Woman sues over step-mum getting Mum tag

Jodi - posted on 03/07/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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An Adelaide mother took legal action to prevent her daughter calling her ex-husband's new wife "Mum", "Mummy" or "my other Mummy".



The Australian newspaper says the woman, who cannot be named, argued that her ex-husband deliberately undermined her role as their child's mother by encouraging his new wife to answer as the child's mother, or Mummy-D, being the first letter of her name.



The paper said the battle had been going on for almost as long as the child could talk, after her parents separated when she was four months old, and the case sets a precedent for other blended families.



The Family Court declined to make an order that the child not refer to her stepmother as "Mummy-D", saying it hoped she would grow out of the term and begin calling her stepmother by her first name.



http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/1024...



I know this topic has been discussed before, but someone suing over it is taking it to a whole new level. Your thoughts?

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Kathy - posted on 05/02/2010

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christina, huh? it's the bio mother who is taking the court action. why is the stepmom the pathetic party? i have never been a stepmom, but it sounds like the bio mother is obviously insecure about something. she is THE mom...and if she does her job right, the kid will always know that. it sounds like the bio parents are the ones that cannot think of the child first.

[deleted account]

My oldest daughter's biological mother once tried to get the family court judge to make a ruling saying that our daughter can't call me "mom." The judge laughed at her and threw it out (our daughter lives with us 90% of the time, so I AM mom since her bm never calls or sees her)...



I think if the bio mom has the child the majority of the time then yes, it is hurtful for her child to call someone else "mom," BUT I think the bio mom was going too far when she took legal action and when she said the child could not even call the stepmom something like "Mummy D." I think that is perfectly acceptable IF THAT IS WHAT THE CHILD WANTS/FEELS.



In my opinion, it should be what the CHILD decides and no parent should push any title onto their child(ren).

Tah - posted on 03/07/2010

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I have had this situation. I remarried and then shortly after my daughter's father(ex-fiancee) did the same, She is having problems getting pregnant and as a matter of fact they have to foster children and are adopting, anyway before the other 2 cmae into the picture, she tried to encourage him to ask me to let my daughter come live with them..UMMM NOOO!!!!...and why, well because she doesn't read that well, i said she just turned 4, she does read, and well for her age, but no, she is probably not gonna go to the book shelf and read a novel. They tried to nit pick me, the truth is, he didn't really want my daughter there full-time, but he is easily persuaded, my daughter is now in 2nd grade and scoring in all subjects on at a 3rd grade and in other cases 4th grade level. So here comes the kicker, she spent the summer with them and cam home and said that her step mother wanted her to call her mommy(before the foster children)...EXCUSE ME!!!!..am I on glue...i never dialed a number that fast before, i called him and i let him know exactly what was not gonna happen.

He said it was a misunderstanding, i said no...it wasn't my daughter knows what was said to her. I asked him, do you want her to call my husband Daddy, because he's here just like your wife and more because she lives with us, they are the park and he cooks for her, takes her to activities, is right there for school activities and homework, keeps this roof over her head and those pretty little clothes on her back so hey why not right?...O no..you would have thought i threatened his mama....Now you get what I am saying. Now that she has someone calling her momma, she is not so obsessed with trying have my daughter do it.

Jess - posted on 03/07/2010

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I don't think I would take the issue to court.... that is im my opinion overkill. But having said that, I would be mortified if my partner moved on with someone else and had our daughter call her mummy. I certainly didn't have my daughter for someone else to raise her or take the tag of mother ! I wear that badge very proudly and I have no plans to share it !

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Barbara - posted on 08/21/2010

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I don't like the idea of steps being called mom or dad, it definitely chafes and doesn't feel fair to those involved. But I have to admit that my sons call my mom's fiancee "grampa John." I didn't want them to because it would break my father's heart if he knew, but they heard other people referring to him like that and it stuck. Also, they love him. It sucks for those of us who are purists, but it makes no difference to our children. We kind of have to go with it and let them love where they will. (And hope that my poor father never hears about it.)

Jessica - posted on 08/21/2010

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I have made it perfectly clear to my son's father that should he ever have another partner/get married, our son will NEVER be encouraged to call her mom/mommy/mommy-whatever the first letter of her name should me. And it's the same vice-versa. It may seem selfish to some but I am his mother and NO-ONE is going to undermine that. I have no problem with any future partner of his having a (somewhat) authoritative role with my son. After all, he should respect her as a STEP-mom. But that is all she is.

Valerie - posted on 08/21/2010

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Sorry! any instance where I say "your" should be "the". The question was hypothetical, and i wasn't targeting anyone in particular.

Valerie - posted on 08/21/2010

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If I was in a situation of shared custody, and there was a woman in the other home who took care of my daughter, gained her trust and earned her love so much that my little one felt OK calling her MOM or some variation on the theme, I would be so grateful. So many of my divorced/separated friends are worried for their kids having their physical and emotional needs being met when they are with the other spouse.
So long as the decision is the kid's, I see no problem with that.
A good step-mum is worth her weight in gold - remember: she does not have to love your kids, just tolerate them as part of your ex's life. Any more than that should be seen as a benefit for your kid, not a slight on biomom.

[deleted account]

I wouldn't go so far as a lawsuit, but my girls came home after 2.5 weeks w/ their father and were calling his wife Mommy and me Teresa. I definitely put a stop to that by explaining to them that they have ONE mommy and ONE daddy. They will have other special people in their lives, but those people need their own names/titles. The reason they were calling her Mommy (that they said) was cuz their little stepbrother calls their dad Daddy... BUT their older stepsister calls him Jack. SHE knows her bio dad, but the little boy doesn't.

Ntombi - posted on 08/20/2010

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In my culture in South Africa we call everyone ma as lon as they are the mama's stage and age. I don't understand this but my 13 yr old says he will call everyone ma except for the step mother.

C. - posted on 05/02/2010

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@Kathy..

First, I admit I wrote it wrong. I apologize. But.."It goes both ways.. Why can't they let the child decide what she wants to call either of them instead of trying to get a court order on it?"

When I said it goes both ways, that's exactly what I meant.. Whoever started what and took it to court needs to let the child decide who she wants to call mom.

C. - posted on 05/02/2010

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I'm sorry, I think this whole thing is ridiculous. If the biological mom is involved and HAS been involved in the child's life for some time, then she should be called Mom, Mum, mommy, mummy- however you want to put it. She stuck around, so she deserves the mommy card. The mom is nothing shy of pathetic. There are entirely way more important things than her jealousy at whether the little girl calls her mom or her 'Mummy-D'. It goes both ways.. Why can't they let the child decide what she wants to call either of them instead of trying to get a court order on it? I guess some people just take a while to grow up..



(edited)

Emma - posted on 05/01/2010

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I would be really upset if my hubby re married and my kids called there step mother mommy.
Saying that i would not want another woman raising my kids unless i died that's different.
I told my hubby that i would kill him before i would get a devoice and have some woman raise my kids, he feels the same regarding another man.

[deleted account]

I think it's the sort of issue that should be worked out by the parties involved, rather than making it public in a lawsuit, for heaven's sake! Seems some of us are lawsuit-happy! I know, from personal stories posted here, that it can be a really sticky situation, but I wish people would think more of their kids' feelings!

Tah - posted on 03/09/2010

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my husband was with a girl he contemplated nudging off a balcony but stayed because of their son(well he thought was his son..i thought was the mailman's but who am i..)..so before cousin DNA helped us figure it out, i looked at him no different than my 2(at the time)..but the mother was intent on him not being around me, let alone calling me mom...and i could understand the mom thing being one myself. My husband has never looked at my 2 as anything other than his. when we were married and before i became pregnant and people asked, how many kids do you have..he answered 2, no hesitation...and when we had Rylan...3..not a second thought..as a matter of fact we just left karate at 6:30 and he took my oldest to start learning how to box with him because and I quote "I always wanted a son to do it with and when Rylan turns 7 I can go with both my sons"...

Sharon - posted on 03/09/2010

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I want to point out that I have a stepson. He became a larger part of our lives after my son was born - mostly because his mother thought having "the stepkid" around would fuck with me. It didn't work.



She wasn't much of a mom but she did have him for 3/4s of the year and did the most basic stuff she had to. But I was the new one to the family and I figured I should take the cut in title, so to speak. I knew my newborn son would adopt whatever name my stepson was calling me - if, for no other reason than because its the name he would hear me called the most. So he called me "aunt sharon". After talking with his dad and him - all of us together - we figured it was the most accurate description of my role in his life. he still called me mom once in a while - I didn't react to it. I didn't want to be guilty of encouraging it but I didn't want to ignore him, so I acted as if I didn't notice the title change.



The only reason I pointed out that my stepson was my stepson was because i would have had to have been 14 years old when he was born and I would get some seriously odd looks when people did the math. It doesn't help that I don't look my age and people think I'm 10 years younger than I am....

Kelly - posted on 03/09/2010

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Actually Kathy, I completely agree with your statement. As far as the lawsuit goes, ridiculous is a tame word to use.

My stepdaughter called me Mom a few times when she was younger. (around 4 and 5) I never encouraged it, frankly it kinda made me uncomfortable, but at the same time, I didn't feel that it was appropriate to embarrass her in front of people by correcting her. If someone ever asked me about her, I would mention "my step-daughter". Now that I have 2 kids, I tend to lump them together. My stepdaughter is almost 13, and regularly calls me Kelly. We don't see her all that often since her mom lives in another state, but when she is with us, I usually refer to them all as "my girls". She loves her little sisters so much, and her mom never had other kids. She doesn't call me mom anymore, which doesn't bother me, but why should I single her out and say to people, "well, these are my 2 daughters, and this one is my step-daughter...." Frankly, I don't know if that would bother her mom or not, I never mentioned that her daughter called me mom, and she never instructed me not to allow it. We all (mostly) have tried to always be nice to each other for the girl's sake, and to my knowledge no one has ever put her in the middle. We don't ask her about her mom, and I don't know if her mom asks her about us, but I doubt it.

The couple in the OP obviously never should have gotten married to begin with, and like Kathy said, there will always be something for them to fight about. Maybe I would feel differently if I were the single mom, but IMO, those early years, my step-daughter was longing for a stable situation, and my husband and myself provided her with that.

Kathy - posted on 03/09/2010

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ridiculous lawsuit. adults who can't work out something so simple and are likely still pissed over issues other than the label, mom. whatever, they should grow up. their kid will likely have to grow up in a contentious environment their whole life...nice.

now, i'm going to post a comment so that i can get blasted...

to be honest my opinion is that this is just the first of many arguments this former couple will have. hey, they got divorced when the kid was 4 months old. way to go, great family planning you two! might have been a very good reason to get divorced (how am i to know?) but any and all problems were destined to be in their future. blast away... :-]

[deleted account]

I would never have allowed my stepdaughter to call me mom and to be honest its not something i think she ever would have liked to do either. Funny though because her daughter used to call me nanny though, mind as they got older i convinced them to call me by my name instead.

Tah - posted on 03/08/2010

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i don't allow it..i don't care..Now do i traumatize my child and say "If you ever call her mom"..no, i don't..i said, well i think it's ok if call her kia like you have been."..and my daughter said, no, i'm not allowed to call her kia, i have to call her mom or ms. kia....I think to make your stepchild call you ms. or mr is kinda formal, but who am i..see when they were dating and I told my daughter to call her ms. kia because she is a grown-up, but when he was married..i thought she may relax it...not try to get my title.



I am with sharon..i haven't seen a soul doing what i do for my children and even if she does a fraction of it for maybe 6 weeks in the summer, it doesn't make her mommy...she can screw him all she wants...trust me it wasn't that great...lol...but what she doesn't get to do..is be me while i'm still here and able to do it..



My son was drilled not to call my husband dad by his decayed dad, cause he is worse than deadbeat..and my son feels he would be being unloyal if he did. but when he talks about my husband, it's my dad wants me to the dishes or clean my room i'll be back out, or i'll call you later..but when addressing him directly..it's ryan..and we're okay with that..we know who is and isn't being a dad to him..

[deleted account]

I think that since her ex-husband married the woman the child calling her "mom" is more understandable then if it were a girlfriend for instance...If my husband & I split up and he MARRIED someone else my boys can call her whatever they want! If they feel comfortable calling her "mom" then GREAT! I will take it as a testament to their relationship and be happy they have so many people in their life that care about them and be comfortable in the relationship choices made by my ex! Then again, this is also assuming we had previously had a conversation (my kids & I) that they may feel comfortable calling step-mom WHATEVER they want that is respectful. I don't mind if my nieces and nephews call me by my name w/out Aunt included so if I had step children I would not feel disrespected by them using my name to get my attention either...I would never force anyone to call me mom, or hope that my husband would force our kids to call a step-mom "mom"

I don't think that my kids calling someone else mom takes away the work or importance of my position in the family or signifies much in regards to their feelings towards me. My husband has a "step-dad" (never married his mom but raised him since age 5, they broke up when he was 14) He is every bit as much of a grandparent to my kids as our biological parents are! In fact he sees his grandsons more then my MIL!!! Sooo.... I think it is ABSOLUTELY rediculous to get up in arms over this!

Sharon - posted on 03/07/2010

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I think it depends on the situation.



We've all read nasty horrible situations where someones' ex tries to supplant them with a new addition their "family".



Sometimes it IS about degradation and undermining authority and if that were the case I'd not only take it to court, I'd take a tire iron to "it".



Unless I approved of the other woman - my kids won't be calling her "mom". She is an adult and an authority figure so she deserves a respectful title. But its not going to be MY title. Frankly - I'm speaking from a sleep deprived and jealous position. I'm the mom, I've carried them, birthed them, made every major decision for their lives and sat with them with broken arms, major illnesses etc... some other woman doesn't get to fuck my ex and get called mommy while I do all the damn work.

Rosie - posted on 03/07/2010

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i think it's incredibly silly to sue over this. what better way to traumatise your child after a divorce, as if that wasn't traumatizing enough.
i think it would bug me, but if the woman was truly loving to my children i would know there's nothing i would do about it, there's no point.

[deleted account]

I think there was a better way to deal with the situation and it's sad that the poor child is stuck in the middle of it.

Jodi - posted on 03/07/2010

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I am going to give a viewpoint from the perspective of my husband and the other man my step-son calls "dad". Since very young, my husband's ex encouraged her son to call her new boyfriend (now husband) "dad". My husband was still reeling from the break up (she cheated on him with her now husband, so it was all very nasty), and all of a sudden, his son is calling this guy that broke up his family.



My husband did NOTHING. He let it slide. He hated it, it upset him a lot, but he let it go. It was not his son's fault. Why make a big deal about it when there were bigger things that needed to be dealt with. All he wanted was for his son to be happy.



Over time, he has learned to accept it. He still doesn't really like it much, but it no longer angers him. My step son knows who his real dad is. But his step-dad is VERY good to him, and genuinely loves and cares for him, and when it comes down to it, that is much more important than making a fuss about a label.



On the other hand, my son was specifically lectured on not being allowed to call my hubsand "dad". Sometimes my son accidentally calls my husband "dad" just because he really is like a father to him (he has been around since he was 4 and he is now 12). Probably more of a father to him than his own dad. But my son had very specific instuctions drummed into him by his father, so he is scared of making that mistake in case his dad gets angry.



Personally, I think, despite the hurt it may cause initially, we should go with whatever the child feels most comfortable with. No-one should tell them what they can and can't call us. Yes, I would have been hurt it my son had called someone else "mum" but I also think it would only have been my son that ended up hurt in the long run if I made a fuss about it. Kids aren't stupid, they know who their real parents are.



Often the terms "mum" and "dad" are terms of affection. Is it wrong that I call my in-laws mum and dad?

Dana - posted on 03/07/2010

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I think they're all being ridiculous to fight over something so stupid for so long. Must be a great childhood so far! Jeez.



Yeah it must suck to have your kid calling someone else mom but, if it helps the child grow up to feel normal having a "mom" and dad in one house then what's the big deal. There's only one true mom, isn't that enough to know you're THE mother....it disgusts me honestly.



I also think there is a huge difference when the child is only 4 months old compared to a 10 yr old walking into a new family.

JL - posted on 03/07/2010

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I get the bio mom being hurt, pissed off and upset. I get that the ex husband should have dealt with the situation better, but to sue over this is not only overboard but it puts the child in an akward tensious fucked up situation. All parties including the bio mom need to stop and worry about the most important person in the situation.....the child. Mom suing over the usage of a term and making a stink puts that kid in a hurtful position. Yeah she should get pissed and discuss the issue with the ex but act as calm as possible for your child's sake. No matter who the fuck she calls mom her bio mom will always be her MOM. I feel bad for the poor kid.

Johnny - posted on 03/07/2010

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I can see that it would be incredibly hurtful to the bio mother to have this happen against her wishes. I'd like to hope that the father and step-mom did it out of a true sense of love and family commitment to the child, but the way this reads, it simply sounds like they were being vindictive. However, I think all parties, the bio mum included, need to step back and look at the child's best interests. I can not imagine that having your mother sue your father and step-mom over the name that you call someone can be a positive thing in a child's life. More likely guilt inducing and confusing.

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