I've asked MNHQ...

(454 Posts)
ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 25-Jul-13 17:02:10

.....if we can have a little 'note' at the top of the Stepparenting board, with a list of acronyms that cause offence - to ensure that posters get support and threads aren't sidetracked by inadvertent use of common phrases that are less welcome here on MN;


UC Thu 25-Jul-13 18:10:52

Good idea.

bigredbaboonsbottom Thu 25-Jul-13 18:25:29

As new poster who made a mistake, that would be helpful, thank you. blush

Fairy130389 Thu 25-Jul-13 18:51:48

The difficulty is though, who decides which phrases are offensive? It could end up a very long list! Good idea though

brdgrl Fri 26-Jul-13 00:42:54

Aw, bigred, don't be upset, please!

AnnabelleLee Fri 26-Jul-13 00:50:05

I think that it might be a good idea, but your motivation is arseways. It's not that, as you imply, that some people here are over-sensitive or silly, its that they are right. "Birth mum" in the context you are using it in is bloody awful, to pretty much everyone, not just to the PO.

brdgrl Fri 26-Jul-13 01:02:05

The problem is, AnnabelleLee, that people are jumping on new posters to tell them, in a really aggressive manner, that they're being offensive, when there is nothing else offensive about the OPs, and no sign of any intent to cause deliberate offense - just a lack of awareness about this protocol.

Women are coming on and posting about their problems - one recently saying that she was in tears over the difficulties in her family and considering ending her relationship! - and instead of being met with support and kindness (and maybe a helpful pointer about the accepted terms) they're getting snarky attitude and aggression. That is bloody awful.

AnnabelleLee Fri 26-Jul-13 01:11:21

It's not a lack of awareness of "protocol" thats my point, if you use offensive and weird terminology people are going to point it out, what do you think will happen? Stop blaming the people you've offended, its disingenuous.
And a stepmother using the word "birth-mother" to describe their stepkids mother is causing her own problems, in fact its highly indicitive of them.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 07:00:02

"It's not a lack of awareness of "protocol" thats my point, if you use offensive and weird terminology people are going to point it out, what do you think will happen? Stop blaming the people you've offended, its disingenuous"

The OP clearly started this thread to STOP these arguments and aggression, yet Annabelle you seem hell bent on kicking it off again. Why is that? You felt the need to argue in the early hours of the morning hmm

Good idea OP

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 07:15:55

annabella The term is used as standard convention on many other forums though, and even listed in 'FAQs' and 'abbreviation' lists on some sites.
On some (American) sites the acronym BM is also used to describe 'baby-moma' and is often used by Dads to describe their partners, and parents to describe their daughter.

Unsurprising then that new MN members who have previously used those other sites are unaware of the distasteful nature of the phrase when they have been actively encouraged to use it by the moderators and members of other forums wink

I think there is an element of Stepparenting double standards at play again - I have sat on my hands repeatedly when the term OW is used (particularly on the LP and AIBU boards) to describe a Stepmum when it is clear that the marriage has been over for some years. It is rude and offensive in my opinion but I don't point this out on every thread it is used on, I accept that is the way the MNer who has used it views their DCs stepmum.

purpleroses Fri 26-Jul-13 07:24:24

I think I'd be quite shock in real life if a step mum refered to her DSC's mum (who wasn't dead or out of contact) as their birth mother.

Appreciate what you're trying to do but do think that finding the term inappropriate in that sort of context is not just some querk of MN

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 07:29:12

I do think that abbreviations are used on sites to avoid typing words though, rather than an indication of terms you use in real life. So for example, I don't refer to my DScs in real life as DSCs, I refer to them either by name, or as my husbands children for example.

I very very much doubt that first time posters come on here and deliberately use the term to offend. Hence the OPs suggestion is a good one. Yet predictably, this has started another argument.

FrauMoose Fri 26-Jul-13 07:33:13

What's wrong with the term Birth Mother? Is it that outside these forums it's more commonly used for children who have been adopted, so it reduces the role of the parent to the provider of a convenient womb space?)

I personally though would never describe my spouse/partner - who I'm married to - as a 'DH'. Nor would I describe any of the children as my life as a DD/DSD/DSS. It just seems to reduce them to stereotypes. However I understand other people will choose to do that because it's quicker when using a keypad.

I tend to avoid abbreviations, but it doesn't seem realistic to ask everyone else to do so.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 07:37:34

Perhaps a pertinent question is to ask how many of those people who are offended by the phrase use other parenting/Stepparenting forums and how do they respond to the use of the phrase when its use is actively encouraged?

It certainly isn't a reflection of terms used in RL - I personally think the term DC/DD/DS is twee and afectatious and would poke hot forks in my eyes if I were in conversation with anyone who actually referred to their darling/dear children in that way - but I accept it is internet shorthand wink

Why is OW offensive? If you broke up a marriage, you are the other woman. Forever.

TobyLerone Fri 26-Jul-13 07:43:06

'Birth mother' is fine in the context of adoption, if the (adoptive) mother of the child wants to use it.

In the context of stepparents, the child already has a mother. It doesn't need differentiating. There is only one mother (and father). It can come across as if the stepparent is trying to dilute the (actual, only) parent's role. Exactly like the 'womb space' thing.

To clarify, the passage of time doesn't make breaking up someone's marriage stop being dreadful and if you were the 'other woman' with half the responsibility then that doesn't stop being the case.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 07:56:18

antoinette On MN, it is accepted convention to use the term OW in reference to a mans subsequent partner/DCs stepmum, regardless of timing. ExW frequently refer to their exH 'new girlfriend' and 'OW' interchangeably even when the 'new' relationship has begun several years after the marriage ended!

It bewildered me for a long time, but it's commonly used on some boards on MN wink

TobyLerone Fri 26-Jul-13 07:57:01

I think the point re 'OW' was perhaps that sometimes it is used to mean someone the ex is now in a relationship with, who had nothing to do with the breakup.

TobyLerone Fri 26-Jul-13 07:57:26

X-posted smile

FrauMoose Fri 26-Jul-13 07:58:08

To me the 'Other Woman' label seems to fit quite well when two people are still married but the man is involved in an extra-marital affair. It seems less fitting when the original marriage is over and a new committed relationship has been formed.

I may be a little sensitive on this point. I formed a relationship with someone after he and his wife had made a mutual decision to separate. She promptly informed all her friends that I'd be 'the first of a string of unsuitable girlfriends' and persuaded some of them not to speak to me in the school playground, to withdraw invitations to barbecues etc etc. She will still not speak to me or make eye contact with me. However my husband and I have been together for seventeen years - much longer than their original, troubled marriage - and I've looked after the children of that earler marriage to the very best of my ability.

(Admittedly she is equally vile to my husband, does not communicate important information about the children to him, and will only speak to him to shout at him or tell him what he's doing wrong.)

But to her, I suspect, I shall anything other than the Other Woman. God forbid that I should be a proper person!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 07:59:41

toby are you willing to accept that you POV is just that, an opinion?
And that socially, your opinion is not universal - hence other sites use the phrase 'BM' widely?

And if that is the case, can you understand why someone new to MN may not know that it is considered offensive?

ediblewoman Fri 26-Jul-13 08:09:51

Dear God what is it with these sanctimonious serial complainers! We've acknowledged BM is offensive and the OP has suggested a way of ensuring it isn't used and still with the attacks. I am heartily sick if the constant bloody negativity toward Step Parents on MN and MNtowers seeming inability to address it.

And btw OW is very offensive to someone who was in no way implicated in the end of the relationship. I met my now DH two years after his exP left him for another man if she ever suggested I was the OW I'd be furious but do I jump on any poster who uses it in that way? No, because it wouldn't be helpful or make them change how they felt, in fact it would probably just entrench their position.

Kaluki Fri 26-Jul-13 08:11:56

To me the term BM for mother is like using the term 'sperm donor' for father.
As many of us stepmothers on here also have dc of their own it is offensive to use BM to describe a child's actual mum.

TobyLerone Fri 26-Jul-13 08:16:25

I can't imagine that anyone with any common sense or decent grasp of the English language wouldn't know that it would be offensive. And it seems that many who use it have an agenda.

I don't use other sites. And I think that it's definitely closer to fact than opinion that the woman who gave birth to a child doesn't need to be described as the 'birth mother' of that child in an instance such as this.

But yes, I understand that some people are wilfully stupid, some are deliberately ignorant, and some make genuine mistakes because they don't think before they speak/type.
I don't think a 'note' at the top of the page telling people things they should or should not say is a good idea. I prefer that the aforementioned people identity themselves to me as such by the things that they say, so that I may avoid them in future. I don't enjoy being told what to do/say because I am not a child. Neither should anyone else.

Sometimes existing users of the boards here can be very quick to jump on new users for making a mistake. If everyone was a bit more 'gentle' in their tellings-off, perhaps fewer people would be upset. Certain boards on MN are especially 'touchy' (for various, understandable reasons), and this is one of them. And certain frequenters of said boards seem to enjoy designating themselves the position of Thread Police.

That is why I tend to avoid such boards!

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 08:30:56

"To me the term BM for mother is like using the term 'sperm donor' for father."

And indeed I have read literally hundreds of threads on mn where fathers are referred to as sperm donors. Never once have I seen I mass outcry over it though hmm

ExcuseTypos Fri 26-Jul-13 08:33:29

I actually refer to my own mother as my 'birth mother'. She left me at 3 and didn't have anything to do with my upbringing form then on. That was her choice. I always referred to my step ,um as my mum, as she acted like one. I don't want to call my BM my mum, it feeels wrong because it never felt like she was a mum to me.

However, I can understand mine is a very different situation to one where the Mum was very much involved in their child's upbringing. I totally agree that it would be very offensive to be called a BM.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 08:43:35

But yes, I understand that some people are wilfully stupid, some are deliberately ignorant, and some make genuine mistakes because they don't think before they speak/type.

So, anyone who doesn't share your opinion about this is either stupid, ignorant or thoughtless? wink

superbagpuss Fri 26-Jul-13 08:45:19

excuse typos I'm with you

I have a birth mother and a (step) mum who is more of a mum to me then my birth mother

how do I distinguish between to two as in real life I say mum or birth mother?

ExcuseTypos Fri 26-Jul-13 08:47:45

Yes Superbagpuss, what are we supposed to say because I'm never going to refer to her as my mum. What should I call her?

Fairy130389 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:56:43

raises hand very quietly I would wager that, exactly as excuse says, there will be different contexts where different phrases may be appropriate, and others where they are not.

And Toby, whilst I agree generally with phrase BM could be offesnsive and understand completely why, I also find the constant reiteration that those who sired the children are the 'actual, only' parents. I can say that as someone who is once again having to explain to her DSD why her mother has cancelled this weeks contact. again.

I would wager that I am more of a parent to her, and I think many step parents also parent their dscs, it is part of the territory. Doesn't mean the other parents are not also parenting, but when a child lives in a family, thats what happens.

Would you have the same attitude to a step father I wonder?

Wossname Fri 26-Jul-13 08:57:18

That's a bit different and actually is the issue, isnt it? You say birth mother as she didnt actually mother you for most of your life. Thats why people get offended, the implication of bm is that of a woman not doing the actual job of mothering. The clarifying word is most situations is 'step', you dont need to preface mother for the actual mother surely?

Fairy130389 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:57:40

*I find the constant reiteration offensive, I meant to say.

superbagpuss Fri 26-Jul-13 09:02:29

wossname I hate the term step mum, it makes me feel she was less of a mum to me then her birth children who I call my siblings not my step siblings

whereas my birth mother gave birth to me and that's about it

FrauMoose Fri 26-Jul-13 09:04:48

On large parts of Mumsnet, four-letter words that I find quite offensive are used with total abandon. They are usually used about current male partners or ex-male partners that the posters are feeling fed up with. But I think if Mumsnet HQ accept that it's legit for people to call others 'dick, 'twat' etc.. they're not want to get involved in policing acceptable terminology for women involved in 'blended families'.

I think being in/from a blended family can be very painful at times. However I don't think it's possible to have a public internet forum that is wholly safe, wholly nurturing and where nobody will ever say anything that somebody might get upset by.

TobyLerone Fri 26-Jul-13 09:05:00

My husband is a stepfather and would never be so offensive as to refer to my childrens' father as their 'birth father'. He is absolutely not my childrens' parent. He is a responsible, guiding, adult male influence in their lives. It doesn't matter what sort of parent their father is. Their stepfather does not replace him, and neither should he ever attempt to.

It is possible to play a role in a child's life without insinuating yourself as their parent. It's ok to be something else.

Parents and stepparents will rarely agree on this board because each feels that they have something to prove and often have grudges to bear. That is the other reason that I tend to avoid this board and will continue to do so, starting now!

Wossname Fri 26-Jul-13 09:22:45

Sorry, superbagpuss, I am agreeing with you about that but still find bm unsettling for most situations. Hope I havent upset you smile

PigOnStilts Fri 26-Jul-13 09:32:25

Birth mother is utterly offensive and you don't need a user guide to realise it!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 09:32:51

Parents and stepparents will rarely agree on this board because each feels that they have something to prove and often have grudges to bear. That is the other reason that I tend to avoid this board and will continue to do so, starting now!

If only others shared your view, Toby!

This is not the only board where stepparents and parents disagree, however, it does frequently feature replies that have no constructive bearing on the OP, the sole purpose of which is to challenge the language used in the OP.

I could do the same on other boards - challenge the negative language used about partners on the relationships board, for instance, or leap to the defence of an ex when a derogatory term is used on the single parenting board. But I don't, because I am not arrogant enough to believe that I am right and others are wrong.

The Stepparenting boards are different. Even your responses on this thread indicate that when it comes to blended family issues, people are unwilling to consider other POV.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 09:34:22

pigonstilts Humour me.

Explain why it's encouraged and accepted on other parenting sites and yet utterly offensive here on MN.

Boosiehs Fri 26-Jul-13 09:34:31


That may well be your decision that your partner can never be your child's parent, but that is certainly not the only way to think. I certainly believe that a step-parent is a parent, and in some cases has far more to do with a child's loving upbringing than a biologically connected parent who has been absent from the child's life.

there is just no one single answer. Jumping on people as using a term that is offensive to you doesn't seem to be the answer.

brdgrl Fri 26-Jul-13 09:58:42

And it seems that many who use it have an agenda.

Three (new, I believe) posters have used the term in the last couple of days. None showing any signs of having an agenda...at least two of them posting in real despair and anxiety and in need of constructive advice.

I would say that it is the ones who make such an issue of their terminology who have an agenda. Which becomes very clear when one notices that those who are making the issue are the same posters who either repeatedly go on the offensive against stepmothers, or who don't have anything else to contribute to the forum except this morsel of criticism. It is bullying. I hope that posters will report it as such. There is too much of it going on here.

Moreover, as boosiehs and superbagpuss have said - sometimes it is the term of choice for posters for whom that is their reality - like superbagpuss, a stepchild who certainly has the right to call the woman who mothered and raised her, "mum" and her own biological mother, "BM", if she likes.

WayneKerr Fri 26-Jul-13 10:12:37

Surely, if BM is used for ease of typing, you might as well type mum? It's only 1 extra letter. Some words/terms don't need abbreviating, do they?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 10:16:51

Surely, if BM is used for ease of typing, you might as well type mum? It's only 1 extra letter. Some words/terms don't need abbreviating, do they?

So why is it convention here on MN to use DC/DS/DD rather than 'kid'? The same applies wink

brdgrl Fri 26-Jul-13 10:37:13

I don't think the 'ease of typing' is the point. Most people aren't doing it for that reason. I can think of two - much more common - reasons it occurs, neither of which require a sharp or aggressive response:

1) They have seen the term elsewhere and had no idea it would cause offense, but have no particular preference for it above any other construction. Generally, they are posting about their own difficult and emotional situation, and concerned with looking for help.<---This one can be easily dealt with by a kind word.

2) They are using it to describe an individual situation in which it is appropriate - vis. the posters above, who have said that "BM" describes the role their own mother has played in their lives. <---This one can be dealt with by recognising that not every stepfamily is exactly the same and that every parenting relationship does not fit a mold which declares that only 'mum is the real mum'.

bigredbaboonsbottom Fri 26-Jul-13 10:52:39

I consider some of the things that have been said above, as one of the new posters who made the mistake of using the expression BM in a post, rather insulting and certainly upsetting.

I had no agenda, I am not stupid, ignorant nor did I mean to cause offence, I apologised and have asked for the thread to be removed.

Doubt that I shall be using this particular forum again.

Sowhatifyou Fri 26-Jul-13 11:02:04

In the words of the great Stephen Fry.

"It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

I don't see a problem with BM, particularly on a Step-parent section.

It's some going to go on a sub-forum you don't normally post on to get offended by this.

needaholidaynow Fri 26-Jul-13 11:50:58

I think the term 'OW' is an extremely offensive term to use when people just jump to conclusions.

A stepmum comes on here and is fed up of something to do with her partner's ex being difficult or her stepchildren being a challenge.

Other posters instantly say: "Where you the OW by any chance? Because that could explain why your partner's ex wife is being the way she is. Or cold the children dislike you because you're a home wrecking witch?

Yet an ex wife can come on and complain about her ex and his "new" wife about their life and get a nice old pat on the back.

It's quite frustrating that all SMs (never stepdad's for some reason)made thought of as potential homewreckers before people know the full story. I'll bet my bottom dollar that posters on MN look at us SMs when we rear our ugly heads and have this thought at the back of their minds that we were the OW until they are told otherwise.

Fairy130389 Fri 26-Jul-13 13:11:51

bigred please don't be put off. It really can be a very supportive and informative place. Don't take it to heart, I suspect the majority of us understand when the term bm is used completely innocently without realising the connotations.

Pick and choose the responses you take on board, and which you ignore, would be my advice. X

AnnabelleLee Fri 26-Jul-13 14:24:24

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 14:30:48

Annabelle - for someone who is complaining about people being offensive, your own post contains some pretty offensive language. Pot and kettle ..... ??

FrauMoose Fri 26-Jul-13 14:35:04


"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy sister's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

tory79 Fri 26-Jul-13 14:39:14

Good grief. I am both a step mum and a 'birth mum'. Its just a quick and easy way to refer to the person you are talking about. Why would I want to litter a post with dsd's mum when I could just type bm? I don't see it as offensive in the slightest.

I don't really know dsd's mother, but she is clearly a great mum who has raised a lovely daughter. If someone's post AS A WHOLE is somehow offensive, thats one thing, I utterly utterly fail to see how using a long standing acronym is worthy of being picked up on in this way, and this is just another reason why I generally never post on this board.

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 14:45:05

It is sometimes appropriate to use the term 'Birth Mother' and sometimes not.

What is more important is helping someone who needs help... far more important than semantics.

Look at how bigredbaboonsbottom has been made to feel... is that what we aim for on MN these days? Really?

BigRed - I hope you stay, I hope you get the support you need and you will, you just have to ignore the posts that say more about the poster than you.

Fairy130389 Fri 26-Jul-13 14:54:54

Couldn't agree more, chipping.

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 15:00:58

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Fairy130389 Fri 26-Jul-13 15:11:09

I'm not sure many would suggest that it acceptable, but there is a world of difference between agreeing that a term shouldn't be used, and jumping aggressively on someone seeking support, who used the phrase in genuine innocence. Which is precisely why the op has suggested a note detailing what is acceptable language and what is not.

We are, in fact, all in agreement.

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 15:18:30

Reality I don't know how you can complain about inappropriate use of abbreviations, when your post contains the f* word and the c* word. Shame on you. I've just reported you to MNHQ. Can't you express yourself without resorting to that sort of language?

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Jul-13 15:19:07


We don't want to get in the way of a debate, but if you could remember our talk guidelines that would be grand.


ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 15:23:19

Given that we have adult posters on here saying they choose to call their step mum 'Mum' and the woman who gave birth to them, but did not parent them 'Birth Mum', I don't think anyone has the right to say that the term 'Birth Mum' is unacceptable. However, if the childs mum is an involved parent, it would generally be unacceptable to call her Birth Mum - but how twattish do you have to be, to call someone on it nastily, on a thread, when they are clearly just doing their best to make it clear who is who. Gently pointing it out is one thing, acting like it's the worst thing anyone could ever do is quite another.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 15:30:04

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 15:41:57

I don't agree that there should be 'board guidance' about it.

I think it is for posters to temper their aggressive responses to a term which is used, that they don't like (albeit understandably), when used by a poster not showing any other signs of being a fuckugget.

It is normal for an involved parent to feel 'I am not her birth mother, I am her mother' it is equally normal for a step parent who has brought the child up (with no or little involvement of the woman who gave birth to the child) to feel like the Mum and the Birth Mum are an accurate reflection of the situation.

Being 'Mum' is more than about giving birth is it not?

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 15:43:00

Julie what did China say? I read her post and missed anything that would break guidelines??

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 15:45:08

What the fuck?

Why have I been deleted?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 15:45:25

I'll try again without the quotes this time!

reality and Annabelle You have clearly demonstrated the point I have been trying to make to MNHQ wink

The term birth/bio Mum generates a response unlike any other terminology on MN. The very fact that even in a discussion about use of the term, it is so offensive to some MN users that they are unable to temper their responses sufficiently to avoid deletion is surely evidence enough that MN users should be warned about the reaction and foul abuse that they will undoubtedly be subject to if they inadvertently break an unwritten rule.

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 15:47:01

And I'll use the fucking F word and the cunting C word as I am an adult, an educated one at that, I am speaking to, I assume, adults and I am posting on a forum that, thank fuck, allows adult language.

Shame on you, Petal, for reporting me for swearing.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 15:47:36

chipping I quoted deleted posts so reported myself wink - I've reposted my point without them smile

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 15:47:39

I've offended myself with the amount of commas in that post. Shame on me.

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 15:48:24

It wasn't foul abuse, I just said that if you continue to use it when it's been pointed out how offensive it is then you are a fucknugget.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 15:50:03

Again, thank you reality - you're helping my cause greatly here smile

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 15:57:54

What's your cause? I don;t really understand. confused

YOu want people to be warned not to use BM to mean 'the mother of my boyfriend's children'?

Good. So do I. Glad to help.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:04:08

Can I just say that I am less offended by 'fuck' than I am by endless passive aggressive smileys.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 16:07:08

I like smilies - and if we don't use them, MNHQ might take them away! sad

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 16:09:57

Reality, I've just reported your bad language again.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:09:58

I like smilies.

It's two faced PA shit that annoys me.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:11:31


You know we are allowed to say cunt and fuck and fucknugget, don't you?

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 16:13:36

The only person you're showing up is yourself.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:15:53

There is a poster on here called TheCuntingPigeon.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:17:31

And AnyFucker, of course.

It's a site that permits swearing. People swear. There are sweary threads.
Suggesting that profanity inevitably dilutes a persons point is a bit daft.

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 16:17:44

Reported me! Oh noes!


Have you actually read much of Mumsnet, Petal?

Sowhatifyou Fri 26-Jul-13 16:19:06

What about stepdads being called dad?
What about stepgrans being called grandma?

My mum and dad get called grandma and grandad by my brother's ex's daughter, no relation.

Is that ok or offensive?

I may be offended if they were called cunts, but perhaps I shouldn't be.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Jul-13 16:19:54


What the fuck?

Why have I been deleted?

To be clear;

We don't delete posts that contain swearing,

We do delete posts that are PAs.


Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:21:24

Can you delete posts with passive aggresive smilies?

G'wan. You know you really want to..

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 16:21:43

Petal - I think you have acidentally ended up on the wrong website. Netmums >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 16:26:40

What part of my post was a PA? I said that people usingthe term were fucknuggets. As in, generally people, not anyone specific. Is that not allowed now?

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Jul-13 16:30:22


What part of my post was a PA? I said that people usingthe term were fucknuggets. As in, generally people, not anyone specific. Is that not allowed now?

It's a bit like saying all people with brown hair are shit-heads, in't it? See where we're coming from?


Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 16:34:41



A thousand apologies, then. Obviously people using a snidey and offensive term to describe their partners ex are not all fucknuggets. Only the ones who continue to do so when told it's offensive.

Is that better?

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:34:50

But I can say that anyone using retard, knowing how offensive it is, is a twat.

Would that be deleted?
Being rude about brown haired people is not a personal attack is it?
Otherwise the millions of posts saying 4x4 owners park like tossers should all have gone.
A sweeping generalisation isn't a PA .
Am I being dim here?

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 16:38:41

Well that's what I thought, Paggy. But I don't make the rules mores the pity.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Jul-13 16:39:43

Rightly or wrongly the 'BM' term is used on here though, so it would be an attack on those posters it to call them all fucknuggets.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:42:16

I am confused as to why you were deleted tbh other than because of the trigger fingered profanity police.
But tbh I am not sure why I am on a thread in Step-parenting.
And i am on holiday too


Viviennemary Fri 26-Jul-13 16:42:43

That's probably a good idea. I had absolultely no idea whatsoever that the term 'birth mother' was offensive till I came on MN.

I think that is a reductive line JulieMN - saying all brown haired people are shitheads isn't a personal attack as they are not a person who could feel attacked.

Sit. Diazepam and critical thinking do not make good bedfellows, but I think that is an error in modding.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:43:26

Gah, calling swathes of people fucknuggets is sometimes the only reason I come here.

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 16:43:28

Me too, on both counts!

I'll slink back to aibu, it's safer....


ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 16:43:45

Julie - I'm not sure how to say this diplomatically, but you might like to check that others at MNHQ agree with you, as it does seem a lot over the top, not very consistent and a bit bonkers. A personal attack is just that surely, personal - which none of the above are.

And er, yes. Don't know why I am on step -parenting either.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:49:32

I agree Chipping.
A personal attack is ..well...personal.

needaholidaynow Fri 26-Jul-13 16:50:54

Anyone is allowed to post on the Step-parenting board, ya know.

Hence why I go on the Lone-parents forum when I'm not a LP.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 16:50:54

It's the curse of opening 'active convos' isn't it Scone


Yup. Active convos and heavy duty drugs make an interesting mixture. grin

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Jul-13 17:33:18


Right: you're quite right that generally, we think of a personal attack as being on an identifiable poster ('RowanMumsnet, you're a silly cow.')

A while back though, we came across a few situations in which groups of identifiable posters were being attacked thusly:

POSTER A 'I'm a RadFem and I think xxx'
POSTER B 'RadFems are all arses'

After quite a lot of this (and lots of representations from aggrieved posters) we came to the view that sometimes, a personal attack can be cloaked in a general observation - depending on what preceded it on the thread.

Now - we're NOT saying that Reality was deliberately attacking someone. (Until the government hurries up with making the contents of everybody's brains available in an easily-readable format, we can't know what people's motivations for their posts are.)

But the fact that her post was preceded by a few people saying 'I use the term BM' meant that her post ('if you use the term BM you're a fucknugget') did look like a PA on those people.

All of that said, this is definitely one of those borderline situations, and we do take on board that some of you think we were being hairtriggerish. These particular situations are always a bit difficult to judge correctly, and we sorry if we got it wrong.

Incidentally, I've just highly amused myself by coining the term 'modsplaining'.

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 17:55:29

Thanks rowan.

Bit clearer now.

LOVE the term modsplaining, v apt wink

I wasn't being attacky (not that time anyway), but I understand the reasoning.

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 18:00:13

I just think that, regardless of the context, the majority of the people don't want to read posts littered with f* and c* words.

You are very completely and utterly wrong in that supposition petal.

<is rather proud of self for not giving in to temptation and letting fly>

The ability to call a fucknugget or wankbadger or indeed cuntweasel where necessary (either for the relief of tension or pure comedy effect) is a fundamental well loved aspect of this site.

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 18:22:25

Grow up.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 18:27:42

It reminds me if the bitchy girl gangs who thought they were so cool for swearing/smoking whatever.

I am fully grown.

And it is a fundamental part of this site. If you don't like swearing please feel free to go and post an AIBU and see what result you get. Or you could look at netmums. MN allows swearing - it won't change because you think we are beneath you.

tory79 Fri 26-Jul-13 18:44:48

Personally I think the reason so many on mumsnet don't like the term bio/birth mum is because its used by step mums, and generally people on mumsnet don't seem to like step mums. We can do no right - it probably doesn't matter what term was used, there would be something to find fault with.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 18:45:49

Swearing is a fundamental part of the site? So in other words, swearing is essential and necessary?

FrauMoose Fri 26-Jul-13 18:48:42

I think swearing is an attempt to own/dominate a space.

Trying to dictate what terms may and may not be used is another attempt to own/dominate a space.

The former makes me feel rather like a passenger in a bus where somebody is effing and blinding loudly. It's a bit scary. Obviously I am free to get off or stick my fingers in my ears. But I still feel that whoever is doing all the swearing is behaving in a vaguely selfish way. (Of course they might be under particular stress or have mental health difficulties which prevent them having much regard for others.)

I feel more subtly threatened by those who try and say, 'These are the rules which we want you to abide by. If you are a decent person you will please abide by them' Particularly when they are not actually the people who do make the rules. That's a more insidious attempt at control. (Of course such people may quite genuinely believe in their rightness. But people who believe they are right can do quite a lot of harm.)

Not in every message (although I have seen threads where that has been the case) but it is part if the schtick here. And I have been here for a looooong time.

Generally liberal, anti-disabilist, anti-racist, feminist, gin and wine loving swearers. It is a bit long to fit under 'by parents for parents' admittedly...

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 18:50:26

Rowan flowers & wine Thanks for taking the time to post.

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 18:51:02

Petal - well, the good thing is that your opinion is only one of many and not one MN agrees with smile

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 18:52:24

Scone grin

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 18:54:17

Okaaaayyyy so you get to make the rules because you've been here for a "looonnnnng" time. There's are a lot of people who have been places a long time but that doesn't make any of what they did there necessarily good. Or that the swearing subculture you identify with as fundamental.

There are lots of spaces all over the net where swearing is actively discouraged. This one site treats me with the respect to act like a grown up.

If I want to say that cancer is a fucking shit then according to the moderated rules of this site that is fine. (And it is a fucking shit. A total bastard that has taken too many friends, family members and children of people on here).

I won't personally call you a cunt 'cos even with the influence of painkillers I am not that kind of poster. But I have wished a rotting fanjo on a dick of a woman who wanted to swap her dog for another dog because she was bored of it.

This is a massive derail and I apologise to ChinaCups, but it isn't ok to come and pick a fight with me about the entire ethos of this site.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 19:06:21

You don't get to decide what it's ok to do, or this thread or any other

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 19:08:45

...and neither do you.

MN do not have a problem with swearing, so it isn't for you or Petal to complain to posters about it.

allnew why are you being so stroppy?

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 19:12:27

I haven't actually told anyone what it's ok or not for them to do

Your attitude is portraying someone who needs a good rant at someone. I am not in the mood to be a punchbag tonight.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 19:19:21

You specifically put 6 swear words into one post and then accuse me of having a rant?

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 19:20:44

Someone who comes onto a thread and doesn't have anything at all to say related to the OP seems to be the one in need of a rant

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 19:21:19

It's a site where people may swear if they wish.
Some of us like that.
The 'its like a bitchy girl gang' shtick is very dull. It's nothing of the sort.
It's a matter of choice and it's the rules.
If you chose to ignore people who disagree with you because they swear that's up to you but it is going to be quite limiting on here. Some of the kindest, wisest posters on here swear.
I would rather profanity over sanctemonious guff most of the time and pretending one is more intelligent or delicate because you never swear is disingenuous and nonsensical if you post sneery, passive aggresive shite instead.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 19:23:27

What a strange place MN is!

I start a thread suggesting it might be a good idea if MNHQ ban the use of a particular phrase (via the talk guidelines) because it seems to offend some MNers to the extent that they are unable to self-moderate, and those very MNers are the ones objecting most vociferously, and accusing me of being passive aggressive!

Personally, I don't have a strong opinion about the phrase one way or another; I've never used it to describe my DSC mum, but it has been used IRL by my DDs Dad to introduce me to professionals in DDs life.

But, given the strength of feeling by some, and the inability/unwillingness of those members to stay quiet when a new member inadvertantly used the offending phrase, I thought it would be a good idea to suggest it was banned in the Talk Guidelines. Then, if a thread is started inadvertantly, it can be deleted by MNHQ straight away, with a gentle email message explaining the rules to the new member, rather than the days of heckling and abuse that have taken place on recent threads by members who are so offended by the OPs use of the term that they keep revisiting the thread to berate the OP further.

But hey, I'm not a Mod, so don't get to decide the rules.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 19:34:34

I swear too, but I don't find it such a fundamental part of my communication that I need to litter each sentence within swear words just to make a point.

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 26-Jul-13 19:38:13

I thought it would be a good idea to suggest it was banned in the Talk Guidelines. Then, if a thread is started inadvertantly, it can be deleted by MNHQ straight away, with a gentle email message explaining the rules to the new member

China I think your heart is in the right place, but that your suggestion is barking smile MN can't suddenly start saying perfectly ordinary words (like birth and mum) are 'banned' and deleting threads because someone uses the term Birth Mother. That's nuts.

Ok, my response to the thread in hand is that I believe birth mother should only be used in a situation where the mother is not a part of the child's life, for example adoption or surrogacy.

I am not anti-step parents at all, those whom I know are kind and loving individuals. They definitely wouldn't use the term.

The site is post moderated, threads will go ballistic if that term is used, although I agree an email could be sent to anyone with a post or thread deleted as a result.

I haven't berated anyone about anything. I haven't broken guidelines. (And I suspect that Paggy is referring to allnew with regards to the passive-aggressive stuff).

All that I have done is to reiterate that swearing is not a bad thing.

And the mods here are superb. Kind, knowledgeable and willing to explain, their gentle touch makes all the difference. flowers wine

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 19:52:47

"All that I have done is to reiterate that swearing is not a bad thing"

No, you specifically stated that swearing was fundamental (and therefore essential/necessary). That's a very far way from just not being a bad thing

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 19:56:21

I also haven't made any comments about BM. I am interested in the discussion and was weighing the views everyone expressed. So I haven't objected to it, ever.

I was irked by the profanity police. If you wish to disregard what a poster say then do so. Disregard posts by people who swear by all means. But assuming and expressing some superiority because you chose not to swear on a site where swearing is allowed is rather PO faced and, based on the points expressed on this thread,pretty inaccurate.
Reporting Reality for swearing, then posting gleefully 'I have reported' like some 10 year old prefect is pathetic.
IMO of course. I may well be wrong.

All these years on here, all these years and I finally find myself being goaded on a step-parenting thread.

Got any gin Paggy? I will lob some diazepam your way <just say yes>

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 19:59:51

I don't choose not to swear on this site. I'm pretty sure I've sworn here a number of times. I don't however feel it necessary to take part in the competitive 'fit how many swear words into a thread as you can' games. If you feel that makes me sound superior than so be it

Interesting someone called anyone who doesn't like the obsessive compulsive swearing as 'delicate'. So does that mean if you do like it you must be tough hmm

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 20:00:58


You are being extraordinarily nit picky. Clearly Scone was expressing that swearing is part of the ambiance of the site - as evidenced by a prolific poster called AnyFucker happily accepted without banning by the moderators.
Of course no one has to swear. Of course Scone was not suggesting such a thing.

Anyway. It's very hot, the wine is cold and my DD wants to read....

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 20:10:15

Allnew is not being nit-picky, she's just questioning the merits or otherwise of competitive swearing. Thankfully most of us grew out of that during our school days.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 20:19:18


It's not competetive swearing. There is no competing swearing. It was just swearing.
And stop doing the school days line, all the while sticking your hand up and shrieking 'she said a bad word miss'...

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 20:22:55

Some of us have classier ways of expressing ourselves .....

I think we may have to disengage Pag, they are frothing and we are being much too reasonable.

<sits on hands>

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 20:33:27


Classy? Hahahahahahahaha.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 20:34:26

But I want to be classy like Petal <wrings hands>

Petal02 Fri 26-Jul-13 20:37:13

I find swearing offensive, and my opinion is just as valid as yours.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 20:43:12

Of course it is.
But this is a website where people are allowed to swear and many will. So you can chose to accept that or you can make sneery comments and try to argue that you are superior for chosing not to swear. And people who feel that swearing on a website which permits swearing should be free from such nonsense will argue with you. Especially if you try to report them rather than debate your views.

I am interested in language and I would happily debate with you. But you are not trying to debate the issue of swearing. You are trying to score some obscure point based on attempting to link intellectual and moral superiority with a dislike of profanity.

Now now. We must know our place. We are the rosy cheeked Elphin faced flower sellers of Covent Garden, whereas Petal - she's classy enough to work in a shop!

All I want is a room somewhere.....

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 20:45:31

Come on Peggy, your sidekick has asked you to disengage

Ipad, I think you'll find I meant elfin.

Hang on a second allnew. Sidekick? You have been here long enough to know that is fighting talk.

Back. Off.

You are being unreasonable.

And her name is Pagwatch. And she is bloody lovely and I won't have you pulling her down to your level.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 20:47:54

I am not Peggy. My sidekick is usually Hully although Scone is perfectly lovely.
But if reaching for sarcasm try to be accurate at least, for goodness sake.

<regrets lack of standards on here lately>

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 20:49:50

Good grief Scone. Hully is going to kick my arse for that sidekick thing - frankly I have bigger fish to fry grin


allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 20:52:14

Hahahaha at "fighting talk"

And LMAO at "back off". Now it really feels like school

I have only been deleted once, and that was on a now deleted thread.

You are not worth enough to me to tell you how little I respect you.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 21:02:07

Talk guidelines state that:

we do draw the line at obscenity, racist and disablist language, and wording that is truly beyond the pale.

Could it be argued that the term in question is 'beyond the pale', based on the reaction it elicits?

tory79 Fri 26-Jul-13 21:06:53

Good grief, how can anyone compare 'bm' to obscenity, racist or disablist language. Frankly, the reaction (or should I say, completely ridiculous overreaction) to bm says more about those reacting than those using it, to me.

Bm worse than c*nt?! On what planet?

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 21:09:57


This gets thrashed out regularly with disablist language - where is the line, what is disablist now that perhaps wasn't months or years ago?
Tbh I think the discussion is almost always worth it.
If you draw a line in the sand and say x is banned then why is not discussed. And sometime (not here obviously grin) the why is interesting and educational.

So banning would always be my last choice personally. I know lots disagree with me and it leads to my reading horrid stuff around SN. But the discussion gives people a chance to express their story - their experience.
Again - I wy well be wrong but that how I fel about terms that upset me.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 21:11:35

So you can chose to accept that or you can make sneery comments and try to argue that you are superior for chosing not to swear. And people who feel that swearing on a website which permits swearing should be free from such nonsense will argue with you

Ah, this is exactly what happens regarding the phrase we cannot mention too, doesn't it?

If MNHQ allows the phrase to be used, then those people who don't like it have a choice - accept it, or comment on it. It is the 'nature' of the comment that is key - sneery, judgemental or downright abusive (like some of the deleted comments on this thread).
Whichever it is, it derails the thread, and detracts from the support that the OP was seeking in the first place.

Sowhatifyou Fri 26-Jul-13 21:12:47

I think I'll call my mum a cunt or a birth mum and she which one offends her.

Or perhaps not.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 21:21:20

But if you feel it is acceptable then you have to be prepared to argue your position.
I have been involved in more arguments than I could detail about disability and SN and some of thm left me weeping with frustration. But that's the deal.
The people on here arguing against swearing have been snide and sarcastic and actually not debated it at all. I haven't convinced then but they don't want to debate, they wnt to try and feel better about themselves and that's fine. They are allowed to do that. It's the way it goes.
But I have read loads of brilliant debates around cunt and idiot and special and such. It depends who rocks up tbh.

But if you feel it's important you have to kep having the converation

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 21:25:28

Frankly, the reaction (or should I say, completely ridiculous overreaction) to bm says more about those reacting than those using it, to me.

But that's the point, isn't it? It offended some MNers far more than disablist language, as that is their response to someone who uses the term "BM".

I've not been involved in the SN debates, but it's interesting to learn that the same issues are faced on other MN boards.

How are 'new' posters responded to on the SN board if they inadvertantly use a term that is considered to be offensive? Is the reaction similar to the recent ones seen here on the SP board?

needaholidaynow Fri 26-Jul-13 21:28:46

The term "BM" is no where near anything like racist language at all.

We all know what racist language is. We know what words and phrases offend etc.. So we don't use them. Simple. .

Not EVERYONE knows that the term "birth mum" is offensive though. Quite often it is said to try and simplify who is who in a situation because step families, well they are quite complicated at times aren't they? People who have been on here a while probably know what reaction they will get if they use that term so probably avoid it just to avoid the aggro, but really, you expect a "newbie" to know what is deemed as offensive on MN?

And you compare it to racism of all things???

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 21:32:58

"The people on here arguing against swearing have been snide and sarcastic and actually not debated it at all"

And the people who have been pro swearing have only used the 'its the done thing/fundamental part of mn' line. Or I've been here so very looooooooonnnnng. That's not debating a point at all either.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 21:33:16

You are starting to sound a little absurd now.
If people use a term that is disablist they are usually told. Their reaction to being asked to think about using a term that people affected find offensive usually determines how the thread goes.

But tbh to start comparing offensive disablist terms with people posting 'don't use BM, it's wanky' is sounding pretty self indulgent

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 21:35:01

And you compare it to racism of all things???

I don't think anyone's compared it to racism - I've quoted the bit of the Talk Guidelines that refers to swearing, racist/disablist language and other comments that are beyond the pale.

One of the deleted comments upthread used a disablist term to describe anyone who uses the term "BM" - hence my observation that it is more offensive to some than disablist language, and with that in mind, wondered if it is a phrase that new members should be warned against using.

Pagwatch Fri 26-Jul-13 21:35:06

Actually I don't think I made that point Allnew.

I thinki said it was allowed, that some astonishingly supportive and intelligent posters swear and that to dismiss anyone who swears seemed pretty limiting.

tory79 Fri 26-Jul-13 21:36:35

I just don't see why it's offensive full stop. Unless its actually being used in a horrible way, or the tone of the post in general is offensive and horrible, then why on earth does it matter what the mother is referred to as?

If dh and I split up, and one day there was a woman posting on here about me and referring to me as the bm, I just wouldn't give it a second thought. I would be far more concerned with what the post was actually about.

I suspect mn will only be happy if bms are henceforth referred to as 'she who can do no wrong, giver of light and love and all things good' and step mums could perhaps refer to themselves as something like 'she-bitch, bringer of hate and evil and poison' - catchy eh!?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 21:42:10

If people use a term that is disablist they are usually told. Their reaction to being asked to think about using a term that people affected find offensive usually determines how the thread goes.

That's not how it goes down here on the SP boards, pagwatch

A new poster using the term BM can be gently, or not so gently advised that its a term some find offensive and even after a genuine apology, those who are offended continue to post about how use of the term makes them undeserving of support and advice and challenged about aspects of their life that posters have speculated about wildly based on their one mistake.
Generally, the OP gets scared off and leaves.

cestlesautres Fri 26-Jul-13 21:44:33

Sorry if I've missed it, but what's the "correct" term?

tory79 Fri 26-Jul-13 21:47:51

This reminds me of the furore a while ago about saying eg sd instead of dsd - as if the absence of 1 letter on this Internet forum somehow means that you loathe your dsc

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 21:48:46

Birth mother is offensive, when used to talk about a child's involved mother, or BF for father. Of course it is.

My DD has a 'step mother', technically. They've never met her, nor are they likely to. She is married to the man who is DD's 'birth father'. He hasn't seen her since she was just turned two. She's now nine years old.

If (in an imaginary universe) he was in her life and being her father at all, I would call him her father and DH her SF, but as it is, DH is her Daddy (he has PR) and her bio father/birth father is just that.

I have a visceral reaction to being described as the BM of my babies, regardless of how much input their fathers or step mothers have. I am their mother. NOt step, not birth, not bio. Just mother.

Even if DH described me as the birth mother of DS2 (our shared child), I woudl find it horrendously insulting. It's a term used by adoptive parents to describe absent parents.

DH has earned the 'Father' handle by being 100% of my children's male parent. If they had other involved fathers, he'd be their Step father.

That is all.

Oh, and cunting gobblychops with a dollop of fuckeroo and wankmeister.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 21:51:24

I have a visceral reaction to being described as the BM of my babies

Just when you are described in that way, or when someone on MN applies the term to another Mum?

needaholidaynow Fri 26-Jul-13 21:55:13

This reminds me of the furore a while ago about saying eg sd instead of dsd - as if the absence of 1 letter on this Internet forum somehow means that you loathe your dsc

That's just pathetic and quite laughable in an "I completely and utterly despair, facepalm while shaking head" sort if way!

Reality Fri 26-Jul-13 21:55:19

When it[s used to describe anyone who is the actual, involved (and, lets face it, usually resident) parent of their children.

cestlesautres Fri 26-Jul-13 22:12:56


allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Jul-13 22:18:27

"I thinki said it was allowed, that some astonishingly supportive and intelligent posters swear and that to dismiss anyone who swears seemed pretty limiting"

So because some people you like swear that's your side of the debate as to why it's ok to needlessly litter posts with a load of profanities?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 22:41:11

When it[s used to describe anyone who is the actual, involved (and, lets face it, usually resident) parent of their children.

Would you say your reaction is stronger/more viceral regarding the term BM than it is in response to other language, for instance, the language identified in the MN Talk Guidelines as not permitted?

cestlesautres Fri 26-Jul-13 23:15:17

So is it that "birth mother" is seen on MN as a term of abuse, meaning a mother who has no involvement with her dc?

Theexisapsychocunt Fri 26-Jul-13 23:21:58

Now egg donor is offensive - BM is simply an abbreviation used for ease of typing and clarification.

Viviennemary Fri 26-Jul-13 23:25:28

So what is the preferred term to Birth Mother please. Years ago the term used to describe BM was real mother when talking about adopted children. I don't think that was very acceptable.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 23:26:47

So is it that "birth mother" is seen on MN as a term of abuse, meaning a mother who has no involvement with her dc?

I don't think I've ever seen a thread where it's been used in that way deliberately - it's hard to understand exactly why it creates such a strong reaction from some people, because generally when you ask why it's not acceptable to use the term, the response is along the lines of "well, if you can't work if out then you're a dreadful person".

cestlesautres Fri 26-Jul-13 23:27:48

Surely there is a distinction between egg donor and womb lender anyway? Do we need a lexicon of MN swear words that are abusive in the eyes of MNers but are not the usual swear words, which are highly laudable?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 23:31:12

So what is the preferred term to Birth Mother please

I've found that "Mum" often suffices, although it can get clunky if you are referring to a relative; it's easier to type "BMs Dad", than it is "the DSC's Mums Dad" for instance.

Theexisapsychocunt Fri 26-Jul-13 23:32:54

Its all part of the deep, almost primal reaction mothers have -even mothers who are step mothers themselves - have to another woman being involved in their children's lives.

People will always be offended by the SP board because it strikes at their deepest buried fears - ones they may not even be aware of themselves.

notanyanymore Fri 26-Jul-13 23:37:45

BM as a reference used by a step-'mum' to describe their partners DC's mother is what's offensive.

Theexisapsychocunt Fri 26-Jul-13 23:44:09

Everything on mumsnet is offensive to someone when posted by a step mum - and in fact I have seen the same story, posted in parallel, in one a "sm" in one a "rm" just to test the responses and seen the sm get a pasting and rm get support - when the fundamental issue was the same

There are sms on this board who are too scared to out themselves as sms and so have to disemble in order to get support

I've bounced the whole thread this is on but it's very pertinent

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 23:44:23

BM as a reference used by a step-'mum' to describe their partners DC's mother is what's offensive.

But that doesn't tell me why! It is a factually correct statement after all - so it must be something that the words don't actually mean, but how they have been interpreted, that causes offence?

Theexisapsychocunt Fri 26-Jul-13 23:44:36

Dear Reader,I have been much maligned as a step-mother over the years and so misrepresented, even I sometimes wonder what is truth and fiction. The sad fact is that people will always believe the child over the step-mother, no matter how outrageous the story and accusations.Take my step child, Snow White. Ran off and shacked up with 12 men in a squat. Doing so many drugs she thought she could speak to animals FFS. (Lets face it, she didn't get called "snow white" for no reason IYSWIM.) I rescue her from herself with an intervention and a stay at the Priory and what do I hear back? Magic Mirrors, wood cutters and poisoned apples! And people believed her. However, I know now where I went wrong and look back on those times thinking "If only I had had someone to show me the way". So here it is, dear step mothers. The Mumsnet Guide to being a stepmother. Instead of worrying, just ask "What would Maleficent Do?" and follow these 12 steps to become the perfect Mumsnet Step Parent.All of the following advice has been given to step parents in one form or another on Mumsnet discussions.1. You may call yourselves step mothers, because that is what you are. 2. It's wrong to refer to yourself as mother in any form as it detracts from a child's real mother.3. You should not try to be a mother to a step-child as they already have one. 4. If you don't act motherly you are rejecting the child and this can damage them and cause emotional problems later in life.5. It is OK to think your own child and the children of your friends and the children at your child's school are horrible.6. Your DH or DP's Children aren't horrible it is you making them that way as they can sense that you don't like them. 7. You must not declare that you love your stepchild or expect your step child to love you as that is not natural and they already have a mum.8. You should automatically love your step children and if you can't you are bad and should leave your DH / DP.9. If the children live with their mum, you should never change any payments of maintenance as it is unfair on the child.10. If the child comes to live with you, the mum should not have to pay maintenance as it is your job to support them as you chose to be with a man who had children already.11. You should not distance yourself from your step children as they will sense this and it will make them feel unwelcome.12. As an adult its up to you to put your emotions to one side and distance them from your step children as showing how you feel will make them feel unwelcome.You know. Reading this back, I think I can summarise this so much better.1. Damned if you do.2. Damned if you don't.Now, off you go and get back to being Man Eating, Child Stealing Whores Love, Maleficent x

Viviennemary Fri 26-Jul-13 23:51:31

Yes I can see why that's offensive in that context notanymore. But I would just use it to differentiate if there was confusion about the term Mother as in adopted Mother or Birth or Biological mother. (Hope I'm not getting into trouble here!) Also something else I'm not sure about. Is somebody automatically a step-mother because they are in a relationship with a child's father.

Theexisapsychocunt Fri 26-Jul-13 23:57:16

Strangely enough I couldn't give a shit if I was called my children's birth mother.

notanyanymore Sat 27-Jul-13 00:02:52

Viviennemary thats the differnce IMO. A BM signifies someone who gave birth to, but does not parent their child. Sleeping with someone does not make you mother to their children, calling the actual mother 'BM' supposes the new partner is on equal terms with the childs mum because they are sexually active with the childs father. The mother of the child is the child's mum! there is no need for further clarification (it makes the mum sound like some kind of breeding heffer thats been put out to pasture)

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 00:07:30

That's your interpretation - its my opinion that BM is merely an acronym used to denote a child's "real/actual" mother and in fact is being used to signify that the sm posting respects that in fact the BM is the actual mother in the situation - particularily in the context of the thread that sparked this one - which I have just read.

needaholidaynow Sat 27-Jul-13 00:09:30

Is somebody automatically a step-mother because they are in a relationship with a child's father.

Good point. Even after 4 years I still don't call myself a stepmum. I know that's technically what I am, but why do I have to be a "mother" figure just because I am in a relationship with a man with a child?

tory79 Sat 27-Jul-13 00:11:47

Well I don't think there is much we can do about the term 'step mum' at this stage notany, it's kind of ingrained in the English language at this point. I wouldn't mind betting it wasn't even coined by a step mum in the first place, although of course we will be held responsible for it.

Could someone please make a note that 'step mum/dad/parent' should also be added to the list of terms found offensive?

needaholidaynow Sat 27-Jul-13 00:12:39

The term "BM" also puts pressure on the stepmum as well, as though she is some sort of second mother when she doesn't want to be seen that way.

tory79 Sat 27-Jul-13 00:12:41

I think that 'officially' you are a step mum when you are married to the dad.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 00:13:33

Actually the term step mother should be offensive - it stemmed from when a child was orphaned implying they have no other mother

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 00:15:06
needaholidaynow Sat 27-Jul-13 00:15:48

Well then I have many many years before I become a stepmum then, because this girl ain't tying knot any time soon! Lol.

notanyanymore Sat 27-Jul-13 00:26:54

If a new partner is happy with step-mum whats the prob? I just don't see why the child's mum needs any further qualification other then 'mum'. You don't stop being mum and somehow become diminished in that role if your relationship with the father breaks down and he goes on to have a relationship with someone else.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 00:29:48

I was merely pointing out that the origins of the term step mother implies there is no real mother around

And whether someone becomes diminished as a mother on relationship break up rather depends on how that break up is handled

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 00:33:46

As in if you can't as an adult put your own needs to one side for the sake of your children - you become a worse parent - be that dad or mum

notanyanymore Sat 27-Jul-13 01:11:48

Yes. The primary role of mum and dad to the dc needs to be respected when either party begins a new relationship. Step-mums/dads come and go, your parents are your parents and everyone involved needs to respect and encourage that (where possible) IMO

notanyanymore Sat 27-Jul-13 01:15:37

Thee the mother's place won't have been diminished by a break up with the father and any new partner would do well to remember that and not treat them so blithely as a 'BM' as that would indicate they have no idea what they are entering into.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Jul-13 06:57:35


No.that wasn't my arguement.
I was correcting the pooint you said I had made (which i hadn't ) for what I actually had said.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 07:09:59

A BM signifies someone who gave birth to, but does not parent their child

That seems fairly clear as a MN definition - is there a list of acronyms we can add it to?
I know that isn't how the term is defined elsewhere on the Internet, but if that's MN convention, then surely it's just good manners to explain it to new members?

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 07:15:14

China I wouldn't like to see other as an acronym because that interpretation is a pile of bollox invented by those who wish to be offended and it validates their paranoia to have it "officially" recognised

They'd only find something else about the SPACE board to get offended at.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 07:15:46

Sp board not space board

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 07:16:38

It's quite simple.

Birth Mother is the appropriate term for a mother who is not involved in the child's life. Such as in adoption and where there is an absent mother. The implication is that they gave birth to the child and that's all. Where the mother is involved in raising their child they are the mother - no further qualification required. There is only one mother.

It is offensive in the same was as referring to the birth mother as the "real" mother in an adoption, when it is obviously the adoptive mother who is fulfilling the role of mother.

With most terms that are found offensive, there will always be people who say "Oh, I'm OK with it so I'll keep using it, even though you and a good number of others have told me it is found offensive." That doesn't make it right.

I don't view all step mothers as evil. That would be stupid. There are good ones and bad ones, ones that love their step children and ones that clearly hate them.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 07:20:41

psycho So what if it is? The reality is that here on MN, the culture is to soundly berate (and in some cases abuse) anyone who uses the term. The reasons for that are irrelevant, really!
So why shouldn't new members be warned?

It's all very well saying - ah, but they are making it up, it's not a phrase that can cause offence - but it certainly creates a viceral response from some.

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 07:21:06

Theexisapsychocunt No, I am not paranoid and no, I have not invented something to get offended about.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 07:27:50

soup I don't think the issue of whether some find it offensive is under debate.
To be fair, this thread has proved that it is more offensive to some than swearing and disablist language.

The issue is how to share that with new members in light of the fact that elsewhere on the Internet it is accepted language that features in FAQs and acronym lists. MN members have proven that this is such an offensive a term that its use overrides their ability to temper their posts and permanently affects their judgement of MN members who use it, even inadvertantly.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 07:30:20

China yes and when I was a regular SP poster I used to send a polite pm to the "offending" poster explaining how although I didn't bother me the use of "bm" drives some posters wild.

However as explained in my earlier post about parallel threads - simply being a SP is enough to get the backs up of people on mumsnet.

I've been absent from mumssnet for years - this is a row which has been done to death (interestingly with some of the same posters).

At one point it was agreed to use TM (the mother) - which was slightly toungue in cheek.

This attempt to DICTATE to posters what they meant when they posted is distasteful - as if a poster knows better than the OP the OPs own mind

SPs have always been hammered here on mumssnet - stopping using BMP won't change that.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 07:31:11

And it's not the whole of mumssnet who find it offensive its a few specific and vocal posters

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 07:40:52

I don't think the issue of whether some find it offensive is under debate

I didn't say it was.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 07:50:32

Its not an ossie of whether BM is offensive - its an ossie of whether some posters can read other posters minds and a mumsnet culture that the SP board is open season for abusing the posters who need other.

On no other part of mumsnet does this happen.

As I said I think it hits at people's deep root hidden fears and exposes prejudices they may not even be consciously aware they have.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 07:55:19

I didn't say it was.

Sorry soup I must have misunderstood - I read your post as an explaination of why the term was offensive to you.

The thing I don't get is why MN members such as yourself aren't calling for new member guidance from HQ about this?
If posters agree that the term is offensive to them, and even acknowledge that it is widely used in a different context elsewhere on the web, why shouldn't new members be given guidance to avoid offending you?

I can understand why psycho has such a cynical view of the situation - it's almost as if those who are offended don't want MNHQ to explain the impact the phrase has because those who are offended want the continued opportunity to berate and abuse members who use it!

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 07:58:39


It has bog all to do with "mind reading" because there are things which are offensive regardless of intent.

Interesting how you whinge about the perceived lack of respect for step parents yet don't think others need to be treated with respect.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:03:39

I'm not whinging on soup dragon - I'm just not as easily bullied as some of the other posters Herr.

And yes it is about mind reading.

Poster A uses BM
Poster B says poster A is being offensive
Poster A says no I only meant this
Poster B strarts telling poster A exactly what they meant and what a terrible and evil person they are at a tines when poster A is already vulnerable

Suggesting Poster B has read poster As mind and knows it better than poster A does

MirandaWest Sat 27-Jul-13 08:04:13

Until last week I had only ever seen the term birth mother used for someone who had given birth to a child and then the child was adopted. My use of mumsnet is quite extensive but I don't tend to use other parenting forums so had no idea it is generally used to refer to the woman who gave birth to children but who is still very much in their lives.

I have no idea how XHs girlfriend refers to me but I hope not as the DCs birth mother - as I am the RP I see that as rather insulting. I have brought it up on a thread here recently as I hadn't realised how it was in common usage and thought the poster was using it in an insulting way rather than just not realising its not the best thing to say. Mother works fine - it's presumably fairly obvious that I am the person who gave birth to them, looking at the stretch marks grin

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:04:53

The thing I don't get is why MN members such as yourself aren't calling for new member guidance from HQ about this?

Personally, it's because I didn't expect those using the term to be so dense that they can't deal with the fact that it is inappropriate to use it to describe an involved parent.

And yes, I was explaining why it is offensive. Mainly because of the repeated calls, even late in the thread, for an explanation. It's not to to with whether some find it offensive but why. I note that posters are still trying to justify it though.

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:08:56

hmm Except, of course, Poster B doesn't necessarily say they know what the person was thinking do they? It could just as easily go

B: That's actually rather offensive
A: Oh, sorry, I meant X but I won't use it again
B: Great

No mind reading required.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:09:20

But Miranda in real life - no one uses acronyms - so it is completely different - in real life she probably uses your name or says their mum etc.

And there you go again Soup Dragon - mumsnet decidewhat is and what iisn't offensive not the self appointed mumsnet police.

Is it not an issue that posters are scared to post that they are SPs because they know they will get a totally different reaction if they drop that into their post.

Mumsnet has always seen open season on SPs.

Try going into L.P. and constantly challenging their terminology - you'd get laughed off the board

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:10:14

But I was referring to the most recent exAmple I have just read - which was the situation in my post and not yours Soup Dragon.

StillSlightlyCrumpled Sat 27-Jul-13 08:11:29

BM when used by a step mum is offensive. When I post on the step parent forum (as I am a step mum) I try & not use any acronyms at all as I find it gets confusing! If I ever do I tend to refers to my DSS mum as either DH EX or just DSS mum.

The point I think that may be being missed here however is that BM is apparently a widely used acronym on other sites & that new posters here may not be aware that it is considered disrespectful here. To have it pointed out & then let the original point of the thread continue would surely be the best way to approach.

There are very forceful posters in step parenting, as I said I'm a step mum but rarely post in step parenting partly because I have an easy natural relationship with my step sons, & partly because it really is a battlefield. I'm not quite sure why.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:11:41

And why should A be dictated to? I don't think it's offensive - I am secure enough in my parenting of my children not to care what term is used to describe me.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:12:55

stillslightly I have seen people pilloried for using DH EX.

She is not DH EX she is their MOTHER etc etc.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 08:15:14

Personally, it's because I didn't expect those using the term to be so dense that they can't deal with the fact that it is inappropriate to use it to describe an involved parent.

And that's my point. Even though its use is encouraged elsewhere on the Internet, when its used here on MN, users are referred to as dense/ignorant/thoughtless, which creates anything but a supportive environment.

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:17:35

But I was referring to the most recent exAmple I have just read - which was the situation in my post and not yours Soup Dragon.

Perhaps you should have made it clear that it was one example and not general then.

And why should A be dictated to?

Why should any of us moderate our behaviour in order to get along? It's called being considerate of others. If a term is found offensive, the benefit to the general community of not using it is greater than any loss of freedom of speech on the part of those using it.

Saying "Oh, I'm happy with it so it's OK" is just plain stupid. That doesn't apply to any other offensive use of a term and it doesn't apply here. It just makes the person saying it seem rather obtuse.

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:19:42

when its used here on MN, users are referred to as dense/ignorant/thoughtless

No, people who continue to use/defend it after someone has said that it's rather offensive are dense/ignorant/thoughtless. That was my point.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:21:30

A few specific posters objecting to something does not make it so.

And I have seen it over and over and over not just once I was generalising as well as referring to the most recent example.

This is a case of the vocal minority trying to flex their proverbial muscles. Mumsnet should be addressing the accepted culture that it's open season on step parents.

Using BM inadvertently is the least of the concerns over the SP board.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:22:11

No, people who continue to use/defend it after someone has said that it's rather offensive are dense/ignorant/thoughtless. That was my point.

What makes that someone right?

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:22:51

To clarify, I meant Personally, it's because I didn't expect those using the term to be so dense that they can't deal with the fact that it is inappropriate to use it to describe an involved parent once it's been pointed out to them.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:25:47

I find tattoos offensive
I don't
Well I do and I don't think people with visible tattoos should hold public office

Does the person with the tattoo have them lazered away simply because someone doesn't like them or is the person who is offended by them wrong

Just because someone doesn't like something - doesn't make that someone right or mean other people should bow down and obey them.

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:27:40

What makes that someone right?

Do you apply that to any term you've been told is found offensive?
Do you continue to use other offensive words even though you've been told they are offensive?

To a certain extent it doesn't matter whether you think they are right. It is called consideration.

As I said Why should any of us moderate our behaviour in order to get along? It's called being considerate of others. If a term is found offensive, the benefit to the general community of not using it is greater than any loss of freedom of speech on the part of those using it.

tory79 Sat 27-Jul-13 08:27:55

Sheesh, honestly. I still just don't see that use of 'bm' is anything other than a bit of Internet typing shorthand. Of course in real life I either use her name or call her dsd mum. I frequent another vastly more tolerant sp forum, and bm is not used in any way to belittle the role of the mother, or to be rude or to imply anything at all. If someone is writing a post complaining about the bm, use of bm is irrelevant to the complaint.

I would think in 99% of posts, use of bm means absolutely nothing, and I don't see why those who find it offensive for whatever reason can't find it in themselves to gloss over it. When there is no intent, there is no crime! (Unless you're a step parent of course ....)

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:29:24

What a ridiculous analogy. There is a difference between actually being described as something and simply seeing something (eg a tattoo) on another person you don't like.

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:29:59

When there is no intent, there is no crime! (Unless you're a step parent of course ....)

Or your partner's Ex.

SoupDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 08:31:18

Anyway, this is pointless as some people clearly couldn't give a fuck about whether they cause offense.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:31:41

Its no more ridiculous than a small minority of mumsnet police interfering and undermining a very supportive board.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:33:20

Everything about SPs offends someone on mumsnet. And taking offense at something that is not offensive isn't the problem of the poster

78bunion Sat 27-Jul-13 08:36:11

Accuracy over everything.
Birth mother is accurate.
Step parent is accurate
To imply a child is your birth child when you are its step aren't is a lie and that kind of terminology should be stamped out.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 08:38:17

I'm offended by the number of people who come into SP just to have a dig.
I'm offended that large numbers of posters have to hide the fact that they are step parents in order to get a measured response.
I'm offended that new posters are so upset by the response they get (from people who rarely post in SP) that they leave mumsnet when they were looking for help.
I'm offended that SP posters are often driven to tears as people usually and up here in desperation.
I'm offended that incidents like this leave people who are already struggling feeling like yet another avenue of support is closed to them.

I'm not offended by what some ppeople think BM means.

allnewtaketwo Sat 27-Jul-13 08:43:07

"No.that wasn't my arguement.
I was correcting the pooint you said I had made (which i hadn't ) for what I actually had said"

Actually, I didn't at any point specify what you, as opposed to any other poster, said

superbagpuss Sat 27-Jul-13 08:47:29


you can't take the emotive out of names

should I call my nan my 'step-step nan' as that is her legal position?

nan is easier and portrays the relationship we have so much better

cestlesautres Sat 27-Jul-13 09:12:29

Like the poster above, I often PM people to warn them that they are about to be bullied. I am offended by the fact that I have to, especially since a bit of clarity - in the form of a "Note" for example - would save a lot of pain and effort. Clarity is always good; a lot better than bullying.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 09:17:09

If there was a note it would be nice if it read along the lines of "if you inadvertently use BM for clarification you are likely to get harassed and bullied by a minority of posters at a time when you are looking for support - mumsnet does not agree with this stance but as we seem unable to tackle it - we had best warn you about it instead."

Sowhatifyou Sat 27-Jul-13 09:25:01

I think the argument is some people are offended by BM, but so what?
You're offended, and?

I wouldn't not use an acceptable phrase because someone is offended by it. Balls to that, I don't like things some people say or do, but if it's legal it's their choice and right to do them.

If we get a majority who want to ban swearing as they are offended by it would that be ok?

Pagwatch Sat 27-Jul-13 09:26:35

I hope you are now as bored of this as I am Allnew. It really is just about 'yeah, and so is your mum' level.

If you want to debate swearing on mn I will happily engage with you, perhaps on a new thread rager than clogging up this one with snarky drivel.

needaholidaynow Sat 27-Jul-13 09:29:10

Let's all agree that whatever a stepmum says, she's in the wrong eh?

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 09:31:47

needaholiday absolutely spot on.

Did you read my long copy and paste of Malificents post? Most using.

daisychain01 Sat 27-Jul-13 09:42:10

Have just read the thread in its entirety.... Phew, [lies down for a mo to recover].

I find the Preview Message feature helpful and I don't think it is used enough. Perhaps if people could only pause sometimes and see how something reads before sending it, they might be less Trigger-happy. Agreed it isnt as fun or entertaining to some people, but its the right thing to do, that is why the feature is there!

FWIW I recently posted a thread asking for some advice regarding my DSCs, having lost my DM a few years ago. I couldn't believe that a poster asked whether I was the OW. I cannot think of any reason EVER where I would need to ask anyone here whether they were the OW - i would be able to offer perfectly valid and (i would hope) helpful supportive advice without asking such a question. So I just cannot support the justification to put a MNer in that position of talking about such a confidential matter unless they volunteered it.

Maybe that could be one of the Ground Rules .... The "were you the OW?" Is offensive and intrusive. Please dont ask!!

cestlesautres Sat 27-Jul-13 09:42:14

The issue of a minority vs the majority on MN is very pertinent.

ArtexMonkey Sat 27-Jul-13 09:44:32

Excellent posts Soupy.

It's funny, but when i saw your poster name theexisapsychocunt i did expect to see the same people who'd been clutching their pearls at Reality swearing to give you a jolly good telling off and report you for your offensive language etc.

How odd that they haven't.

Personally i think they should let yis all use whatever language and acronyms you like, as it tends to be fairly revealing.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 09:48:17

Well it's not because anyone "knows" me I haven't been on mumsnet for years - its probably because of the language Reality was using combined with her outrage at what some consider to be a completely inoffensive term.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 09:51:46

(I don't think anyone was clutching their pearls at Realitys language - merely that it showed a certain level of hypocrisy to be offended by BM while using language that is generally accepted as offensive to many).

I actually don't swear in RL or on forums - should name change as this was sort of tongue in cheek - at the same time - dh ex is the only person I refer to as a cunt because she is.

I would use the same term to describe anyone who hated a baby merely for existing. I have had to explain to my 3 year old why their siblings mother is so nasty to him.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 09:53:23

Irrelevant to this as I am well aware she is the exception.

Many many posters here are BM and SM are we insulting ourselves.

emilyeggs Sat 27-Jul-13 10:06:39

I'm a sm, my dsc's have a mum and that it what I refer to her as. if im talking about DH and his past relationship I might call her exp. I've seen other sm use the term bm, but just thought they had made an honest mistake (It does happen). I don't think posters mean to offend, and that's why op started this thread.

emilyeggs Sat 27-Jul-13 10:10:51

That's awful three sad

I do think that there is an aggression problem with MN at the moment, and it could.be the full moon combined with the thundery weather, but it is the major reason I have Aibu hidden.

I would have been appalled if I had seen daisy's thread. How can it be right to ask that?

There seems to be a section of posters using the whole site as a fight club.

That being said it would make sense to me not to use BM as an acronym knowing that it can upset people to the same extent as **tard or **tard does. (Nope, can't type those words - too bloody horrific). those terms are freely thrown around the rest of the Internet aren't they, but they are still horrid and not acceptable on here.

Whereas swearing is.

It should come down to being respectful of each other and if you can't do that go start a fight on aibu so I don't have to see it

cestlesautres Sat 27-Jul-13 10:21:33

That is right, there is a section of posters who get off on picking fights and will use any spurious excuse to do so. That is the essence of bullying.

needaholidaynow Sat 27-Jul-13 10:36:47

Did you read my long copy and paste of Malificents post? Most using.

Most certainly did! Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

emilyeggs Sat 27-Jul-13 10:41:43

I'm offended by the number of people....

hear hear threex

FrauMoose Sat 27-Jul-13 10:46:07

I've done the bulk of my stepmothering. (Young adult stepchildren) Mumsnet wasn't really around in the tough years - perhaps fortunately? I read one or two books and talked to people when I didn't know what to do, or needed to let off steam.

However having recently discovered Mumsnet, there are clearly some very articulate caring stepmothers who are playing a hugely important role in bringing up their stepchildren - and who are sometimes trying to tackle issues about health, behaviour and development their own partners may be reluctant to look at.

Some posters describe mothers who - for one reason or another are unable to look after their children's teeth and/or stop their hair getting infested, and/or who are not engaging with issues where children wet and soil themselves during the day. Some of these mothers may have partners who abuse alcohol and illegal drugs. Some mothers may be dependent on these substances as well.

In such situations it wouldn't seem unreasonable to me to make a verbal distinction between the biological parent and the person who was - trying - to take on the actual responsibilities of helping a child to grow up.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 10:57:36

No, people who continue to use/defend it after someone has said that it's rather offensive are dense/ignorant/thoughtless. That was my point.

soup my point is that not everyone gives new users the benefit of the doubt that you refer to; the strength of feeling is so strong that not only do new users who inadvertantly use the term receive abuse, their apology is dismissed and judgements continue to be made about them and their motives.

Theex, your poor baby. sad there are some individuals who should never have become parents.

Perhaps that is the essence of the discord here? That most posters here are by their very nature involved and interested in their children and their development. So to those parents the very idea that they would be so disinterested that they are effectively mothers in name only is horrific and demeaning.

For some of you as the 'extra' parent (sorry, don't know how to word it) you see these mothers and have to deal with them and their lack of parenting on a regular basis and to you they are mothers in name only.

I can sympathise with feeling the desire to use the term BM in these cases, but by using it there will be a backlash from those mothers who could never conceive of treating their children in such a way.

China, I don't think that the lack of understanding is confined to this topic though sadly. For parents of children with SN there is an equally small amount of consideration, for those on benefits etc etc.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 11:06:25

I don't think people generally use BM as anything other than a shortened term for mother, real mother, actual mother etc. especially as it is used on other forums ust for that.

As I have said I have seen people ripped apart for using DH ex - when they should be saying scs mum.

I think those who are so up in arms about BM being used in what is clearly a non offensiive reason, as a part of a longer post merely for clarity who need to look at themselves and wonder why exactly they are so upset.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - as mothers we have a deep rooted primal dislike of someone else "mothering" our children - even those of us who are step other's or have had lovely experiences with our own step mothers.

People need to start looking at themselves and their own motivations and face up to that before they start casting stones at others.

cestlesautres Sat 27-Jul-13 11:10:10

There are quite a lot of posters who just can't - or won't - do that, Theex. The majority of us are aware of our own visceral responses and whether they are rational or not. Some people are not capable of that kind of insight. It's always someone else that's in the wrong.

ArtexMonkey Sat 27-Jul-13 11:14:43

It's obvious that the majority of the people with an apparent vested interest in defending terms used to insult/belittle their partners' exes have a lot of issues ongoing in their lives, and by extension, the lives of the various children involved. It's a shame.

I suppose what I find hypocritical is one person being rounded on for swearing and advised that their sweariness is childish and invalidates their point etc, and another person's very sweary name just being ignored, since it would seem to fit with a certain agenda better. As for 'bitchy girl gang behaviour' I think PLENTY of that goes on from the sp regulars. Likewise the stated perception that sm can do not right - in here it seems the opposite is true, that nothing is ever the sm's fault and in some of the ongoing situations, I don't think that is a very helpful viewpoint at all.

Some very good and perceptive advice has been written off as 'sm bashing' over the years, guess what, the ongoing problems continue, posters start woe type 'venting' threads as much as they ever did, and nothing ever changes.

I suppose this is in a way an mn wide problem - people post ostensibly for 'advice' when what they really want is affirmation.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 11:15:46

I agree but I don't think honouring them and giving them what they want is the answer.

Prejudice should be chAllenged wherever it arises and in whatever form it takes.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 11:16:28

Humouring them

Auto correct keeps changing things after I've checked them

Absolutely agree theex and cest that the knee jerk reaction to a single term in an op is wrong, dismissive and crap.

It is happening a lot all over the site though, perhaps an influx of newish posters who are using it as rant relief rather than reading the whole op and responding to the question (and gently pointing stuff out).

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 11:20:56

posters start woe type 'venting' threads as much as they ever did, and nothing ever changes. 

And exactly why the hell shouldn't they????

Mumsnet is littered with woe is me threads - relationships, SN, LP, teens - etc etc etc etc.

None of these boards would exist without woe is me threads.

Are step parents some form of sub species then who shouldn't be sharing their problems and aren't entitled to the support of others?

Is the rest of mumsnet allowed support but not SPs with the unique issues it brings.

But it does happen that people start a woe is me thread and other posters respond by saying "look, you asked for advice previously and you ignored it" in relationships etc.

It isn't purely a sp problem.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 11:24:03

scone I've only just come back to mumsnet after leaving for a few years - I don't know what's going on elsewhere here - but the pounding of new posters for using the wrong acronym is an age old problem - as is the influx of posters who have no interest in providing support

It takes a strong person to examine themselves - which is why the bigoted minority don't want to - self reflection can be a painful journey.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 11:43:26

(And it's not new posters - its the same old same old banging the same drum)

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 11:45:19

But it does happen that people start a woe is me thread and other posters respond by saying "look, you asked for advice previously and you ignored it" in relationships etc.

I think there is a difference between insensitivity and bullying - a new poster who uses the term BM here on the step- boards is likely to be rounded on, asked why they are trying to exclude the DCs mum, whether they had a role in the marriage breakup, how it's not a surprise that the DCs mum is hostile if that's how the OP behaves - all because they have inadvertantly used a phrase that is accepted and encouraged elsewhere in virtual-society. Apologies aren't accepted and judgement and speculation continues long after the unsuspecting OP has left the forum!

ArtexMonkey Sat 27-Jul-13 11:50:13

"Add message | Report | Message poster SconeInSixtySeconds Sat 27-Jul-13 11:23:14
But it does happen that people start a woe is me thread and other posters respond by saying "look, you asked for advice previously and you ignored it" in relationships etc.

It isn't purely a sp problem."

Exactly. In other areas of course you get people posting the same things over and over again - money issues, crap relationships etc. and some people never change. But what you don't get elsewhere that you get on sp is the cheerful enabling - you don't get people rocking up on BeggyMcHandout's 25th money woe thread of the advent season going "oh ignore people saying not to go to Brighthouse op, they're just loanshark bashing" followed by pages and pages of 'hilarious' ironic derailment shenanigans about ha ha you'll get your kneecaps broken then a concrete overcoat isn't it just TOO FUNNY etc followed by the thread being moved to otbt then the whole thing starting again the following month.

Viviennemary Sat 27-Jul-13 11:52:29

Thanks for explaining. I agree that step-mother itself isn't a great term. I mean if an adult's parents get divorced and a parent re-marries is that person a step mother or father. I know a couple of people that's happened to and they don't think of the person as their step parent. They've got a mother and a father who are divorced end of story.

But as to the term BM. As I said I had no idea it was offensive before MN. So I am DD and DS's birth mother because I gave birth to them irrespective of whether they have a step mother or not. But if they did have a step mother and she called me BM then I could see why it would annoy me. I would think I'm their mother end of story.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 11:52:43

Its an age old problem and it makes me sad - step parenting in hostile circumstances is so so so hard - and there are so few places to turn.

I don't understand why the frothers don't just stick the whole topic on hide

People don't usually post when things are going well (but if they do they get rounded on for gloating).

People usually end up here after looking for help - and then they have to try to pick through the insults to get it.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 11:57:27

You will see a lot of gentle encouragement to change if you look Artex - other you would have in the past.

A lot of the old SP posters are gone - literally driven from the board - and other appears that is still happening.

Fact is people prefer to think a step mother is lying or evil than to simply believe (in a way they do on the rest of the forum) that an sp post should be taken at face value.

When someone posts in relationships no one asks of the poster deserves to be abused - but are You the OW (and therefore deserving of any amount of grief) is invariably almost the fist question a SM will get asked and usually by someone with no interest in helping

cestlesautres Sat 27-Jul-13 12:03:57

In a bully's eyes, the target always deserves to be bullied.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 12:15:51

I can see the thread in relationships now

"My husband and his children call me names, they ignore me, they are all openly hostile to me, tjeu don't do anything to help - I work full time and do everything for 4 children, sometimes they are so nasty I am scared of them, there are days I dread coming home and I wonder if it's going to escalate, im physovally scared of the oldest child, feel so useless and I just don't know where to turn".

Reply (in relationship)

Any number of you need to get out,

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 12:16:48

Reply in SP - were you the OW - lump it you knew what you were doing when you got involved with a man with children

So perhaps the answer would be for step parenting to be an opt-in topic like SN? It might prevent the frothers from jumping on posters in desperate need of help and kindness.

For what it is worth I really hate the bandwagoning that involves scores of posters all jumping on and berating an op for the same points - that feels like bullying to me.

I don't generally come on to this topic, I don't feel I have advice to offer to people in such complex situations. But I would hope that I could have empathy, and I would certainly never gleefully expect people to like it or lump it.

needaholidaynow Sat 27-Jul-13 12:32:10

It's frustrating that all SMs are assumed to be the OW. Are stepdads assumed to be the OM? No of course they're not. Stepdads are all seen as heroes who decided to take his wife and his stepchildren under his wing and they all lived happily ever after. The stepmum however is an evil home wrecking witch who loathes her stepchildren.

nenevomito Sat 27-Jul-13 12:36:42

12 pages because someone wanted to advise new folk not to use a term deemed so offensive on MN that you can't even warn people not to use it.

You couldn't make it up.

ArtexMonkey Sat 27-Jul-13 12:40:53

Yy, i definitely think sp shoul be opt in, agree about bandwagoning in all topics too - it's not a specific sm persecution thing, it's just that the site is SO BUSY and tons of people are so egotistical that they don't care if they're the 87th person to post 'yabu and you sound very entitled' /'were you the ow?' / 'just stick the baby in a sling fgs' / 'well my mil is dead so stfu about yours', they think their point is valid and they're jolly well going to make it despite, you know, it being irrelevant or inappropriate.

It is not a sp problem. It's an mn problem. Actually it's a people problem. People are THE WORST, such wankers, the bloody lot of us.

cestlesautres Sat 27-Jul-13 12:42:43

I disagree. It's not all people. And it's certainly not the bloody lot of us.

cestlesautres Sat 27-Jul-13 12:43:57

There is a question, however, of which people should dominate on MN.

ArtexMonkey Sat 27-Jul-13 12:52:47

Oh of course you're the exception cestles, a true rose among thorns.

cestlesautres Sat 27-Jul-13 12:59:58

No, there are a lot more roses than thorns. I am not the exception.

ArtexMonkey Sat 27-Jul-13 13:15:14

I don't really understand why you're arguing with me tbh confused unless it's some sort of reflex thing. Ganging up and backlash type stuff happens ALL OVER mn. It doesn't make it right. But it doesn't make it a sp specific persecution thing either. Is that what you're disagreeing with? I think whatever an individual's circs, they will perceive there being a lot of 'bashing' towards them, be that benefits claimant, wohm, feminist, formula feeder/extended bfer etc. and i was being flippant OBVIOUSLY about all people being wankers but the majority tend to be

Tuckshop Sat 27-Jul-13 13:37:43

I don't see the need for adding birth or bio to mum, unless its in the correct context, so don't see the need to use the acronym.

I think there are assumptions made all over the site, it's not just on the SP section. I've seen lots of posts from SPs who seem to assume that if an RP has an issue with their ex it's because they haven't moved on, want to control etc. and I've frequently seen an NRP be asked "do you work" when there's been an issue over money. It's exactly the same as the "were you the ow" question.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 13:44:36

It does happen all over mumsnet but generally if you invade one of the other more specialist forums - you get told to f off politely or not so politely

Morgause Sat 27-Jul-13 14:30:20

This attempt to DICTATE to posters what they meant when they posted is distasteful - as if a poster knows better than the OP the OPs own mind

^^ this.

As a fairly new poster it seems to me that there are some people on mumsnet who revel in taking offence where none is intended.

It's very off-putting.

daisychain01 Sat 27-Jul-13 18:58:01

Sourced from Wikipedia "Tourette's was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome, most often associated with the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks".

This is like a description of this thread.

Completely 'lost the plot' and irritatingly counter-productive. It really puts me off wasting my time trawling through all the dross, just to find the people who genuinely show they want to make a difference, support people and NOT bicker like cats in a yard. Incredible. I feel sorry for the Mumsnet moderators having to strip stuff out of here - just think .... there MUST be a reason for that, they aren't doing it for their own entertainment!!!!

ArtexMonkey Sat 27-Jul-13 19:15:09

"It does happen all over mumsnet but generally if you invade one of the other more specialist forums - you get told to f off politely or not so politely"

Ok, so i'n getting confused now. If someone clicks on a thread in Active convos and unwittingly posts somewhere they're not welcome/allowed (who decides this btw?) it's ok to tell them 'to f off politely or not so politely', and in fact they've only got themselves to blame, shoulda seen it coming etc? But if someone unwittingly posts using a term many people find offensive, it's NOT ok, in fact, it's 'bullying' and 'bitchy girl gang mentality' to do the same?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 19:37:10

artex I don't think that's what was meant.

My experience of MN is that if I, for instance, clicked on an active convo thread in 'the litter tray' and accused a cat owner of being cruel by preventing their cat going out at night (when the thread was about food choices and the poster had mentioned in their explaination that their cat is in at night) then I'd be given short shrift and told to leave. My post wouldn't rally support of others who agree with me.

On StepP board though, if I accused a SM of not allowing her DH enough one-to-one time with his DCs on a post that was about mobile phone use at mealtimes, a number of other posters will join in to support my view, with increasingly hostile language and judgement and before long, the original purpose of the thread has been lost.

daisychain01 Sat 27-Jul-13 20:36:09

china that is my frustration - people just innanely posting because they like the sound of their own voice, rather than carefully checking what the OP is about and responding in an appropriate relevant way.

This thread was originally a very reasonable suggestion, which I thought was definitely on the right lines. Rather than developing the OP's idea, it was derailed by a litany of abusive swearing. Like I said to my DSS, people who swear tend to have a limited imagination.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 27-Jul-13 20:44:11


We can't delete posts just because they contain swearing unless they are a personal attack, you're all adults after-all, and Mary Whitehouse isn't on our staff.

We'd rather you reported any personal attacks or posts which break our talk guidelines in some way as we're always happy to check them out.


Pagwatch Sat 27-Jul-13 21:22:58

It wasn't derailed by a litany of abusive swearing. A couple of posters swore a few times and then a long discussion ensued about swearing.
But oddly no one minded the poster with cunt in her username. Presumeably you ignored her because she lacked imagination.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Jul-13 21:23:58

Mary Whitehouse on the staff would be fab of course.

allnewtaketwo Sat 27-Jul-13 21:25:25

I couldn't give a fig about anyone's username, actually I most often don't even read usernames unless I am looking to directly reply to that specific poster.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Jul-13 21:29:30

I was posting to Daisy but thanks anyway.

It's just interesting(ish) that for all the discussion about swearing there isn't actually a huge amount on the thread.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Jul-13 21:30:20

But you probably do have to stretch interesting quite far.

allnewtaketwo Sat 27-Jul-13 21:30:54

Personally I think the discussion about swearing started because some posters appeared to come on to the thread just to swear, without any reference to the OP

Sowhatifyou Sat 27-Jul-13 21:43:42

Birth mum is not offensive.

Cunt is offensive.

Try it, call a police women either one.

I assume people post out of some insecurity.
How can an abbreviation on a sub forum be offensive?

If you don't like it hide the threads.

But it depends on your audience doesn't it?

I would never call anyone irl a cunt. But I might think it and I might post it (as a non personal attack natch) on here.

Knowing that some mothers find the term bm pejorative and yet demanding the right to use it is equivalent to calling an adult with cerebral palsy a spaz. (Apologies but I just can't believe that I am having to use a term I abhor in order to explain this).

In terms of the original op I absolutely agree that new posters should not be hounded offsite for using the term, but if they were to come on and use similarly disablist language they would also have their arses handed to them on a stick.

The only answer I can see is to make this area opt-in.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 22:52:10

In terms of the original op I absolutely agree that new posters should not be hounded offsite for using the term, but if they were to come on and use similarly disablist language they would also have their arses handed to them on a stick.

The issue regarding the term BM is that it isn't universally considered offensive in the same way as the disablist term you exampled is.

If other sites encouraged use of that disablist term then it's not unreqs

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 22:53:37

If other sites encouraged use of that disablist term, then it's not unreasonable for new posters on MN to use it here ignorant of its offensive nature.

And yet one can find it all over the Internet without looking too hard.

Each site has its own feel and concept, they cannot and would not aim to please everyone.

You are clearly of the opinion that MN should accept the term BM because the rest of the Internet does.

I do not.


ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 23:16:22

You are clearly of the opinion that MN should accept the term BM because the rest of the Internet does.

scone Have my posts given you that impression? That I'm arguing for acceptance of the term?

I've asked HQ to provide guidance on its use in order to avoid offence and discourage its use - not asked them to tell those who are offended to suck it up and put up with it!

I'm astounded that after both my threads on this and all the discussion, I have managed to commin

I think perhaps you should contact MNHQ to further this discussion. It is their site and they should have the final say.

Sorry x-post, but yes, your posts have leant that impression.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 23:17:50

You are clearly of the opinion that MN should accept the term BM because the rest of the Internet does.

scone Have my posts given you that impression? That I'm arguing for acceptance of the term?

I've asked HQ to provide guidance on its use in order to avoid offence and discourage its use - not asked them to tell those who are offended to suck it up and put up with it!

I'm astounded that after both my threads on this and all the discussion, I have managed to communicate my meaning so badly. Perhaps an example of how an original point can be lost when a thread is derailed?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 23:19:01

I think perhaps you should contact MNHQ to further this discussion. It is their site and they should have the final say.

Um, that's what this thread is about - my contact with MNHQ? Are we

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 23:19:24

...talking at cross purposes?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 23:23:04

You are clearly of the opinion that MN should accept the term BM because the rest of the Internet does.

Can I do a reality check - is this really how my posts on this thread have come across? If so, then I'm not surprised if I've inadvertantly caused offence in the past - I'm obviously incapable of communicating effectively in writing!

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 27-Jul-13 23:28:25

It's frustrating that all SMs are assumed to be the OW. Are stepdads assumed to be the OM? No of course they're not. Stepdads are all seen as heroes who decided to take his wife and his stepchildren under his wing and they all lived happily ever after

I don't think this is quite true, the ammount of threads I have seen recently where step dads are viewed with suspicion because they are more likely to abuse or kill a step child surgest that's not the case.

With birth mum I have only ever heard or seen the term used either in adoptive or surrogate situations but in those cases its the correct term or in situations where the whole tone of the post was very negative towards the mum who was actually the rp so it was being used as a PA insult.

Nothing wrong with a person referring to their own parent as birth if that's how they see the lack of relationship but IMO its a bit iffy using it when your not the son/daughter and your attempting to invalidate a relationship, but you can usually tell when someone's doing that by the entire post.

And I can't really understand why a mum needs to be referred to as a birth mum unless she is not either a legal or active parent,I can't think of any time typing birth mum instead of dsc mum makes sence or would be needed to identify whose who no matter how complicated the family set up is.

Fwiw I'm even more antsy about step dads being dad when there is a active dad already even if the involvement is minimal but then again I'm biased because I have recently watched an 8yo girl fall apart due to her mums desire to invalidate her relationship with her dad because she remarried she was very confused to learn the chap she sees once a month is her dad,was distressing to see.

I have only read this thread and can only speak for my own drug addled understanding (sorry, mega back pain has left me full of diazepam and other goodies) but it has felt that way.

If you want to reach HQ you either need to report the thread or perhaps start another in site stuff.

Adding to the acronyms list might work, but so few people actually read it I am not sure it would work. MN doesn't really do stickies so that isn't really an option, and as it is post moderated new posters still risk being thrown to the wolves if they rely on other members warning them by pm. Plus it means looking at the PM envelope.... Is there a similar warning to that in relationships when a new thread is started, could it be added there?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 27-Jul-13 23:42:02

scone I appreciate you are drug-addled, but the OP, my OP, contains a link to the thread I started in Site stuff, to which HQ have responded, requesting a sticky note about the term BM - as there are sticky notes at the top of the legal, relationships and other boards.

If the term BM was considered to break talk guidelines, any thread started that included the phrase could be deleted by MNHQ, so avoiding the prolonged hounding that the OP receives on a thread that is sometimes kept alive for days by the same few posters expressing repeated incredulity at the OP for daring to use the term.

Lets ban it - then there's no risk of offence!

Ok, have just reread the op, which does ask exactly that blush. I think I have become confused because each of your subsequent posts seems to outline that you think it is an MN affectation to dislike the term (posts on page one at 7.13 for example)

The reply from HQ is a bit wooly and reflects how difficult that line is to draw, again something that the SN board has had to deal with for a very very long time, the idea that they should 'educate' as to which terms are acceptable. This is an as old as the hills <head desk> scenario.

I don't think the term can be 'banned' - personally I think a message up top is the way to go.

Pagwatch Sun 28-Jul-13 08:08:13

I can only re-iterate what I have been saying from the outset which is that as difficult as it might seem from the outside, banning or warning about specific terms is something MNHQ (rightly in my opinion) do very rarely.

And whilst this feels astonishingly personal, this kind of impasse happens all over the board. There have been massive blow ups with posters leaving in FWR, the Doghouse and SN in the last year alone.

In spite of the determination to see my interest in this thread as some kind of derailing, my comments have arisen out of my interest in language and how it continues to evolve ( and for anyone who isn't just determinedly trying to have a fight just or the apparent sake of it, I have expressed my views without swearing at anyone)

When I first came on here there were lots of disablist terms used fairly freely. It was only through lots of fairly painful debate that that changed . And out of that (at least in part) the 'this is my child' campaign emerged.

So whilst I expect you feel like batting your head against a wall, the issue remains up for debate and, whilst it seems tedious to those who have made their minds up, only by repeating your views will you gain consensus.
I think I must have had the 'retard' argument 100 times in the last 8 years. Now people wanting to be offensive use different words. Sometimes people use horrible words unknowingly and want to know how others might be upset. I was first on here I was horrified by people using cunt. But I argued and continue to listen to what people say until I change my mind or become more sure of my views.
It's a painin the arse but it's a talk board. That's part of the deal isn't it?

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 09:06:10

What a,disgrace, describing a Mum as a birth Mum. It days more about the SM than the Mum. It sounds like the sort of attitude of an ow who wants to fully take over a family and replace the wife/mother. What kind of oddbod calls a divorced mum a bm, as if she handed a baby over for adoption?

notanyanymore Sun 28-Jul-13 09:13:27

exactly deep it gives the impression the mum has somehow been downgraded in her role because she is no longer in a relationship with the father.

allnewtaketwo Sun 28-Jul-13 09:20:47

Deepfried you have just made the point of several posters on the OW point. Exactly the sort of misinformed offensive conclusion hey have been the victim of on here

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 09:29:01

What kind of oddbod calls a divorced mum a bm,

The kind of person who has used other forums and has been encouraged to use it.
If its offensive on MN then fine, but why not tell people upfront rather than set them up to fail?!?

Theexisapsychocunt Sun 28-Jul-13 09:35:44

Hurray deep has just summed up the sort of bigotted, prejudicial attitudes step mums on this forum have to constantly but up with smile.

Well done deep that was a beautiful summation of the
Entire thread.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 10:21:32

Hurray deep has just summed up the sort of bigotted, prejudicial attitudes step mums on this forum have to constantly but up with

I think the significant point is not that deep has illustrated it, but that HQ expect stepMums to 'sort it out amongst ourselves' rather than issue guidance about what prejudice and bigotry is acceptable.

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 10:21:46

And what if the SM doesn't like the term "BM" either? Because it is implying that she is a second mum or something. Too much pressure on her shoulders I would say.

Seriously, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, don't flatter yourselves that someone would actually want to take the role of mother away from you!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 10:25:45

I mean this in the nicest possible way, don't flatter yourselves that someone would actually want to take the role of mother away from you!

There have been some interesting responses to that pov on previous threads, holiday.

Generally along the lines of it's no wonder you have problems with your DSC and their Mum is that's you're attitude - you should love and accept your DSC as your own, not treat them as second-class

Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 10:26:11

My DSD's mum said to me in the early days,

"You'll never be (her daughter's) mum!"

I was like, "I don't want to be! Get over yourself!"

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 10:28:24

I know China and it is so frustrating!

I refuse to believe that SMs are to blame for their DSCs having problems just because they didn't see them as their own children.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 10:30:11

Sometimes I think that some separated mums are offended if their DCs stepmum parents her DCs, but is equally offended if stepmum doesn't have any desire to parent them - In other words Stepmums should want to be a second mum, but not actually do it, because without both of those things they are WSM!

riverboat Sun 28-Jul-13 10:31:51

Its simplistic to say that 'mum' should always be used in place of 'bm'.

From a poster who is a stepparents point of view, mum is their own mum or could be any other mum in the family.

So 'DSC's mum' is generally possible, except where the children aren't DSC because there is no marriage or its a new relationship or the poster hasn't even met the children yet or whatever.

(And I have seen plenty of people jumping on posters for even using the term DSC it transpires they aren't married to the dad)

Then we have to resort to 'DP's DC's mum' which is where things start to get ridiculous. We could say 'DP's ex' however, in these situations. Assuming of course they were actually in a relationship at one point and it wasn't an accidental pregnancy or whatever. Or that shouldn't be 'DP's widow' which is another real possibility.

Also what term could we use to to replace all the bracketed words in a phrase like 'stepmothers on MN are too quick to take against (posters who are mothers separated from their DC's father whose children now have a SM) and vice versa' ?

Petal02 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:32:31

Deep - why do you assume all SM's were the OW ?? I think that misguided assumption is far more offensive than the term 'birth mother.' Not all second wives are OWs!!

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 10:36:03

Exactly!! You have said what I was thinking perfectly!

I think they like the drama and the control over the situation to be honest.

They want the SM of their children to want to play a parental role and make their children the centre of their universe, but at the same time they want to butt in and say, "She is my child!"

riverboat Sun 28-Jul-13 10:37:30

Oh and for all those who say its ridiculous to use the term in real life, I agree, but how many of us actually use the term 'stepmother' or 'stepchild' in real life? I don't! I call DSS by his name and he calls me by mine. I don't even say 'my stepson' when talking about him to other people, and he doesn't refer to me as 'my step mum'. Yet when posting about him on here I always write 'my DSS' and talk about myself as a 'SM'...its just ease of reference. Which is why I used bm on occasion until I realised how offensive people found it.

I have no pretensions to being my DSS's mother, and count his own mother as a friend whose role I certainly don't want to diminish or undermine in any way. And I am not stupid or unintelligent as some posters up thread would conclude I must be.

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 10:39:10

I don't assume, you decided to take my words that way, for whatever reason. I know what I meant, and that was it takes an odd bod to put a mother down and call her a birthmother, its the sort of behavior you would see from an ow who wanted to take over the life of another, and become the wife/mother and treat the Mother as if she were a leader being, she is the Mother, the first wife , the second wife is that someone who came along later, and has to fit in to a family, not take it over.

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 10:43:58

All new, no, you warped my post to fit your theory, it is not what I meant. God love the mother of your step children, your do and above all the children stuck in a situation if you jump all over things and misread ands twist it to be something it is not, they have my deepestsympathy.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 10:44:59

deep do you think that a lot of the issues in blended families stem from the fact that the Dad gives more priority to his second wife than his first?
That he doesn't respect the importance of the role of the mother of his first DCs? And that too often, he treats his second DCs, with his second wife, as equals to his first DCs?

Theexisapsychocunt Sun 28-Jul-13 10:45:51

I just literally snorted with laughter at the idea we would want to take over a BMs role. Most step parents here actually do have their own children you know and - well- in the way of mothers everywhere are actually quite attached to them.

Have a nice cup of tea deep - and a little think about what you are saying - transference of your own experiences seem to be interfering somewhat.

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 10:49:11

Ooooh no second children should never be treated as equals.

The first children were born first, ago they come top of the pecking order.

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 10:50:10

Nah, I am not the one transferring, or in requirement of a cup of tea.

It's not a life choice I would make, your grown women who went in with open eyes to a broken family, its the children I feel for not a bunch of whiney women who chose the lifestyle.

tory79 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:51:01

Haha, honestly, if I wanted to be rude or offensive about dsd's mum I'm pretty sure I could come up with something far worse than bm!

Theexisapsychocunt Sun 28-Jul-13 10:52:26

Of course second children don't deserve to be born if it means a change in lifestyle for the first - parents who stay together can have second children that financially impact on a family - that's ok - but heaven forbid a second wife may want a baby of her own.

Then again - wouldn't wanting your own children conflict with the idea you are trying to steal the children of the first marriage.

I'm confusing myself.

Theexisapsychocunt Sun 28-Jul-13 10:55:11

Tory in this NON SWEARING house we call her The Cunt when my children aren't around.

I agree with Deep on something - I feel reel sorry for the
SCs with that lunatic as their mother.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 10:55:30

deep I'm genuinely interested in your perception if what a SM lifestyle is?
I admit, I had no idea what to expect - perhaps I had rose-tinted spectacles, but I hadn't given it any thought until DP and I got together.

What do you think are the sort of things that a SM has to accept (without whining) when they take on the role?

Theexisapsychocunt Sun 28-Jul-13 11:01:58

I'm a moany woman

I've been assaulted in my own by one of my step children and twice had to have the police here
My younger children have been physically assaulted
I've been verbally abused on many an occasion
My 9 year old (at the time) SD informed me I "was a whore who fucked her dad in her mum's bed"
I've been called out of work to deal with SSH regular suspensions (dad away mum couldn't be parsed)
Etc etc etc.

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 11:02:51

Deep Open eyes yes, but with some lovely sparkly rose tinted spectacles! When you take those off sometimes it isn't what you expected.

A crystal ball would have been a nice thing to have 4 years ago....

BeesGoBuzzzzzz Sun 28-Jul-13 11:05:16

I do understand that there are people with limited emotional intelligence who even in adulthood struggle to grasp the complex of variety and nature of human relationships but only the hard of thinking throws the 'you knew what you were getting into' line around.

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 11:05:43

It's not your step children's fault you admit to being so thoughtless, must cause you a lot of strife in your life, not thinking things through before launching yourself head first into things, makes for a dramarama life, I image that type of behavior.

BeesGoBuzzzzzz Sun 28-Jul-13 11:06:32

Excuse the additional 'of' should read 'complex variety....'

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 11:06:36

It's ignorance that's what it is.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 11:07:15

deep is that an answer to my question?

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 11:12:26

deep launching myself? Is that launching myself in to bed whilst he was on his dinner break with a cunning plan to steal the role of mother?

Theexisapsychocunt Sun 28-Jul-13 11:14:16

Thankfully (or not) for me I no longer have any dealings with my SCs - they are all banned from my house and contact with my children.

We shall shortly be moving and they won't know where we are.

They have - with the full encouragement of their mother - physically and or emotionally abused me and my children for the last 10 years and dh and I stood by them because they are victims of emotional abuse themselves and as their father he is responsible for them no matter how they behave.

Now though finally they are all adults and I am free of them.

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 11:17:16

What an oddbod sounding link to make, poor children, living in a chaotic life with these jumping to conclusion leaps, and whining sounding individuals who admit they don't think things through before jumping into situations. God love the children.

Theexisapsychocunt Sun 28-Jul-13 11:19:22

deep seriously are you drunk or taking drugs because your posts make absolutely no sense at all.

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 11:20:43

God love you psychocunt.

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 11:22:36

Are you a SM deep?

I you are you must be one of the lucky ones because you must have had absolutely zero bad experiences to not even contemplate that others might feel a bit shit as a SM sometimes.

If you've never been a SM then I'll just put you aside with the other ignorant bunch on MN that I see all too often.

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 11:23:06

If you are **

Theexisapsychocunt Sun 28-Jul-13 11:24:50

See the thing is - I am well aware that my experiences are not the norm - being an ex wife myself - I know most ex wives are perfectly sane loving normal people doing the best parenting job they can do in the circumstances life places them in.

It would be highly foolish of me to generalise and think all ex wives are insane. However you seem to make sweeping statement in an incoherent fashion about step mothers as a group.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 28-Jul-13 11:26:13

I think I understand what deep meant.

I'm guessing it was that using that term is the sort of thing you would expect to hear from xyz not that everyone who uses it is xyz.

Much the same as the term sperm donor used to describe a involved father is the sort of thing you would expect to hear from someone who was not especially decent.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 11:27:14

deep I'm sorry - I really don't understand? Perhaps I'm wording my posts poorly and not communicating what I mean?

I fully appreciate that you have a contribution that I really would like to understand, and I'm keen to hear more in order to help understand my own situation.

From your posts, I think I've worked out that you disagree with use of the term BM (which is the consensus on this thread all be it for different reasons).
You seem to believe that Stepmums have a pretty tough deal but that as it was clear how it was going to be before 'we' got involved with a man with DCs, we can't whine about how awful our lives are. I think I've worked out that one of the things that you believe that Stepmums have to put up with is the fact that 'we' will always be second-best and lower down our DPs priority list than the mum of his first children?

Am I right, so far?

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 11:28:24

Your perfect.

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 11:31:39

Sock, yes.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 11:34:23

deep Excellent - not so far out then!

I'd appreciate your advice as to what I should do in my own situation - because my DP doesn't give his first wife (who he refers to as his exWife) priority over me, and he treats my DD (his DSD) equally to his own.
Should I LTB because he's making my life as a SM more comfortable than it should be - and he clearly doesn't respect the mother of his DCs the way he should?

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 11:36:58

Cupandsaucer, not quite what I was thinking. I would have thought it was obvious going into a broken family situation would be a challenge. You say you didn't think before, I imagine some were attracted to the drama and potential for negativity and to look perfect, judge others and whine.

deepfriedsage Sun 28-Jul-13 11:39:13

I had not responded to you before you posted a second time cupandsaucer.