She wants to be called 'Godmother'

(66 Posts)

I'm an atheist and my DP is a catholic. We agreed that my son could be christened on the basis that if I was not religious it should matter to me and I could tell him about my views and in the end my son could choose for himself.

My DP chose his best friend to be god father along with his wife. His wife is Brazillian and the best friend converted to catholism for her.

In the weekend they pulled my DP aside and requested that my son call her 'Godmother' we got in the car to go home afterwards and DP told in a I've just had this odd conversation kind of tone. We both stated that we never referred to our own god parents in that way. Now that I've had a day to think about it I'm quite offended by the idea. I know DP will be shy of taking the bull by the horns on this.

Oh wisdom of Mumsnet how best to respond? Before I correct her correction one day and say "no darling it's actually 'godmother over mum's dead body'"

Point to note, DS is quite shy (with everyone) and doesn't reciprocate her affection for him.

grabaspoon Mon 20-May-13 13:42:25

My god children and in fact most of my friends children call me Auntie . B.

LemonBreeland Mon 20-May-13 13:43:00

I'm not sure on the etiquette of it, but that sounds horribly formal.

She sounds like a loon.

Tell her firmly that it won't be happening if she brings it up again.

Also as a fellow atheist I could never allow my DD to be influenced in anyway by outdated catholic shenanigans like this but I suppose that's not the point.

I could happily go with Aunty.

I could happily go with Aunty.

I think the word mother being referred to anyone else offends me to.

puddock Mon 20-May-13 13:58:20

It sounds weirdly formal and stilted. Does your DS have a preference?

I reckon your DP should suggest going with Aunty as that's more usual for you. (I was raised catholic and most of our godparents were our actual aunts/uncles, but the one that wasn't family was still called 'aunty', FWIW.)

Or how about something that's special to her Brazilian roots, tia or titia? (or madrinha - if you feel more comfortable with that?)

DS is still gaining vocabulary. I could be happy with Tia and it is something he could pronounce.

Oddly formal, but I suppose it may be a cultural thing. I'd just say "No that sounds a bit formal for us. I was planning on Aunty x" with a friendly smile.

Tommy Mon 20-May-13 14:13:03

agree with amuminscotland - my god children call me Aunty smile

Tommy Mon 20-May-13 14:13:22

maybe it's a Brazilian thing?

You guys are calming me down. Yes we are quite an informal family, (as in I never though DP would actually get around to sorting out a christening) so that could one way of putting it to her.

Yes it's a Brazillian thing.

HazeltheMcWitch Mon 20-May-13 14:19:53

My Brazillian friend didn't have a bridesmaid... she had her godmother. That was a Brazillian thing too!

Might it be worth checking on on mutual expectations of the role of godparent? I say that as you're an informal atheist (as am I), but godparent does have a very specific role in quite a devout culture.

squeaver Mon 20-May-13 14:20:22

Actually I have a couple of Godchildren and one of them in particular (who has SN, if that's relevant) always makes a point of saying "Hello Godmother" to me when I see him. But it's a funny thing, a way of him pointing out that he remembers what's different about his relationship with me. He only says it once.

I can only assume it's a Brazilian thing. Have they asked for the bloke to be called "Godfather" - which sounds even odder?

squeaver Mon 20-May-13 14:21:07

Anyway, aside from all that, you can't make your ds do something he doesn't want to. I'd just ignore it and carry on as normal.

kasbah72 Mon 20-May-13 14:33:46

Culturally she will see it as the equivalent of aunty in as much as her name and role are now interlinked. She is his godmother, therefore that is her name. She probably wouldn't understand why this is a problem, seeing as you asked her to be godmother and she is obviously honoured to take on what she will see as a very important (albeit spiritual) role in his life.

If her husband converted for her then her religion is obviously extremely important to her. Just telling her that she can't be called godmother is going to be confusing at best and offensive at worst - you definitely need to approach with stealth!

We have extended family in hispanic countries and they often refer to padrino (godfather) etc. to the person with that position. Could the Brazilian equivalent be more acceptable? Acknowledges her role as beyond Mum and Dad's friend but doesn't offend you when you hear it?

I understand why you don't feel comfortable with Godmother as a term if you don't believe in the religion he has been baptised in, but that is what she is now!

tribpot Mon 20-May-13 14:37:50

I agree, this is a cultural thing. Would be similar in Mexico, for example.

I would just explain it's not really 'done' here and it will be confusing for your ds - Aunty is a reasonable compromise. I agree with Hazel, though - you need to check what the expectations are now that the deed is done.

I know she does take it seriously and she is a well intentioned person. So I suppose it is her offended or my blood boiling.

DontmindifIdo Mon 20-May-13 14:42:32

Oh, just get your DH to explain that in England, the cultural norm for a Godmother to be called Aunty XXXX (get him to stress it puts her as important as his sister or the like, make it sound like an honour).

kasbah72 Mon 20-May-13 14:44:18

Nah, just come up with something you ARE happy with and stick to that. How old is your son? Bet saying 'godmother' isn't easy anyway. He is bound to come up with his own version which you can pounce on as endearing and sweet and personal to just them....

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 20-May-13 14:46:58

I don't think she's out of order, I think it's probably a cultural difference. in which case, just explain that "Aunty" is more usual in the UK.

No need to be offended.

HabbaDabba Mon 20-May-13 14:50:19

I don't see what the big deal is.

If a relative was from a different culture and in her culture it was normal to call her Oh Great Person with Blue Rinse then that is what I would call her.

Godmother won't roll off his tongue easily.

I don't want to have that conversation about expectations with her that alludes to fact that I took the christening seriously, which I did not.

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