Being a step-parent can be wonderful, but it also comes with challenges. You want your stepkids to like you but don’t want to replace their biological parents.
A woman dealing with similar issues asked the forum, “Am I wrong for letting my stepkids call me mom?”
Here’s her story.
The original poster (OP) moved in with her fiancé (28, M) earlier this year. He has two kids, a son (4) and a daughter (3). The kids are under split custody, so they are half the time with their dad and half the time with their bio mom.
“I have met the kids’ biological mom in person, and she came off as decent. We never had any issues,” says OP.
OP’S STEPKIDS HAVE STARTED CALLING HER MOM
Around two or three months ago, OP’s stepson would randomly call OP ‘mom’ or ‘momma’ before going to bed as she tucked them in and said good night.
“It was an odd adjustment, but I know they’re little. I mostly brushed it off with an ‘okay, goodnight, hunny. My stepdaughter would only call me ‘mom’ if my stepson did,” explains OP.
WHAT HAPPENED A MONTH AGO?
About a month ago, while OP’s stepson was with Dad and OP, he asked OP if he could call her mom. “Up until this point, really, both kids called me by my legal name and only knew me as daddy’s “special friend” since we aren’t officially married yet,” explains OP.
HOW DID OP REACT?
“It was quite a surprise for me ( a sweet one, I should say). Dad and I both explained to them that if they wanted to call me “mom,” “momma,” etc., it was okay as long as they wanted to,” says OP.
OP’s stepson has, on his own, made it clear (to OP and Dad, at least) that he has two moms and one dad. Both kids understand they came from their mom’s belly, not OP’s.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER DAD DROPPED THE KIDS AT MOM?
As usual, Dad and OP went to drop the kids off at Mom with no issues. OP stayed in the car, and she left with the kids. Nothing crazy.
As Dad and OP were driving home, the kid’s mom called. OP told her fiancé to answer but let her know she was on speaker with both of them. So, he answered and let his ex know OP could hear the conversation.
The kids’ bio mom started aggressively, stating, “I don’t know who’s telling these kids that OP is their mom, but you need to know you will never be their mom.”
WHAT DID OP SAY?
“I told her that the kids chose to call me mom, and we explained to them that I’m not their real mom, just an extra mom,” says OP.
The kid’s bio mom did not like that and said it hurts her feelings that the kids are saying she isn’t their mom anymore.
OP got firm quickly and explained that she understood why it would hurt her feelings. “I told her I didn’t believe what she was saying because of what the kids said. I allow the kids to call me mom because they see me as a maternal figure. It’s about how they feel, not your (her) insecurities,” explains OP.
THIS INFURIATED THE MOM FURTHER
The kids’ bio mom then went on to scream at OP and her fiancé on the phone and in her car in front of the kids. She said, “YOU BOTH ARE WRONG, AND THESE KIDS ARE MINE, NOT YOURS. I HOPE YOU BOTH GO TO HELL.”
THE KIDS WERE SAD ABOUT THEIR MOM’S REACTION
After the kids’ weekend with her, they returned and were sad because their bio mom said OP was not allowed to be their mom. OP asked them, “Do you want me to be your other mom?” They both said yes. So OP told them that if THEY want me to be another mom to them, she can be.
OP IS HEARTBROKEN
“My heart breaks because these kids seem to love me, and I do love them. Am I wrong,” she asks.
Here’s the people’s verdict.
YOU ARE NOT WRONG
“You are not wrong. Understandably, their mom would be wounded to hear her kids calling someone else ‘mom..’ The kids are so young, and if you’re marrying their dad, they should be able to look to you as a mother figure. The adults’ feelings in this situation come second to the kids’ secure attachment.”
OP’S ACTIONS ARE CONFUSING AND DAMAGING TO THE KIDS
“I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree, as a stepmother. I appreciate your reasoning and where you’re coming from, but this can be confusing and damaging for little kids.
These children are very young, and this can be confusing for them.
Op is not the mother, has to know this would be inflammatory, and made no move to discuss this with the mother.
Op is wrong all day and hugely overstepped her boundaries, as is Dad. $1000 says dad would be enraged if they came home calling a new dude daddy.
“Bonus mom” is okay when they’re older, but this is so wrong, if not for the absolute disregard of boundaries, then the massive amounts of confusion for the kids.”
OP IS DERANGED
“OP moved in 8 months ago, the kids are there 50/50, and she thinks she is a better mother than their mother who has been raising them their whole life. OP is deranged.”
OP SHOULD HAVE DISCUSSED THIS WITH THE MOM FIRST
“Wow, dude, she said she didn’t ask them to call her mom; they asked to. Should she have said no, I don’t want to be that person for you? Or only if your other mom says it’s okay?”
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