issue of it. In days gone by, your neighbours children were your own, your brother's children were your own and your children had many many aunts most of whom were not related....sadly this has changed

Victoria - posted on 02/18/2013

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Have him call her nana. or what ever the other grandchildren call her, do not make an issue of it, then she will feel different and can sort of exclude her from being part of the family. I have 5 grandchildren, and they all call me the same thing, and the two oldest were from previous relationships of my daughter in laws. they each have a grandma, and then me NANA. I love them all the same.

Victoria Ingram
WA State

Kristy - posted on 02/18/2013

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Im going to have the same problem come april when my father in law marrys a woman my husband kids and i have only met twice. they already have 5 other nannies nans and grandmas that the kids get confused with due to broken marrages etc, what to do what to do????

Bethany - posted on 02/17/2013

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My kids call my grandfathers wife by her name. She was so thrilled they picked up on it I don't think she cares that she doesn't have a "name". If one day they come up with another name I think that would be fine with all of us but I don't think certain names for grandparents should be pushed on children.

Alberta - posted on 02/17/2013

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"NaNa" maybe. She should have a special name but you may want to talk to your dad and just say to him you don't feel your child should call her Grandma but what would he think if the child called her something else such as: Nana, or whatever you decide.

You don't want to hurt her either because she is technically Grandma even if it is not your biological mother she holds that position of special to your father so don't offend!

Jessica - posted on 02/17/2013

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I'll be honest and say that I think it's a little unfair to try and create another name for her just because she isn't your mother. I grew up with a grandpa who isn't my mamas dad but he was the best grandpa ever and I think he deserved to be called grandpa. My parents are the same way with my 2 year old step daughter. She calls them grandma and grandpa because that's that they are to HER which is what matters. To your son the name you give won't mean anything, what will matter is how she treats him and that is how you should see it. She is HIS grandparent, not your parent. Just think of how you would feel if you were her.

Renee - posted on 01/31/2013

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As a biological grandmother, this has become an issue for me in my family. I am surprised when this question emerges and hardly anyone thinks to ask the person who is most affected by it-the bio grandma (or grandpa). My ex husband has promoted calling his new wife "Grandma". She promotes it too. I am offended and hurt. I am remarried too and have never promoted that my husband be called just "Grandpa" out of respect for my ex. I would be ok with the term grandma plus the qualifying first name, but I want the distinction of being just "Grandma".

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