MIL making DD call her "Mom"**UGLY UPDATE POST 65** - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How would you handle this?

We live with my in-laws. We rent out their basement apartment. Long story, I've gotten into detail in previous posts so if you're super curious you could look that up if you wish.

My MIL makes my 2yo DD call her "Mom". She doesn't do it around us, but whenever DD comes back from spending time with her she refers to her as "Mom". MIL in the past has flaunted this in a way.. asking DD who "mama" was and who "mom" was. (I'm "Mama").

We have asked her to stop. We're fairly young parents- 20yo and MIL is young herself- in her late 30s. She has said she'd stop- but she doesn't. She jokes that DD will be allowed to call her "grandma" when DH & I graduate from college DD knows that MIL is her grandma, but otherwise usually refers to her by her first name (which doesn't bug me too much- we refer to her as grandma when we speak about her, she just calls her by her first name because she hears others do it).

The same goes for my FIL- he really doesn't care one way or the other, but MIL has started referring to him as "Papi" to DD. We refer to him as grandpa but now DD calls him "Papi" which means "Father" in spanish. She calls DH "Daddy", but still.. it bugs me. DH and I have started referring to FIL as "grandpapi" and it is starting to stick- but MIL just won't kick the "Mom" and "Papi" thing.

How would you feel about this? What would you do? It's getting really annoying and quite frankly I don't like DD calling anyone else their mother.

(Note: My mother passed away and my father isn't in the picture anymore, so these are DDs only grandparents (though she has a set of great-grandparents, "Bisa" and "Abuela") and I really don't want to downplay the grandparent thing by calling them names that would otherwise refer to me and DH. Maybe I should get my head out of the clouds... but either way, this really irks me)

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#2 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:28 AM
 
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As long as you live in her house you are going to have a hard time fighting it and setting boundaries. Get out as quickly as possible. Then you can start enforcing some boundaries there. It sounds like a hard situation. I'm sorry.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#3 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:31 AM
 
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How awful. I don't blame you for being irritated. It's cruel of her.
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#4 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:35 AM
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How awful. I don't blame you for being irritated. It's cruel of her.



I like what Oprah said:

"We teach people how to treat us."

Tell your MIL she can't spend any "alone" time with DD if she is going to continue doing this. And mean it. Your dh should tell her this, as well.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#5 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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As long as you live in her house you are going to have a hard time fighting it and setting boundaries. Get out as quickly as possible. Then you can start enforcing some boundaries there. It sounds like a hard situation. I'm sorry.


You've really done all you can by asking her to stop. She's clearly not going to. Figuring out an exit plan seems like your only option.

I'm sorry.

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#6 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 01:09 AM
 
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It sounds like what you really need is a term for grandma that doesn't make MIL feel old. Being in my late 30s, I can understand that she isn't quite ready to feel like a grandma. It also must get odd when she is in public with your DD and there are women her own age who are moms of kids your DD's age.

Would both of you be comfortable with DD calling her "aunt," sticking to her first name, using grandma from another language (abuela, oma, or somesuch) or just an endering word. We called my dad's mother "nanny" which actually means grandma in Irish Gaelic, not a nurse maid like in English. We called my mom's mother "gammy" b/c my oldest sister couldn't pronounce grandma and it just stuck. Here is a whole article with ideas, and another.

Papi is a pretty common grandfather term, so that wouldn't bug me. Though a few people use it for fathers, I would say more people in the US use it for GP.

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#7 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 01:31 AM
 
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It sounds like what you really need is a term for grandma that doesn't make MIL feel old. Being in my late 30s, I can understand that she isn't quite ready to feel like a grandma. It also must get odd when she is in public with your DD and there are women her own age who are moms of kids your DD's age.
Yes, my mother refuses to be "grandma," "granny" or any other "old lady" names. Though I was 25 when DS was born, she was only 17 when I was born, so she was in her early 40s. She just felt that signified a move into being "old." The kids call her Mimi, which she likes much better. Perhaps you can brainstorm a way to make her more comfortable with a "grandma" term.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#8 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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Since your mom is younger than me I can kinda dig not wanting to be called grandma or anything close to it. My best friend from my school days was a grandfather two years before I became a first time dad so I'm new to being old :-p

Maybe you could compromise on something? My dad hasn't met my son yet but he's expressed a desire to be known as "big pop" which is fine with me. I think of myself more as dad than pop.

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!" - Dr. Seuss
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#9 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 01:44 AM
 
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Is it maybe a cultural thing? I know my sister's sons' grandparents did this especially w/ dn1. She was lucky that they lived in another state and it always confused the kid - because they would do the same thing about asking him who Mom was. They'd say something like give Mom a kiss (they may have gone w/ Mommy though) and he always went to his mom. I think they tried to do Papi for the dad too? If I remember correctly they are from Chile maybe?

My sis was able to stand her ground w/ them about the name thing and a whole host of other things (they aren't too fond of her because she didn't just fall in line w/ whatever they wanted - but ) now all 3 dn's call them grandma and grandpa - but they aren't the fun grandma and grandpa (those are my parents).

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#10 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 01:46 AM
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While I do think it will be harder since you live with them I don't think that has anything to do with it. You said you rent their downstairs apartment, so I'm assuming you pay rent. If you have a lease, then all the better.

Your MIL is wrong. Period. Tell her this. Have your DH tell her this. Until she gets it, keep telling her this. Your kid. Not hers. Your MIL sounds pretty dense about this so it'll probably take some time, but it's worth it. She needs to be put in her place, so to speak. Your husband is her child. The baby you gave birth to is not.

ETA: Not that it would be okay if even you didn't rent and you just lived with them - it still wouldn't be. But if you're renting and she's still doing this? Then I'd best keep my mouth shut, lest I risk a UAV.
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#11 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 02:03 AM
 
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Your MIL is wrong. Period. Tell her this. Have your DH tell her this. Until she gets it, keep telling her this. Your kid. Not hers. Your MIL sounds pretty dense about this so it'll probably takes some time, but it's worth it. She needs to be put in her place, so to speak. Your husband is her child. The baby you gave birth to is not.
Exactly.
If she is a young grandma who doesn't want to feel old, too bad! Doesn't erase the fact that she is Grandma and NOT Mom. This is completely bizarre and not okay. Whenever she refers to herself as Mom, correct her. Every. Single. Time.
It really does not matter that you live in her house, she still needs to respect you.
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#12 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 07:45 AM
 
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The mom thing is not acceptable at all and I would correct it each time. But if its an issue about not wanting to be called grandma why not offer some help in choosing a different name. The Papi thing is a pretty common grandparent term from what I have noticed. So that one wouldn't bother me.
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#13 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 08:09 AM
 
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I dont think it matters how "young" of a grandma she is. She is still your DDs GRANDMOTHER. I think her trying to train YOUR daughter to call HER mom is cruel, mean spirited, and just morally wrong. I think you should start looking for an exit strategy pronto, but in the mean time, you may need to be a bit firmer with her, and offer no alone time if possible.

FYI, that is totally NOT normal behavior, no matter how young the grandmother is.
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#14 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 08:28 AM
 
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Talk to the MIL.It will annoy her and she might not stop,but you need to tell her it is not OK.Tell her every time. Papi seems ok,but mom and momma is just to close. Need something different.My kids call my mom nenie which is their version of the turk gm term nene.
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#15 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 08:33 AM
 
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I'd say keep at it. Keep telling her that it is not cool. Tell her flat out "You are not her mom." Tell your daughter "she is not your mom."

I would be way beyond pissed. I would be furious.

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#16 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 08:40 AM
 
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I agree with PP's that you should definitely work out something to call her that everyone is comfortable with.

I thought I'd mention my own history though. My brother and I always called my maternal grandmother "mom" or "mom + her last name". We never considered her our mom. In our child minds it meant grandmom even though it was the same word.

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#17 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 10:50 AM
 
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Regardless of whether she thinks she's old enough to be a grandma, she is. There's no way I could let that go on, you have to insist that she comes up with something besides Mom. It's not fair to you and it sounds like your daughter is a little confused by the whole thing anyways. Sit down with mil and tell her that your daughter won't be calling her Mom and you two can come up with an alternate if she's not happy with Grandma.

I feel for you though, my mil always refers to herself as Mom to my kids. Dh and I have corrected her many times and now she will at least stop and rephrase using "Grandma". Course my kids have absolutely no problem letting her know that she's Grandma, not Mom.
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#18 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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It is absolutely your right to stop this immediately. If you are not ok with it, it's not ok.

Just wanted to add a personal story similar to theoldmommers, though. Growing up, my best friend called her mother "mama," her maternal grandmother who lived next door was "mom" and her paternal grandmother was "mama margaret." These grandmothers were traditional grandmother age and not at all vain (esp. not the "mom" one), so I don't know how it got started, but my friend was never confused and never acted like grandma was actually her mom. I always thought it was weird and figured it was pretty uncommon, but I guess I was wrong.

I'm sure they did not insist that they be called that over grandma -- it somehow just happened -- and what your MIL is doing is way uncool.

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#19 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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It doesn't matter a bit if you live with her. I'd tell her the only person in the house to call her mom are the one(s) she raised! You are your daughters mother and I think it's absolutely horrible that she is using your age and her own insecurities about getting older to confuse a child. It wouldn't matter if you were 15, 20, 25, or 30. She's still grandma, and you are the only MOM, MAMA, MOMMY, MOTHER your child has!

If she's not listening to you you need to explain to your DH how much this hurts you, and he NEEDS to lay down the law to his mother!

I am absolutely furious that she's putting you through this!

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#20 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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It doesn't matter a bit if you live with her. I'd tell her the only person in the house to call her mom are the one(s) she raised! You are your daughters mother and I think it's absolutely horrible that she is using your age and her own insecurities about getting older to confuse a child. It wouldn't matter if you were 15, 20, 25, or 30. She's still grandma, and you are the only MOM, MAMA, MOMMY, MOTHER your child has!

If she's not listening to you you need to explain to your DH how much this hurts you, and he NEEDS to lay down the law to his mother!

I am absolutely furious that she's putting you through this!

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#21 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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I don't really understand the comments about how maybe the MIL just doesn't want to use an old-sounding term like "grandma." That may be true on some level, but of all the alternate names she could choose from, she picks MOM. That's no accident, and has nothing to do with simply not wanting to sound old. It's a calculated manipulation, especially when she continues doing it after she's been asked not to. Grandparents who love and respect their children and their partners don't say, "Gee, I'm uncomfortable with being called Grandma, how about another name? Oh I know, I'll be Mom!"

That said, OP, living on your own is the best way to gain complete autonomy. Your MIL is behaving inappropriately (and, IMO, maliciously), but unfortunately she may think she holds some power over you because you live in her home. As frustrating as it must be now, this is a good lesson for you guys for later -- she's showing you that accepting help from her comes with strings attached, so knowing that can inform your decisions about whether to accept any help from her in future years.

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#22 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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Start teaching your dd to call her a "great grandma". :
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#23 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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This wouldn't necessarily bother me---my mother was "Mom" to my niece (her step niece) until she was about 6 or 7 just because she heard us call her that and she could easily differentiate between "Mommy" or "Mom".

My good friend's mother goes by "Mom O" to her grandkids. She might not actually be doing it to intentionally bother you, it might be what she is used to being called and is comfortable with--and she still probably feels like a Mom in the situation you're in--you guys living with her etc.

BUT it bothers you, so I agree with the others that you and her need to sit down and find a name she likes.

My MIL is "Gigi", but she also objected to "Grandma".

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#24 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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It sounds like she is daunted by the idea of being called "grandma" so maybe you can meet halfway

I call my dad papi and I called my grandfather "papi andres". All the grandchildren in my family now call my dad "papi chico". We called my grandmother "mami carmen"
the mami and papi at the beginnings were never confusing for us and having their real names after made sure there was no confusion when we were talking about them.

could you just ask your MIL to try out "Mami" and then her name? and same for the FIL?

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#25 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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I understand everyone who is saying that; no matter how much she doesn't want to feel old enough to be a GM, calling herself "mom" is just wrong and she needs to just stop. Philosophically I get your point.

The problem is, that the OP has already tried just telling her to stop and it hasn't changed anything.

By looking at the motivations behind the behavior and trying to understand them, it becomes easier to find a solution. If the OP wants actual change and not just to feel she is in the right, she needs to work with her MIL.

Think of it as practicing gentle disciple on adults. When our children are having temper tantrums or other wise misbehaving, we always try to figure out what is behind the behavior and talk about it, instead of just spanking them till they do as they are told.

Believe me, I'm all for saying that MIL behavior has crossed a line at some point and cutting off the relationship. I haven't spoken to mine in over 2 years. However, if this issue could be easily remedied by just acknowledging MIL's feelings, then isn't it worth a try. Especially considering the living situation.

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#26 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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How awful. I don't blame you for being irritated. It's cruel of her.
this.

My mil lives with us, and ITA about what other's are saying about boundries.

Having your MIL want to be called mom is horrible. My mom's mom wants to be called grandma instead of great grandma or super grandma-- and my mom put a stop to *that*.

And if she doesn't want to be called grandma, start having your dd call her aunt, or just by her first name.

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#27 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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Start teaching your dd to call her a "great grandma". :
I bet just an hour of this would get her very motivated to coming up with a compromise.

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#28 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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start teaching your dd to call her a "great grandma". :
rotfl!

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#29 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 01:26 PM
 
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Start teaching your dd to call her a "great grandma". :


I would be so livid if my MIL tried something like this. Living in their house has nothing to do with it. I do think you should work on moving out as soon as you possibly can. It sounds like she doesn't respect your boundaries and this probably won't be the last time you have to set her straight. Honestly, I'd start limiting or ending their time alone together if she's unable to respect this basic, commonsense rule.

But definitely don't tolerate it, and don't let anyone tell you to let it go, or that you're overreacting. You aren't. Just reading the OP triggered my mama bear instinct and I'm furious on your behalf. How dare she?

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#30 of 124 Old 06-24-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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If she is calling the grandfather Papi, which I've heard for a lot of grandfathers too, why not Mami instead of Mom?
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