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.

nooka Mon 29-Jul-13 00:01:25

I'm from a Catholic family and I have never heard of anyone calling their godparents anything other than their names. If I was in the OP's shoes I would be really surprised by this request so I don't think it is at all unreasonable that she wasn't prepared for it.

I don't think it's a good idea to tell the godmother that you are offended by her suggestion because the only result will be that she is then in turn offended. It's fine to say no on the grounds that this isn't an English tradition, and that you find it overly formal. some English families call close friends Uncle and Auntie, so Tia might be a option to suggest (easy for your ds too). Seems a bit weird to say that she should be called Godmother, but her husband not be called Godfather...

Jan49 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:38:32

Maybe your dh could explain to her that people don't do that in the UK, they just use Auntie or first names. No need to tell her you find the idea offensive. Presumably you always speak English to her and she to you and your ds, so Auntie or first name is the usual term. If she continues to ask to be called Godmother, tell her that just doesn't work in English.

seeker Sun 09-Jun-13 08:58:38

So you chose a devout woman from a deeply catholic country to be your child's godmother, and now you're surprised she's taking it seriously? hmm.

For what it's worth, by the way, in the part of my family that 's very very old fashioned posh English, "Godmamma" is used. And Lord Peter Wimsey uses it.

SoupDragon Sun 09-Jun-13 08:53:23

I'd try and go with whatever she would be called in Brazilian. Simply explain that "God-Mother" sounds far too formal in English but you understand she wants to take her role seriously and it is important to her. No one need be offended.

raisah Sun 09-Jun-13 08:48:02

Could it be a Brazilian cultural practice as they are more practicing catholics so the whole christening thing is more formal? Be careful how you approach as you dont want to lose a friendship over it. Can you Say something like aunty is how godmothers are referred to in the UK/our family / friends circle. She isnt the actual godparent, her partner is. I think its more of an over enthuisiastic cultural expression and you are dealing with it in a Hugh Grant type way.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 21-May-13 15:50:35

sorry about typos.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 21-May-13 15:50:22

I don't think he should be saying how "unhappy" you are with it. i think he should eb saying that in this country it's more usual to use "Aunty".

You're taking this way too personally OP, it's just a cultural difference. Your child has a Godparent who is actually religious and is taking it seriously!

CotedePablo Mon 20-May-13 20:44:45

I think if you say something to your child's godmother, you will offend her deeply, and come over as dreadfully rude. However, I see from your last post you're leaving it to your partner to do your dirty work.

It's really not worth getting worked up over.

Did you offer him any alternatives? Maybe show him this thread?

I have talked to DP tonight and let him know I am unhappy with the term gm. I could see his eyebrows ticking away thinking how he is going to tell them, but am so much happier getting it off my chest.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 20-May-13 19:23:44

I've now just read more of the thread. (Dumbo over here didn't do that first.)

Yabu. That's the culture. To now dictate how she will be gm is too much. Be glad she's interested. The worst thing is here she's known as gm. Gee that's so huge I'm yawning. If you cannot sit with people taking this role seriously if given it, don't do it.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 20-May-13 19:18:39

God parents and any adult friends of mine are jus uncle and aunty. I've never thought of a gm expecting to be known as gm! That's v odd. Do they do that in brazil?

HabbaDabba Mon 20-May-13 19:16:32

Anyone would think that she wanted to be called something like Daughter of the Holy Christ our Lord Jesus Christ grin.

You are obviously going to make it clear that you are offended by her request despite other people's advice. I hope that it isn't going to torpedo the relationship between you and her.

ImpYCelyn Mon 20-May-13 18:11:43

DSs call all their godparents either Parrain or Marraine, French for godfather and godmother. And all family members who are godfathers or godmothers are called this by their godchildren. So DH's niece refers to us as "Parrain and Aunty Imp".

It's a cultural thing, and they would all be really upset if someone told them they found it offensive. But ultimately they would suck it up I suppose, for the sake of a good relationship with their godchild.

In France it's also fairly common to give your children the names of their godparents as middle names, so at least you don't have that to contend with too grin (That was a fight I'd rather forget)

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 20-May-13 18:08:36

AMuminScotland has put it beautifully and sensibly.

tribpot Mon 20-May-13 17:26:24

I didn't know this would be taken so seriously by her

Perhaps a more detailed conversation between you and your DP would have been better - hasn't she renounced Satan or something on behalf of your ds?! As a believer, why wouldn't she take it seriously? You may not believe it (neither do I) but she and presumably your DP do.

But you've committed to it now by allowing the ceremony to go ahead. And so you need to find the best compromise for the ongoing relationship between your ds and his godparents.

No no saltaire that was worth mentioning. grin

I think you have been a little naive in thinking that someone from one of the most catholic countries in the world wouldn't take her role as godmother seriously. And in Brazil, its not a 'formal' title, its an affectionate name, very similar to calling someone auntie that isn't really your aunt.

But lets hope your DP sorts it out and you end up feeling comfortable with whatever you choose.

Saltire Mon 20-May-13 17:14:42

Well if it's any help, my youngest god-daughter calls me "fairy" as in fairy godmothergrin.

realises this is no help whatsoever

HazeltheMcWitch Mon 20-May-13 17:09:33

smeared - I do think you need to forearm your DP with suggestions. In Brazil, you'd call your godmother, Madrinha as others have said - but this literally means 'little mother' (inho/a as a suffice to denote smallness, cuteness, affection etc) - and you've said you're not ok with someone calling someone else mother.

TheFallenNinja Mon 20-May-13 16:57:57

I personally like the idea of being called "Godfather" smile

Hmmm

Habba and Chocs, I do see both your points. But I can't help feeling red mist just thinking about it.

I didn't know this would be taken so seriously by her and that she would request a formal title when DP reasoned with me that because I didn't believe in god it wouldn't matter.

Saying grace at the table is fine but getting my child to say a title with 'mother' to someone else offends me.

It's now up to DP to sort it out and state the facts.

suchashame Mon 20-May-13 16:53:12

If you have married someone of any faith different to your own then I would have thought you would have some sort of respect to their belief system even if not in it.

I think that if you have agreed to the christening then it's unfair to criticise or be offended when those agreeing to the roles take those roles and promises seriously.

. I was baptised and confirmed catholic but an not one now ! Ds can also make his own mind up later.... but till then godparents are promising to assist in teaching ds about those beliefs and a devout Catholic will indeed take the role on.

If you don't want them to then maybe call it off and ds can choose to be baptised later in life if he wants.

FringeEvent Mon 20-May-13 16:52:51

I think 'madrinha' sounds affectionate, in the same way that 'aunty' does. 'Godmother' on the other hand sounds quite formal/stuffy - like actually calling your grandmother 'Grandmother' rather than 'Granny' or 'Grandma' or 'Nan' etc.

In my family (the French side), godmothers are called 'marraine'. It's always sounded normal/pleasant to me even though I grew up in England with English cultural norms.

The problem with being "offended" is that she is your son's godmother. If you weren't offended enough to stop that from happening, it seems a little weird to be offended by the use of the term afterwards.

I think you stand a much better chance by going for the "Well, in this country that would be an overly formal way of referring to you, and what we normally do here is call godmothers Aunty. Or would you like 'Madrhina' instead?" sort of line. After all this is your DHs best friend's wife, who you allowed to become your child's godmother, so it would be better to stay on positive terms surely?

Most people will be understanding about cultural/language issues, I'm sure she'll be used to those if she lives in the UK. But to say you are 'offended' by something you agreed to, and something she values very highly, risks spoiling the relationship, which I'm sure isn't the result you want out of this.

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