Mama confussion for 2 year old. Girlfriend says she has 2 Moms. Help! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 12-29-2013, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Mothering.com community,

 

I am new to the site and was really hoping to get some different perspective from you all. I have 2 children 2 and 5.

 

A little background...Shortly after the birth of my youngest daughter I found out that my husband at the time was having an affair with the Director of the Daycare facility where we brought our children, lets call her Tausha. We are now divorced and the children's father and I share 50/50 custody. Tausha  also got a divorce and shares custody of her three children and lives with my former spouse. I could write a book about the in's and out's of that whole experience but that is not why I am reaching out to you today.

 

About 4 months ago when my youngest had barely turned 2 I noticed that she started calling Tausha "Mom". I brought it up to my former spouse and Tausha and their response was we are going to allow her to call Tausha what ever she wants. I was incredibly hurt at first but then I pulled my big girl panties up and moved forward. Now about four months later I have tried to explain to my youngest that she has one Mom which is "me" and let's call Tausha Mama T. She caught on and it lasted for a bit but since its not supported at the other home it didn't last. About 2 weeks ago I took my two girls to a school concert for my oldest daughter. While in the stands my youngest daughter saw her step-sister and with a raised voice said, "Where's my Mama? Where's my Mama?" It was uncomfortable because she was in my arms and I am sure the other parents around me didn't know what to think. I brought it up to my former spouse and Tausha yesterday. I suggested we adopt the Mama T so that she will not be so confused. Tausha told me "We tell her she has 2 Mamas." In which I came back with, "She has one Mama." Shortly after my former spouse called me on the phone, chewed me out and told me what a horrible person I was and how our daughter should call Tausha what ever she wants. I told him that she is so young she needs her parents to guide her. Last week my daughter called my boyfriend of 9 months "Daddy" and we corrected her.

 

I am starting this post to vent as well as learn from your experiences. I would appreciate your thoughts...

Thank you,

aButterfly

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#2 of 18 Old 12-29-2013, 09:15 AM
 
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I would call the gf by her name and actively encourage your dd to do so. If they were married it might be understandable to find another term but since they aren't that committed I would encourage her to just use her name.
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#3 of 18 Old 12-29-2013, 10:11 AM
 
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even families that actually DO have 2 moms find different things to call each one. We even use different names for various grandparents so nobody gets called the same thing. It's utterly confusing of the child and hurtful for the parent who actually IS the mama. I'm so sorry that your ex and his gf are being so hurtful towards you.


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#4 of 18 Old 12-29-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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This is just my opinion as a CHILD from an unconventional family, and not a parent. This reminds me of the millions of spiteful tiffs my mom and half-sister would get into about family dynamics. My sister was already married herself when my mom married our dad, and so they NEVER developed a nurturing relationship. It was all hurtful and divisive quibbling about wether there were too many grandmas, and that her kids should call my mom Ms. Rosy instead. It really hurt her feelings, especially because she was quite close to her grandchildren, blood or not. 

 

I do still think it's disappointing that your husband and Tausha can't see your side on this, and that Mamma T is a lovely and still loving alternative to "Mom." However, if they continue to push back, this might not be as bad as you think, and MAY not be worth starting a war over. For one, it means your daughter is feeling nurtured by Tausha which is GREAT. It's so much more wounding to feel unloved by a parent's new partner. Or like the people you love most are quarreling over your affection. Ouch. 

 

Secondly, maybe you could not worry so much about judgement from others. People live in countless non-nuclear arrangements these days, and it might confuse people, but thats what explaining is for. And if the people who are confused/judgey aren't enough a part of your life to hear the explanation, and still see you as a mom worthy of their respect, then their opinion probably isn't worth much. 

 

Finally, let me just say, that while I agree with you that you daughter should find an alternative nickname for Tausha, that you should be consistent with it. You can't tell her to call her Mama T, and then say "You only have one Mama." That's confusing. 


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#5 of 18 Old 12-29-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree CynthiaMoon. I also thought that it was confusing for me to say you have one mama and have her call Mama T. My counselor suggested Mama T as a way for my youngest to identify Tausha and myself. Thank you for all of the input so far -- it really helps.

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#6 of 18 Old 12-29-2013, 07:43 PM
 
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I think you need to make sure this is a serious relationship, if you haven't already. If Tausha is being considered "Mama" by your daughter, losing her if this relationship ended would be devastating. If they aren't already talking about the future and a serious commitment, even about getting engaged- she shouldn't be seeing her as a mother. It's really irresponsible to let his daughter consider this woman a mother if he isn't planning on keeping this woman in her life.

 

It's unfortunate that they wouldn't listen to the "Mama T" suggestion. :(


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#7 of 18 Old 12-29-2013, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Sillysapling. They did get engaged last week so I do think they are establishing a long term committed relationship.

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#8 of 18 Old 12-29-2013, 10:37 PM
 
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I know I personally would prefer that my kids save the name mom just for me.  My stepdaughter had a nickname similar to your mama T for me when she was younger, then just called me by my first name when she got older, and that worked well for all of us.  I wouldn't have been comfortable with her calling me mom since she has a mother very much involved in her life, but it's possible your gf feels it makes their bond stronger or more significant.  

 

 I do believe that kids have the right to choose names for the adults they love to some degree-*if* they are old enough to understand it! Your daughter is so little, I have to believe that your ex and his gf guided her into calling gf mama, or at the very least encouraged it when she tried it out. 

 

I'm sorry they won't agree to a reasonable compromise with the Mama T nickname-I would keep using it for you and your daughter, as that is all you can control.  When she repeats that she has 2 mamas, I would just respond by saying how nice it is she has so many people who love her.  Chances are, as she gets older, she'll choose a different name for dad's gf-maybe it will be some derivative of mom still, but I'd bet she'll at least choose something different for each of you. 


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#9 of 18 Old 12-30-2013, 08:40 AM
 
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I know I personally would prefer that my kids save the name mom just for me.  My stepdaughter had a nickname similar to your mama T for me when she was younger, then just called me by my first name when she got older, and that worked well for all of us.  I wouldn't have been comfortable with her calling me mom since she has a mother very much involved in her life, but it's possible your gf feels it makes their bond stronger or more significant. 

I have seen a few (now adult) children in this situation say that they started calling the step-parent mom or dad to feel like part of the family, as the step-parent's kids used mom/dad, and using the name made them feel like outsiders. Not being allowed to use mom/dad would have made them feel like they really weren't part of the family, which would have been deeply hurtful. Again- this seems to apply more with older children.

 

If Tausha's kids live with her (and the OP's ex? Not sure what the living arrangment is) and she's seen her soon-to-be-step siblings calling Tausha mom/mama, that may be where she got the idea. And the fact that Tausha and the OP's ex say "You have two mamas" to this little girl proves that they're reinforcing it. I don't really understand why that would come up unless the two year old started getting confused because she has her mama and then she has this woman that she's calling mama. It actually makes me wonder if they started pushing her to call Tausha mama, the girl expressed confusion ("Tausha's not mama. Mama is mama") and they pulled out the "You have two mamas". I hope that's not the case, though. :(

 

It is important to allow kids to use the terms they feel is best (within reason- disrespectful ones are out, obviously), but I agree that it's a bit different with a 2 year old.


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#10 of 18 Old 12-30-2013, 10:51 AM
 
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I just thought of a funny story that happened with my friend's daughter when she was 2. We'd all gone camping (me w/ my 2 boys and her with her 2 boys and DD). Sometime in the trip, I realized that her DD was calling me Mom. At first I thought she was asking where her mom was but then it became clear that she was talking to me and I heard her calling my friend Mommy. She'd been hearing my boys call out to me so decided that was my name, and, in her mind, it's a totally different name than Mommy (especially 'cause my boys say it very fast and clipped). She still calls me Mom from time to time and she's almost 5. She doesn't warm up to many people so I love that she is comfortable enough to have a special nick-name for me, regardless of what it is.

 

Anyway, it made the think that, perhaps in your daughter's head, she IS calling the gf a different name than what she calls you??


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#11 of 18 Old 12-30-2013, 01:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post

 

If Tausha's kids live with her (and the OP's ex? Not sure what the living arrangment is) and she's seen her soon-to-be-step siblings calling Tausha mom/mama, that may be where she got the idea.

This is a good point-I was actually really worried when I had my first bio kid that she would call me by my first name rather than mom because that is what she mostly heard dsd call me!  

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#12 of 18 Old 12-30-2013, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post
 

I have seen a few (now adult) children in this situation say that they started calling the step-parent mom or dad to feel like part of the family, as the step-parent's kids used mom/dad, and using the name made them feel like outsiders. Not being allowed to use mom/dad would have made them feel like they really weren't part of the family, which would have been deeply hurtful. Again- this seems to apply more with older children.

 

If Tausha's kids live with her (and the OP's ex? Not sure what the living arrangment is) and she's seen her soon-to-be-step siblings calling Tausha mom/mama, that may be where she got the idea. And the fact that Tausha and the OP's ex say "You have two mamas" to this little girl proves that they're reinforcing it. I don't really understand why that would come up unless the two year old started getting confused because she has her mama and then she has this woman that she's calling mama. It actually makes me wonder if they started pushing her to call Tausha mama, the girl expressed confusion ("Tausha's not mama. Mama is mama") and they pulled out the "You have two mamas". I hope that's not the case, though. :(

 

It is important to allow kids to use the terms they feel is best (within reason- disrespectful ones are out, obviously), but I agree that it's a bit different with a 2 year old.

 

Great point! Tausha does have her 3 children 50 percent of the time as well. I guess my oldest is the only one who doesn't call her Mom -- for now anyway. She told me that my ex and his gf sat her down and said Tausha is like her Mom at their house. I do get where the adults were coming from I just don't think they are very smart about how they handle complex situations.

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#13 of 18 Old 12-30-2013, 09:27 PM
 
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I think that actively telling the kids she is their mom in any way may qualify as an attempt to alienate you as a parent, especially since they are having the kids use the exact term they use for you. It may be worth bringing up with your lawyer.
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#14 of 18 Old 12-30-2013, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that actively telling the kids she is their mom in any way may qualify as an attempt to alienate you as a parent, especially since they are having the kids use the exact term they use for you. It may be worth bringing up with your lawyer.

 

I had another friend ask me about this... Here is where I came up... I could force mediation but behind closed doors I can't prove they are or are not coaching my daughter or will ever stop her from using the phrase "Mama." I think they are good to my kids but I don't think they are people with strong moral, logical or compassionate character. I think the only true legal recourse I could take would be to go to mediation to ask for play therapy. My ex and Tausha have been greatly against any type of therapy so it would definitely not go over well. The only reason I would go to therapy is for a 3rd party to tell us that my 2 year old is okay. I think my 2 year old is confused but doing better than just okay. She does have a lot of tantrums but all and all I think she is a great child and is prospering. I don't think my children get good quality time with their Dad but I do think they have fun and feel loved when they are with their other family. This is good and I would rather save my lawyer card for a more concerning issue... Just where my brain waves are tonight.

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#15 of 18 Old 12-31-2013, 06:20 AM
 
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Great point! Tausha does have her 3 children 50 percent of the time as well. I guess my oldest is the only one who doesn't call her Mom -- for now anyway. She told me that my ex and his gf sat her down and said Tausha is like her Mom at their house. I do get where the adults were coming from I just don't think they are very smart about how they handle complex situations.
I'm a foster parent and have found that most kids call me mom because that's what my kids call me. It's not unusual.
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#16 of 18 Old 12-31-2013, 09:33 AM
 
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I had another friend ask me about this... Here is where I came up... I could force mediation but behind closed doors I can't prove they are or are not coaching my daughter or will ever stop her from using the phrase "Mama." I think they are good to my kids but I don't think they are people with strong moral, logical or compassionate character. I think the only true legal recourse I could take would be to go to mediation to ask for play therapy. My ex and Tausha have been greatly against any type of therapy so it would definitely not go over well. The only reason I would go to therapy is for a 3rd party to tell us that my 2 year old is okay. I think my 2 year old is confused but doing better than just okay. She does have a lot of tantrums but all and all I think she is a great child and is prospering. I don't think my children get good quality time with their Dad but I do think they have fun and feel loved when they are with their other family. This is good and I would rather save my lawyer card for a more concerning issue... Just where my brain waves are tonight.

I'm very concerned that they're against therapy. Divorce is a rough time, especially when kids are getting a "new mom" (it's awful they're saying that to your kids- kids will choose to on their own, pushing it is, IMO, wrong), and some kids really benefit from therapy to help them deal with it. If one of your kids definitely needs therapy in the future- will they still be against it?

 

It sounds like the situation could be worse and it is a good idea to pick your battles. If you think your daughter is fine, I wouldn't push the therapy thing now- but it is a concern. Do you need his permission to have your kid/s in therapy on your time?


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#17 of 18 Old 01-03-2014, 05:04 AM
 
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Keep reinforcing to your child that the other woman is not mom and call her tausha. Even if it is in front of the other woman.

Since the divorce is final it is too late to get it added that Mom and Dad are terms reserved for Mom and Dad. That SO's and step parents don't get to use that term. If you are going to court for anything else, I would motion to have it added, but only if going to court for something else.
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#18 of 18 Old 01-03-2014, 05:10 AM
 
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This is the other woman that he is involved with. It's very unlikely to last no matter how serious.
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