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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;

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 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.

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