161 answers

What to Call a Grandmother

This sounds very silly but my husband and I are having a very hard time coming up with a name for our daughter to call my mother-in-law. The problem is she doesn't want to be called: nana, grandma, grandmother, granny, nanny, mawmaw. What do your children call their grandmothers?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the suggestions. My husband and I are going to compose a list of the suggested names and let her review it. Hopefully, she will decide because we are tired of trying to please her. Thanks again and have a blessed day!

Featured Answers

How about pain in the azz...ok sorry I just don't get why these womean don't want to be called grandma or the other names associated with it. UGH. LOL, how about Mema, my sister is a young grandma and that's what her grandson calls her. My mother-in-law likes Nena. Or how about Mimi?

Good luck to you...

1 mom found this helpful

We have Nana and Papa. Mema and Grampy G (for his first name, Gregg). My older daughter (from a different father) also has just plain Gram and Gramp and Mor-Mor for Grandma (Danish, I think). For Great Grandparents I always used G.G. (Great Grandma). Friends I know use Mimi and Oma. Let her choose something that is easy for the child to say and that makes her feel comfortable.

I know you have plenty of advice but just thought i would add that my mother didnt want to be called any of that and she is called "GiGi" she claims it is because she is a great grandparnt..great as in fabulous etc...lol

More Answers

How about pain in the azz...ok sorry I just don't get why these womean don't want to be called grandma or the other names associated with it. UGH. LOL, how about Mema, my sister is a young grandma and that's what her grandson calls her. My mother-in-law likes Nena. Or how about Mimi?

Good luck to you...

1 mom found this helpful

My sons call my mother Grammie and my mother in law mom mom. But I would suggest that since the woman insists on being so darn picky, you ask her what she wants to be called and if she doesn't have any good suggestions, have your children call her Mrs. Whatever her last name is. That ought to let her know that she's being ridiculous. You may also try asking her why she doesn't like any of the traditional grandmother names, it may be that she's feeling insecure about getting older in which case I would suggest to her that maybe she should deal with that first.

1 mom found this helpful

It is not a silly question because we are having the same problem. My mother is re-married and I really don't know what to call him. Right now my son calls them Medaw and peepa, so cute and I guess he is too young to say it correct. So no suggestions from me but wanted you to know someone else was in the same boat. Good Luck D., mother of a 32 month old son, Dylan

Gma...simple cool...no explanation needed really

mine and my hubbie's moms are just grandma, but my grandma is called GG for great grandma. she's too young to be called that! maybe she could call her G or gaga or gigi. those are all i can think of. hope this helps.

Seems to me the grandmother needs to come up w/ an alternative if she doesn't like any of those names.

That said, my 2 yo calls my husband's mother "Olivia Grandma." She came up w/ that one on her own and "Olivia Grandma" didn't complain!

Hi L., When my oldest son was learning to talk he couldn't say "grandma" so he called her "Emma". Now all 11 of her grandchildren call her that, and she loves it. She didn't want to be called those other names either. She felt they sounded too old. So "Emma" worked out great for us. - C. J.


My grandmother felt she was too young to be called any of those grandma names as well. She wanted us to call her Mom-Mom. It's close to Mom so young ones can say it and sometimes sounds like Mama-a younger reference than grandma.

I hope this helps!
S. P.

Have you thought about borrowing from another language? There is Nonna in Italian, abuelita or Tita in Spanish, Oma in German, Bobe in Yiddish, Babka in Belurusian and so forth. My mother in law chose Nonna. My nephew dubbed my mother "Grandma Bubbles" because she always blows bubbles with them, so they came up with that on their own, and she loves it. Your mother in law might be OK with having the kids come up with a name for her too.

How about Mom-Mom? It's what I called my mom's mom and what my son (6 months) is "calling" my mom.

we had a similar problem when my children were small we decided to call her mom mom. Not much different than mom. I hope the idea is helpful.

My mom is Mimi and my mother-in-law is Oma (its German I think)

My 4 year old grandson calls me Birdi. I raise little conures and parrotlets and when I saw the movie "You've Got Mail" Meg Ryan called Jean Stapleton (her grandmother in the movie) Birdi. I put that name in my "memory bank" and several years later my son had a son. I referred to myself as Birdi to him so that's what he calls me. My husband (PapO) and I have had him since he was 8 weeks old. We pray that we will be allowed to keep him. We have full custody, but his birth mother ("ex addict") is going for custody, court date June 6. Prayers welcomed.

ask your mother-in-law what she wants your daughter to call her.

What about nonna? It is Italian for grandmother. My mother in law loves it. Or try grandmum, my mom is that.


Ask her what she wants to be called since she is concerned about what she doesn't want to be called. She may have something creative in mind :)

I am a mom mom. My sisters are mimi, and gamma. No one should have to be called mawmaw.......unless you are very old. When they say mom mom (comes out mummum)..love it.

My son calls my mother Bana. We were trying all sorts of things out. I said Nana, he thought I was saying banana which at the time he called bana. So it stuck. I think she likes it. It's original and something he came up with.

We have a Nini (which was going to be a Nana, but as little kids do...it was mispronnounced and stuck!), a Grammy and a Mimi. I have friend whose mom isGramma Carrie (grandmother's name). Goodluck.


It sounds to me like your MIL is being a bit rediculous as those are all names for grandma!! My suggestion is to ask her what she wants to be called and as long as it isn't by her first name only (which personally to me is disrespectful for a child to do) let the kids call her that. That way she can't complain about what they call her. You know, she should be HONORED to be able to be called grandma!

My son calls my Mother Gigi...Which is actually, I found out later, an Italian name for grandmother.

We went the Italian route. She is Nonnie (pronounced w/ a long o).

Why don't you just ask your mother-in-law what she would like to be called? When I was a child, all of us called our grandmother by the same name our mother's did! We were all happy with it and our mother's all thought it was actually cute. And I guess my grandmother felt as if she was just the mom of more and more children. Just an idea.

What is the mother in laws name? I have a friend who is going to be a grandma soon and she is going to be called Gi Gi. My name is J. and my niece calls me Aunt Ju Ju. Maybe you could come up w/something clever w/her name. Just a suggestion.
From: J. L

My mom had a problem with all of those as well so she picked Mimi.

my husbands mom is a pretty young grandmother so she didnt want all of the matrionly sounding names ether.So my kids and all of her grand kids call her Momo. good luck

My daughter is learning Nana and Grammy for the grandmothers. I have also heard Kiki before...maybe you could run that by your mother in law. My husband called his Nonni and GanGan. Or what you can do is to make up some kind of a nickname from her first name. Hope this helps. =)

I have a friend who's mom did not want to be called Grandma so they came up with the name G-Mom. Kind of a "hip" way to say it. Hope this helps!!!

My son calls my mother grammy. I didn't like granny but I like grammy. The other grandmother's don't have special names yet but we need to get some since he has 2 grandmothers and 3 great granmothers!

Years ago, I worked in a preschool and one of students called her grandmother, Mama Bear. My oldest is only 13yo but I love the name and I hope I will be able to use it many, many years from now. I will kindly share it with your MIL, if she would like to use it.

I have a friend that has her children call her mom Mi-Mi. I think this is really cute. Our kids call my husbands mom, Grammy. I think some grandmothers are uncomfotable with being called such "old fashioned names". Sometimes if you just give them two of them some time together in the first few weeks, they will come up with something all on their own! ;o) Best wishes!

I know you have a lot of responses, but just to let you know that kids will call their grandparents what they will, my family decided to make it confusing for my kids, as my dad was already "Pawpaw" to my nephew, my grandfather is "Papa" to everyone, my stepdad is "Pop-pop", and my father-in-law is "Poppa" (with his insistence on the name and spelling). My poor kids had no idea who we were talking about unless we associated the name with something else. My dad is no longer "Pawpaw"... to my four year old daughter he's "Pawpaw on the motorcycle" and to my two year old son he's "Pawpaw Mototycle". Whatever you decide, keep it easy!


Some grandmothers like to be called MiMi. I know many ladies
who prefer this name and the grandchildren seem to love their


The newest I'veheard is gammy, I have also heard grammy, grams, and big momma.

Try Gram...that's what my husband calls his Grandmother (his Dad's mom.) She thought "grandma" sounded too old so she's Gram. Now that she has great grandchildren, they call her G-G. It's very cute!

We gave our "grandparents" choices and they all came up with something themselves, but since she needs a little help, consider the word for grandmother in a foreign language, especially one that goes with your family heritage. My mom (who's Italian) goes by Nonna (the Italian word for grandmother). My stepdad is known as Opa (he is German and that's the German word for grandfather). You get the idea. Just a suggestion, but you might come up with something that doesn't sound so "elderly," as many new grandparents object to!! :-) Hope you find something that works!

I grew up with a Babci (pronounced "Bob-chee") which is Polish for grandmother and a Grandma...I was never confused as to which was which.
Now, with my daughters, we have two sets of "Grandma & Grandpa" - I wish we could have come up with something else for one of them, it can get mighty confusing! = ) Just to add more fun to it, we also have two "Uncle Greg"s, my brother and my BIL!

Good luck!

my son calls my mom mimi it young and hip. it doesnt sound too old

how bout mom-mom, or maa. we use mom-mom

We have Nana and Papa. Mema and Grampy G (for his first name, Gregg). My older daughter (from a different father) also has just plain Gram and Gramp and Mor-Mor for Grandma (Danish, I think). For Great Grandparents I always used G.G. (Great Grandma). Friends I know use Mimi and Oma. Let her choose something that is easy for the child to say and that makes her feel comfortable.

We went the easy route and told both sets of grandparents they were going GrandMa and GrandPa and their first names. It was simple and uncomplicated.

However, we also decided that if the children came up with anything on their own once they started communicating -- it would be okay. That way it would be their own special thing. Six years and three kids later it is still Grandma and Grandpa.

Hope you find something that works for you guys!

my kids call their grandmother NONNA which is Italian for grandmother and I call mine Grammy, them there is Gam hope this helps

My brother's children also had a grandmother (his wife's mother)who didn't want to be called grandma or any variation thereof, so their daughters called her "Mama Grace," her given name. The daughters' children continued that tradition by calling my brother's wife "Mama Jan" and my brother became "Papa Jack." I imagine that each daughter in turn will someday continue that tradition and be called "Mama Sibyl" or "Mama Jane"! I also know three different families who derived the name "Gaga" for the grandmother -- my daughter created that one on her own, after "Dada" and "Mama," and I thought no one else had until I learned otherwise. Our pastor still calls his 94-year-old grandmother "Gaga."

I feel for you! Eventually she will call her what she wants in the meantime, tell your mother-in-law to pick a name or just suggest if she can not decide then she can call her by her first name. Sounds like your motherr -in -law has some issues with the "grandma image"! Too funny...

I'm a grandmother of a two year old, she has two grandmother and one great grandmother and one great great grandmother, she calls me Grandma, her other grandmother Cupcake and my mother which is her Great Grandmother Pumkin, and she knowns who is who. She calls my Great Grandma, Grandma also.

I think u should leave that up to the grandmother on what she should be call.


L. R

Hi, L. -- have you asked your mother-in-law what she would prefer to be called? My grandchildren call me MamMaw. My first grandchild started calling me that because she couldn't pronounce "Grandma" and it stuck. I love it. They call my husband "Poppy". My sister's grandchildren call her Mom-Mom and her husband is Pop-Pop. My sister-in-law's granddaughter calls her "Honey" and her husband "Poppy". Perhaps your mother-in-law would like a name like "Honey", or even "G". My grandchildren used to call my mother (their great grandmother) "GiGi" when she was living. It was a very affectionate name and she loved it.

N. C

Ask your mother-in-law what she wants your daughter to call her. If she doesn't let you know tell her what you decide to call her. Tell her that I was a grandmother before I was 42 and I'm still kicking. It doesn't make sence to address her anyother way but grandma. Hope this helps. I have a friend that won't let her grandchildren call her grandma but she settled for nana. She turned 50yrs. old last year. I guess she thinks it makes her old. I think that they aren't proud of there grandchildren. Mine call me grandma M. so they know who is who. and sometimes they call me gram.

Definitely NOT silly! Have you thought about Mom Mom? At first I was a little worried that it was to close to mom or mommy....but it is really cute! Your mother-in-law may like that one.

We ran into the same issue. My mom said those names would make her feel old. My mom's name starts with a "J", so the kids call her "Mama-J" & she loves it. I also have herd just "G" before, standing for grandmom.

My mother is grammy which is what I called my grandmother growing up. We had also considered OMA which is german for grandmother. We are military and my daughters were both born in Germany.

Hi L.,
My kids call my mother, MIMI. It is French for Grandmother.
I have other friends who call their grandmother, Nona, which is Italian for Grandmother.
What would SHE like to be called?

K. K.

My niece calls her grandmother "ya-ya."

We have a Nini, Nona (italian) and Tutu (Hawaian)

Hello L.,

My Grandchildren call there great Grandma's memaw they call me Grandma J.. Maybe they could call her GM for Grandma or what her initials are.

Hope this is some help.

Thanks, J.

I am a Navywife . anyways, my children call my parents grandpa and grandma . my in-laws are Nana and grandpa (can't use papa with the father in law cause we call my husband papa to the children at times)

Let grandmother pick the name and then the kiddies are gonna call her whatever they can pronounce!! There are some cute ones: we have a Gimmie and a PeePap, a Grammy and a Grampy and a GaGa (18 month old nephew was adopted from Russia and that's all he could say and it stuck!). Try not to worry about it too much, it WILL work itself out! :)

Over the years I have learned that quite often it's not about what the grandparent wants to be called, but what name the child bestows with love and admiration on the grandparent! My son began calling my mother "grandmommie" as a baby, though often it came out as "gan-MOMMIE", (she didn't care for grandma, granny, etc.). Now, at 18, my son calls her "Grandmom," and everyone is happy with that.


I am new Grandmother and struggled with this too. He's 5 months old and I still don't know. My daughter and her hubby are calling me "Gammy" when they talk to him.>;(

I kind of like Maia... (pronounced like may ya)

It means she who brings increase.

Hi L.,

My children call my mom Gmom and my neighbors kids call their grandsmother mommom. I hope this was helpful.

I called my Mom's mom Grams and my Dad's mom Memere (she was french). What is her ethnic background? Maybe there's a cute form of the word they would use for Grandmother. My friend calls her grandmother Mimms (a form of Memere).

Good for you being a SAHM, I am also. My kids call my mom MaMae. The "a" on the end is long. I believe this is a form of french for grandmother or mommom. MomMom is what we call my grandmother. We also have a Grammy. VolVol (Portuguese for gradmother, I believe) what we called our great gradmother.

The MOM Team, Helping Moms Stay Home

My grans call me MEME. That's an easy one to learn. Hope this works.

I have a neice that had that same problem !Anyways they ended up calling (grandma) HONEY ? I hope that helps! K.

Hi- we went through the same thing with my mother in law. She's very young (looking) and didn't want to be a grandma. We call her Nona (pron. Noh-Nah) and is grandma in Italian.
Hope this helps!
S.- mom of 18 month Natalie

I know you have plenty of advice but just thought i would add that my mother didnt want to be called any of that and she is called "GiGi" she claims it is because she is a great grandparnt..great as in fabulous etc...lol

Has your mother-in-law said what she prefers to be called? If she's vetoing all the usuals, then she obviously has something in mind and don't let her get away with 'oh, I don't know, I just don't like all those names.' My mother-in-law was like that, so we decided to call each grandmother by the name we called our own grandmothers, so my mom is Grammy, and his mom is Grandmother (she got used to it, and calling her by her first name was not an option; her daughters-in-law all call her "M", which is her first initial, she'd vetoed mom, mother D, etc.)
It's hard enough coming up with a baby's name, never mind picky grandparents! Is this the first grandchild? Sometimes that's a hard concept to get used to, being a grandma.

Hi L., I am hispanic and the spanish word for
grandmother is Abuela, but your daughter can shorten
it to Bella. It is sure to make your mom-in-law feel
young and beautiful. Oh and from a sailor's wife,
please tell your husband Thank You for his service
and time.
C. S.

L. ~ It's amazing how some people think life is all about them! I work with a woman who wants to be called "Diva" by her grandkids. It's oh so sad and vain. But since you have a MIL who feels the need for special treatment, instead of having some sensitivity towards you and your children, let HER pick out the name. If she chooses something like "Diva", I'll bet she will begin to feel quite embarrassed after awhile that she has chosen such a pretentious name and will probably revert back to something a bit more traditional. Good luck - not only with this issue, but for the ones I predict you will have in the future as well. ~ K.

Let her decide! Nothing wrong with that. my husband's family called his grandmother by her first name because she didn't want to be called a "grandma" name and that is what she wanted, it was kinda cute actually. Or perhaps the baby will come up with her own unusual nickname for his mom, we have a lot of those in our family!

my mom is nana my mother-in-law is mimi

My in-laws are Hispanic and the grandkids call them Abi (short for Abuelita) and Abu (short for Abuelito) in Spanish. You could see if she likes Abi, or try Dona (spelled with a tilde over the n, it's a Spanish letter but I don't know how to type with an English keyboard). For example, our grandmother is Dona Carmen. Dona is a very polite title for "lady" and you use it with the first name, i.e. "Lady Carmen" is Dona Carmen. Hope either of those work. Good luck!

I think your problem is the grandmother. Why does she have an issue with all of those names. She is not leaving you much choice? I'm not sure what her heritage is, but maybe if she is from another country she could be called what grandmother is in her native language. Have you asked her what she wants to be called? She seems to have the issue, not you. Put it in her hands. I would like to understand why she doesn't want to be called any of those names. that is really odd. With my son, my parents accepted whatever he wanted to call them. When he was very young he started calling my mother Grammie and he has stuck with it. He calls my dad Ganga. Don't ask my why, but that's what he calls them. And because they love him so much they are happy with whatever term of endearment he comes up with. I think you should talk to your mother-in-law.

My daughter kind of makes up her own names for them. Even if you find the perfect name, she might change it. Some other names my daughter uses are bahboo (pronounced like it looks bah-boo), nana, and andma (trying to say grandma). Good luck name searching! :)

Hi my name is Lena and I am american born but my ethnicity is Lebanese, in arabic grandma is Tyta. So I think she'll be happy with that I hope that helps.

I would suggest letting the child decide what to call her. It would make the name a little more personal and special to the grandparent.

Hi L.,
My little guys called their grandmother "mamma-dear."
She thought it was sweet, and she had special little names for them, too.

My sisters grandchildren call her "ooma."
Maybe a made-up name like those would fit.

Good luck.

My mother also did not want any of the "original" names for grandmother, so my son calls her Mimi. I have also heard Gigi. Hope this helps.

My inlaws made up their own name for my kids to call them.... Mama and Papa.

How about Meema! My daughter and son call my mother in law that. I thinks it a cute name to be called.

what about GG or Mommom?

That's funny. My mother in law was the same way. She told my kids that the only thing she will answer to was "Granmommy" She said that sounds much more personal and it doesn't make her feel like an old lady. So that's what they call her.

Well my mother was horrible about this as well so my parents are called Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop. And my sons other grandparents are Grammy and Grampy.

Oh yea, I was going to say GiGi, too. My SIL has my nephews call her mom GiGi and they say it stands for "Gorgeous grandma" :o) Appeal to her vanity :o)

We call my mom mawmaw and pap for my dad. And the inlaws are called pops and granma deb.
If your mother in law is going to be that picky then she can either pick her own name to be called or deal w/ one you choose. I think she has turned down every name in the book. Ask her what she wants...
Ideas: my neighbor calls his grandma YaYa. Dont know why. I know a kid who calls his: grams, gran. Also depending on your heritage perhaps you can pick a name from there like: my friends grandmother was German so they called her the german word for grandmother: Großmutter. My one friends child couldnt say grandfather correctly so he said: "granfazzah" and it stuck...very cute. You can also Yahoo possibilities and find endless options. Good luck.

I guess I am a little late in this reply, but my son's call one set of grandparents, nanny & granddaddy, the other set they call mom mom and paw paw....the boys chose the mom mom & paw paw by themselfs....the other set they hear the older grandkids call them....children will come up with there own version if not directed to a certain name.....mom mom came from the boys hearing me call my mother moma, so guess that is how they came up with there version.....hope you do not stress over this to much, it will work itself out....God Bless & have a wonderful day!

My daughters use Mom Mom (for their Father's Mother) and Grandmom (for my Mother). However, since I'm one of 13 children and we had lots of children of our own, Grandmom became Granny to all (even friends)until she died. I'm Memaw and I love it. I didn't start out to be Memaw. It was what my first granddaughter called me and I loved it. Now I have three granddaughters that call me Memaw.

We'va always called my grandmother momma or grandma but I used to have a client that didn't want her grands to call her grandma either. She had them to call her Avia which I think is latin for grandmother. You can also try avó which is portugese for grandmother.

Hi L.,

Sometimes the grandchild just names them on their own.

When my oldest son was born we called my mom Grandma Sandy. When he began talking, it came out Agga Dee. As he got older, he evolved it to Dee. She liked it, and it stuck. My younger son has called her Dee right from the beginning as does most of the family now.

When my cousin was a baby, (she is 12 years younger than I) she named my grandparents Mimi & Papa. Eventually it caught on. They went from being Grandma & Grandpa to my brothers and I, to Mimi & Papa as well. My grandmother is now 89 and is known to all, family and family friends as Mimi.

my mom had this same issue. we ended up calling her Grandmo, because her name is Olivia.

If your mother-in-law doesn't want to be called any of the above, let her come up with a suggestion. Maybe this isn't about the name itself but about being a grand mother. I assume this is the first grand child since this is an issue.
Perhaps she relates all these names to someone old who hobbles along and keeps stale lifesavers in her purse.
How about just Nan, short for Nana. Also many ethnic groups use the word from their culture (Nona, Yiayia etc) What did she call her grand-mother?
Well, you know what many of grand parents say.....I don't care what you call me as long as you call me!

My MIL is Swedish, so she is Farmor (father's mother), and my mom is Israeli, so she is Savta. What my son will actually call them when he starts talking is anyone's guess.

Here are a few others ideas..... Mimi, Honey, Nonna, Noni, Omi, Oma, Nonni, Tata, Teeta...
In our family we usually start calling them something, but then end up calling them whatever the first grandbaby can say -it leads to some really unique names!
Hope this helps,

My inlaws had specific names they wanted to be called, however, my 2 yr old daughter new to talking couldn't pronounce their choices and had other ideas about what they should be called. She called them Meemaw and beepaw, which they hated and corrected her each time. Finally I said to my father in law that this is how grandpa comes out of her mouth and if he wants to be called anything, this is it. He let it go and 6 mo later she started calling them grandma and grandpa. My mother in law was disappointed that meemaw was gone. My parents are called meemaw and poppy to this day (my dad wanted pop pop and it came out poppy). My son will follow in her footsteps. In my family, my cousin called my grandma maughy and everyone else followed. So I would leave it up to your daughter to pick a name for them.

Holy Responses Batman!

I call my grandparents Nana & Grandpa and Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop and my great grandparents were Nana Sadie & Pappy Ben. There are really so many different names - Grandma, Gramma, Gammaw, Grammy, Granny, Nanny, Nana, Mimi, Mamaw, Oma, Gram, Mammy... it's almost never-ending! LOL! Did you ask your MIL what she DOES want to be called? Usually once kids start talking they come up with their own version of whatever the word is anyway and that usually winds up sticking.

My kids call my mil Grandmommma, and my mom Tutu (hawaiian for grandma) Hope that helps. Good luck!

I have always called my grandmother "granny" and my son calls her "nana". He calls my mother "granny". Yet I have two cousins who call their grandmother "Neana", her name is Jeanine. If your mother-in-law doesn't want your daughter to call her the "grandmother names", then sit down with her and see if you two can come up with something cute regarding her first or even middle name. Her feelings towards the "grandmother names" may change later down the road. But if not, the most important thing is that your daughter gets to know her grandmother and spend time with her, it doesn't matter what she calls her, it will always be a special bond between grand-daughter and grandmother that no one can ever replace.
Good luck and please keep us updated on the outcome,
T. C.

I love being called, "GRANDMA" :)
My grandkids call the other grandmother "lala", which she seemed to favor and means nothing in my book.....when I was a child, I had a "nana" but that seems old to me....I am a very young looking grandma and love the honor of having grandchildren so why try to hide it?

perhaps you should try and ask the Mother-in-law what she would like to be called. There are also beautiful translations for grandmother in other languages try looking them up too! My mom wants to be called Grammy Tammy then she goes on and says she is from Miami but she is not. Then his mother is Nanna out here. Tyhen my step mom is Maw again the first grand child made that one up too!! May God Bless you in this situation

EMA - it is Estonian for Grandmother! (spelled with only one m) Easy for kids to say! Good Luck!

My son calls his Great Grandma "GG". She suggested it, and it works fine. I can't say that it thrills me but... what can you do.
Good Luck,

It will be interesting to hear what she decides fits her.

My children call their grandmothers "Grammie" and "Grandma". For the great grandmother, she is "Grandma Frances". I have a good friend who's children call one Granny and the other one Mrs. (her last name). If your mil isn't careful, that's what she'll be...Mrs. (her last name). Of course, the name reflects the type of grandma she is.

I would leave it up to your mil and your baby. My mom chose what she wanted to be called. She was thrilled to be a Grammie. My mil already had 12 grandchildren when my 4 kids came along. So her name was pretty much determined ages ago.

I suggest that you ask her what she would like to be called. If she picks the name and then she decides she doesn't like it later she only has her self to blame.

Perhaps your MIL can suggest something. When my husband's older sister was born, his grandmother did not want to be called grandmom--or any of the other forms. She simply wanted to be called by her name--Carol. However, my SIL couldn't say Carol. It came out Camel. And, so Camel it was. Fourteen grandchildren and three four great grandchildren later, she was still Camel. She used to call each grandchild a "Hump." She passed away in January--a Camel with Seventeen Humps!!! (And, pretty much EVERYONE called her Camel.)

We had a tough time coming up with something for my daugther to call my father. He's known as "Cappy" (Short for Captain) to many. I thought my daughter would call him Cappy too. But, then he wanted her to call him something special. So, now (she's 4) she calles him several different names....Cappy, PopCap, PopPop, Your Dad.

My mom (Nanny) passed away almost 2 years ago. My dad has a girlfriend...and I wanted my children to have something to call her besides just her name. I asked her to come up with something. She is French Canadian. She came up with Aime (I'm not sure if I spelled that correctly, but I think it's the French word for "friend" or "dear one".)

Try to find something that works for your MIL. But don't be surprised if your daugther doesn't take to it and tweaks it to fit! Good luck.

My thoughts would be to then ask your mother-in-law what she would like your child to call her. It sounds like you listed all the names I could think of except just gram, but then again it sounds like your mother-in-law is avoiding the label grandma. This leads me to believe the issue is hers and she needs to decide what she wants your daughter to call her, even if it's just her first name. Good luck!

My nieces called my mom grandma and when my new nephew came along he started his own thing calling her "Me Me".... she loves it - Grandpa is "papa" congratulations- good luck...

There's also Ohma (don't know if that's spelled correctly) which is German, and Nima..our friend has her grandchildren call her that.

R. M

Dutch - Oma?

if its age related, a friend had her daughter call the grandmother, mama and then the grandmother's name. so it her name is lucy, it would be mama lucy or her favorite flower?

good luck.

If her grandmother's ancestry is meaningful, perhaps selecting a name used in her ancestral language (i.e. Grandmother in French, Italian, Swahili, Spanish, etc...). Most importantly work with her grandmother in finding a name that she will value and cherish. Best of luck.

My mother dithered over what she wanted to be called when my sister was pregnant with her first grandchild. By the time my nephew was born my sister & I decreed that she would be Oma. She's been happy with that. So, my daughter has:
Oma (my mom)
Grandpa (my dad)
Nana (my stepmom)
Grandma (my MIL)
Papa Gene (my FIL)

Hi L.!

Down in NC, a very common name for grandmothers is Honey, or you could always go with the German translation - Omi or Oma.


My mom didn't like the traditional names either. My parents are now going by Gigi and Buddy (my dad's name is not Buddy! :)) What about Gigi or Mimi?

My son calls my Mom Nana and my Mother in law Grammy. I know Nana isn't an option for your MIL but maybe she will except Grammy. I always called mine Mamaw.


I say you let her use her first name. See how she likes that coming from the lips of her beautiful grandchild. I personally would be offended if my mother in law did not want my child to call her something appropriate in the lines of a grandmother. My mother in law went for Nona, just to differentiate herself from my daughter's two other grandmothers. My mother is her grandma, and my step mother is her grammy. I think all children should have a grandma to call grandma............Goodluck.

Gammie, Gigi, Mema, Grandma-ma, and Nana

Hi L.,

What does the grandmother want to be called?


We had the same problem with MIL. In our case it was because MIL did not want to be a grandmother (WHOLE nother story there!). So, hubby and I said fine, he's going to call you by your first name. We only see them about once every 4ish years, so as you can tell there are a host of dysfunctional issues going on there, but because son doesn't have a relationship with her, he feels in appropriate he doesnt' call her a grandmotherly term also.

We call my Mom "G-Ma" and then my Grandmother is "GG-Ma" :-)

Hi L.,

Why not ask your MIL what she'd like to be called? I'd leave it in her hands since she's not fond of the traditional nicknames.


Hi L.,
My mother just became a grandmother for the first time in January and we had the same challenge of finding a "grandmother" name for her. She also didn't like the traditional names so she decided with the Italian word for grandmother (our family is Italian). Perhaps she could find a name she likes from a different language. Good luck!

My grandkids call their other grandmothers:
MiMi, Grammy, Nonnie
They all call me Grandma and I don't mind. I was only 37 when I first became a 'Grandma'. I figured this finally justified my sporatic grey hairs! :D

I hope your mother-in-law can get past the name and just enjoy having grandchildren.

Our kids have multiple grandmas, due to being a blended family. There is "Grandma" "Nonny" "Grammy" and "gwenmom"
You could always use your mother-in-law's first name, and add "Mom" at the end. What does she want to be called?

we use grammy. i've also heard gram, and a french version is meme (MEM-ay). you might also look into you ethnic heritage and what names were used traditionally.

My mom loves the Eloise books. So, when my oldest was born, she wanted to be known as Mommaly. It works. Its unique. My girls also have a Nana (My grandmother) and a MAw Maw. If MIL doesn't agree to that one, then tell her to embrace her golden years and settle on something lol.


My mother was the same way and didn't like any of those names. She decided she liked Grammy...or Grammie, so that is what she is. I thought my mother made it up, but I actually hear it often. Good luck.

tell her to figure out her own name! What is this? You had the baby-- she can figure out what she wants to be called. Does she even want to be a Grandma? my kids call their grandmothers, "Grandma"! Grandma this and Grandma that.. I had the kids.. they figure out what they want the kids to call them, this is not a stress that you guys should have.


We have used intials for grandmother nick-names. For example: Grandma Gretchen is GG (she didn't want to be called Grandma - but LOVES this). Also, we created a nickname from the full name. grandma Joan is Jojo or Grandma Jojo.

My daughters call my mother-in-law "mom-mom." My mother is Memaw.

We have a very close family friend who is like a mother to me. She wanted to be called Grandmamma. Accent on the "grand".


My mom is Nana, and my step-dad is G-Dad, MIL is Gram and FIL is Papa, my Dad is PopPop. My mom actually teased me about wanting to be called "Glam-Ma!" I call my Grandmother Mom-Mom, Grandmommy & Meemaw.

I know my best friend's parents are called Tita (Pronounced Tight-Ah"-Arabic)-for Grandma and Jiddo (for grandpa). Yaya- Greek

Hope this helps,

Ask your mil what she wants to be called. Since she is the one who knows what she doesn't want, she may know what she does want. And then you and your husband can decide if it "fits".
Some real life info -
One little girl in my third son's preschool calls her Grandma by her first name, Edna. Don't know if her family is thrilled but it is what it is.
My mother was the youngest of 11; she became an aunt at 14. She hated being called Aunt Esther - she said it made her feel old. She asked her nieces to come up with the sweetest thing they could think of and they could call her that. To this day - she is 80 - my cousins call her Aunt Pudding. She
loves the name and so do all of my cousins.
So - ask you mil.
Good Luck!

Sometimes you can plan what a grandparent will be called, but the child will call them what they want when they start talking. I was supposed to be grammy when my oldest grandchild was born, but she couldn't say it and it ended up Mimi. P.S. It kinda sounds like your mother-in-law is having difficulty adjusting to the fact that she is getting older and has become a granny. That is unfortunate because it is one of the most wonderful stages of life!!

Hi L.!
We used to call my great-grandmother mummum & my son called my mother-in-law mommom Nancy. But a lot of times the kids choose. We tried to get my son to call my mom granny & he called her nanny (which was already my grandmothers name). So we had a nan & a nanny. Ah if all lifes problems were this simple huh.
Good luck but let the girls choose.

My daughter calls my mom GeGe my Mom wanted Grammy & when my daughter tried to say it it came out GeGe & it stuck because my Mom thought it was cute. She calls her other grandmother MomMom. Have you tried asking you mother-in-law what she wants to be called?

I think grandmothers and grandfathers can be called all kinds of things by the kids. It's so cute to hear the unique names people come up with - kids come up with them on their own most of the time. In our case, my kids call my dad "Bumpa" as their own version of pronouncing grampa. And they call my mother "Emmy" because that's how my daughter first pronounced Grammy and it stuck. It really makes them feel special too, to have a name that came directly from the kids and is unique. I have a friend I grew up with that called her grandparents Binky and Bunky for some reason, it's just what she made up when she was little. I'd advise to have your kids think of specials names on their own if they can. Or just make up something silly (that granny likes) and I'm sure it will stick with time.

Good luck!

My kids call their grandmothers "MomMom". Because I also have stepparents my son calls them MomMom or MomMom w/ their first name following (ie. MomMom Pam). Another option would be to ask her what she wants to be called or to call her "Ms. whatever her first name is".

My stepmom (who was married to my dad before MY first birthday was present at the birth of both my children) started asking to be called Grammy because my sister's kids did once they came along. Since my son was already calling her MomMom Pam, he continues to do so (as will my daughter who isn't talking clearly yet).

How about "Oma", that's a Grandmother in German.


We have a Noni and a Mimi. I don't know what your mother's name is, but maybe there is a fun derivation of it that would work? My mom is young - 55 so she wasn't into the Nana, grandma thing either. THat is why we went with Noni.

Hi L.,

The fact is that a name will come naturally and should just happen for your daughter with her grandparent. My mother-in-law also didn't want to be called grandma etc. I would think whatever comes out of her beautiful little mouth would melt your mother-in-laws heart b/c it's from her angel. I never thought we would call our parents maw-maw and pop-pop but that's what my daughter came up with and that's what it is today. My parent's have 11 grandkids
and they all refer to them with different names and it works. Our parent's decided if that's what those babies wanted to call them then that's what it would be and each is special b/c they did it on their own for whatever reason.
Our parent's are AKA: grandma, grammy, maw-maw,and mee-maw. Pap, pop-pop and grandpa. No matter what name it is it's all out of LOVE! Best ot luck.

Hi L.
I used to call my grandmother mom-mom on my mom's side and gammie on my dad's side. Maybe she'll like this if not ask her to let you know what she wants to be called. Hope this helps. L.

My mother did not want to be called any of the traditional grandmother names b/c she did not think she was old enough for them. She was 55 at the time. She was old enough, but anyway.....My kids call her Mimi.


My son call's his grandma, "Queenie". She refused to be called anything close to grandma! Insisting that she is too young and stating that she is the queen of the family! SHe loves it, and we like it too!

I am a grandma who is called Gramma by all 5 grandchildren. I'm sorry your mil is being difficult. It is the most wonderful name I've ever been called. I do have a good friend whose granddaughter calls her Buddy.

My children called my mom, Nana, and my dad, Papa. This later evolved to Great Nana.

You could try an ethnic translation of grandma.

i though mamaw was cute but once my then 2 year old found out my moms name was carol she started calling her that. except she couldnt say r's or l's so it came out cao (kay-oh) so now thats what all 4 grandchildren call her. her friend asked that she be called g-g my cousins kids grandma chose mam-mam. maybe a form of her real name will work.

It is always fun to go with names from other countries, like Nonna (Italian). My mother-in-law is simply called Grand by my daughters; my mother is called Gee (from the first letter of both "grandmother" and her first name, Gretchen). I call my grandmother (who is still alive at age 88!) Dear Ma, which I love. I think that is the name I will pick some day when I am a grandmother.

My nieces call their maternal grandmother Mimi. It sounds silly to me but she likes it. My daughter calls my mother mama similar to mawmaw but w/o the w sound, maybe should would be okay with one of those.


My kids call my mom Grammy. She loves it. It doesn't make her feel old like a Grandma.

Good luck.


L., since the grandmother seems to have a very unusual idea of what she wants to be called, I would ask her what she wants her grandchild to call her, within reason. I think that by her first name is not appropriate, but if she doesn't have a clue about what she wants to be called, just pick one yourself. If she complains, then ask her to suggest. Sometimes, people think they don't want a name that is linked to getting older, but eventually they may like a traditional name because of the loving relationship that it brings to mind. In the end, she's your daughter.

Hey L.,

We use the names Nan-Nan and MeMa. I have also heard of MiMi. Good luck.....D.

My son (now 2 1/2) came up with the only thing he could say - he was unable to say Grandma & Grandpa - so in his sweet little attempt it came out Bopaw & Mammu. So they were THRILLED that they had their own special names from Jameson. I'd say let your little one do what comes naturally - it's a sweet gift to the grandparents!!

mimi, gram, gigi, and bob (yes, really... when you say "mom" with a cold, it sounds like "bob"...the name has stuck as a nickname for my mom since we were young, and it translated well into a grandma name) are running at our place... what did SHE call HER g'mother? or is she at a loss for a good name, herself? good luck!

I have a friend who had the same problem with her MIL. It seemed that nothing they tried or suggested made the woman happy. They finally sat down with her and told her since you don't like any name we have come up with it is your problem, she won't call you anything until you decide what it is she should call you. After a few visits with hey you type addresses from the granddaughter the woman finally decided that G-ma worked for her. I would do the same and put it into your MIL's hands as to what your daughter should call her, just make sure that she understands that your daughter has to be able to pronounce what ever her choice is so that there aren't any hard feelings over pronunciations!

I do have a friend who's mother likes being called GiGi, and her Real Name is Rhoda! Good Luck!

It's not silly.

My son calls my parents grammy and pap and he calls my husband's parents grandma and grandpa. They sort of suggested those names for themselves. As a child, my parents chose grandparent names based on what we started calling our grandparents naturally. They were Granny and Popaw and Pap and Grandma.

what an interesting thread!

with the grandfathers, it was easy my dad is PaPa and my husband's dad is granddad. with the grandmothers, they both want their own special name as well. i initially suggested oma and opa for my husband's parents as my husband had called his grandparents, but his folks did not like it. my mom wants something like gamma or gram and so does my mil. so right now they are both grandmas although it initially sounded like manya.

growing up, i had one grandpa and two grandmas. we called them grandma last name and grandma last name. there was one we had a greater affinity for and she became gram and the other one remained grandma. for my great grandmother we called her granny.

best of luck!

Here's a list of some names you can give to your MIL and let her think about it. If this is her first grandchild, she may be struggling with her age, being old enough to have grandkids but not wanting to be called a typical grandmother name.

Abuela (Spanish)

Aime (French for friend)

Anya (based on the Hungarian for grandmother)

Bella (Italian for beautiful)





Honey (although for my friend, her child couldn't say this and it came out Nunny, and that is what stuck)

Oma (German for grandmother)

Nona (Italian for grandmother)



Vava (Portugese for grandmother)


And here's a website with a list of grandparents names in other languages. Maybe there is something there that she will like.


Anyway, let her choose. Good luck!

I suggest looking up the name grandmother in diffrent languages. My kids call my mother Sho-sho which is grandma in Swahili. My mom truly looks like my sister so she was insistant on not being called grandma! lol Let us know what you decide on!


My son calls his grandfather Papa and his grandmother choose to be called Mormor, which is Danish for mother (i think) ask your mom and mom-in-law what they want to be called.

I am a grandma and my grandkids call me MamMaw. I have also heard MeMaw and I called my grandmother Grammie. Usually the little ones come up with their own name for their grandparents anyway.



Let them figure it out between themselves. Your daughter will come up with something all by herself, in her own time, and your mother-in-law will adore it. :-)

My friend's grandmother is Mimi.
My grandmother was "belle-mere" for fun (literally: beautiful mother), and my great grandmother was called Nayna - a very special name that she created. Can you come up with some chidlike version of your mother-in-law's name that would be appropriate? Or - follow in Goldie Hawn's steps and choose "Glamma" - for a glamorous ma! Hope that helps.

Sometimes a modified form of the grandmother's first name can work. I know a grandmother named Audrey whose grandkids call her "Audie" and I had an aunt Elaine that we always called, "Lanie." Maybe a child-ized form of her first name will do?

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.