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Calling step mum 'mummy'

(40 Posts)
Sparklemummyx0x0x Fri 10-Jun-16 11:27:45

Hi, don't know if this has been a topic previously. Sorry if it has.
My son is 5, his dad and I split amicably when he was a year old. Shortly after, the ex met his now wife. No issues with this, she's nice, has a 9yr old daughter herself who my son refers to as his sister. Again, no issues, after all, this situation is all he's ever known.
However, the other night, we were just chatting and I can't remember how it came up but he said he had 2 mummies, I said, no you only have 1 mummy and 1 step mummy and I asked if he ever called her mummy, as normally we and he have always said her name. He said he has sometimes called her mummy.
I was surprised and now cant help feeling really upset and put out about this and a bit pissed that they would allow him to do that. It's not as if I'm not around or not in his life. I also can't help thinking that they do this when it suits them, as in playing happy families when out for the day or for meals, like calling her mummy looks better for them.
I know her daughter calls my ex 'dad'. That's fine if her own dad doesn't mind (he's also very much in her life) but I feel really upset that they dismiss my role like that by not discouraging him. I know she treats him like she does her own daughter, her family the same, and I'm very grateful for this, I know it could be much worse.
I'm not sure if I'm being a bit OTT about this.
Should I mention it to the ex? I've told my son I don't want him calling her mummy but doubt he realises how it's hurt me.
A couple of people I've spoke to said they would be furious but they only have my view.

Wdigin2this Fri 10-Jun-16 12:29:37

Hmmm, difficult one! On the one hand, if she is taking a mothering role, at 5 it may be difficult for him to grasp the step concept. However, I wouldn't really like it, and would encourage him to refer to her as xxxx whenever you talk about her!

lateforeverything Fri 10-Jun-16 12:30:30

It's not as if I'm not around or not in his life.

You see, my stepson called me Mummy from a young age BUT his bio mum was not really on the scene. (She has now disappeared from his life completely.)

In a situation as you are describing no, I don't think it's on...

MeAndMy3LovelyBoys Fri 10-Jun-16 12:33:29

No I don't think your DS should be calling her mummy either.

Lunar1 Fri 10-Jun-16 12:43:09

They should be gently correcting him, maybe there could be a different name for her. Nothing containing mum or mummy.

Mirandawest Fri 10-Jun-16 12:46:58

Do you know that it's being encouraged, or not discouraged by his dad and step mum? He may sometimes have called her mum in the way that a child may call a teacher mum?

My ds has sometimes called my DP Daddy by accident and may have called his dad by DPs name. Don't think DD has although I've said to both of them if they ever do call their stepmum Mummy that it wouldn't be the end of the world.

1ofthosedays Fri 10-Jun-16 14:30:19

Im a 'SM' and I would correct DSD if she was to say she has two mummies.. she doesn't, she has one mum and one me. I always make sure that we talk about her mummy and do her mother's day etc to make it clear to DSD and her DM that I have no intention of trying to 'replace' her.

Sparklemummyx0x0x In the situation you are describing it does feel a bit like ex and SM are trying to create this 'idealistic normal family' by having the children call them both mum/dad. It is difficult for you to say something though as they may play it down or make out that you are jealous/bitter/over reacting.

My DSD doesnt call me step mum and I only call MY step dad 'step dad' because it is easier then saying 'my mums partner..' but I do not feel like I have 2 dads.

All DSD has ever known is her parents split and that when she's with Daddy she has me as well, she is only 4. If someone asks her who I am she says 'thats my [says my name]' and she has often referred to me as 'a parent' which catches me off guard. She has just made the connection that parents = adults who look after me and make the decisions about me. (I know some people will say that I shouldnt be involved in making some decisions about DSD but I do and I do help DP parent her)
I think that if her DM heard that her DD refers to me as a parent she would be upset but I think that is different then calling another woman 'mummy'

lateforeverything I think that your situation is very different.

Mirandawest do you mean call their SM mum by accident or actually call her mum full time it wouldnt be the end of the world?

SerafinaScoresby Fri 10-Jun-16 19:27:22

In the situation you describe they are definitely crossing a line teaching him that. I'd be fuming.

My DSD doesn't call me mum because she has her own. We would never have taught her that. Her mother, on the other hand, taught DSD to call her stepdad 'Daddy' while refusing us access when she was little, which hurt my DP deeply.

Only utter utter twats confuse a child like that. I am 'her serafina', she considers me hers and knows I am one of her parents but she knows I am not her mum. Nor do I try to be.

She does however refer to me as Mummy when speaking to her brother (my DS) so that he learns the correct name for me. She's a good egg, my DSD.

lateforeverything Fri 10-Jun-16 19:36:02

Serafina your dsd sounds lovely, I enjoyed reading your post.

1 I know, I explained that myself...

missybct Fri 10-Jun-16 19:40:18

I'm a stepmum, and I've never encouraged my 7 y/o DSS to call me Mummy - he's made the mistake a few times (especially when he was younger) but we've always corrected him when it happened. I'd never say to him he has "two mummies" either - he has a Mum and Dad, and his Mum and Dad have partners/spouses who love him and will always look after him.

He had only just turned 5 when I met him and never struggled with the concept of me not being his Mum - I've always been *myname* and we've never encouraged otherwise. We've never encouraged him to refer to me as his stepmum either - although we've explained what a stepmum/stepdad means to him without saying I'm explicitly one (he refers to me as his stepmum in conversation occasionally, but usually just my name). I do tell him I love him because I do, but it's never with the assumption he'll tell me he loves me back - he used to say it, but he doesn't say it anymore and that's cool - as long as he knows he is loved by us, that's enough for me - I want him safe and happy.

I don't think there is ever an excuse or a reason for a child to be calling their parents partners/spouses as anything other than their name or "step-xxx"

lateforeverything has a difference experience and in those situations, I feel calling a stepmum "Mummy" as their BM is absent (through choice) is perfectly acceptable and OK to be supported/encouraged. If the BM/BF died, definitely not, even if technically they are absent also.

neonrainbow Fri 10-Jun-16 19:42:40

Nobody said they're teaching the child to say it.

My dscs mum encoraged dsc to call her partner daddy. Its extremely hurtful to my dh but what can he do if that's what dsc wants to call their stepdad?

Although if dsc called me mum, their mum would shit a brick.

NZmonkey Fri 10-Jun-16 20:44:54

Wow there must be a big cultural difference here or something. My best friend when I was little always said my mum was his second mum and still does when he introduces her to people now. I also have an aunty I say is my local mum as my mum lives a plane ride away.

Tbh op I think you are totally overreacting. He said he has sometimes called her mum. He never said they are teaching her. He may have just said it accidentally once or twice. Also did you ever think that wanting to call her mum is coming from your DS. It may be that calling her mum makes him feel more apart of their family, especially since his step sister is calling her mum. I bet he would feel very excluded when his dad is calling step mum mum for her daughters sake and daughter is calling her mum and your son is repeatedly told no you must call her by her name. That must be a pretty sad for a little boy, especially when his own mum tells him off too.

I've been in my DSDs life since just before she turned 3. I have always corrected her about calling me mum. Two years on and still whenever she is sick or tired or just needing to feel loved and secure in our house she still calls me mum. Its still discouraged but it doesn't change that that's what she does and wants to do. Oh her mum is her best friend BTW and we talk about her all the time.

serafina so if your DSD was asked by her mother if she has ever called you mummy her answer would have to be yes. Just like the OPs son......

Lelloteddy Fri 10-Jun-16 22:39:54

Absolutely mention it to your Ex. Under no circumstances is it reasonable for any rational, sane parent to allow and encourage their child to call someone else mummy or daddy when that child HAS a mummy and daddy.
It reeks of insecurity, of control and of sticking two fingers up at you.

Speak to your Ex calmly, from the point of view that you would NEVER allow DS to refer to another man as daddy, no matter how close a relationship they may have. If DS did it unintentionally the first time, they should have had a gentle conversation with him about it.

1ofthosedays Fri 10-Jun-16 23:07:45

Sorry late I didn't mean my post to come out how it did. I just meant it like although I'm saying I wouldn't encourage calling someone who's not your mum 'mummy' I understand why in a situation like yours you would

msrisotto Fri 10-Jun-16 23:23:46

As a family, they're obviously not precious about the mum/dad labels. Not saying you're U for feeling miffed about it, just that it doesn't sound as if it's really occurred to them that it might bother you.

CointreauVersial Fri 10-Jun-16 23:30:37

It sounds like you have a good relationship with ex and his new DW, so just have a quiet word and tell them you're a bit upset about it, and would they possibly correct him gently if he calls her Mummy in the future.

But try not to get too hung up on it - it's just a name, and I'm sure there is no doubt who his real Mummy is. And be thankful he has a nice DSM!

MarkRuffaloCrumble Fri 10-Jun-16 23:41:24

It sounds like he is just fitting in with what his sister and dad call her. I understand why it feels hurtful to you, but try not to pass on any resentment to your ds, he is lucky to have lots of people who love him and who he loves. Plenty of kids accidentally call their teacher mummy and my DD often calls me daddy when she's been to stay with him for a while and probably calls him and his gf mummy!

MarkRuffaloCrumble Fri 10-Jun-16 23:42:43

And when I'm out and about with DP and his DCs sometimes people will refer to me as their mum and I don't correct them as it seems churlish, making them feel uncomfortable and might appear to dsd that I don't want to be associated with her.

Sparklemummyx0x0x Sat 11-Jun-16 11:26:43

Thanks for all your input. I asked the ex last night if my son calls her mummy and he said he doesn't which I'm pleased about. He did say she gets called 'mummy xxx' sometimes. I said I wasn't happy about it and he just said it's tough, that her daughter calls him dad. I said well that's up to them. Didn't want to argue there and then as my son was there but I'm sort of relieved.

swingofthings Sat 11-Jun-16 12:17:19

Mmmm, not convinced it is not happening if he had to stipulate that her DD calls him dad when you said you didn't like it, so he might have lied about him not calling her mummy.

In any case, all you can do is say that you would rather they corrected him about it but can't enforce anything. It is a real pity that they can't appreciate how hurtful it is for the parent and therefore do something about it just our of respect for you.

In the end, whatever he calls her won't change how he feels about her and however much we instinctively don't like the idea that they can perceive someone else as a mum figure, it is soooooo much better this way for them than having a step-parent who rejects them. Whatever he calls her though, it won't change the fact that he will be making the distinction in his heart between her and you.

wheresthel1ght Sat 11-Jun-16 12:23:46

It is probably his way of feeling part of their family as well as part of yours - it is hard but I would try not to get too twisted up about it. He is very young and trying to find his place.

All he will see is she is the "mummy figure" on that house and with her daughter calling mummy he is probably just copying.

I doubt very much they are encouraging it and are just letting him find his way

mixety Sun 12-Jun-16 15:27:56

Could just be because he has grown up hearing his step-sister calling her 'mummy' so just naturally picked that up as the thing to call her.

Something similar happened with DSS's half sister calling my DP 'daddy' - even though he's not even her step dad, he's just her mum's ex IYSWIM! It's just that because DSS always calls him daddy and talks about him all the time, when she started talking and calling people by their names she called him 'daddy', as well as calling her actual dad daddy. She grew out of it, and now calls him by his first name when we see her (we do quite a bit of stuff with DSS's mum and her family). Though to be fair she did get corrected on it by us all though.

It would be for the best if they corrected your DS I think, but if they're not going to then I don't think there's much you can do about it beyond what you've already done. I'd think he may well grow out of it.

JessicaRabbit3 Sun 12-Jun-16 22:17:02

I would be hurt to op if my DS called his step mom mum, he refers to her by name as he does my DH. He might of just said it by accident afew times . I know DS has called me SM name or DH dad but they shouldn't encourage him which sounds like they have if his DP DD calls him dad. I had a situation where DS wanted to change his surname to DHs and siblings but I old him how hurt his DF would be if he asked. He still asked him confused I would imagine he would be hurt but I did tell him we discouraged him.

Matilda2013 Sun 12-Jun-16 22:25:46

My dsd only ever accidentally calls me mummy and we both look at each other like hmm and carry on as if it didn't happen. She has a nickname for me and gets a bit weird about people using my full name as that isn't my name . Other people at clubs shops libraries etc refer to me as mummy and she doesn't blink an eye but I doubt this would bother her mum but her calling me mum definitely would and I would never ever encourage this!

puzzledleopard Mon 13-Jun-16 13:28:09

Matilda2013 ^ My dsd only ever accidentally calls me mummy and we both look at each other like hmm^ This is exactly what happens here, happened to us on the odd occasion but usually she calls me my name, I have a DD similar age who calls me mummy and shes so used to saying mummy at home (she lives with her mum the majority of the time) that it slips out. We do not encourage this either and she knows herself when she slips up and goes all shy she isn't supposed to say that.

My DD calls my partner Daddy though I have no idea how her real dad feels about it confused but she copies DsD when she's here and I always refer to him as daddy when DsD is here. Sometimes DsD says he's not your daddy! but majority of the time she is fully accepting. I haven't got the heart to be unkind to my DD and say she can't call him that when she lives with him full time and has taken on that role and we are all building a future together it's hard!
But I still wouldn't let DsD call me mummy as I know it would make her mum feel the same as you do.

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