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Stepmother demands to be called Grandma

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

  I recently had a baby girl who is now 6 months old. I have an issue with my stepmother (of 26 years) being called Grandma. I have a VERY strained relationship with the woman. We have never had a one on one relationship and I do not see her unless my dad is around. It is very akward and uncomfortable between us. I see her at most Thanksgiving, Christmas, and summer family reunion and thats the most, and we live 10 minutes from eachother so thats a total of about 3 times a yearI see her although my dad pressures me to see her more which I always say no to. As a child she badmouthed my mother a lot, which she denies. Because of that I was never able to love her cause I knew how much she hated my mother(although she hasn't done that in years the damage to our relationship was done). Now she has rewritten history and goes around saying how she's my "other mother", and how she raised me (funny seeing how my mom raised me) which absolutely disgusts me and is insulting to my mother who did raise me. Stepmom was never was a loving woman to me. I was treated as the unwanted stepchld til at least my mid 20s. She now demands she be called Grandma. I get sick to my stomach with even the thought of calling her Grandma. I just can't call her that even when referring to DD. I have always called Stepmom by her first name. I feel it would be better if she be called something like Nana FirstName or Nanny First Name as that would be a compromise and I would feel more comfortable with her first name in it. But she demands she be called Grandma. Whats interesting though is my dad has great nieces (under 10) that call her by her first name instead of Aunt, and she has no problem with it, but with my baby she demands to be called Grandma. My stepmother is also a very toxic, negative, narcisistic person that I avoid like the plague. In fact all of my dad's family avoid her as well. So its not like I'll ever allow her to be an active grandma as I can only handle her in very small doses. She is very difficult to be around. After I had my baby and Dad and Stepmom came over, she snatched my baby without asking, hogged her, and then got extremely upset at me for taking my baby out of her arms. She has no boundaries. She is also desperate for grandkids cause her biodaughter won't be having them so I guess she figures I'm her only chance. I feel bad for the woman a bit, but I am miserable around her so I don't do anything but holidays with her, and then she gets jealous when she finds out how my mom or MIL got to babysit. Sorry not going to happen. Just cause I had a baby doesn't mean I'm going to start involving her more in my life. She's such a negative person to be around that I just can't have a close relationship with her or put up with her more than a few times a year. Since we don't see her all that often should I just humor her and let her call herself Grandma? I won't be referring to her as Grandma around DD, so hopefully DD will pick up on something else like her first name as that is what DH and I call her. And since she isn't that big apart of our lives who knows if DD will even remember who she is the times we go over.

 

   Also my mom and MIL are very involved. My mom has chosen Grammy and MIL has chosen Grandma. Another reason I feel Stepmom needs to choose another name, as I would prefer that each woman have a different name. There's tons of names to choose from such as Nana, Noni, MeeMaw, MiMi, GiGi, YaYa,  but she won't accept anything but Grandma.

post #2 of 28
No compromise. She's not your mom. Have your dd call ger by her first name. do not indulge her she will just try to get more out of you.
post #3 of 28

Maybe she could be referred to ask Grandma First Name? And your mom would be Grandma. Is that too confusing? 

 

Best scenario she'd agree to be called Nana/Noni/ect but seems like she's not going for it and you shouldn't have to stress about it. Maybe your daughter will naturally give her a different nickname it as she starts to speak.

 

Or you could simply state: "For DD's sake, we're going to call you Nana. This way she won't be confused with her grandmothers having the same name. We want you to have your own identity." And then automatically refer to her as Nana. 

 

Good luck!

post #4 of 28

Since you see her so infrequently I think your DD will pick up on what you and your DH refer to your stepmother as, rather than what she refers to herself as. So she can knock herself out referring to herself as Grandma when you guys are together, but I wouldn't go along with it. It sounds like she hasn't earned the title. 

post #5 of 28

I say call her whatever she wants to be called right now. Your DD doesnt see her enough for it to be an issue, plus kids usually pick names for people anyway. I wanted my stepmom to be grandma, but my DD calls her "Nanny" with absolutely no input from us. She just decided on that and stuck with it. So, for right now it's referring to her as grandma when she's around, which isnt very often, right?

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sere234 View Post

Maybe she could be referred to ask Grandma First Name? 

 

I second this. I called my step-grandmother Grandma First Name, and I didn't think of her as my grandmother—the relationship was very clear  to me. 

post #7 of 28
I would never in a million years indulge her demands. Quite frankly, saying no is a good way to indicate to her that you have boundaries. I would tell her she already has a Grammy and a Grandma and if she'd like to be Nana X she can. Otherwise you'll just refer to her by her first name only. In my opinion, allowing her to have any title that is used as a term of endearment or affection is beyond gracious considering the circumstances. I'd be really firm about it too. If she wants your daughter to call her Sue instead of Susan or Beth instead of Elizabeth, that's fine. Titles like mom, grandma, aunt, etc are the parents' choice.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie74 View Post

 Since we don't see her all that often should I just humor her and let her call herself Grandma? I won't be referring to her as Grandma around DD, so hopefully DD will pick up on something else like her first name as that is what DH and I call her. And since she isn't that big apart of our lives who knows if DD will even remember who she is the times we go over.

 

   Also my mom and MIL are very involved. My mom has chosen Grammy and MIL has chosen Grandma. Another reason I feel Stepmom needs to choose another name, as I would prefer that each woman have a different name. There's tons of names to choose from such as Nana, Noni, MeeMaw, MiMi, GiGi, YaYa,  but she won't accept anything but Grandma.

 

Dh has a stepmother who did not raise him. She isn't negative or toxic but fil didn't marry her until dh was grown up and we don't see her often. We have never called her grandma and just used her first name or called her fil's wife. Dd uses her first name. I don't think she ever has a problem with it.

Mil was Grandma Firstname and my mother was Grandma Nickname. If dd referred to someone as just Grandma it meant my mom. That bothered mil a bit but dd was just closer to my mom.

 

In your situation I would continue to refer to your stepmother by her first name at home. If she tells your child she is to call her grandma then I would let your child call her that or go with Grandma Firstname. It won't be confusing to your dd if there are two people she is to call grandma unless the grandparents are all together. She will figure out for herself who is more involved and special in her life no matter what title the person has.

post #9 of 28

This is something that you are going to have to be direct about: "Grandma is what we call my mom, Beth. Please don't do that." You will have to repeat yourself many times, and you will have to be willing to have her angry at you. But since your mom is still alive, still in the picture, and is the Grandma, I think that respect for her demands that you set boundaries with the second wife. 

post #10 of 28
I didn't read all the responses, so I apologize if I am repeating what others said.

Stand your ground. Do not confuse the issue with two grandmas. Your stepmom should be whatever name you choose. You can give her one more chance to choose something else, then simply choose the name yourself if she refuses to change her position.

I had a similar situation with my mother-in-law. What is it about the name 'grandma'? Anyway, we chose 'mom-mom' for her and 'pop-pop' for her husband, with my parents as 'grandma' and 'grandpa'. Sadly, the relationships with none of lasted more than three years (and even then it was strained), and now we don't see any of them. So I suggest you not worry about it. If she's so toxic, chances are good that even those three times a year will be fading away in the future.

Focus on the good relationships. And love your child(ren).
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

 I would LOVE if she would compromise and be willing to be called Grandma First Name, and I have suggested that. But she won't have it. She insists she be called Grandma without her first name in it. There's no compromising with her at all. She won't settle for anything but Grandma, and has already sent gifts (i do appreciate the gifts) for DD signed "from Grandma and Grandpa". I just think this will be confusing for DD cause my mom is Grammy and my MIL is Grandma. Stepmom tells me that there can be 2 grandmas called Grandma and I'm making a big deal out of nothing. She also tells me how after 26 years she's earned the right to be called Grandma. Years don't equal a good relationship, and in fact I'm not much closer to my stepmother than when I first met her, so that says a lot about our lack of relationship. You earn a title by being a loving and involved family member, not by the amount of years you've been in a family. Its a sad truth, but should my dad pass away before her, I know I will not keep in contact with her at all. So her "grandma status" is completely based on my dad being around.

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie74 View Post

 I would LOVE if she would compromise and be willing to be called Grandma First Name, and I have suggested that. But she won't have it. She insists she be called Grandma without her first name in it. There's no compromising with her at all. She won't settle for anything but Grandma, and has already sent gifts (i do appreciate the gifts) for DD signed "from Grandma and Grandpa". I just think this will be confusing for DD cause my mom is Grammy and my MIL is Grandma. Stepmom tells me that there can be 2 grandmas called Grandma and I'm making a big deal out of nothing. She also tells me how after 26 years she's earned the right to be called Grandma. Years don't equal a good relationship, and in fact I'm not much closer to my stepmother than when I first met her, so that says a lot about our lack of relationship. You earn a title by being a loving and involved family member, not by the amount of years you've been in a family. Its a sad truth, but should my dad pass away before her, I know I will not keep in contact with her at all. So her "grandma status" is completely based on my dad being around.

That is nuts. She hasn't earned anything. Your kid, your decision how to raise her and that includes who you refer to as Grandma. I would explicitly tell her that if she sends cards or gifts from "Grandma" that you'll have them "returned to sender.". Seriously. It's not even that the name is that big of a deal. What IS a big deal is that she's not respecting your boundaries. I wouldn't let her get away with it. Know this: when *you* are the mom, you don't have to compromise. Especially with people you consider toxic and narcissistic. You're the boss. It's a perk of the job. It took me a while to figure that out after my first was born because I tend not to be confrontational IRL. I realized that part of doing my job as a mom though is to put my foot down when others try to step all over me as a parent. You don't want your daughter confused. It's an emotionally charged use of the term "grandma" considering her history with you, and you've told her she can use another grandma-y name. That's it. Tell her you expect her to stop and hold your ground. Good luck.
post #13 of 28

Ugh, I hate that this is happening, we have a very similar situation.  Except dad is just now marrying her and we've only met her once, she's decided she's 'grammy'. I've clarified that she's Janet, I do think my situation is easier then yours though.

 

You know, in the end, it doesn't matter what she says.  You see her only a few times a year, when you don't refer to her as 'grandma' or instruct your dd to call her Jane (or whatever) what is she going to do?  Let her throw a fit and be a bitch.  Is she going to repo your house or make sure your family has no food?  Her bs is hers, you're the mama now, decisions about or affecting your dd go through you.  You have the power now.  I wish you luck and little drama.

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

 I think it does make it harder for me that she's been in the family for so long. If she were my dad's "new wife" it would make it much easier to tell her no to being grandma since she would've had no part during my growing up years. Even though my "stepmom" was around since i was 12, I've actually never referred to her as such. I consider her my "dad's wife". I once introduced her as "dad's wife", and she started screaming at me, and sent me a 3 page letter telling me how lucky I was to have 2 moms and I better learn to accept it. You can't reason with this woman at all, so I just avoid her except for Christmas and the annual family reunion. I feel bad for my dad that I have to keep distance from his wife cause Im sure it causes him problems as well, but all his wife cares about is her position in the family. I truly feel she cares more about having a title than having a relationship. She also caused a huge scene once when she was referred to as "daughter in law" by my grandparents instead of "daughter'. After my grandmother's funeral she was crying to my aunts about how she knew they only thought of her as an inlaw. Everything is about titles to her, and she will demand and force people to think of her a certain way, even if they are not comfortable with it, just like she tries to force me to think of her as a parent when in reality she is nothing special to me and nothing more than just my dad's wife. She causes me way too much anxiety to be around her too often which is why I have to put a limit on the number of times a year I'm around her despite living such a close distance to her and my dad.  And I'm sure my dad picks up on it, cause aside from Christmas and the family reunion, I decline every invite that includes being around her. I get knots in my stomach when I'm around her and have never been relaxed or comfortable in her presence. I'm always afraid that what I will say will offend her and then she'll go off again. At one time I was even taking anxiety pills just to be able to handle being around her.

 

  Our personalities clash a lot too. I am an introvert, timid, shy, people pleaser, and scared of confrontation. She is outgoing, loud, obnoxious, know it all who has to be right and the center of attention, and loves confrontation. So you can see how those 2 types of personalities no matter the relationship were just doomed to ever be close.

 

 On a side note, I "technically" had stepgrandparents as in my stepmother's parents. I only saw them thanksgiving and easter. They were nice people, but at the age of 12 I was very uncomfortable calling them Nanny and PawPaw. My stepmother first insisted I call them Mr and Mrs. before she married my dad and then after the marriage insisted that they were Nanny and PawPaw. Made me so uncomfortable that I just didn't call them anything. If she would've understood how uncomfortable I was, I might have established some kind of name I could've called her parents such as Nanny Jan, but instead i have always avoided calling them anything. They even caught on, and on gifts would sign their first names. Doesn't really matter now, cause as an adult they are pretty much like aqaintances or distant family as with having my mom and inlaws to spend holidays with, I haven't seen them in years. I know it hurts my dad's wife, but even though they are nice, they are her family, not mine.

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie74 View Post

I once introduced her as "dad's wife", and she started screaming at me, and sent me a 3 page letter telling me how lucky I was to have 2 moms and I better learn to accept it.

 

She also caused a huge scene once when she was referred to as "daughter in law" by my grandparents instead of "daughter'. 

 

So she has a history of being nuts when it comes to this issue. Yikes. 

 

I wouldn't debate the subject with her anymore. No matter how many arguments/justifications/excuses she can come up with for why you should refer to her as Grandma, the final decision is yours and doesn't need justification. I would just calmly say, "I'm not discussing this anymore. I'm sorry it upsets you, but DD already has a Grandma and a Grammy. Let me know if you change your mind about Nana, otherwise we'll just stick with Beth." Then leave the situation alone. If she screams, cries, sends letters, etc. just ignore them -- hang up the phone, delete the e-mail, or whatever. If she starts yelling at you about it during a get-together, calmly get up and collect your things and say, "I'm not discussing this -- I've told you my decision and there's nothing more to say. If you can't treat me with respect about it I guess we'll have to leave. Dad, I hope we can see you again soon." 

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie74 View Post

 I would LOVE if she would compromise and be willing to be called Grandma First Name, and I have suggested that. But she won't have it. She insists she be called Grandma without her first name in it. There's no compromising with her at all. She won't settle for anything but Grandma, and has already sent gifts (i do appreciate the gifts) for DD signed "from Grandma and Grandpa". I just think this will be confusing for DD cause my mom is Grammy and my MIL is Grandma. Stepmom tells me that there can be 2 grandmas called Grandma and I'm making a big deal out of nothing. She also tells me how after 26 years she's earned the right to be called Grandma. Years don't equal a good relationship, and in fact I'm not much closer to my stepmother than when I first met her, so that says a lot about our lack of relationship. You earn a title by being a loving and involved family member, not by the amount of years you've been in a family. Its a sad truth, but should my dad pass away before her, I know I will not keep in contact with her at all. So her "grandma status" is completely based on my dad being around.

 

My dh refused to call his grandmother anything- not ever her first name- because of how toxic and abusive she was so I understand not wanting to give her a title just based on who she is married to or the number of years she has been around.

 

I would not spend any more energy discussing this with her. She doesn't matter. Don't explain or try to give her another title. She doesn't need a title. If she complains just ignore her.

When you see her 2 or 3 times a year she can call herself grandma. You can't really stop her from using the word. She can't make you use it though.  When she sends a gift or card marked Grandma you just tell your dd that it is from your father's wife- no title. You don't have to give her a title in your own home when you speak of her.

 

Your dd's relationship with this woman is not your relationship with her though. Despite the fact that she wasn't a mother figure to you she may end up being a grandmother figure to your dd. It is doubtful they will have any relationship but you never know. I'd say let your dd figure out what she wants to call your father's wife. Go along with whatever your dd chooses even if it is Grandma.

post #17 of 28
It will be issue when she hands the child a Christmas gift and says "This is from Grandma". And she sounds like the type to do that!
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie74 View Post

...There's no compromising with her at all. She won't settle for anything but Grandma, ...

My initial reaction (til I read the whole OP) was, so what/who cares/let her be called Grandma. No biggie. But now I see it's so much more than that... I'd let her have her choice. She can be called something other than "Grandma," or she can be called nothing, b/c the baby won't be in contact with her. Her choice.

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie74 View Post

 I would LOVE if she would compromise and be willing to be called Grandma First Name, and I have suggested that. But she won't have it. She insists she be called Grandma without her first name in it. There's no compromising with her at all. She won't settle for anything but Grandma, and has already sent gifts (i do appreciate the gifts) for DD signed "from Grandma and Grandpa". I just think this will be confusing for DD cause my mom is Grammy and my MIL is Grandma. Stepmom tells me that there can be 2 grandmas called Grandma and I'm making a big deal out of nothing. She also tells me how after 26 years she's earned the right to be called Grandma. Years don't equal a good relationship, and in fact I'm not much closer to my stepmother than when I first met her, so that says a lot about our lack of relationship. You earn a title by being a loving and involved family member, not by the amount of years you've been in a family. Its a sad truth, but should my dad pass away before her, I know I will not keep in contact with her at all. So her "grandma status" is completely based on my dad being around.

 

Well tell her your DD will be calling her Grandma firstname, on the rare occasions she will get to spend any time with her.  Tell her that she doesn't get to dictate what she "earned" with you, YOU do.  Tell her you won't compromise and if she complains and calls you uncompromising or stubborn you tell her "oh well, maybe you DID raise me after all!".

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie74 View Post

 I would LOVE if she would compromise and be willing to be called Grandma First Name, and I have suggested that. But she won't have it. She insists she be called Grandma without her first name in it. There's no compromising with her at all. She won't settle for anything but Grandma, and has already sent gifts (i do appreciate the gifts) for DD signed "from Grandma and Grandpa". I just think this will be confusing for DD cause my mom is Grammy and my MIL is Grandma. Stepmom tells me that there can be 2 grandmas called Grandma and I'm making a big deal out of nothing. She also tells me how after 26 years she's earned the right to be called Grandma. Years don't equal a good relationship, and in fact I'm not much closer to my stepmother than when I first met her, so that says a lot about our lack of relationship. You earn a title by being a loving and involved family member, not by the amount of years you've been in a family. Its a sad truth, but should my dad pass away before her, I know I will not keep in contact with her at all. So her "grandma status" is completely based on my dad being around.

Honestly, she can call herself whatever she wants and sign gifts in whatever way she wants but if you don't see her frequently, your language choices will stand. So, if you are comfortable with Grandma Mary or whatever than use it, use it every time, and your daughter won't be confused. "We are going to see grandpa and grandma mary. Grandma Mary sent you this. etc."

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