Full Time Stepmom to a 5 year old boy

User - posted on 05/20/2014 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My fiancee has physical custody of his 5 year old son. The child's mother is very unstable (does not have a job, never has a permanent residence) and is also very unreliable and inconsistent. She is scheduled to pick up her son every weekend but often times, she wont show up, up until recently (about a month or so). About 2 months ago, my fiancee and his son moved in with me, and I have taken up the role as "mom" because his son has decided, on his own, to call me mom. I cook, I clean, I read him stories, take him to school, teach him things, etc. I made it very clear to him that he could call me whatever he wanted, but that he does not HAVE to call me mom (when my fiancee and I were dating, he called me by my first name). A few weeks ago, the little boy came home from visiting his birth mother, and he told my fiancee and I that his mom told him that he is not allowed to call me mom because she told him that he would get in trouble. I decided to have a conversation with the BM about this and she told me that her son had told her that we (his dad and I) told him that he would get in trouble if he didn't call me mom. I am having a hard time knowing who to believe, since I have no children of my own and the fact that she is SEVERELY unstable, and I wouldn't put it passed her to blame her son to cover her own butt. Anyways, I guess my question is, does anyone have any experience like this, or advice for stepparenting full time, and if he really may be lying and why he would be lying?

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Ariana - posted on 05/20/2014

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At age 5 it's quite possible he mentioned that he called you mom and then backtracked if his mom questioned him on it. My kid is 4 1/2 and sometimes lies about stuff for no good reason so it wouldn't exactly be a new thing.

On that note I personally believe children should be able to call whoever, whatever BUT I am also a big believer in respecting parents wishes for their children (as long as no abuse is happening, of course). If his mother is really uncomfortable with you being called Mom, no matter how unstable she is or how irrational it be, I feel you should respect that. As a mother I would want people to respect my wishes (although I personally wouldn't have a problem with that specific issue) and I feel if you were a mother you would feel the same way in reference to your child.

You talked to the mom calmly and it's quite possible she's on the other side saying my son told me my ex and his fiance are forcing him to call this woman Mom and she says they never did that but I don't know.... She could be saying the exact same thing you are in reverse.

Either way whether he calls you Mom or not doesn't take away from the fact that you are an important role model in his life. When he's older he will remember who did what and you can simply say I want to respect your moms wishes. I think if anything that will just show him in the future that you're a caring person and when he's older if you show his mom respect (whether you feel she deserves it or not) he's going to realize what's what when he's older.

But like I said, why make a big issue out of something that really isn't as big a deal as we all make it out to be. You are with her son full-time, if anything you're the one winning in this. Let her keep the name 'mom'. It's obviously more important to her than you and she probably doesn't have much else. Do you really want to power struggle over this of all things? Wait until there's something that's REALLY important to you to fight for.

Michelle - posted on 05/20/2014

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Like the other ladies said, you don't need to talk to her about anything, that's your fiance's job.
In the end does it really matter who said what? You just let your stepson know that it's up to him what he calls you but he does still have his Mother. You have to make sure that he knows who she is and that you aren't there to replace her.

Ariana - posted on 05/21/2014

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Yeah you handled it really well.

Look, my son is like 4 1/2 and for a little while he started yelling that he HATED ME. and I was just making this the WORST DAY OF HIS LIFE... and that's my biological son. I just laughed... I might have said I don't care once which may not be the most appropriate response... so yeah you're fine...

He doesn't say he hates me anymore cause I just ignored him and followed through with whatever thing it was he was mad about. Kids say things to try and one up you, it isn't a personal attack, just remember that. If you stay calm and show it doesn't effect you then the words have no control and you can stay in control as the adult that you are.

If anything it just shows he's a smart kid trying to play it up. Shows intelligence haha!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/21/2014

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You did just fine, Victoria! I'd have handled it about the same, maybe reminding him that what his 'other' mom does and what you do are two different things, and that you like to make your time special with him by doing different things.

Also let him know that you are ok with him referring to you as Victoria when he's with his mom, so that he won't upset her when he's with her, but that he's still welcome to call you whatever he's comfortable with.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/20/2014

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Let your fiancee handle her. He can explain to her that the child made his own choice in what to call you.

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Ev - posted on 05/21/2014

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This is what you get when you have a child who asks you none stop from the age of two.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/21/2014

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Probably so, Evelyn. I'm still giggling about the 'ask your dad' part though...

Ev - posted on 05/21/2014

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She was I guess. They were 3 and 1 when she got married and she hardly sees them now. And my son does not really count them as sisters. I think it has to do with the step mom more than anything.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/21/2014

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Oh my...was she happy that she finally had a sis?

Ev - posted on 05/21/2014

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I do not even know if she ever asked her dad at 13. But he divorced that woman and remarried six months later to the current one. When my daughter was a senior in high school, her dad and step mom had a girl. And two years later in college, she became big sis again. The age difference with the youngest girl is 20 years.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/21/2014

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LOL...Evelyn, I wonder how her dad handled that request! That was an awesome answer!

Ev - posted on 05/21/2014

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Victoria--I would agree with the others you handled that one good. You said and did all the right things. Let me give you a couple of examples of things my kids wanted me to do not unlike this but not totally like it either.

My daughter at age 13 asks me if she can have a baby sister. Keep in mind that I am not married to her dad anymore nor in any type of relationship. I tell her to ask her dad for that as he is married.

My son, just last night, asked me first thing without greeting on IM if I ordered his game he was wanting. I told him I had and it might be a week getting here. He went nuts. I asked him if he wanted me to cancel the order. He got quiet.

Even if it is not with the other mom or step parent or parent, I called it like it was though with my daughter it was a bit more comical as she was asking for a baby sister since the age of 2.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/21/2014

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And don't worry about the snit he was in...That's pretty normal 5 year old behaviour when they're told 'no'.

Keep up the excellent work ;-)

User - posted on 05/21/2014

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Thank you. I just get so nervous, I want to be the BEST possible stepparent I can be. My stepmom and I didn't get a long until about last year (I am 24, she's been around since I was 9) and it has been really hard to mend that relationship given our history. I want his experience with me to be different and positive :)

User - posted on 05/21/2014

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Great input ladies! Thank you. Now I do need some advice on him saying, "well my other mom let's me do (this)" It just happened this morning, I don't let him eat McDonalds because I don't think it's good for you, and I cook healthy food that he likes at home, every night during the week, when he is with us. This morning he says, I want McDonalds, so I just said, "No, bud, we are going to daycare because I have to work." Right away (and he has NEVER done this before when we tell him no) he says, "well my OTHER mom lets me have McDonalds!" and I just responded with, "well, when you go to your other mom's, you can ask her to take you to McDonalds" then he had an attitude for the rest of the morning. I dropped him off, gave him a hug and kiss and told him I loved him and he just said bye. Am I handling this ok? I am sure he will get over it by the time I pick him up, but I am a little hurt. I guess this just goes back to him realizing what is best for him when he is older.

Ev - posted on 05/20/2014

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I would let his father deal with his mother on this one though I would make it known to him that it was his son's choice to call you mom. I would not try to talk to the mother myself as it would lead to a lot of other issues later. Let him tell her.

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