calling step-mom mom

Annie - posted on 02/08/2011 ( 210 moms have responded )

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I was divorced a little over three years ago. My ex-husband remarried about eight months after we divorced. My ex and I have two wonderful children together. I have learned that my children are to call their step-mom mom and me, their real mom, by my first name. They know that I am their mother. How do I deal with this issue with out blowing it out per portion?

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My girls spent 2.5 weeks w/ their father and his wife this past summer and came home referring to her as Mommy and me by my first name. I put a stop to that REAL fast. I simply explained to them that they will have many special people in their lives, but that they will only ever have ONE dad and ONE mom. Everyone else needs their own special names.

Carolyn - posted on 02/08/2011

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id flip a shit ! but i would sit down with my children and explain to them who "mom" is , and how important it is to me to be their mom. I would try to instill how special between me and my children that word is and how much it means to me to have them call me mom as opposed to my first name.

I would do this very tactfully and avoid getting into she is not your mom bla bla bla... I would focus more on how special it is to be their mom, and have cared for them as babies etc.

again i would do this very carefully to avoid making the children feel guilty or anything of that sort, or seem as though i am trying to coerce them.

id also ask them why they call her mom and what that means to them in a very calm and easy going way, seeming more curious than inquisitive or offended.

i dont know if i explained myself right.

Laura - posted on 02/09/2011

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Emotions run high in situations like this. The first thing to do is understand the emotions behind the comments/instructions to your kids. Dad (and step-mom) may be dealing with insecurities, anger, etc. Their instructions to your kids may be an attempt to create security for themselves by down-playing your role. It may also be a way for them to keep the "moms" straight when the kids are in their care: If step-mom wishes to be "mom" then your ex and she need a way to differentiate you from her. Thus the use of your first name by the kids. Try not to take this personally! You cannot control your ex's behavior/emotions, all you can do is control your own.

With that in mind, simply tell the kids that calling you by your first name is NOT okay outside of their dad's house; you are their mom and will be refered to as such when they are with you. They can call their step-mom "mom" when they are with her since those are the "rules" when staying with dad. Let them know that you have rules, too, and since you are their biological mom that is what you wish to be called when they are with you. It may seem like this would confuse them, but actually having rules/structure in place for them that are clear and enforced takes a lot of the guilt and burden off of them.

Finally, you should discuss this with your ex. Let him know that you do not want the kids refering to you by your first name. Suggest an alternate name/title that they could use when with your ex that would distinguish you from step "mom". Examples might be "mama", "mama Annie", "mommy", etc. Find something that you are comfortable with and suggest it. Remember that you cannot control what your ex does but that doesn't mean you can't strongly suggest otherwise! If he insists, consider dropping the issue. You will need to pick and choose your battles with your ex about your kids as they grow and there will most likely be more important issues where you will need to stick to your guns on. So set the rules for when the kids are with you, try to discuss this with your ex and be prepared to drop the issue so you can save your energy for the big battles. Hope this helps and good luck!

Jodi - posted on 02/08/2011

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Has someone coached them to do this? IMO, it should be their choice and they should never be told what they are to call someone like this. Do you not have custody? And I don't think voicing your opinion on this being inappropriate is blowing it out of proportion. I'd be absolutely FURIOUS if my ex did that to our son. How old are the children?

Louise - posted on 02/09/2011

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I think realistically that you should be mum and if they feel comfortable enough to call this other women mum then that is fine as well. But I would go nuts if they started to call me by my first name. It is a very unusual circumstance to have your child choose to call you by your first name it sounds to me like they have been coached. I would sit down with your kids and tell them that you do not mind what they call this other woman but you are mum. This will take the pressure off of them. I think if they have a mother child relationship with this woman then they will automatically call her mum in time but if they are being forced to do this to massage egos then this is wrong.

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Joanne - posted on 02/20/2011

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I am on the other side of this issue as I was the step. My step children are grown now and we are very close - I hope due to the fact that I always tried to put them first. When my step-son, at the age of 5, asked if he could call me mom, I responded that I couldn't imagine how his mom would feel about that since that had been her "name" for so long. I suggested that he call me by my name for the time being at least, but that we could be just like a mom and son and love each other the same in spite of our "names." Although calling me mom was originally his idea, I think he actually felt relieved with the solution. Maybe it would be best to discuss it with your ex, or even his wife, to see if you could come to a better solution - maybe having a different "mom" name for her. This has to be so confusing, and probably quite unsettling, for the children. I hope you have better luck with talking to your ex as my husband's ex was very bitter and put the kids right in the middle of every possible bad situation to try to make it worse so the kids would be unhappy; she thought they would be unhappy with me and my husband and not want to visit. That didn't happen. And I will say that to this day my step-children thank me for taking their feelings into consideration and putting them before all else. My best advice to you is to try to create a situation where the adults (and I mean all the adults, as it affects you all) sit down and discuss issues that come up and leave the kids to be kids and not worry about what should be adult issues, because at some point your ex and his wife will be, for the most part, out of your life, and what will be left is what you have created with your children. I hope you can look forward and not back. I wish you luck. Find peace and contentment in your life and help your children share that. Your happiness is a true gift to give your children, as they will reap the rewards!

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They should not call you by your first name, it is disrespectful and I bet your ex knows this. As far as the step-mom as everyone else has expresse they should call her what they want. My kids do call my husband dad but the situation is that they do not know their biological father he's never been around. It was also their choice to call him dad. It was probably a year before the middle one called him dad and two before my oldest did. My little one always called him dad but he was only 2 when I met my husband.

Christina - posted on 02/20/2011

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In some cases in the divorce papers when it comes to referring to step-parents it is forbidden for the parents to refer to the step-parents as mom or dad. You might want to check your paperwork, and then bring it up with your ex depending on what you find. Other than that sit down with the kids and tell them the low-down at your house. Hopefully this helps!

Patty - posted on 02/20/2011

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I would say it like it is as their biological Mother you do not want them calling you by your first name you have that right

Autumn - posted on 02/20/2011

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May I add that my husband, from age 5 on up, grew up with his step-mom and real dad - while his real mom lived out of state and had personal issues that kept her from having custody. When she recovered, he was about 8 yrs old. She did not try to get custody, and she did see him/host his visits on all the major holidays. However, no one told him what to call either woman. And he did not want to get in trouble, or hurt anyone's feelings. So, he chose to call neither one anything. He stopped using the name 'Mom' altogether. (Is that 'detachment'?)

I can't even begin to explain or even understand how hurtful that must have been for everyone involved, including my husband, but as an example of pain - my husband began therapy before we even married, to try and sort some of this out - because he had trust issues and commitment issues - Both of these women are smart, thoughtful, college- educated people who had complicated lives and did not want to tell him what to do or say, much less how to feel - but he ended up feeling lost and abandoned anyway. They are both still in his life, the women are perfectly cordial to each other, and everyone interacts at the grandkids birthdays, etc, but my husband still resorts to his old habit of never saying 'Mom'. It's subtle, and heartbreaking. I think names are important. You only get one mom, and that should be inviolate. You are Mom. She is 'first name'. Period.

Danna - posted on 02/20/2011

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I have a student in my class that calls her birth/real mom, Mommy and her step Mom, Mommy Carrie. Both are very good role models in her life and love her the same. I think it is respectful for both parties.

Elissa - posted on 02/20/2011

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It's up to your children what they wish to call their stepmother -- neither you, your ex, nor she can dictate that. You can, however, ask that your children continue to call you what they always have. Your children will decide what sort of relationship they will have with any step parents, so long as they remain respectful. Trying to force anything (good or bad) will only make the kids resentful.

Jennifer - posted on 02/20/2011

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you would not be blowing it out of per portion. I am going through a divorce right now and i have had the conversation with him that i had better not find any of them him or his new girlfriend or her family trying to tell my daughter to call her mom every one is of the agreement that the new girlfriend will be called by her first name. you are the mother and you earned the right by having them to be called mother or mom not her the should be calling her by her first name not you. Until the kids are older and decide they want to call her something else.

Barbara - posted on 02/20/2011

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Sounds like you SHOULD blow it out of preportion! YOU'RE their mom, unless you're not involved in their lives I'd suggest you have a serious talk to your X husband about this!!! I'd personally be peeved!

Janice - posted on 02/20/2011

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This is an issue to be discussed firstly with the adults involved in this situation and to not put the children in the middle. If this continues, this will hurt the children, it makes them feel divided and they will wind up feeling torn. Every parent involves deserves respect in this situation but whatever decision is made the children then needs to be brought into the situation and discussed calmly. This is something that has hurt me deeply about my own children and I will be praying for you. I know I have had problems with my mother and I would not think of calling her anything else. Think about this----calling your mother anything else can cause a detachment and that is SERIOUS!!!

Beverly - posted on 02/20/2011

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Well I think that is an option that you give the child. Both of my parents remarried but I was 9 at the time, so I never called them Mom or Dad I called them by their first name. I would try to have a civil discussion with the ex and tell him that they could choose another choice because Mom is reserved for you.

Amy - posted on 02/20/2011

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I have a step son and I explained to him I don't want to be his mum, or step mum, we can be friends, he can come to me if he needs anything and now at 17 he tends to come to me first! I don't agree with kids calling step parents mom, mummy etc, they are not their mom, they are the fathers wife/girlfriend...
I had my dad try to force me to call his wife mum and i refused, he never spoke to me til they split up 6 years later!!

Katie - posted on 02/20/2011

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Absolutely not. You need to address the adults about it though. Offensive and disrespectful. My stepmom would be mortified, and she and I are very close.

Kurious - posted on 02/20/2011

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my step kids call me momma, they call their birth mom, mommy. they refer to both of in the first name while at the other house. both myself and the birthmom have other children that are younger. the kids picked what they wanted to call us. they know what it true and they just want to fit in to what is "normal" at both houses. my husband and I have been together for over 9 years and have custody the entire time. I would say to you be as in their lives as you possibly can. call, write letters, what ever you can do. call their school. know their teachers. if you live in the same town, volunteer as much as possible at their school. dont worry what they call some one else. i also called my step mom, mom.

Michelle - posted on 02/20/2011

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Screw him and his bimbo wife....NO ONE has the right to make your children call you or her ANYTHING! I am a step-mom and a mom. My birth children actually call me "Shell" (short for Michelle, my first name) because they grew up hearing my step-daughter call me that. I never forced her to call me mom, or my children to call me mom. In my head when I hear "Shell" I know it means mom. In your case, assuming they are old enough, I would definitely sit down with them and tell them you are their mother and it is impolite to call you by your first name, and refuse to answer to it. As far as what they call the bimbo, I would tell them to call her whatever they feel comfortable with. You do realize this is all about jealousy and power because your ex is afraid of you, right?? ;)

Colleen - posted on 02/20/2011

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WOW, that is ridiculous! I am a step-mom and a mom, yet my step-children call me by my name and my children call me mom! I would never teach my step-children to call me anything other than by my first name. If they slip up and call me mom a couple times, that's a whole didn't story! Children need to know that it is okay to love both of their parents and should not be forced to do something because it makes the parents feel good about themselves. I would try to talk to the children about in a calm way about how you are their "mom" and she is their "step-mom" and should be addressed by her first name!

Kim - posted on 02/20/2011

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First of all, depending on how old your children are, I would talk to them about it and find out how that makes them feel. Make sure that you convey to them that it is ok with you if they call her "Mom" if that is what they want to call her. It is not ok for them to have to call her "Mom" if they don't want to, but if they want to, then they should be able to. It is very disrespectful for their father to make them call you by your first name. It sounds like he is trying to make them choose and it is totally unfair to them. Have a conversation with them first to see what they really want and then have a conversation with your ex to see if you can resolve this on their behalf.

I had 2 wonderful step-parents growing up and I called them mom and dad. I loved knowing that, no matter whose house I was at, I had two loving parents. My parents NEVER demanded that I call my step-parent that, it just felt right.

Now that I'm a parent, I have a son from my first marriage and two daughters with my current husband. We have let my son know that, while he doesn't have to call his step-dad "Dad", it is ok with us if he wants to. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. We never make a big deal out of it. The thing about it is that it is up to the kids and NO ONE should make them do something that they don't want to do or makes them uncomfortable. Good luck and remember to keep a calm head in this situation.

Marcie - posted on 02/20/2011

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NO WAY! If they are to her "mom" then they should do the absolute same to you - first name ??WHAT?? that's is shocking. I would not allow it. First name sounds disrespectful

Mary Alice - posted on 02/20/2011

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By "their problem," I meant your ex's and his wife's, not your children's. They should not be a part of your conversation with the adults.

Mary Alice - posted on 02/20/2011

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You are their mother. Period. They can choose what to call stepmom, but you are Mom. Always will be. They may call her "Mom" out of habit, and I know that will be hard to hear. But you will have to carry the pain yourself and not make them feel guilty about it. I am not a stepmom, nor do my children have one, so this is not a personal grudge. You are Mom. Telling your ex this is just stating the situation as it is. You have a right to do this. If it "stirs things up," this is not your problem; it is theirs. Let the children know that your love for them and your relationship to them is unconditional. Do not let this become their burden. I admire your attitude of not wanting to "blow things out of proportion," but this is an over-the-top request by your ex. 'WAY over the top!!

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You speak to your ex and his spouse, without the presence of children and without anger. Be firm and polite you are Mom ( if that is what your children have called you) the spouse and your ex can, with the input of your children decide what to call her. Be nice about it..but these are your children and you don't want them stuck in the middle of his power play.

Latoya - posted on 02/20/2011

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You should have a convo with you ex and his wife at the same time. Telling your kids to call you by your first name is unacceptable and disrespectful. She's not their real mom, you are.

Shevon - posted on 02/20/2011

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I am a step mother to two boys (8 and 10) I have been married to their father for 4.5 years .. my step sons bio-mom blew up when she heard them calling me mom (they call her mama, never by her first name) .. I don't think it is appropriate for your children to be calling you by your first name nor do I believe it is inappropriate for you to correct them on THAT! I would have a conversation with my ex and his new wife about it and see if they can offer some insight as to why my children were calling me by my first name.
My ex hasn't had a new woman in my daughters (she's 6) life so I haven't had to deal with this however, the same woman who was mad her kids called me mom, coached her boys to call my husband by his first name, and to call her live in boyfriend (who split right after their child was born) Daddy -- people are spiteful and vengeful. IDK why, but people use children as their biggest weapon.

Sylvia - posted on 02/19/2011

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@ Julie L -- oh, I know what you mean. I also have a stepmother (my father's 4th wife), and although I wouldn't call her *evil*, she certainly was never my favourite person :P

Julie - posted on 02/19/2011

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I already gave my 2 cents but then I read a bunch of the other comments & felt I had to add just a bit more!
I think insecurity is a HUGE issue here. Be SURE kids know who their parents are, unless they've been confused from a very, very young age.
Have you ever wondered if maybe the kids told you that they told them to call her mom to avoid the feeling of guilt in somehow letting you down?
As the "real" parent, you have no idea how difficult it can be to establish a loving relationship with someone else's child, even in the best of situations. Don't you want your children to have a good relationship, rather than a constant fight, with their step parent?
The last thing I want to suggest is that you keep in mind how you would hope your future partner cares for and is cared for concerning your kids. My husband's ex has a new husband (of several years now) that they boys just hate. The reason, he doesn't love them. He treats them like the "red-headed step child." He is jealous of the relationship that used to exist between his wife & my husband & he treats the kids with real contempt. It is horrible. One thing I think could have really helped is if they would have treated their step dad with a little love. Now I know he's the grown up but its hard coming home, to your home & knowing that 1/2 the people there hate you, you are already on edge before you even walk in your own door! After all, they live with him most of the time & he provides a lot for them. They were never encouraged to treat him as a dad & as a consequence he doesn't feel or act like a dad. I don't like the guy hardly at all either, but I think things would have been much better if the kids would have been encouraged to love him even a little. Whenever they are with us & bad mouth their step dad I am quick to remind them that he is part of their family, their mother's husband at the very least & they ought to try to get along.
Step parents are not all bad. We don't all want to hate your children or cause more problems for you. It is kind of a hard thing to love your husband's & another woman's child without feeling extra stressed by name calling & the competition of who do they love the most.
Why does it have to be so disrespectful to the "real" parents to have someone else care for their child? I would hope that if my kids where ever in this situation they would be treated as equals in a blended family not as a visitor on the weekends.
Finally, its not about you anymore. Its about the kids. Try not to worry about how you feel you guys chose to get divorced and you guys chose to invite a step parent into your kid's lives so don't play tug of war with them anymore. They sometimes can be manipulated but they are not stupid. Kids know who their moms & dads are so relax & be their mom. Love them and teach them and help them adjust to their new life. They will love you all the more for it.

Julie - posted on 02/19/2011

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I am a step mom & while my step sons chose on their own to call me mom, their "real" mom put a stop to it by telling them it "hurt her feelings." Maybe I was hurt by that too but it felt manipulative to me.
In my opinion, the more loving adults a child has in their life, the better. Calling their step mom "mom" creates a closeness and a bond that you will be grateful for in the long run, even if it stings a little.
From my perspective, it would have helped create a stronger, more real family bond that I wish I had with my stepsons. It doesn't mean they love you any less, just that they love her too. Is that really all that bad?
In addition, I do not like being called by my name in front of our "own" children now that we have kids too. It stings me everytime I hear the boys say "your mom" to their little sisters & brother. It creates a division in our home and a distance between them & me that I wish didn't exist.
I will say that there mom is a very nice person but I wish she would have let them call me whatever they wanted, it makes for a more loving family and a feeling of acceptance for the child & the step parent.
Maybe encourage them to call her by her first name in your presence but I would suggest not weakening their relationship their dad's family either. This may set a good presidence for when/if you remarry. You will want your new husband to love them and them to love him. Children need to know they are loved by their step parents too.
Be sure, they will never forget who their real mom is, but it will surely give them confidence that they are loved by ALL those that mean the most to them.
Good Luck.

Tracy - posted on 02/19/2011

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When I became the step-mom, I told the girls they could call me: Mom or by my first name. The only rule was they couldn't call me mom when they were happy and by my name when they were mad. They had to chose. I'd introduce myself at their wicked stepmother (with a smile) to their friends. Your situation seems to be a delicate one, and the best thing I think would be not to struggle with the kids because they may be caught in the middle. While you should be Mom, if you demand they call you mom, it could do damage. I would suggest coming up with a reasonable other name and asking the kids call you that instead. If the kids are part of coming up with the name, they might agree and as a bonus the ex won't get his way.

Sarah - posted on 02/19/2011

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I am in the same position... kinda, but close enough! You seem to have plenty of help and thoughts, but I wanted to give you mine, too. My biological daughter, Ryan, is 12,; my son, Austin is 6 1/2, but I am not his birth mother. When he was 6 months old, I became his guardian and we always assumed he'd call me Sass. He's biologically my nephew. I was concerned when he started calling me Mom because it could hurt my sister and someday she'll be ok to resume custody and be his Mom again. Would he be confused? No. He knows that we're both his moms, he's lucky enough to have 2! I became his guardian b/c his dad was in prison and his mom was addicted to painkillers, unable to take care of him. She ended up going to prison, though she tried, she couldn't stay off of the drugs. When he was 2 he started calling me Mom. All of his friends had moms that picked them up from school and he realized he was missing something. And, hey, that is the role I play. My sister told me it was ok, he needed a "Mom" and none of this was his fault. He wasn't the one to make the mistakes, if calling me Mom made him feel better, have at it! When his dad was released HE was the one to have a problem. (He's rather a selfish jerk.) He's been very vocal with Austin, saying at first just that I wasn't his 'real' mom. Since then poor Austin has been so confused. Well, when his dad is out of jail long enough to show up. No one has a right to tell your children what they can or can't call you, it only confuses and hurts them, making them 'pick sides.' Ausin's dad has been back to prison twice since his first release, and everytime he comes back new behavioral problems surface because of the name issue. So, again, Austin is so confused. It doesn't matter to me what he calls me, he can call me George and it won't affect the relationship we have. He knows that, but he's so torn. His dad tells him my rules don't matter b/c I'm not really his mom, I don't love him as much, and loads of other stuff. All of it hurts him, confuses him. Sadly enough, his dad is doing it to hurt me but I'm not the one being hurt. I know better and realize it's just pettiness. Since your ex and his new did that, I'm assuming you aren't on civil terms. If there's someone you can talk to that he'll listen to, i.e. his mom, sister, a friend; explain that your main concern is how it is amd will affect your children. You've been their mother for 6 years and up, you are their mother in their eyes. They should have the security to know, even though things are changing at dad's, that you're still there. Things with you are just the same. They need that stability. They have to realize that something is wrong with calling you anything but Mom, and it makes them wonder why? What's going on? Is something bad about to happen? (The question I received from Austin was if I didn't want to be his mom, anymore!) If I were you, I'd leave the issue of what they call her alone. It isn't going to affect how your kids see or treat you.
If you can't talk to anyone that can or will talk to him about it, talk to your children. Really, I'd talk to them either way. If they haven't figured it out yet, tell them adults make mistakes sometimes. And you think their dad might have made one. Give them examples of why he may have thought this was a good idea, i.e. stepmommy loves them so much she wants to be their Mom, too, etc. Make it a positive thing for them so they know you aren't asking them to pick. Don't bad mouth him, just let them know it'll be okay. Let them know, no matter what, nothing is changing.You're still going to do the same things that you guys have been doing. And, though I don't think it's right, tell them they can call you by your given name while they are with Dad and call you Mom at home so they don't have to deal with the fallout.. I would ask what they want to do first. Do they want to call you Annie? I'm sure the answer is not, but don't let it hurt your feelings on the outside chance they were brainwashed. Take it as a great sign your vhhildren are comfortable enough with you to say so. If they say Annie, explain why being their mom has been the most important thing you could ever do, but let them know, whatever they choose to call you, you are okay with it.
It's easy to be mad and want to fight back, but that won't help them. I'm so sorry you and your children have to go through this, I know how hard it can be, you just have to pretend everything's ok, but only around them. When they're gone you can burn effigies of the new Mr. and Mrs., if you want!
Good luck, you are all in my prayers.

Julie - posted on 02/18/2011

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I totally agree with you Sylvia.

Just keep in mind though, there still exists some "evil stepmothers" - just as there exists truly evil mothers too. My daughter's wannabe stepmother is both those things.

But most stepmothers are lovely people. I have several friends who are stepmums, and it's very difficult job that they do very well at despite the difficulties.

Joanbezuidenhout - posted on 02/18/2011

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I am sorry about your divorce it is always a sad situation. I think that it is not right for your children to call the step mom
`Mom` and you by your name - it should just be the reverse
as they are your biological children and it may be a good idea to arrange a meeting with your ex and his second wife
and discuss it as it will just `eat at you until resolved`. If the position was reversed I am sure your ex would not be too charmed if it was done to him. I pray God will give you wisdom to approach the matter and that it all works out well for you - you deserve to be called `Mom` as you gave birth to them and no matter what it will always remain that way. If you were deceased and they call the step mom `mom` that is an entirely different situation because no one
would be hurt. God bless you and hope it turns out well. Joan

[deleted account]

Well said Sylvia- we're not all the tyrants we're made out to be! Obviously what is going on in the OP case is not ok and I dont think anyone her is saying it is. But as you said, this is not the case in EVERYONE's situation. Also what about the cases where the bio parent/s is/are deceased? Or the child has never known them. I just think the word 'family' today is different than it has been and we all need to adapt- whether we like it or not.

Erica - posted on 02/17/2011

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I couldnt agree more with you Sylvia!!!! I love my SK as they were my own...

Amy - posted on 02/17/2011

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Well said Sylvia!!! Couldn't find the eloquent words to say what you said! However in the posts that I wrote I was trying. GOOD JOB!!!!

Sylvia - posted on 02/17/2011

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I feel like a lot of people on this thread have a lot of hostility towards step-parents. To those people, can I suggest maybe taking a step back from that and thinking about what might be most beneficial for the kids involved?

It's not cool (and I've already said this a couple times) for the ex and/or his wife to order the kids to call their stepmother "mom" or their mom by her first name, as seems to be the case in the OP's situation. But for everyone who's said something like "children should NEVER call their stepmother 'mom'!" -- why, exactly? Suppose they've known her for years, since they were little kids, and she's a good parent to them, and they love her? Really, you're saying they shouldn't be *allowed* to acknowledge that relationship if they *want* to? Put yourself in that child's place -- you work up the courage to ask your stepmom if you can call her "mom" while you're at your dad's house, and she says "No! That's inappropriate. I'm not your real mom." Imagine how that would feel.

As I said upthread, I don't call my stepdad "dad"; I was 21 when he and my mom got married, too old to change my habits. I call him by his first name (so does my DD). We've had our ups and downs, but you know what? He's been a MUCH better dad to me than my dad was. And believe me, there are a lot of really great stepparents out there who love their stepkids very much (and vice versa). Categorical decrees that the names "mom" and "dad" are only and always for biological parents deny that reality and perpetuate the stereotype of the wicked stepmother. In this age of many, many blended families, isn't it time we retired that one?

Also, to everyone going on about how disrespectful it is to call parents (someone even said any adult!) by their first names -- that's totally cultural. In some places yes, it's considered disrespectful or even rude for a child to use an adult's first name. But in other places it's TOTALLY NORMAL, and has been for a long time. My DD's friends call me Sylvia, and she calls her friends' parents by their first names. I did the same with my parents' friends when I was her age, and vice versa, because that's what the adults in question felt was appropriate and comfortable (and, presumably, respectful). Similarly, she has some friends who call their parents by their first names, and so did I when I was her age. Insisting that your kids use a name for someone that the person in question doesn't like is the opposite of respectful. And that's what the ex and the stepmom in the OP are doing to the mom, and *that's* why it's not cool -- not because a child calling its parents by their first names, or using mom/dad for a stepparent, is necessarily a terrible thing.

Marcia - posted on 02/17/2011

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I personally thinks that is out of order. The ex husband should have more respect for his children's real mother

Cassie - posted on 02/16/2011

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I have been divorced for a lil over 2 years an my boyfriend's son loves me to death but I would never ask or have hem call me mom if you ask me that is bull crap you are there mother not that other woman so he has problems an so dose she.

Peggy - posted on 02/16/2011

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Nothing like everyone putting their life stories out there for e everyone to know... Lol

Peggy - posted on 02/16/2011

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I have been on both sides... My ex-husband had a son from his 1st marriage who was around 18 months/2years old when we got together. When he was around 4/5 he started calling me "mom"... Not all the time, mostly called me by my first name. I never corrected him either way... Sometimes I thought he was saying "mom" just out of habit since he was with his mom more. The funny thing is at the time my ex was ok with it. Okay so years pass, we have 2 children and get divorced. I met someone when one daughter was going on 9 and the other was 10 months. We got married and have now been together for a little under 7 1/2 years. Anyways my youngest sometimes calls her step dad "daddy jeff" but mostly just "jeff". My ex HATES this and I have had to hear what a disgusting mom I am for letting her and not correcting her... Which I let what he says go in one ear and straight out the other. I know he is just insecure because he is a piss poor excuse for a dad when it comes to her... He favors the older one!! Anyways he too remarried, just a month or so after me. He has had "talks" with the youngest one telling her that she should not be calling her step dad "dad" ... BUT, this is where he puts his mind games into play... He then tells her that his wife used to take care of people in the country she is from before coming to the United States and they used to call her "mama" as her nickname and if she wants to call her by her nickname she could. I honestly feel a child should be able to call a step parent whatever they feel comfortable with... NOT be forced either way. I would sit down with your children and talk to them about this. Explain to them that if they are comfortable at calling her "mom" then you are okay with that (I don't agree with trying to make them feel guilty or what they are doing is wrong) but also explain that you are the mommy who gave birth to them and you will ALWAYS be there mommy. And when they are with you they should call you mom/mommy and the step mom by her name. It sounds like to me there is some mind games going on from him and you need to stay one step ahead.... Plus your children will realize this when they are older and will respect you more for it.
Good luck!

Jami - posted on 02/16/2011

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honestly, if your ex is doing this to your children or if the step-mom is doing this to your children, I feel that is emotionally damaging to you and your children. I agree with sitting the children down and talking to them, but you definitely need to have a talk with the ex and let him know that that is completely unsatisfactory behavior and is extraordinarily immature of either of the two of them. Gosh, people these days... My dad always did stuff like that to me when I was a young child and I never forget that my mother never did. I have so much respect for her for not undermining my father when I was young, like he did, and today my father and I aren't even on speaking terms because of the sinister person he is and I finally realized it but it took me until i was about 13 or 14 to realize it. Just be patient, your children will figure it out one day!

Keri - posted on 02/16/2011

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If the children have been instructed to call stepmom "mom" and you by your first name, THAT IS NOT RIGHT! You are MOM and always will be. There is no way to deal with this without "blowing it out of perportion." Do the kids live with you? Are the kids okay with the "switch"? Are they old enough to know the difference? If they want to call this other woman "mom" advise them to call her "Mom (her first name)". If they just call their stepmom "mom" when they are at their father's house, let them. I feel the only time children should call the stepmom or stepdad "Mom" or "Dad" is when the biological parent has either given up custody or, God forbid, passed away, and the stepparent has adopted them.

Charlene - posted on 02/16/2011

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Personally I have never agreed with children calling the step parent mom or dad .I think it needs to be addressed right away , probably a good idea to sit down together parents and children and have the issue addressed . Make sure that they know to respect their step parent , but that you are the parent and that will never change.Probably need to meet with the ex and the new wife first and set out the rules .It is not acceptable to have the children calling another woman mom.
Good Luck

Valerie - posted on 02/16/2011

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I went through this (on the other side of the equation) an dit is a difficult situation that requires mature responses from all the adults. It is helpful for young children to call Dad's wife "Mom" when they are together as a family unit, however - It is not cool to expect any child to use their parent's first name when addresses them - EVER! Call me old fashioned, it just comes across as disrespect for a child to call their parent b y their first name . . . Back in the day, we used to call all adults (except parents) by Mr. or Mrs. "So-and-so" to show respect. So, maybe speak with the other adults about mutual respect 'for the sake of teaching children good manners'

Marlene - posted on 02/16/2011

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Calling you by your first name is disrespectful to you as a mom. THey will loose their sense of appropriate behavior doing this. Sit down and talk to them along with your ex and explain that you will always be their mother/mom and their daddy's new wife is their step mom. If they choose to call her mom, don't fret if you instill in them who the real mom is. another suggestion would be to call her "mommy Karen, etc or whatever her first name is. Your ex is totally out of line for allowing them to call you by your first name.

Emily - posted on 02/16/2011

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First of all, who decided this? Lawyers? Ex-husband? How old are your kids? I would tell your children, your ex and the step mom, that YOU are their mother and that they WILL call you mom, mommy, or whatever else you want YOUR children to call you. DO NOT let others decide for you. They are YOUR KIDS!!

SHARIFAH NORJANNAH - posted on 02/16/2011

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Slowly do away with the first name when communicating with your children, encourage them to start calling you mama, in the beginning this may seem awkward. By the way there is nothing wrong with the children calling their stepmom 'mom', be positive about this, you are their real mom and you will always be, cheer up!

Candyce - posted on 02/16/2011

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If it was the children's choice and the dad has physical custody, then let it be. But if someone forced them to, then that doesn't make sense and needs to be addressed with your ex and his wife in private. Figure out where that came from.

Blessed Be

Mommy - posted on 02/16/2011

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I met my husband while he was in the process of separation/divorce. That being so, his ex-wife has always hated me. She taught her daughter to call my "bitch", so at 2 years old, that's what she was referring to me as. The poor thing had no idea what she was saying. Anyway, she moved on to calling me Jessica, and once I became pregnant with her sister she started calling me Mommy Jessica. I told her that she can call me Mom if she wants, or Mommy Jessica, becuase I don't want her to feel left out once her sister starts talking and calls me Mommy. I also told her she doesn't have to call me Mommy Jessica when she is with her mom, because I know her mom doesn't like it, and I don't want her to feel the tension it causes and have any anxiety over it. She is 5 now, and has some difficulty with feeling left out of the "family" when she is at our house, so that's why I give her lots of options for what to call me. It wouldn't be as traumatic for them if the adults could be more mature about the whole situation, but it is what it is. Just gotta make due and communicate with the kids in a loving and respectful way.

No matter what they call their step-mom, I think it is completely disrespectful for them to address their mother and father as anything other than mom/dad. Your ex and his current wife should be teaching them respect in that regard, and also enforcing this rule.

Barbara - posted on 02/16/2011

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I am a step-mom to a 12yo and mother to an 11yo, and a 6yo with my husband. I have been in my step-sons life since he was 6 weeks old. I am thankful for the support my husband has given me while helping to parent his son. (they have shared parenting, so time is split pretty equally) I/we have never asked or told him to call me mom, but as my daughter grew and we referred to me as mommy (so she would learn what to call me) he would call me mom on occasion. Sometimes he will use my first name, and others mom. (he has even slipped and referred to HIS mom by my name ;)) I feel that if it is natural and comfortable for the kids to referr to her as mom (or something like it) while they are at that house, that noone should stress. But if they are being coerced to call her something (especially a pet name of yours, which makes it more hurtful to you) than a round-table discussion needs to be had by all. Find what everyone, including the children, are comfortable with, and not let emotions escalate to something ridiculous. Hope this was helpful from 'the other side'

Loreli - posted on 02/16/2011

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I'm a step-mom to a 6 year old and I would never ask him to call me mom unless he wanted to and for sure would never ask him to call his real mom by her first name. That's just flat out disrespectful. I think if your ex and his wife have problems with you they shouldn't involve your kids like that. I may not think much of my husband's ex but I have enough sense to not cross that line. You are their mother before that woman is... you should tell them to call her auntie lol. That's what my friend's step-daughter's called her.

Lea - posted on 02/16/2011

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wow...I find it completely disgusting that your ex can show you such little respect, he obviousley lacks a lot of maturity. You are the mother of his children, so you and he are going to have a long association, like it or not. you never know whats around the corner in life so what happens in the event that for some reason he and his now wife seperated, are they to call the next woman mum as well??? I guess he hasnt given that any thought because it appears he is too busy trying to make your life miserable and one way to do that is through the kids. you need to just sit your children down and explain to them that they only have one real mum (you) and one real dad so because you are their mother and you would like them to call you mum. you have this right...dont let someone else tell you what you can be called by your own kids...and I most certainly dont believe for a second that you would be making a big deal out of it if you were to pull your ex aside and discuss the matter with him...he needs to know his behaviour is wrong and is not fair on the kids. hope it gets sorted for every ones sake.

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