Blended Families

Bonusmoms: Help!

What do your bonus children call you? We're really struggling here because I have been with my bonus son's father since he was 2 months old, so he has known me his whole life. DH and I were recently married and my bonus son is almost 4. He has referred to me by my first name most of the time since he could talk, but has started calling me mom every now and then. His birth mother found this out and was livid and scolded him and told him that is not acceptable and that he only has and will only have one mom. She also chewed DH out in front of the child about this. Now, my bonus son always acts funny when his mother and I are together and wont talk with me or hug/kiss me goodbye (I drop him off at his moms weekly). He's fine when she is not around but I think he's scared he'll get in trouble if he shows me any affection in front of her. I know this is long but I really don't know what to do! Any advice???   

Re: Bonusmoms: Help!

  • He calls me Bean. 

    DH and I were googling websites for the word "mom" in other languages one day... and in gaelic, one term was "bean" (with an accent in there)... with no idea how to pronounce it correctly, DH found it hysterical, and started calling me bean. When he flew down to pick SS up for the summer, he had him leave me a VM saying "Hi Bean" (he was 2 at the time) as a joke, and it just kinda stuck.

    Before that, he never really called me by a specific name. 

    I've heard lots of terms, like "Emmy" (extra mommy, condensed) etc. I say go with what makes you, your SS, and DH happy and comfortable. But I say as long as BM is an active participant in his life, she is right to say he can't call you Mom...

    Good luck!!! :) 

     

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  • It should be your SS's choice.  Your DH needs to talk with her.  He's old enough to choose to call you "Mom" if he wants.  Trying to control kid's affection and emotions is sick.
    Stay at home mom to a house of boys: two amazing stepsons, 12 and 9, and our 4 year old.
  • image J&A2008:
    It should be your SS's choice.  Your DH needs to talk with her.  He's old enough to choose to call you "Mom" if he wants.  Trying to control kid's affection and emotions is sick.

    I agree.

  • He calls me by my first name.  I've also been involved since he was an infant and we got married when he was 5.  He's 9 now.  It would've felt forced to change what he called me just because we got married.  He does refer to me as his mom when talking about me, but calls me by name when speaking to me.
  • I think that a good start would be to not refer to yourself as his "bonus mom" and him as your "bonus kid". I'm sorry, but whoever coined that phrase should be drawn and quartered. That said, it is perfectly acceptable for him to call your by your first name, or something clever of your choosing, but he has a Mom who by your post is his custodial parent, so I just don't think that it is acceptable for him to call you that.
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  • Blech...I hate that "bonus mom", "bonus son" crap as well.

    I think this is something you and your DH should sit down and talk about.  I get that you've been in his life for a long time, but his mother is still very active in his life...find a cute compromise name that works for you all.

    That being said, it's not fair to your SS that his mother punishes him for showing you affection.  That's super bitchy. 

  • His mom has every right to be upset that he has called you "mom". Makes me wonder who started that to begin with, considering I'm sure he probably didn't think of that himself. I call my step mom "Monster". Short for "Step Monster". She started calling herself that, and it stuck.
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  • We sat down one day and I picked a name for SD to call me. She was 18 months old or so and was calling me mama (as opposed to her mother who was mommy). We knew that her mother would freak out if she knew so we picked another name for me. It has stuck. She is now 5 and just really figured out about a year ago that My real name is something else. :)

     And I call her my stepdaughter. It is the truth. When I talk about the kids, I will say my girls (we have a DD too). She has a mother already. I love her to pieces and she is treated the same at our home as DD, but I will always be her stepmother.

  • My SS calls me by my first name.  I have been in his life since he was 3.  He broached the subject once of calling me Mom and I told him that name was special for his Mommy but he can call me 'first name' or any other name we agree on. 

    There are times he calls me Mom accidentally - usually right after an exchange - and I don't make a big deal out of it, but I usually correct him.  It is my personal opinion that unless the StepMom is the custodial family that the child should not call you Mom.

    And to address your other issues, your SS might be sensing a tenseness between you and BM - this is not unusual and will probably pass.  If he senses that being affectionate to you causes Mom distress he will protect Mom.  It is a phase and he will eventually go back to normal.

  • image J&A2008:
    It should be your SS's choice.  Your DH needs to talk with her.  He's old enough to choose to call you "Mom" if he wants.  Trying to control kid's affection and emotions is sick.

    This is exactly what our family therapist recommended before we got married.  He said it is perfectly normal and healthy for children to want to call a step parent who is a big part of their lives and who loves and cares for them and meets their needs mom or dad and that doesn't mean the step parent is replacing their bio mom or dad. But stressed that is should be the child's choice. Children are smart enough to know they still have only one bio mom and dad and still feel that connection to a step parent. 

    We have followed that advice with our kiddos. DD asked if she could call DH daddy shortly after we got married and that is what she does.  Oldest SS still calls me by my first name or "J", which is perfectly fine with me. When youngest SS was learning to talk we taught him to call me "J". Now he calls me either "Momma" or "J".

    I am both a bio mom and a step mom and I can honestly say that if  DD decides to call my ex's SO mom I will not throw a fit about it. She does love and care for DD in that role while DD is with them and it makes me happy to see that DD has a "good" stepmother. I am secure enough in my role in DD's life that I don't feel threatened or jealous of the affection my DD has for her.

  • image J&A2008:
    It should be your SS's choice.  Your DH needs to talk with her.  He's old enough to choose to call you "Mom" if he wants.  Trying to control kid's affection and emotions is sick.

    While I agree that trying to control a kid's affection and emotions is pretty sick, I don't think that at 4 years old that the choice should be left to her SS as to what to call her. I am the custodial parent of all three of my children and let me tell you, if my 3 y/o daughter started to call some other woman "Mom" I would flip my lid. I understand that there are situations where this is okay (SM and Dad are custodial and BM is not in the picture) but that does not seem to be the case here. A much older child should be able to make a choice like this, but not a 4 y/o.

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  • My ss calls me by my first name.  He is 13 now, but I have been with his dad since he was 4 and I knew him since he was about 1.  I would not be comfortable with him calling me mom, because he has a mother. And I have to admit that I would be very unhappy if my dd ever called someone else mom.  i would not want to make another woman feel that way.

     

  • I just want to add something. I don't see how being allowed/not being allowed to call someone else mom has anything to do with feelings and emotions.  I know my ss loves me, and he knows I love him.  It has nothing to do with a label placed on me.  That sounds silly, but I am no therapist.

  • While I agree that punishing a child for calling you mom is totally wrong, I don't think you should let him call you that. If the mom didn't care, all is well. But... she does.?

    My SKs call me by their first name with the occasional Mama Shorty in there. I think that is being phased out though and they are just sticking with my first name (at ages 5 and 7 - they have known me since they were 2 and 4).

    I would encourage your SS to call you either your name or an initial or something. Have your DH call you that in front of him and when he tells him to do something with you. "Go tell ____ that dinner is ready." for example.?

  • My beautiful bonus child calls me by my first name.  She called me mom once and we both laughed about it because it just sounded funny. 

    I am fine with it - she has a good mom and doesn't need another.  She knows that she can count on me for "mom" stuff when she is with us though.  That is what matters the most to me. 

  • image Mominator:

    image J&A2008:
    It should be your SS's choice.  Your DH needs to talk with her.  He's old enough to choose to call you "Mom" if he wants.  Trying to control kid's affection and emotions is sick.

    While I agree that trying to control a kid's affection and emotions is pretty sick, I don't think that at 4 years old that the choice should be left to her SS as to what to call her. I am the custodial parent of all three of my children and let me tell you, if my 3 y/o daughter started to call some other woman "Mom" I would flip my lid. I understand that there are situations where this is okay (SM and Dad are custodial and BM is not in the picture) but that does not seem to be the case here. A much older child should be able to make a choice like this, but not a 4 y/o.

    Your kid's relationship with their stepparent IS NOT ABOUT YOU.  It is about them, and validating their love and their relationship.  Being a good parent is NOT ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL, but what is best for the kids.

    Stay at home mom to a house of boys: two amazing stepsons, 12 and 9, and our 4 year old.
  • Ok, since everyone seems to be answering the question of what to call you, I'll say why I think he's acting differently. He's is confused when the three of you are together because he thinks that Mom is going to scold him for showing you affection, like she did when he called you "Mom". That's why he doesn't want ot give you and hugs or kisses. Poor kid. Tell him that it is ok to give hugs and kisses when Mom is around and make sure that your DH lays into BM about this. It's not fair to the child.
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  • image J&A2008:

    Your kid's relationship with their stepparent IS NOT ABOUT YOU.  It is about them, and validating their love and their relationship.  Being a good parent is NOT ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL, but what is best for the kids.

     

    What's best for the child is to be sure that all parties are getting on. While I disagree about the BM in this case flipping her lid in front of her child, causing the child to become distressed; I don't disagree with the child not being allowed to call SM "mom". "Mom" is a special title with particular social and emotional conotations. If the BM does not wish to share that title and is in the child's life she shouldn't have to.  SM and BD should respect that and redirect the child to a proper title for SM that doesn't step on BM's toes.  Regardless of how the child feels about wanting to call SM "mom", if BM does not agree it's going to cause distress and tension between all parties involved. Children can sense that, and that's not in the best intrest of the child.

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  • image J&A2008:
    image Mominator:

    image J&A2008:
    It should be your SS's choice.  Your DH needs to talk with her.  He's old enough to choose to call you "Mom" if he wants.  Trying to control kid's affection and emotions is sick.

    While I agree that trying to control a kid's affection and emotions is pretty sick, I don't think that at 4 years old that the choice should be left to her SS as to what to call her. I am the custodial parent of all three of my children and let me tell you, if my 3 y/o daughter started to call some other woman "Mom" I would flip my lid. I understand that there are situations where this is okay (SM and Dad are custodial and BM is not in the picture) but that does not seem to be the case here. A much older child should be able to make a choice like this, but not a 4 y/o.

    Your kid's relationship with their stepparent IS NOT ABOUT YOU.  It is about them, and validating their love and their relationship.  Being a good parent is NOT ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL, but what is best for the kids.

    Ah, yes it is when it comes to what they call them. I would never disrespect my kids Dad and let them call someone else by that name and I would expect the same.  I birthed my children, I raised them and I damn sure get a say in the possibility of them calling  someone else "Mom". Love can be validated without my kids calling someone else by MY name.

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  • The OP stated that her SS mostly calls her by her first name and once in a while mom. My SS calls me by my first name sometimes he slips and calls me mom and sometimes even dad...lol. It is not a big deal. I think the BM in the OPs post overreacted and now the child is upset and confused about how he should feel/act towards his SM. That isn't cool.

    I don't think that kids should be encouraged to call a SM mom especially if the BM is an active part of their lives. However, if they slip once in a while or insist themselves let it go. Blended situations are stressful enough on kids we need to suck it up when our feelings get hurt and act in the best interest of the child.

  • image Mominator:
    image J&A2008:
    image Mominator:

    image J&A2008:
    It should be your SS's choice.  Your DH needs to talk with her.  He's old enough to choose to call you "Mom" if he wants.  Trying to control kid's affection and emotions is sick.

    While I agree that trying to control a kid's affection and emotions is pretty sick, I don't think that at 4 years old that the choice should be left to her SS as to what to call her. I am the custodial parent of all three of my children and let me tell you, if my 3 y/o daughter started to call some other woman "Mom" I would flip my lid. I understand that there are situations where this is okay (SM and Dad are custodial and BM is not in the picture) but that does not seem to be the case here. A much older child should be able to make a choice like this, but not a 4 y/o.

    Your kid's relationship with their stepparent IS NOT ABOUT YOU.  It is about them, and validating their love and their relationship.  Being a good parent is NOT ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL, but what is best for the kids.

    Ah, yes it is when it comes to what they call them. I would never disrespect my kids Dad and let them call someone else by that name and I would expect the same.  I birthed my children, I raised them and I damn sure get a say in the possibility of them calling  someone else "Mom". Love can be validated without my kids calling someone else by MY name.

    I disagree.  If the SK wants that title for SP and BP, SK should have the choice.  In this situation, BM was in the kid's life for 2 months longer than SM.  There's no difference to him, step or not, and he should be allowed to call SM whatever name he likes.

    My BM (and I never had a SM) allowed me to choose my name for her when I was 2-3.  I grew up calling her by her first name, and we have an incredible bond.

    Stay at home mom to a house of boys: two amazing stepsons, 12 and 9, and our 4 year old.
  • Thank you everyone for you opinions. I never meant to start a debate! To clarify some assumptions:

    - DH and BM share joint custody (week on, week off).

     -SS regularly calls me by my first name, its usually more of a slip when we're talking or playing. I've never made a big deal about it either way.

    - I'm not giving up saying Bonus Son, I hate the negative connotations with "step." I'm just using SS to make it shorter...

    -Also, SS calls his BM by her first name when in conversation. He calls her Mom to address her but when talking to others refers to her by her first name. Same in my case. He'll call me "Mom" sometimes when talking directly to me but uses my first name when talking to others. 

    -Growing up, I always called my SD "Dad" and he came into my life when I was three. Never did I think he was my real 'Dad.'

    -DH and I are TTC in 2010 and know this will come up when my own children refer to me as Mom.

    -We plan to have him continue, as he always has, calling me by my first name. I was just sure this had come up with other blended families and wondered what the SM's were being called.  

    Again, thanks for the feedback. 

  • Giving birth or donating your sperm to create a child is NOT what earns you the title of mom or dad. There are plenty of parental figures in children's life that might not have given them life, but they provide for them and love them and are parentaly figures in their lives. If a child feels comfortable calling a step parent by their first name or by a nickname or by the traditional parent names, then that is their deal. It doesn't mean they love their bio parents any less, they are just associating a name with a care giver that has the same role as their bio parents do.
  • My bonus daughters call me by my first name.  I am not totally thrilled with that, but it got started when I first entered their lives and isn't a big enough issue with me to push for a change.  

    I was not raised to refer to adults by their first names.  Even my adult relatives in my family were referred to as Aunt or Uncle, even if they were second cousins.  It was just more respectful.  I actually like the southern tradition of referring to adults as Miss ___ or Mr. ___ .  

  • Mine calls me by my first name.  I can understand why his mother was upset, HOWEVER, you nor DH asked the kid to call you 'mom'.  I wouldn't allow mine to call me 'mom', only by my first name.
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