27 answers

8 Yr Old Son Calling My Ex-husband's Fiance "MOM"

I just finished up with a somewhat nasty divorce. We both live in the same city, so we share custody of kids and have to deal with each other on a regular basis. My ex has had his fiance and her 2 kids living with them for the past month. My son just told me the other night that to welcome her to the family, he called her "mom." I'm having a very hard time dealing with this. Should I let it go? Or try and explain that he only has one mom and one dad and that it hurts my feelings? I can only imagine how my ex must LOVE it every time my son calls his fiance "mom"- knowing that it probably kills me inside. Please help if you have any suggestions.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for the responses. As of now I plan to let it go and not make it a big deal. If I try to talk to the ex, then he'll be thrilled at the idea that I was hurt by something. And I'd rather not give him the satisfaction. As for my son, if I make a big deal to him-- he'll just feel bad and more confused. And when he's mad at me, he might throw in the "mom" thing to make me mad. He's a smart one and knows how to push my buttons. I did ask my son that night, if daddy had told him to call her mom. He said no. My daughter had taken a different approach to welcoming her - she put glitter on their floor and balloons in her room! Ahhh the thought of cleaning up glitter! :) But really, I can be proud that my children are caring and smart! Also, the fiancee was a friend of ours from a few years back. And funny, I get along better with her now then the ex. No surprise. She's actually able to keep life a little more peaceful between the two of us. I did like the suggestion about talking to my ex about how he'd feel if my son called a step dad "dad." But once again, I don't even want to bring the issue up with him right now. It still hurts. And I am planning on getting some kind of counseling, not just about this, but about everything my ex put me through and keeps putting me through. Thank you again for all the advice!

More Answers

Tell him that is sweet, no matter how hard it is for you. He is trying to be nice and that, as a mom, is what you want from your children. I grew up with devorced parents, and you do not want to put your feelings onto your child or make your child feel like he needs to choose a side. He will always know that you are his mom, but you also need to let him feel comfortable talking to you about how he feels towards his father and step-mom. If his father is being mean and spitefull, your son will eventually see that. You want to be the bigger person and be the better influence. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I would not suggest telling your son that it hurts your feelings. When children go through nasty divorces, they do notice the tension and stress between the two parents. Sorry that it hurts your feelings, but on the other hand, it is great for your son that he feels that safe and secure with his new step-mom. That more than likely means that she's treating him well and showing him love, which is what you want for your son. Unfortunately, when parents are not together there is a very high likelihood of one or both of them having new relationships or a new marriage that will automatically provide a step-parent for the child. The best you can ask for is a step-parent that loves your child and treats him well. You're probably feeling this way, because you're not used to your son feeling motherly love like this from someone else. But you really should not bring your son into the situation, which will put the stress and feelings of the adults on his shoulders. Children do not deal well when they also are handed the stress of the parents. Your feelings will eventually pass. Even though you and your ex had a nasty divorce, it would be to the betterment of your son to not only get along with your ex but to also get to know and get along with his new step-mom. Otherwise, if it were me, I would just refer to the new step-mom as "mommy (her name)." It would very subtly encourage something other than "mom."


1 mom found this helpful

I've been there, done that, too so I do feel for you on this one. First of all, this woman is not even his step-mother, just his father's fiancee. Your son is confused, yes, and trying to make the best of everything and children do, in divorce, try to make things look normal to themselves by thinking of both sets (if now there are two "sets") of parents as both being Mom and Dad. However, to help him sort it all out, explain to him, very gently and lovingly, that since he already has a woman he calls "Mom" (you!), perhaps you can help him come up with a better "name" for this woman. Since she is not yet his real step-mother, but possibly might be one day, maybe he can call her something like Mama So and So (insert her name there, don't call her a so and so) or Mamacita or something cutsie, but 'MOM" is reserved for his real mother and you need not tippy toe around this issue. Kids need to know definites and it is better for him in the long run if he differentiates between her and you. Mom is more than a name, but it IS a name -- and it is YOUR name, far as he is concerned.....or should be anyway. So let him know that he is free to love her and has your approval to love her, but the name of "mom" is yours and yours alone. He won't be emotionally scarred by reserving the name of "Mom" for you. And your feelings DO count. Many years ago, my daughter (11 at the time) came home from a visit with her dad and his wife and told me she called the woman "Mom" whenever she was there, and the pain of that has never gone away and has caused me to resent the woman, as well. I would never allow my step-children to call me Mom -- I always explained to them that they had one Mom, but could call me Mama and my name with it or call me by my name alone or some other pet name they could choose, but Mom was reserved for their own Mom, this out of respect to her as the one who gave birth to them, and this particular mom did not raise them daily -- I did! But it taught them to always show respect for other people's feelings and it did not hurt our relationship one bit for them to call me something other than "mom". Also, have a talk with your ex and let him know that you and your son have decided he will call her something else and when you talk to HIM, you need not be as gentle! Kids need to know that we have feelings, too, and if you want an open and honest relationship with him, it's okay to say you love him calling you "mom" and want it to be his special name just for you. It's okay to tell him that. Now, all that being said, my own mother was hateful and bitter to an extreme about my dad and his new wife, and I would never condone anyone doing that to a child. But this is not being bitter, it is not being hateful -- and it's okay to want and insist that your own son reserves the name of "mom" just for you. Yes, it means more to you than it does to him, but that's okay!

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same feelings when my daughter was 4 and called her Step mom "mom". She outgrew it and calls her by her name now. I think it is sweet that your son has accepted her into his life. He realizes that she is going to be a part of his dad's life. I know deep down you wish that he would be mean to her, but honestly, he is being respectful to his dad. She must be good to him for him to call her that, so at least that is comforting that she is not evil and mean to him. I don't know what to tell you. I am torn. I mean, being a step mom now, my husband's kids are 14 and 15 and we are not close at all. They are too old for that and they call me by my name and that is fine. I still wish deep down that we could be closer, but I understand. I would not tell him to stop calling her mom. I would leave that up to him. I did voice my concern to my ex at the time it occurred, but what can you do? At the time she was being "mom" to my daughter because I was in military boot camp, but soon after I got out my daughter lived with me again.

So basically, be happy that your son has a good stepmom that he feels comfortable calling Mom. He might change his mind later and call her by her name. And please understand that your son knows you are #1 Mom in his life and no one can replace you. Your actions are teaching your son right from wrong, so the decision you make on how to handle this is important. I would talk to your son about it, maybe ask him if his dad told him to call her mom and why he wants to call her mom, but I would not tell him to stop. Regardless, you should never talk bad about his dad or stepmom to him. That is his family too now.

1 mom found this helpful

I feel your pain. I have been there and it does hurt to know that your child is calling someone else "mom". I think what is worse though is that your ex is showing a total lack of respect for you being his mother and teaching your son that is okay and that mom is just a word. Well it is more than just a word. My daughter will be 8yrs old in Jan. and I went through a horrible divorce and custody fight. It was the "fight of my life"!! Both my ex and I had started seeing other people after our divorce but the custody was still going on. He was/is seeing someone and the same thing happened. You do have to be very senitive though for and to your son because it can be confusing for him and he wants to please his father too and not "make waves". I had to sit back and think about how I was going to talk to her with out being so mad that she could see it. I explained to her that is was "okay" to love someone else as well as me. I also explained that I am, and will be the only mom she will ever have no matter what. I have one daughter and one son. I tell each of them everyday..."you are my favorite daughter" and "you are my favorite son". They thought it was kinda silly at first and they say to me "But I am your "only" daughter" or " I am your only son" I smile and say "Exactly". I told her that it was okay to call her "mommy Michelle" if she wanted to but it was her choice. In the last year I have also been on the opposite side of the coin as well. My boyfriends daughter is 10yrs and she completely adores me. She also wanted to call me mom. Although it felt nice to know that she has accepted me, I explained to her basically the same thing on her "mothers" side. I told his daughter she could call me "mommy L." if she would like but to always remember that she only has one "Mother". I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.

1 mom found this helpful

I couldn't imagine how that tore your heart out. I, nor my sisters, ever called our stepmother "mom." She wasn't! I would gently put it to your son that, while you understand he wanted to be nice (remember to be nice, remember to be nice *wink*), that she is not his mother. Maybe explain to him the logisitics of mom vs. stepmom. That just because Daddy is married to her, doesn't make her his mom. You gave birth to him, giving him great rights to be the sole namesake of his "Mom." Of course try not to sound too possessive.

Heck, my stepdaughter ignores me and doesn't even address me, but I wouldn't want her calling me "mom." I've bent over backwards to try to get on her good side, but it doesn't work, so I've given up. I've bought things for her, tried to make her feel comfortable and everything. Her father & I got together when she was 6, married when she was 7. Her parents split up when she was a year old. So, if on a good side, your son is at least showing he likes his new stepmother, where as my stepdaughter refuses to acknowledge me in my own home.

I know some kids get all confused about things. Like my husbands niece was wondering what my son would call my stepdaughter's mother. Um, nothing! There's no relation at all there. Try not to make a big deal about it to your son. Maybe make it out to be an, "oh by the way" thing. If you get all up in arms, he may want to do it just to aggrivate you. I don't know, I'm not great with advice, but I thought I'd try. Good luck & many hugs through this.

1 mom found this helpful

Can you see if he'd call her 'mom, Karen' instead of just mom? Don't make too big a deal about it but just let him know that while it hurts your feelings to know he calls her 'mom' you appreciate that he wants to make her feel part of the family.

This seems to work with several of my divorced/remarried friends and the kids like the compromise. It makes it less traumatic for them to know that while you guys aren't married anymore he has both his mom and dad and 'mom karen'. I'm sure he's having a tough time with his parents divorce and other folks in his life and maybe this helps him deal as well.

My kids call several of their friends moms "mom" and while it takes a different light in your issue, I know I'm the "mother" and no one else.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I understand how this is upsetting you. From your post your son did it to make her feel better, not to hurt you. You should feel proud that he wanted to think of a way to make someone feel good. He probably figures you know how he feels about you. He's not doing it to hurt you and how your ex feels about it is of no consequence. YOu have a very caring son that you should be proud of.

1 mom found this helpful

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