23 answers

My Mom Wants My Son to Call Her "Mommy"

My mom has started calling herself "mommy" to my son. She said I can be "mommy 1" and she can be "mommy 2". I told her my son will be confused so she offered to be "mama" or "mom". I told her she cant be any of those because I'm the mom not her. She doesnt want to be called "grandma" or anything that refers to grandma. She feels old with those names. I have already told her everytime I bring my son to visit them that this annoys me. This is a small issue but it really bugs me. In addition, I often leave my son with her while I go to work around 2 times a week. Whenever I go home for lunch, I will ask to hold my son, and sometimes she doesnt want to give him to me. Only when I threaten to not bring him back, then she gives him to me.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Tell her it's fine if she doesn't want to be called grandma, but "mom" and "mommy" are already taken. My daughter calls my mom "nanny"...others use "oma" or other language type names.

"mom" is taken!


1 mom found this helpful

Wow!! I would feel very uncomfortable with this as well. I get uncomfortable when my mother-in-law calls herself "mom" on accident. Maybe you should sit down and have a serious conversation with her about this. Tell her he can call her nana or maybe by her first name. If she doesn't cooperate maybe you should find alternative child care. I am a work at home mom and if you would be interested I could give you more information.

More Answers

Hi J.,
Needless to say, your mom's request to be called any version of "mommy" is entirely inappropriate. There are some types of behavior that just need to be treated as not negotiable, handled very firmly and clearly. Personally, I wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to convince her as to why you don't want her to be called mom, or asking for her cooperation. I would very clearly and calmly communicate that those names are not options, as they are reserved for you. I would then ask her help her to think of an alternative name for herself that she is happy with since she doesn't want the grandma names. I would personally try to stay away from doing too much "asking" with her though. Sometimes people who don't respect boundaries just need to be told things (lovingly), otherwise they overstep.
As for the lunch time handing the baby over, same thing applies. I would personally just let her know that when you're on your lunch, you have a limited amount of time, and you want to see your baby, and you need her to cooperate. Let her know that you understand how much she enjoys being with your child too, and that when you go back to work, she'll get all that time to herself, but momma needs lunchtime.

I'm getting a sense that your mom is struggling a bit with defining her role. I'd try to address her needs while at the same time setting boundaries. One opportunity here might be to come up with a very fun, affectionate, name for her that doesn't make her feel old, and that speaks to her having a special role.

If these are the issues coming up at 6 months, it's very important to nip them in the bud by setting healthy, loving boundaries now.

All the best,

2 moms found this helpful

Tell her it's fine if she doesn't want to be called grandma, but "mom" and "mommy" are already taken. My daughter calls my mom "nanny"...others use "oma" or other language type names.

"mom" is taken!


1 mom found this helpful

Hmmm... would she mind something like.. her name perhaps? This touches a nerve with me because bottom line, she IS the grandma, NOT mommy, not mama, not mom! What does she think of Nana, she could even be Nana (her name).

On the note about her sometimes not wanting to give him to you, that would end right now. I would tell her that if she behaved that way again, I would find somebody else I could trust to take care of him while I wasn't there, because she was getting too close for comfort. Regardless of how she feels, that is your son, not hers, and you are the parent, not her. She needs to take a step back before she nails her own coffin shut. There is no reason you should even have to ASK her to hold your own son. It almost sounds like she is trying to snatch him from you. Ugh my temper is boiling for you. =(

Let me know what you end up doing!

1 mom found this helpful

I think your mom is out of line. Maybe she doesn't realize she's overstepping her bounds but it sounds to me like you've tried to talk to her about it. If you have, then you need to find a new sitter. If you have not talked to her about it, then I would. What a hard thing to do but you need to do this for both you and your son. This is a special time for both of you and can be for grandma too, but her relationship is just that - grandma. I have 2 boys and we didn't know what to call my stepmom so we call her a petname given by my dad. (Her name is Susan - my boys call her Sue-bee. Nothing to do with grandma but it's a special name for them and her and she loves it.) Good luck with this. Sorry you're going through it!


I am so sorry you are going through this, what selfish, hurtful things for your mom to do to you. She should be supporting you in this exciting time of your life, not trying to take it over. I agree with the other posts that a serious discussion is necessary, and no variation of the Mommy name can go to anyone but you!! Good for you for standing your ground and telling her she is not the mom, you are!! It can be hard to stand up to our moms, you are doing the right thing!! There are lots of non-grandma-ish options, if she is not able to enjoy this period of her life as "grnadma." Nana is good, our kids call my mom Mamaw (pronounced Meh-mah) its a Texan thing and I think its a cute name. My cousins children call her mom Money. Not sure where that came from but its not Grandma. :)

I don't imagine you have other options for childcare while you are at work. It is disconcerting that she doesn't want to give your son back to you when you get home and you have to threaten to not bring him back. Do you have a friend who can watch your son for you? I would really consider not using her as regular child care if you can, and make her visits short, supervised ones. Once she has demonstrated over a LONG period of time that she realizes she is not "mommy 2" and not trying to take your place then perhaps she can spend the day with your son.

Stand strong and use all your resources (husband or boyfriend, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles etc) to support you through this!!!

Good Luck,
A. :) :) :)


I too would be annoyed. I find that odd that your mother would want your son to call her mommy. I don't think it's right. I would talk to her and say - How would you have felt if your mother wanted me to call her mommy? Maybe she'll undestand how you're feeling that way. If she absolutely refuses to be called grandma then maybe think of something else other than grandma or mommy that your son can call her. Good luck!


Hi J.

It seems to me she is way over stepping her boundries and being disrespectful to you, your husband and your son. I would ask her how she would have felt if her mother had insisted being called mom by you. (your grandmother) I would suggest if she doesn't want to be called grandma, or nana tell her he can call her by her name. It astounds me that she wants to be an "equal" mom to her grandson and take away mom from you is something deeper going on here?


It is horrible you have to go through this for both reasons, something very special is being taken and because it is your mother. You have to stand your ground and teach your son he only has one mom/mommy/mama. My mother in law was kind of like that, however, she didn't ask to be called mom, she just wanted to be called Laura. I see now I shouldn't have put up such a fuss. Anyway, she eventually got over it and now calls herself "Gamma". As well, my mother started to do that with my oldest daughter because I was very young when I had her. I caught her refer to herself as Mom and asked what she was doing and she quit.

Just be aware, kids do call other authorities in the house mom sometimes. My 2 YO calls my 24 YO daughter mommy or mommy sissy sometimes. She disciplines her, so she calls her mom, I guess. My younger sisters did that with me too, although neither one of us encourage it.

Best wishes.

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