Thursday, April 6, 2006

Stepmom Names: A Few Suggestions

Cinderella calls me by first name and probably will for the foreseeable future. And I am just fine with that. However, if you are newly stepped and would like your stepchildren to call you something other than your first name, or are currently facing a situation like this, I put together this list to help you along the way:

Stepmom
Steppy
S'Mom
BonusMom
OtherMom (Om / Ommy)

ExtraMom (E.M. / EM / Emmy)
Parent
Mom/Mommy + First Name (Mom-Cathy)
Mom/Mommy + Initial (Mommy-C)
Ma

You could try a unique variation of your first name, such as "Cat" for Catherine.

Or come up with a special nickname that relates to something unique to you and your stepchild. For instance, if you both love Oreos, they can call you “Cookie.” If you are a bit wicked, like the author of this post, why not "Apple." (If Gwynneth Paltrow can do it, why not you?)

Try Mother/Mommy in another languages:
Dutch: Moeder/Mama
French: Mère/Maman
Gaelic: Máthair/Mamai
German: Mutter/Mamma
Italian: Madre/Mommy
Portugese: Mãe
Spanish: Madre/Mama


No matter what you decide, make sure it's mutual. Don't force your stepkids to do something they (or you or your hubby) are not comfortable with.
And as difficult as it may be for some, always take BioMom's feelings into consideration.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

MIL has always chosen to address me as Mom or Mommy with Step-daughter, even though SD has chosen to call me by my first name. I believe this makes SD feel a little guilty that she doesn't call me mom. Even just the other day, she was saying I don't think I want to call you mommy. I said that's ok... if you like calling me Firstname, that's ok, and if you ever want to call me something different, that's ok too.

So I guess just make sure everyone respects what you and Stepchild have chosen, or that leads to confusion and possibly hurt feelings.

Lucy said...

Just found your blog on google... Thank you! I'm compiling a list to discuss with my skids...

Anna V said...

My SS alternates between calling me by my first name and calling me "Mum" with a "u" like they do in Britain.

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with the 'mum' tag for stepmothers. My step-son's mother has been encouraging her child to view his father as some kind of uncaring moron while making his step-dad out to be wonderful. As it is, his real dad is extremely kind and does everything he can to keep a good, open relationship with her despite all her attempts to manipulate him and his child. But now she's encouraging her son to call her new partner 'dad' and has pushed for my step-son to be able to spend some time with his step-dad on Father's Day to his real dad's loss. My step-son has been very confused and angry when I've tried to explain that he should be spending Father's Day with his real dad. (His outburst was, "But I have two dads!" He actually wanted to spend all of Father's Day with his step-dad as his mum had told him about all of the stuff he'd be missing out on if he didn't spend it with them.) It's far too confusing to explain to a child the sacred roles of mother and father, and I'm sure that calling step-parents mum and dad causes much more resentment in all the adults involved in what is already a very complicated relationship.

Anonymous said...

I have two step childred 3 and 6. Their father and I started dating when they were only 11 months, and 4 years old so I feel they should call me something other than my first name. I do agree however they shouldn't call me mom or spend mothers day with me as I am not their mom nor will I ever try to be. Thanks for the great ideas and the comments!!

Julia said...

Hi, Great post! I've always been happy with my 6-year old step-daughter calling me by name. But she insists on calling me mom, which is really triggering to her bio-mom. Also, on her own she came up with referring to me as her "extended mom". Super sweet. So I'm working on helping her come up with another nickname for me, and thanks to your post, I'm going to suggest "Emmy", short for Extended Mom. Awesome!

echoeve said...

I just found your website on google.
I have been married to my husband for almost 8 years now.
My stepchildren all call me Meme.
I really like it, I didn't really at first but now even my own two Biokids most of the time call me Meme

Anonymous said...

I found this site by Google. I am not a child but 50yrs old & what to call your stepmum has an impact on us also. My Dad was a widower & he meet up with a lovely lady 6 years ago who was also a widower. But we (our kids included) can’t come up with a mum type name & have always just called her by her 1st name with ie on the end. She gives hints at times she would like to be called a more maternal name. Her children also in there 40-50’s call Dad …..Dad, but we don’t feel right in calling her Mum. We liked your abbreviation for the title ExtraMum but then EM is our daughters abbreviation for Emma.

Anonymous said...

I just found this website and I think its awesome. I am a newly wed and my husband and I have temporary custody of my bonus son. He was happy to call me stepmommy until his biomom informed him and my husband that I would never be his stepmom.
He then wanted to call me mommy because His mommy said that I "couldn't be his stepmommy" when I asked him what he wanted he said "I want you to be my stepmommy but mommy said no" It is now more complicated because he insist on calling me Mommy when all I ever wanted was to be his stepmom. Hopefully a new nickname will help

Anonymous said...

I like STEP MONSTER myself! I am living with the queen of STEP MONSTERS!

Ashley said...

I absolutely love the post about calling the stepmom Emmy for extended mom. I recently ran into this issue with my boyfriends kids.They are 6 and 9 and we get along great! The 9 yr old asked me when myself and "dad" were getting married, and could he call me "mom" then since I would be his stepmom?!?! I tried to explain to him that he had a mom, but he could think of something neat to call me that meant stepmom. Thanks for your post!!! They have all helped!

Anonymous said...

I have been a stepmom for over 10 years now, 2 of them with my new SD's. I feel closer to them then I did my SS from my previous marriage and I do a lot more now as well. I debated with myself for a few weeks about the name issue. They call me by my first name and I feel that it keeps us separated more than it should. I feel separated. I suggested that we come up with another name for me to express my role in the family.

I said anything other than Mom, Mommy, or Mother since I was not the biomom and I felt that was only meant for her. We came up with Mum since it was close, short, and sweet but not MOM. They were great with it until their bio mom found out and flipped. My eldest even came up with a contract on her own for everyone to sign for the change. Their mom said we or "I" forced them when I didn't and she guilted the kids to feel bad about doing what they were happy about doing at one point. So we told the kids we will come up with something else. So far we have OMA which stands for Other Momma. We also found out that it means Grandmother in German/Dutch and is the character name on Stargate who is known as "Mother Nature". They can call me this in our house and by my first name in front of their mom. So we think this is cool but I like the list of names here as well. I can't see their mother having any reason to object a knickname that isn't even remotely close to mom.

sistermaryflanders said...

OK, at the risk of going beyond most people, we're the custodial household for my 3.5yo SS and he chose on his own to call me Mommy about six months ago. His mom has encouraged him to call me "stepmommy" or "momma firstname" (very open of her I think) but when he thinks of me as stepmom he becomes angry and distant. He seems much more settled and safe when he just alternates on his own between "mommy" and "firstname." Although I refer to myself as his stepmom both in and out of his presence, I haven't pushed this too much beyond that because he seems so much happier if he thinks of himself as having two full parents in each household. I feel that this is his prerogative. I have also known several custodial moms who feel it's OK for their kids to call their DH "dad" but not for their exes to let the kids call us "mom."

Anonymous said...

Mima is what our kids call me. My husband had 3 kids before we got married. I treat them as my own and they came up with the name.

Anonymous said...

Love this post. My two SD came up with the name Peppy for me shortly after my husband and I married. They said I was their Steppy Peppy! I loved, they loved it and their father thought it was adorable. I think that lasted for about a month before their biomom convinced them that it was inappropriate to call me anything but Miss First Name. I was so angry! It took us almost another month to un-convince them of what their mother told them. Unfortunately they never returned to calling me Peppy, but they quickly dropped the Miss! Thank God! Sadly, they called their step dad Mr.First Name for many, many months after their mother remarried!

Anonymous said...

I have a 2yr old stepdaughter. I have been married to her father since she was 1 year old. The biomom (they were only together a total of 4months and she left him- he had to fight to see his daughter) insists that I be called by my first name only. My hubby and I, however, agree that I should be called Momma + first name. Does she have the right to have my step daughter call me by my first name only? As of right now my stepdaughter calls me Mommy as well as Momma + first name. The mother told me that if her daughter calls someone Mommy in front of her regardless of what is attached to it, she will correct the child. The child will call me Momma + first name in front of the mother and the mother tells her "no, its first name!" How do we resolve this? GOing to court soon to get more visitation rights!

Anonymous said...

I have been with my husband since my step-daughter was 18 months old. She chose on her own to start calling me Momma. We have told her repeatedly that she can call me by whatever name she wants as long as it is respectful. She also used to call her mother's boyfriend "Braddad." When her mother flipped out about her calling ME Momma, she actually made it be written into the divorce decree that my husband cannot call me Momma to his daughter and then made my SD stop calling her boyfriend "Braddad" - which led to her asking why Brad didn't want to be her Daddy anymore.

I think that as long as the child chooses the moniker, that's the most important part. It is their way of making your role right in their world. Forcing a child to call someone something (either Mom or to NOT call someone Mom) is only going to make that child resent it later down the road.

mrsmule said...

My SD (11) calls me Mima. She used to call me mom when she was younger. And every now an then she will call me mom. But I felt uncomfortable with that, so we came up with Mima but she likes to spell it MeMa.

Earthmom said...

My husband and I have been married almost a year now. His kids are now 2, 4 & 6, and decided on their own to call me Mama (the littlest) and Mama *name* (the older 2). The oldest has started calling me Mom when we're together, since that's what my two boys (8 & 15) call me. Their biomom (we're in the middle of a custody fight) now demands that they not call me anything resembling mama or even Mama *name* since it's too close to Mommy (she's extremely - with very good reason - insecure about her bond with her kids, and jealous of the close relationship the kids have with their daddy and with me). We've always made it a point to say that Mommy will always be your mommy, and I will always be your stepmommy. I hate the idea that she's going to force them to stop calling me something that they chose, and worry about the effect it will have on how they feel about their role in our family. (Why can my brother call you Mom but I can't?) Any thoughts?

Brenda said...

My SD really struggled with what to call me. She was 5 when we got together and we have custody of her but not her twin brothers (long story). I gave her permission to drop the Miss + first name as we have a special relationship but she wanted to call me mom. I talked with her about her other mom and we tried nicknames. She had a horrible reaction to the whole step mom concept--became fearful and anxious. I finally just told her that I will love her no matter what she calls me. As she's become more secure, she calls me Mom about 1/2 the time and by my first name about 1/2 the time. Other Mom hates it and has been training all 3 kids to call me Miss + first name or nothing...which is how she doesn't address me. Adults shouldn't put their issues on the kids.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, this was so helpful, and so were the comments! My husband (of 3 months) and I have been tossing around ideas of what my three stepkids should call me other than my first name. They all at some point have asked to call me "mom", but I think it would hurt their biomoms feelings, and I don't want to do that. We are considering Em (pronounced "eem") which is a shortened version of the hebrew word for mother (Ema- pronounced "eemah").

NAU4Me said...

Wow This has been very helpful! My 3yr old stepdaughter has been calling me mom and her bio mom Mommy since she 1st started talking. She knows the difference and will correct anyone that tries to call her Mommy Mom or me Mommy but lately her bio mom has been on a campaign to get her to stop calling me anything other than my first name, which at 3 she can't pronounce.

I love the imput here and will be readdressing this issue, thanks for the help!!

Anonymous said...

Madre works for us. I have a (just-turned) 7-year-old stepson, Mom is around, and Dad and I plan on having kids. So, while I initially had no issue with my first name being used, we felt something more official--a title--was good for the SS to use after we married.

Plus, it's a name that won't be confusing or weird for our kids in the future. Sometimes he even calls me "Mad," (pronounced like "Mah-d") for convenience.

Also, my family is Italian, and I try to teach SS some Spanish just for his learning and fun, and it's "Mother" in both those languages.

It's a "mom" name, and a title, without stepping on anybody's toes.

Oh, and I have been around since he was not-quite-5, so he's used to me also being in a mother role.

Denise Burks said...

My step-kids call me by my name, Denise, although I recently found scribbling under the basement staircase where my stepson had written with a big black permanent marker f***Denise! So I guess there were times in the past ten years that they did have nicknames for me, too. I suggest treading softly on this topic. Divorce sucks for kids. Try not to make a big deal out of anything. Take it from me. Be a little bit chill or you'll find yourself with similar nicknames.

http://stepmotherinthesuburbs.blogspot.com/2010/02/whos-kid-is-it.html

Anonymous said...

We are getting married this summer and have been together for about 2 and a half years. I have a boy age 5 and he has a girl age 6. We plan to have at least one more child together and want all the kids to feel loved and encouraged in our future home together (we won't move in together until we get married).

The little girl's mother is a good mommy and shares 50% of the custody with my future hubby. The little boy's biofather has only been in his life a total of 6months. He is in and out of jail/drug life.

My parents got divorced when I was 2. My mother remarried when I was about 5 and I call her husband "dad". When I was about 5yrs my father got together with a woman who is rather unbalanced and treated me very poorly as a child and teen. They married when I was in college, and when the kids ask why i don't call her mom, i say it is because my father didn't MARRY her until I was an adult. Things have gotten much better since I am an adult and she gets to be a good grandma.

My future hubby's parents are still married and healthy!

the kids know that I have two dads and call both of them dad. I really want my son to call my future hubby dad, since he call his bio by first name (my son refuses to call bio "dad" since he didn't meet him untill he was 4 and never sees him now-he says that he doesn't know him). My son also asked if he could call future hubby "dad", we told him that after our ceremony, sure he can!

I can't lie, I really want our 6 year old to call me mom, but absolutely respect her mother. After reading your posts, I will meet with her mom first to ask what she thinks. Any other suggestions? email me at family@twowings.net

Any suggestions for good children's books for blended families? Any good books for us to read as parents and to talk about/share with bio mom? please email me at family@twowings.net

Thank you for your time!

Anonymous said...

First, as the adult child of a step-parent who I don't always care for, I refer her to when she isn't around as my Step Monster (ty Demi Moore, re: St. Elmo's Fire) but if she makes my Dad happy, then ultimately that is what counts. Around her and Dad, I call her by her first name.

For my own children, my oldest was 6 when I met the man I married (my son's biofather left the day after my son turned 2 and never looked back), for us, there was no question, Jim was to be Dad. We had a second child later. Fast forward 12 years later and we split up. My older son has stopped calling him Dad when he's not around - abandonment issues creeping back in, I do believe, but alternates between Dad and Jim around him.

Two or so years later and I am dating again and am beginning to think of these issues again. When I remarry, my older son will surely call my new DH by his first name and likely my younger son as well (he is 13.) I hope all will be ok with that. Jim's gf (they are rather serious) will also be by her first name.

The man I am seeing now, though, has two much younger boys. Whatever they choose to call me, (should we marry - or anyone else I marry, if it isn't him) with respect will be fine with me - even my first name. But I just love the Emmy tag and if I can bring it up, I will. I never want to replace their mom (she is an excellent Mom) but I would hope to think they would feel lucky to have an "Extra Mom" to love them too.

Well thanks for letting me ramble - even more important sometimes :) And thank you for the ideas and other EM's thoughts!

Anonymous said...

I can empathize with first ananamous since my kids biomom does the same thing. She seems to force them onto her bf and to make them have some kind of bond. My sson just turned 4 and my sdaughter is 22months, they both call me by my first name. My SD sometimes calls me mamma but whether it's because she slips and forget I don't know but I respond when she calls me that and I don't correct her. Her brother however says no she wants momma not you...I don’t argue with him and just let him be.
I have a great relationship with both but can't help but feel that their mom says things to my SS to get him upset and confused about my role. Sometimes when we pick him up from her or school he runs away and says you're not my family, or I don't want to be in your family and I don't like you, which is hurtful but once he's with us for a few minutes he calms down and hugs me and wants me to give him all the attention.
So I can see where he is torn because he’s a momma’s boy and loves his mommy. I don't ever talk negatively about his mom but from how he reacts when he just sees me I know she’s been telling him things. He has told his dad that his mom told him that I was not their family, even though I've known him since he was 2 and since his sister was 5 months and his dad and I have been married for 3 months now. I just tell him that it’s ok not to like me and to feel the way he does cause it doesn’t stop me from loving him. And I hug him and tell him he’ll always be my lil genius.
So I can foresee him forever referring to me by my first name, his mom address me to him as Miss first name. But my SD has a mind of her own. She may eventually start calling me mama first name. When my husband and I have more kids there will be additional issues but till then fingers are crossed and I hope for the best.
Just wish that some bio-mom didn’t do such damage to their kids.

Chrys said...

My hunny and I have been together since the birth of his son...long story, she left him just before she found out she was pregnant...but anyway, I have been in my SS's life since the very beginning, and he is only 18 months old now. I call him "little man" and we have such a great time playing together. It is obvious I have made a bond with him. I have been pondering what he will call me for a long time. I have read a ton of blogs and articles about the subject. I love the Emmy tag, but I dont want to force him to call me anything. I do not want him to call me by my first name because it just seems so impersonal from a "child to parent" senario. I know he will probably call me what ever he wants...but he is just now learning how to talk, and I dont know if its appropriate for me to introduce a name for myself to him, or if I should just sit idly by until he names me himself. I'm so confused. His biomom hates me, and that is fine, I'm not a fan of her either, but I would never let on that I despise her in front of him, but I know she already has done that to him. I dont know what to do, its such a touchy subject. Any suggestions?

Ariana said...

My future hubby and I live together and my future SS is currently a year old, I've known about him since he was about six months, but he's a huge part of my life. At least 5 days out of the week, he's here with us and I'm not exactly comfortable with the idea of him calling me by my first name because we've already bonded so much that it just seems inappropriate. I really liked the suggestion Emmy, but I was also thinking something like Ooka or Ookasan (Japanese for "mother") being as I've got asian roots. I also though of maybe Nani, which is like Nana but doesn't sound so grandma-ish.

Unknown said...

My situation is a bit complicated. I've been with my BF for about 16 months. I have been living with him for about 10 of those months and we've decided to spend the rest of our lives with each other. He has 50/50 custody of his son (4) and daughter (8). Their BioMom has already had a baby with her new fiance, who has a kid from his previous marriage. My BF's kids call their BioMom's fiance "Dad" and have since the beginning of their relationship (about 2 years). My BF's kids call me by my first name. I spend the most time with them out of any of us. I take them and pick them up from school 3-4 days a week. On our W/E's, I watch them while dad works (retail management). Sometimes (rarely) his daughter will call me "mom", but the 4 y/o has flat out told me that he "doesn't want to call [me] mom." Most of the time it's out of habit and they actually catch themselves saying it and correct themselves. I can't help but have my feelings hurt... BioMom is "mom/mommy", Soon-to-be-stepdad is "Dad/Daddy" and BioDad is "Dad/Daddy". We've been told that they call the soon-to-be-stepdad "dad" on their own accord. I don't need to be called "mom/mommy", but something a little more along the lines of "mom" would make me very happy. I can't help but feel like they love me less.

Wicked Stepmom said...

*hugs* to you Anon. Every situation is difficult and complicated in it's own right. A name is just that... a name. Children can't and shouldn't IMO, be forced to call us anything other than what they are comfortable with.

Cinderella calls me by my first name, and I'm ok with that. Our love grew over time, and for reasons all her own she (and I) never pushed the issue of her calling me Mom, or Bonus Mom, or StepMom or any other of the names suggested in my post.

Anonymous said...

I just read this and love all the ideas! I have been a "step" Mother for 10 years to a wonderful bonus daughter...We(her mother and "step"father and Her Father and I)All have a great relationship! My bonus daughter and I have been very close since she was 2...Her and I have always liked the name Mim for the "step" mom,to us it's not the mother but,mimic of a "MOTHER" roll that you have in the child's life...If you love and care for them just like your bio children!that is also why I either call her my Daughter or BONUS daughter..N she is defiantly a bonus to all the boys we had after her lol!

Anonymous said...

My ex-husband is getting remarried and our kids are not sure what to call their soon to be stepmom. I feel they need to show her respect, but I'm the mama. I like this list, as we have been trying to come up with alternative names. I just hope she likes it, I think she wants to be called mom.

Bonnie Downing said...

My hubby and I were best friends for 3 yrs before we got married and in that time he had a daughter. We got engaged when she was 8 months old andnow she is 13. She has always called me mom, despite her biomom HATING it. My hubby and I never put it on his daughter to call me mom, she just has. Her Biomom tried to have a judge force their daughter to stop calling me that. What I'm getting at is, let the children decide what they are comfortable with call you as a stepparent.

Anonymous said...

Ive been in my SD's life since she was 1...her BM cheated on my DH when my SD was 10 months old and left when she was about 15 months. (i was her teacher in daycare and so her primary caregiver starting from when she was 1) My SD started calling me "Mumma" (on her own accord) when she was 2.5 (DH asked me out when SD was 2)much to the dismay of her mother. I would say to SD, I'm not your mummy,M's your mummy but one day she turned to me and said," Mumma, I will call you Mumma if I want to call you Mumma! Ok Mumma?" and that was that. On the other hand, her BM&Stepdad made her call him D2 pretty much as soon as they met (which is a name she did not choose ,they chose it&they forced her to call him that)she only called him that in their house. They would reprimand her if she called him by his name and reprimand her if they ever heard her call me Mumma. My SD is now almost 10 and still calls me Mumma even though her mum tried to slap it out of her( I'm not kidding you, when my SD was younger,BM would slap her if she heard my SD call me Mumma!) I'm proud of that strong minded little girl...she stuck to her guns and what she felt in her heart. She now calls her stepdad "D" (I like to think for dummy, haha) and she never looks comfortable saying it. She always calls him by his first name with us. her BM finally (last year,when SD was trying to get my attention in front of her but I had my back turned) said she could call me Mumma if she wanted to.(only after 8 yrs,haha) the funny thing is, when I started taking care of bM's other daughter in my daycare,she started calling me mummy! Apparently, that was hilarious to them but not when my SD did it. Lol

Anonymous said...

^^And let me just quickly add, my DH never had a problem with whatever his daughter wanted to call her stepdad.^^

becca said...

My dad just got 're married and he wants me to call my step mom something else than her name and I already have a mom and she keeps pressuring me to call her mom but my actual mom dosent want me to call her mom and I don't want to call her anything else than her name and my dad yells at me because I still call her her name and my step sister started calling my dad , dad because she never had a dad before so it's not hard for her but it's hard for me because I already have a mom. I don't go to my dad's house anymore much because I'm too scared or my step mom of hitting me because I call her by her name

Anonymous said...

My dad just got 're married and he wants me to call my step mom something else than her name and I already have a mom and she keeps pressuring me to call her mom but my actual mom dosent want me to call her mom and I don't want to call her anything else than her name and my dad yells at me because I still call her her name and my step sister started calling my dad , dad because she never had a dad before so it's not hard for her but it's hard for me because I already have a mom. I don't go to my dad's house anymore much because I'm too scared of my step mom of hitting me because I call her by her name

Anonymous said...

Is there someone in your real life you can talk to about this? You have the right not to live in fear of being hit.

Nicole Bordelon said...

My 19 year old daughter calls my husband of 15 years DD. We came of with that name when we married when she was 4 1/2. We had been dating x 2 years. She tried changing back to his name but never could do it. I believe there relationship is stronger bc of that...and they just get along.