or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › Daughter calling ex's girlfriend "mommy"
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Daughter calling ex's girlfriend "mommy"

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
I have read some posts about kids calling step parents mommy or daddy and I am not really sure if I am wrong or right so I need a little advice.

I have a four old daughter and she calls my ex's girlfriend mommy. I HATE IT. I have talked to the girlfriend and asked her to stop having my daughter call her that. The girlfriend told me that she is not going to ask her to stop. I asked my daughter about it and she told me that it was my ex's girlfriend that asked to be called that. The ex of course denies it. I have also talked to my ex but he sees nothing wrong with it. I don't have my daughter call my DH daddy. To me it is wrong and confusing for a four year old to understand.

Am I wrong???
post #2 of 72
This is probably a touchy subject for many. I've been there on both sides of the coin so can speak from my two experiences.

My ex's two children started calling me mom on their own, and asked if they could call me mom. I told them I wasn't their mother but they could call me that. Their mother got extremely angry and told them to call me "the girlfriend". Our relationship sort of disintegrated after that. Of course, they were older at the time (5 and 8).

Now my DH's older son who is 2.5 knows me as "stepmom" and calls me that. He tells his mom all about his "stepmom" and there are no hard feelings between any of us. DH's younger son is only 9 mos old so he doesn't even know the situation yet, of course.

On the other hand, my ex is sort of out of the picture and has only seen my 3.5 year old and 17 month old once since May. They never ask about their daddy, and I don't bring him up. However, they've started calling DH daddy on their own. Sometimes my 3.5 year old calls him daddy Chris. We are fine with that, but I don't expect them to call him daddy. It's going to be interesting if/when my ex does step back in their life, and I'm sure they'll be a little bit confused at first. But this is what they are comfortable calling him and for all purposes, he is their daddy. He is the one that takes care of them while I work all day long, feeds them, bathes them, changes their diaper, puts them down for naps, kisses their booboos and teaches them the lessons of life. Their real "daddy" has never done any of this for them.

However, if my ex ever got another gf or wife, I would be extremely upset at them calling someone else "mom" or "mommy". So I can see both sides of the equation. It's definitely a thin line to walk. Good luck to you..hopefully someone else will have some advice.
post #3 of 72
I think it is quite expected for the mother to feel hurt, crushed and threatened when she hears that her baby calls another woman "mommy".

Here is my personal view on the subject:

* I do think that it's okay if the child to choose what they call adults in their lives. If a child feels that a certain person fulfills a role - then it seems appropriate to allow that child to express themselves.

* I do NOT think it's okay for the stepparent to insist on "mom/dad" title.

Where does your daughter live FT? How much time does she spend with the girlfriend? How long has it been since divorce?

As far as being a mother goes, let me assure you that no stepmother can fill in the shoes of a loving mom. Heck, some stepmothers can't even fill the shoes of a dead-beat-mom Kids will always have their loyalties with the parents. That's just how it works. The bond you share cannot be shaken up by someone insisting on a name that doesn't fit. If the girlfriend is truly the one pushing the "mommy" name, it WILL backfire sooner or later.

And even if it is true that your daughter is choosing it, then you'll have to remember that it's a different kind of "mommy" than with you.
post #4 of 72
Thread Starter 
My ex and I have 50/50 all the way, legal, physical. Her dad and I were never married. Its very comforting to read postive remarks about how she can never replace me so thank you.
post #5 of 72
I think it is very important to keep in mind that what we're being called are "names", not necessarily the terms of endearment to little kids, that we, as adults, put on them. Kids might not fully understand our relationships, you know? Even if you tell your daughter that she came from Your belly, that is why you're mommy... they don't really understand that. You're a woman, an elder... maybe mommy means just that. The relevant importance (if you consider it such) will make more sense later.

I guess I say this because I've gone through this with my DSS. He called me mommy and mom from the beginning (2yo). I didn't ask, and honestly was a little weirded out by it... he had a mommy. I didn't want to take that term away from her. So, each time he'd say, "mommy" and I'd respond... "i'm so-and-so". This totally confused him. I'm the woman in the house, mom seemed appropriate, why would I tell him differently -- I understand that rationale... NOW. But I confused the situation for a while.

Now he calls me Dad :-) And he calls both his mom & step-father at their house.. Mom.

He figured out we needed different terms, but now is confused by the gender connection. So... what'ya do :-)
post #6 of 72
just to add... I do think it's very inappropriate for a step-parent to require, or even ask, for the child to use Mom/Dad for their terms. They are the adult and they know the importance of these names, even if the child doesn't.
post #7 of 72
Don't know if this helps with anything, but my 2 1/2 yr old started calling the both parents of the 3 yr old I baby sit 'dad' because thats what he heard the 3 yr old yell everytime they picked him up.
post #8 of 72
I agree with the PPs that, if a child CHOOSES to call a stepparent mom/dad, they should be allowed to do so. However, I also agree that it is very inapprorpriate for a stepparent to insist upon that title or to make the kids call them that.

In your situation, I'm sure you are naturally assuming that your daughter is the one telling the truth, but either way, perhaps you could help her come up with another name for her stepmom (or encourage her to do so with her stepmom herself) that is close to "mommy" but different than what she calls you, if that would make you more comfortable. I assume that your ex and his GF have been together for a while and/or are in a fairly permanent relationship, and that is would be nice for them to have a special name too-I can tell you that it is hard to be known as your first name to a kid you are helping to raise, and I can also say I would have a really really hard time hearing dd call another woman mommy! It is tough on both sides-good luck
post #9 of 72
Of course you are not wrong! I would hate that, too!

I would not rely on the 4-year-old's statement that her dad's girlfriend requested it. I mean, she may be accurate. But she's also 4, so she may not be - it's not worth stewing over that aspect of things.

The key is that your ex and his girlfriend's attitude (rejecting your completely reasonable request to stop having your daughter call her mommy) is hostile and, frankly, just mean. The chief reason a mom has trouble accepting her ex-husband's new girlfriend is an irrational fear of being displaced, with the kids. She seems to be telling you up front she likes the idea of displacing you. What a jerk! And she's not even married to this little girl's father!

Your ex and any would-be step-mom SHOULD know that, regardless how well they like you, your daughter needs them to support her relationship with you - and her respect for you. And she needs LESS hostility between her parents, not more! I hope that YOU can rise above their slimy behavior and set a better example for your daughter, of not undermining her relationship with her dad just because he's doing that to you.

Since you're not going to get anywhere with the adults, I think it's entirely appropriate for you to tell your daughter, rather seriously, that mothers deserve respect and it is disrespectful for her to call anyone else mommy. A 4-year-old (especially a girl) is plenty mature enough to grasp that basic concept. Tell her you expect her to stop, no matter what other people encourage her to do. This is a right/wrong issue. But arm her with responses she can use, if she gets pressure from dad's girlfriend and help her come up with something else to call her.

Sorry you're experiencing this! Yuck!
post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanKX View Post
I think it is very important to keep in mind that what we're being called are "names", not necessarily the terms of endearment to little kids, that we, as adults, put on them. Kids might not fully understand our relationships, you know? Even if you tell your daughter that she came from Your belly, that is why you're mommy... they don't really understand that. You're a woman, an elder... maybe mommy means just that. The relevant importance (if you consider it such) will make more sense later.
This is true... I can understand how kids (especially very young ones) wind up calling a stepparent "mommy" or "daddy." My DS (who has never himself had anyone in a stepparent role) calls every older female "Mama." Me, Grandma, the neighbor lady, even DSD's mom (how's that for a twist on this topic). I could easily see a child using the parental term, then being encouraged by the other parent and stepparent (thinking that the child must really be bonding with the stepparent), and then the name just sticking (even though when the child originally started using the name, they didn't fully understand what they were doing). Very confusing.

I think that so much goes into this that it is hard to make a blanket statement about what the right policy is. I definitely feel that a child should not be forced to call a stepparent by a parental name. But after that, there is some gray area - how old is the child, how long has the stepparent been around, is the other parent present in the child's life, how does the child feel about the subject? It is a tough question, and every situation is so different.
post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
Of course you are not wrong! I would hate that, too!

I would not rely on the 4-year-old's statement that her dad's girlfriend requested it. I mean, she may be accurate. But she's also 4, so she may not be - it's not worth stewing over that aspect of things.

The key is that your ex and his girlfriend's attitude (rejecting your completely reasonable request to stop having your daughter call her mommy) is hostile and, frankly, just mean. The chief reason a mom has trouble accepting her ex-husband's new girlfriend is an irrational fear of being displaced, with the kids. She seems to be telling you up front she likes the idea of displacing you. What a jerk! And she's not even married to this little girl's father!

Your ex and any would-be step-mom SHOULD know that, regardless how well they like you, your daughter needs them to support her relationship with you - and her respect for you. And she needs LESS hostility between her parents, not more! I hope that YOU can rise above their slimy behavior and set a better example for your daughter, of not undermining her relationship with her dad just because he's doing that to you.

Since you're not going to get anywhere with the adults, I think it's entirely appropriate for you to tell your daughter, rather seriously, that mothers deserve respect and it is disrespectful for her to call anyone else mommy. A 4-year-old (especially a girl) is plenty mature enough to grasp that basic concept. Tell her you expect her to stop, no matter what other people encourage her to do. This is a right/wrong issue. But arm her with responses she can use, if she gets pressure from dad's girlfriend and help her come up with something else to call her.

Sorry you're experiencing this! Yuck!

I don't mean this in a snarky way, but don't you think it would make the 4-year-old more confused and feeling the tension from her mom and encouraging hostility between the parents to tell her she is not allowed to call a parental figure, who she may love as another mother, by a parental name? I just can't see how it is positive in anyway to tell a child that it is flat out wrong to call her stepmother mom. I especially disagree that with telling her that it is disrespectful to her mother to call her stepmom "mom"-that is essentially telling her that loving her stepmom is disrespectful to her mom. As I said above, I would have a VERY hard time with dd calling somebody else mom, but if it is done because she wants to, I hope that I can rise above and be thankful that her stepmother is such a great, loving person that dd has so much respect and love for her-not that she is disrespecting me or loves me less. OP, you will always be the mom-nothing can change that, no matter who else "shares" that name.
post #12 of 72
I can not lie. I would be hurt hearing my child calling another person Mama...but

My son came up with the name Daddy Randy for my husband. He had his Daddy, then Daddy Randy. Then it changed. Daddy (bio-name) and my husband was Daddy.

There would have not been a way to stop him. We did not make these names up.

I can see a 4 year old asking can "I call you Momma" and gf say "if you want". Being told she was told to call her momma. Kids that age can mess stories up ~~ mind did this a few times and left me embarrassed.

I would think it would be more effective to encourage you child to come up with another endering name to stop confussion. "MUM2" "Mamoo" "Otmot" (other mother) "Maw, Maw"

We have a friend who is a step-dad he is called "Uby Duby" (uby rhymes with ruby) why? The don't know but it is a term of enderment.
post #13 of 72
Thread Starter 
I do understand what everyone is saying the only problem I have with it is she isn't even married to him. I do understand that if they do decide to get married that she will be her stepmom but as of right now no she is not. I have had a lot of problems with this person because she lies to my daughter. I had a son back in Dec and the girlfriend told my daughter that that is not her brother but she tells her that her daughter is her sister. The girlfriend has also told my daughter that she has two mommys. I know to some people she does but my daughter is young and the girlfriend is just the girlfriend. To top it off I went to my daughters mothers day tea at her school in May and the girlfriend was there after I asked her to not to be. My daughter gave her my mother's day gift and she just took it. Maybe I am just worried too much!
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenalexcase View Post
I do understand what everyone is saying the only problem I have with it is she isn't even married to him. I do understand that if they do decide to get married that she will be her stepmom but as of right now no she is not. I have had a lot of problems with this person because she lies to my daughter. I had a son back in Dec and the girlfriend told my daughter that that is not her brother but she tells her that her daughter is her sister. The girlfriend has also told my daughter that she has two mommys. I know to some people she does but my daughter is young and the girlfriend is just the girlfriend. To top it off I went to my daughters mothers day tea at her school in May and the girlfriend was there after I asked her to not to be. My daughter gave her my mother's day gift and she just took it. Maybe I am just worried too much!
In light of the bolded, I have to agree that she's overstepping her role. While it says a lot about your parenting that your daughter was gracious enough to give her the gift, the g/f should have understood (given that she is a mother herself) that you would be hurt and tried to work something out.

I do think it can be difficult to deal with the "who gets called Mom" issue when the kids are little. They don't understand. But... the adults should, and there are ways to work around it - namely, suggest an alternate. It really is not that hard to explain to a 4yo that "I'm glad you love me enough to want to call me something special, but "Mommy" is a special name you use for your Mommy. How about we think of a different special name you can call me?"
post #15 of 72
How long has this girl and your ex been together?
post #16 of 72
this is something that I would probably take to court. Some boundaries need to be set legally.
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
this is something that I would probably take to court. Some boundaries need to be set legally.
REALLY? I think a judge would be pretty angry if you wasted her time with a hearing about who gets to be called "Mommy." Not saying it shouldn't hurt, just saying it's not a legal matter.
post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenalexcase View Post
I do understand what everyone is saying the only problem I have with it is she isn't even married to him. I do understand that if they do decide to get married that she will be her stepmom but as of right now no she is not. I have had a lot of problems with this person because she lies to my daughter. I had a son back in Dec and the girlfriend told my daughter that that is not her brother but she tells her that her daughter is her sister. The girlfriend has also told my daughter that she has two mommys. I know to some people she does but my daughter is young and the girlfriend is just the girlfriend. To top it off I went to my daughters mothers day tea at her school in May and the girlfriend was there after I asked her to not to be. My daughter gave her my mother's day gift and she just took it. Maybe I am just worried too much!

Well, dp and I are not married, but we (myself, dp, dsd, dsd's mom, etc.) all consider me to be her stepmom. So, I think it is more emotional relation ship than legal relationship, KWIM.

However, she should obviously not be telling your dsd that your child is not her bro/sis and hers are, and I understand why you were hurt that she accpeted your mother's day gift and showed up for your mother's day tea. Do you know if perhaps dsd invited her and she just has a hard time saying no or knowing what to say to dsd without hurting her feelings? I'm trying to give her hte benefit of the doubt on those things, since it might not be that she is trying to upset you, but that she is trying NOT to upset your dsd. WHen dsd asked to call me mom, I had a hard time explaining why she couldn't, although we did do what a PP suggested and come up with another name instead.

My dsd says all the time that she has two moms and two dads and I don't think anybody's feeliings are hurt. Heck, I have heard dp (her dad) refer to dsd having two dads without batting an eye. She does, and he is grateful that her stepdad is somebody who she loves and is comfortable with and considers a parent.

I am curious how long your ex and his gf have been together. She sounds pretty involved to be a short-term thing.

It sounds to me like both of you are a little insecure in your positoins in dsd's life and are kind of battling for the "best mom/parent" role-and I don't mean this in a critical way, because I think this is a really common thing and I'm enve pretty sure that I was guilty of it when dp and I were fairly new I would suggest keeping your dd out of the middle of things as much as possible, trying to be really nice to your dd's stepmom, and hoping that things calm down as she realizes you are not competing with her and hopefully she will reciprocate. Good luck again.
post #19 of 72
I do not think it is ok for her to call her dads girlfriend "mommy". I don't care what the situation is.
ETA: Just read more of the posts. Does your dd live with you or your ex?
post #20 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakah View Post
Does your dd live with you or your ex?
She said upthread that "My ex and I have 50/50 all the way, legal, physical."
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › Daughter calling ex's girlfriend "mommy"