Her Father's Girlfriend Is Calling Herself Mommy

Natalie - posted on 01/14/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My daughter is two years old. After spending Christmas day with her dad and then the weekend with him, I met up with him on his regular day, Tuesday. He takes her every other weekend with one overnight and then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning. On this particular morning, my daughter turned to me and asked, "Where's mommy?" when she saw him. I asked him if they were having my daughter call his girlfriend Mommy, and he admitted that they were and said they did it because "it was just easier." I told him this was unacceptable and that it needed to stop. He said ok. He told me the next day he had talked to her. When I picked up my daughter last night from his house, I asked his girlfriend if he had spoken to her about this and if she understood wher eI was coming from. She said, "Yes, I do, but we prefer to use Mommy in this house." Even after I stated that this was disrespectful and completely inappropriate, she continued to say sorry but that this was what she was going to be referred to as. She said that my daughter will always know that I am her mother. She did finally come around and say that they would "try again" to have her called by her name (my daughter can EASILY say her name and has said it to me when I've asked her), but I have no hope that they will really do this. There was a time when my daughter said Mommy to her (when they go through that month or two stage of calling pretty much every woman "Mommy") at my doorstep, and his girlfriend corrected my daughter in front of me but was then having her call her mommy at his place.

My daughter's father is 30 and his girlfriend is 23. She still goes to college 3 hours away and only sees my daughter 4 days a month and on holiday breaks. She has only known my daughter for about 9 months. They are not married and there is no guarantee of her staying in my daughter's life. I have no idea what to do because she did not seem to care at all that this really upset me. She dis not seem to care when I said this was confusing for my daughter. Unfortunately, my daughter's father will not speak up it seems. When I asked him if he had continued to call her Mommy this past weekend after I had asked him not to, he said that he did not. I turned to his girlfriend and asked if she had referred to herself as Mommy, and she had. How the heck is my daughter going to understand what is going on?

Anyone have any experience dealing with this? Or any advice? I cannot stop stressing about this!

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Gigi - posted on 01/15/2013

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First of all, I'd like to say that it would make me very upset as well if I was in that situation. For me, the only appropriate time when a child should call a woman "mommy" is if the woman in question is the actual mother(s), adopted parent or if a widowed father remarried. I would also add to that list situations where step mother is raising a child and the mother is not present in child's life.
Being a "mommy" means to be there for a child at all times and it takes imense effort and responsibility. On the other side there is a child who will in return have trust in a parent and stability. This situation reminds me of children playing "house" where they take on the role - and she at 23 years should have grown out of it.

Could you invite her for coffee and talk to her in a friendly way about why you think it is inappropriate? You could tell her that for your daughter that word means so much more that she can give at this point in their relationship and that one day she will have children who will call her mommy. You can tell her that she is doing a great job with your daughter (if true) and that you like that she spends time with her, but that calling her "mommy" confuses your daughter simply because she has a mother already. You could also tell her (but this part really depends on what kind of person she is) that you are happy that she and your ex have "found" each other but that there is no guarantee that they will stay together long-term and that in case of a break-up your daughter would likely loose her as "mommy".
If that doesn't work, wait it out. Soon, your daughter will be older and you can ask of her to call your ex's girlfriend by name.

Lakota - posted on 01/14/2013

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Your daughter is two and she is confused, but, she knows who her mommy is. I understand why this bothers you and it would make my blood boil. This little idiot - the 23 year old - is showing her maturity level by keeping this going with you. She sounds like one of those immature young women who instantly hate the ex-wife only because she is the ex-wife. She knows it gets under your skin. My advice? Let it go. No sense in stressing your daughter out because of the stupidity and spitefulness of others. Also, no sense in stressing yourself out either. You know who you are and nothing will change that.

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