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DSS started calling me mummy

(117 Posts)
GreenGoth89 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:29:40

My nearly 4 y/o DSS came home from a weekend with his maternal grandparents and as soon as he came in the door he started calling me mummy. Now when he was much much younger he would call me mummy once after seeing her but then not again (he saw her for the first time in 9/10 weeks this weekend and I've been told she barely gave him much attention). He did this in front of the his grandparents (who actually didn't see a major problem with it considering his mother hardly sees him any more and is more interested in her violent partner than her son - their words not mine). He continued until he went to bed, and I spoke to my partner about it - he's ok with it too because the way he sees it I am his mum. I'm ok with it in theory (he grew up with step parents but had constant contact with both parents so never called step parents anything other than their name but there were no other issues with either parent), but if his mum finds out she will go ape and start causing major issues. I want to keep the peace with her because I want to gain PR once me and DP are married (not even engaged yet, we would be already but money is very tight right now) and I would like to be able to get her to agree to this amicably rather than having a lengthy CAFCAS involvement. I don't like what she does, and I understand she is in a vulnerable position but she does seem to want to distance herself from her own son, which I just can't understand. I do not want her to have no relationship with him, but we (her parents and me and DP) have all said we won't be making further efforts in future, she will have to do it herself next time.

What do I do? Do I let him or do I get him to keep calling me by my name?

Piratespoo Sun 22-Nov-15 20:34:52

He has a mother. Just tell him my name is whatever. You get one mother, you are not his. It is your job to correct him, not encourage it. You are not even engaged or married to his father so I expect his mother would kick off and rightly so.
Just because his mother may be a bad mother, doesn't mean she isn't his mother. It will be confusing for him to call two people mummy and it is completely unnecessary and far far to soon if it were ever to happen.

timelytess Sun 22-Nov-15 20:35:43

Why not find an alternative? A name/title that can be a special 'mummy name' for you and him to use, but that won't upset the mummy he never sees? I'd go for 'step-mamma', but I'm a bit theatrical in spirit. In Little Women the girls called their mother 'Marmy' or some such thing. You and he think of something together. Tell him you really like having him call you mummy, and you're very glad you are special to him, and explain about the other mother.

LiberalPedant Sun 22-Nov-15 20:39:37

Marmee in Little Women. Which with a non-rhotic accent (which New Englanders used when the book was written and which many people in the UK have) sounds exactly like "mommy." Probably not a good alternative to mummy.

CwtchMeQuick Sun 22-Nov-15 20:40:41

You sound like a lovely step mom.

Imo you shouldn't make a big deal out of it. If you're happy to be called mummy and your partner is happy with it, I'd let your DSS call you mummy. I think you should refer to yourself as your name, same with your partner and grandparents, but I don't think you should tell DSS not to call you mummy if that's what he sees you as. If you don't make a big deal out of it I imagine he'll just continue to do what he is comfortable with.

Also if he's seen his mother and doesn't have a great relationship with her, he might just need that reassurance that he has someone loving him in a mum type way.

As long as he knows the facts of who his mother, father, step mother etc are I don't really see the problem with letting him call people what he is comfortable with

melonribena Sun 22-Nov-15 20:50:55

Totally agree with cwtch, maybe he just wants someone to be 'mummy'

GreenGoth89 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:55:29

He already calls me the pet name that I used as a kid, and I do remind him and I've already had the step mum talk with him but I've just realised he's been doing it a bit recently but I didn't realise until today. I have a horrible feeling that they've forgotten to refer to me as my name at nursery rather than as mummy, which might be part of the issue.

Might have to think this through a bit and talk to nursery. I can keep reminding him but if he totally refuses to use my name then I can't do much about it can I? I'm not going to punish him for doing something that isn't naughty. At the end of the day all we want is for him to feel safe and secure with us after the rough start he had, maybe its a way of him trying to latch on to that?

melonribena Sun 22-Nov-15 21:01:46

I think you're right OP. He's probably hearing his friends at nursery talking about their mummies as well. I would just let him lead and call you what feels right to him

Bless him, he sounds super and you sound like a great stepmum.

unimaginativename13 Sun 22-Nov-15 21:08:59

I agree with the other poster who said you should have corrected him immediately. Then had discussion with your partner.

How long have you been with his dad?

Do you live in a house with Partner and son?

If you know his mum will go ape then that's your answer.

Pico2 Sun 22-Nov-15 21:18:44

If he sees his mum very little then it is completely understandable that he wants to have a mummy just like his friends do. I think it might be worth having another conversation with him about it, perhaps in the presence of your DP and his maternal grandparents and then just letting it go after that. Otherwise every time he calls you mummy it is followed by something of a rejection (no matter how kindly it is done).

YesterdayOnceMore Sun 22-Nov-15 21:31:59

My gut feeling is no, he shouldn't be calling you Mummy, no matter how much of a mummy you are to him. You shouldn't tell him off for it, but don't encourage it either.

I am confused with the boy's story though. How long have you been with his Dad? Who are the step parents who brought him up?

lexigrey Sun 22-Nov-15 21:38:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SmallLegsOrSmallEggs Sun 22-Nov-15 21:44:54

Poor lamb. I think you have to tread carefully. If he wants a mum then it might give him entirely the wrong message about how you feel.about him if you make a big deal out of not being his mum.
He's only 4.

timelytess Sun 22-Nov-15 22:16:54

. If he wants a mum then it might give him entirely the wrong message about how you feel.about him if you make a big deal out of not being his mum
I'm afraid of this, too. He's small. He needs a mum, he's got one - you.

Mehitabel6 Sun 22-Nov-15 22:26:35

I wouldn't make it an issue. I would let it go without comment, but not refer to yourself as mummy. He sees you as the mother- it is very hard on a small child to keep having it pointed out that you are not. You sound as if you are doing a great job with him.

Angelik Sun 22-Nov-15 22:51:10

My DH stills recalls and is hurt, 30 years after calling his step dad 'dad' and was told not to. He was desperate for a son-father relationship and that rejection, however well intentioned by the step dad, was very damaging.

Op - you are his mummy and if he wants to call you mummy, let him. You can still talk about his biological mummy and he can be lucky to have two mummies.

LeaLeander Sun 22-Nov-15 23:00:28

Poor little lad. Let him call you mummy if it comforts him.

OddlyLogical Sun 22-Nov-15 23:18:46

I don't see what is wrong in having 2 mummies, as long as he knows the difference between you and her.
Adopted children or children of surrogates often know they have 2 mummies.

MascaraAndConverse89 Mon 23-Nov-15 06:38:32

OP, are you ok with him calling you mummy?
You need to be comfortable with it as well.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 23-Nov-15 06:46:24

Can you get him to call you "Mummy-Green*?" So that he still has his "mummy", but it distinguishes you from his birth mum?

I totally get that you don't want to cause ructions with her, and you seem lovely and sensible - but if he only sees her every 9-10 weeks, that's an awfully long time for him to be without a "mummy" so I can see why he wants to do it, and agree there would be a risk, especially at his current age, that he would feel hurt and rejected if told that you are "not his mummy and can't be called that".

*obviously not Green, whatever your first name is in RL!

EnglishWeddingGuest Mon 23-Nov-15 06:51:24

find a special name - ask him to come up with it - let him know that you love him and that you'd like the two of you to have a special name - like "mater" or "mam" or "nene" or "ama"

don't think him calling you "mummy" is right - he's only 4 - if he was say 12 it would be different as he would be old enough to be able to discern the inference

here's some suggestions

MummyZELC Mon 23-Nov-15 07:05:16

The notion that 'you only have one mum' is absolutely ridiculous when the bio mum isn't in the picture. Not allowing a small child to call the woman who is a mother to him 'mummy' is cruel - a constant reminder that his bio mother isn't arsed about him!
My DSD calls me mum, and asked years ago if she could. Was always forced by her bio mum to called her fiancé 'dad' to spite my DH, however bio mum has now rejected DSD for not hating my DH like she wants her to so I am her mum. I look after her, I love her, I wipe her tears and am there for her. I am her mum, just as much as I am to my bio DD

Mehitabel6 Mon 23-Nov-15 07:13:28

Of course you can have more than one mum. I think it very cruel to reject a small child. Leave it up to him- no need to make it an issue.

wannaBe Mon 23-Nov-15 07:24:58

I am usually one of the first to suggest that calling someone else mummy should be discouraged but tbh given that this child's own mother is disinterested and uninvolved it seems cruel to suggest that he not be allowed to have a mummy to refer to.

There is no way to have a conversation about this with a four year old that doesn't equal rejection on his part, and given he appears to have been rejected by his own mummy already I would just let it go. The middle ground in this is perhaps not referring to yourself as mummy but not correcting when he does either, iyswim.

That being said, I would only take this position if you and dp are absolutely in this for the long-hall, as it would be a double blow if you and dp were to split and he lose you as well.

And on that point, you say you would want to apply for pr if you and dp get married. Well, if you want to do this in your dss' best interests, and marriage is in the future plans, I would just go and do it now tbh - go to the registry office, get married on the quiet and then have the big party when you can afford it.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 23-Nov-15 09:12:30

Do you need to be married to apply for PR? I have a family member whose oldest child is not hers - but is her partner's - the mother isn't on the scene and hasn't been for most of the child's life. Family member has PR for the child, along with her partner, but they're not married.

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