60 answers

What to Call Grandpa's Wife?

I have a 6 months old and while we live in a different state as the rest of our family, we show him pictures of them and name them. My husband and I are unsure how to refer to my dad's wife. They've been married about a year and she is a wonderful woman. However, I feel odd about calling her grandma. I feel it's a special name that we use for mine and my husband's mothers. Am I being ridiculous, or have other mom's out there had the same problem? I could use some adivce on this one! Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First, I give a HUGE thank you to everyone who offered words of wisdom and advise to me on this. We refer to my dad's new wife as Grandma for our son. I had been unsure, because I didn't want to offend my mom. She is "Grammy T." My sister had her baby recently and my mom refered to my stepmom as grandma and said she was fine if we wanted to have our kids call her grandma, as she would be a big part of their lives too. This reassured my sister and I both and everything is great! Thank you all again!

Featured Answers

If I were you I would probably call her Nana Sue, Grammy Sue, Grams Sue, Oma Sue....something like that. Have you asked her? Maybe she just wants to be Sue.

4 moms found this helpful

we call my mothers husbands by their names- grandpa is reserved for my actual parents. My mom is on her 5th husband so to be honest we never get really attached. Maybe you should ask her what she would prefer- there are different forms of grandma and if she is close with the family maybe you could up with some kind of nick name for her. -

Edit- I counted wrong 6th husband

3 moms found this helpful

She deserves a grandma name. Maybe you would feel more comfortable asking HER what name she wants the grandkids to call her.

My husband is not the father of my 3 oldest children, but my 2 grandkids call him Grandpa. In their world, it's just the norm to have multiple sets of grandparents.

My youngest son, on the other hand, has no grandparents at all left and sometimes feels sad about that. I wish there were a step grandparent for him to call grandma.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Why don't you ask her? Is there a limit on the number of grandmas a child should have?

6 moms found this helpful

What does she want to be called?
Why don't you ask her?
She might have some great ideas.

4 moms found this helpful

If I were you I would probably call her Nana Sue, Grammy Sue, Grams Sue, Oma Sue....something like that. Have you asked her? Maybe she just wants to be Sue.

4 moms found this helpful

we call my mothers husbands by their names- grandpa is reserved for my actual parents. My mom is on her 5th husband so to be honest we never get really attached. Maybe you should ask her what she would prefer- there are different forms of grandma and if she is close with the family maybe you could up with some kind of nick name for her. -

Edit- I counted wrong 6th husband

3 moms found this helpful

My stepmom and stepdad, and my husbands stepdad are all grandma and grandpas.

Did you ask her?

2 moms found this helpful

in my world, family is what you make it. you can be my family without blood. i have no problem calling my mils new husband grampa, because that is the role he plays, not his birth rite. He has been a dear addition to our family for the last 10 years. For me, a title is given to the one that performs the duties.

2 moms found this helpful

I sort of feel like this is punishing her in a way just because she married into the family and isn't "blood". It doesn't make her any less of a grandma to your kids than your and your husbands moms do. I think his wife is filling the spot of "grandma" so she should be called that if not some kind of special nickname. My son called my mom "mimi" until he could clearly say "grammi". And both my kids called their great grandma "great" for short, so cute, she loved it. So maybe you can find a nickname or nana or something that will work for her. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

So your dad has married a "wonderful woman" who has been in the family longer than your baby has and you don't want to let her be a grandma? your being ridiculous. Your children and all children need all the love they can get. Why would you deny this woman the privilege of being called grandma just because she is your dads second wife? You will find that children will add on an extra name as they get older. it will be grandma Mary and grandpa bob or grandma Jane and grandpa john etc. the more grandparents there are the more names get added. Don't make this a battle in your relationship with your dad. and whether you mean it to hurt her or not it will.

2 moms found this helpful

Call her Nana or Gigi

1 mom found this helpful

I also think you should asked her what she wants to be called... I had a step grandfather, but too me he was my third grandpa, he was a great man. All the grandkids called him "PoPo" because my younger cousin couldn't say PaPa, so she said PoPo and every one started calling him that. My mother loved him as her much as her own dad or really close too it. She did show her dad respect, but she said many times when he was alive he was her second dad.

1 mom found this helpful

I would ask her what she would like to be called. My kids have a Nana, a Grammie, and a Memaw -- all chosen by the ladies in question and they love it!

1 mom found this helpful

you could do her first name... or an alternative name like "nana".

My dad's Girlfriend eventually became "Grandma V_" since HER kids have girls the same age as our girls all of us decided it would be easier for her to be Grandma. My Mom's new husband is Grandpa T_.... Have you considered asking her what she would like to be called? Maybe she could go by a name from her heritage for "Grandma" like:

Chinese: NaiNai
Filipino: Lola
Flemish: Bomma
French: Grandmere
French Canadian: Mémé
German: Oma
Greek: YaYa
Hawaiian: Tutu
Hebrew: Savta
Italian: Nonna
Japanese: Oba-chan
Korean: Halmoni
Polish: Babcia
Portuguese: VoVo
Russian: Babushka
Spanish: Abuela
Yiddish: Bubbe


1 mom found this helpful

Oh we have lots of wonderful names for my dad's new wife. I think I was calling her idiot last night. She spelled her own last name wrong??!!!

Anyway all of us call her by her first name, she is not our mom or grandma, ya know?

1 mom found this helpful

She deserves a grandma name. Maybe you would feel more comfortable asking HER what name she wants the grandkids to call her.

My husband is not the father of my 3 oldest children, but my 2 grandkids call him Grandpa. In their world, it's just the norm to have multiple sets of grandparents.

My youngest son, on the other hand, has no grandparents at all left and sometimes feels sad about that. I wish there were a step grandparent for him to call grandma.

1 mom found this helpful

For you baby I suggest calling her grandma as a child has no history of remembering your 'original' grandma. But for you I suggest asking your grandfather's new wife what she would like you to call her. Let her know that although you are happy for gramps, think she is great, but it just doesn't feel right to call her grandma 'for you'. Can you call her by her first name or come up with something loving that would still be respectful? Like maybe Nana Jean (or whatever her first name is).

1 mom found this helpful

We call my dads wife grandma Gretta. She will be in the child's life in that kind of a role, so grandma is appropriate. Show her the respect as the woman your Grandfather has chosen to share his life with.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a step grandmother my mom tried to have us call her Lilly (her name) and my dad put his foot down, (even though it was my mom's step mother) and said that we were going to call her grandma.

I am so glad that he did, my step grandmother has been MUCH more of a grandmother to me than my biological one. If she is a good woman and you know that she will be a good grandmother to your baby, then I would go ahead and call her grandma, because that's what she is, even if she isn't blood. :)

Add: My biological grandmother has been divorced, widowed, and keeps getting remarried. I can't even remember her current husbands name right now, but again since she really doesn't have much to do with us (and she is already talking about divorcing him....ugh) it's a non issue. But, if he sticks around long enough for her to address him, then I will probably have her call him by his first name. Only because I know he won't be a good great grandpa to her, she is just another annoyance to him. Does that make any sense?

1 mom found this helpful

My dad married 3 times. His current wife of 20 years is still grandma to my children. I think of it that my children are blessed to have more than 2 grandmas to spoil them.

1 mom found this helpful

This one is tough...My husbands parents are split mom remarried and he is just grandpa to our kids now.

His dad is not married but has been with his GF for almost twenty years.

We didnt really address what they would call her..she was just always Danelle.

I didnt know what she wanted to be.

So eventually she took the lead and started addressing herself as grandma to the kids...Now they call them Grandma and Grandpa Danelle. I think it is cool cause it reinforces the fact that you dont have to be married or blood to be family and lets her know we value her as a person in regards of where she stands in our lives.

The name for her will come.

My mom is Grandma Sadie named after her dog and his mom is Grand ma kitty because she has six cats..four of which are giant Mancoons.

It doesnt matter what she is called as long as she is loved:)

1 mom found this helpful

We use Grandma XXXX
she is a grandma... even if that is by being a step grandma. So you can call her grandma and then her first name.

1 mom found this helpful

Both my parents had remarried when I was a kid. I have my daughter call my step father Grandpa and his first name and my stepmom Grandma and her first name. Now my step parents have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember so for me they are a part of the family. I would ask your dads wife what she is comfortable being called since they have only been married for a short time.

1 mom found this helpful

We call my dad's wife grandma donna. We use her first name rather then the last name. That way there wasn't 2 grandma Drew's

1 mom found this helpful

There are no rules, just do what feels right for you. Everyone has their own take on what family and titles mean.

If you want to reserve grandma for your bio grandmas then you can always do a nickname.

I was in the same situation! I will tell you that in my situation we only called her by her first name. Well, now they have been married for 4 years and my girls just started calling her grandma Judy. We did not force it one way or the other, and the kids started doing it on their own. It works for us because we have always referred to our parents as Grandma Ginger, Grandma Pat, Grandpa Joe, Grandpa Jerry and now Grandma Judy. Best of luck to you and remember she is another person that gets to love on your little one. All grandparents are a blessing even if they are a step-grandparent. I know you know that though just by reading your post!

My mother has been remarried since I was in 3rd grade. My son will just call him by his first name, as I do. What do you call your new stepmom? If you think she might be offended, you can let her know what you have decided on in private, before she hears it shouted out in front of tons of relatives and becomes embarrassed. Also, she might feel uncomfortable being called Grandma (like she is trying to take your mothers place).

Ask her if she would like to be called Grama, or another name.
My grand daughter calls me Grama when she is with me, but refers to me as Grama ________ (my first name) when talking about me to others.
She calls her dad's mother, Grama when with her and calls her Grama _____(her first name) when talking about her to others.
Her dad has a step mother and she is also called Grama,, and Grama ________(her first name) when talking about her to others.
(see a pattern here?)
Now that dad has married, his new MIL is now called Grama when with her, and refered to as Grama _______(her first name) when talking about her to others.
I would assume someday if my daughter gets married and gains a mother in law, this woman will be called Grama, and refered to as Grama ________(her first name) when talking about her to anyone else.
It makes it simple for the little one, and I dont think any of us mind. I dont feel slighted or less important than the other Gramas. Someone suggested I have her call me "Grama C" for my first initial...BUT What is really funny is, every one of us has a first name that starts with the letter C. Other than the mystery, unknown woman whos son may someday marry my daughter. lol
ADDED,, We also have a wonderful friend who is not related but we call her Grama too because of all the wonderful things she does for us. We call her Grama,, (wait for it) Checker! Her last name,,yes starts with a C.

Just do what is most comfortable for you. My mom passed away almost 2 years ago, and my dad is now seriously dating another woman. She signs cards to our kids as Miss Nancy, so I am guessing that is what she would want our kids to call her.... Good luck, I know this can be hard.

I think it depends, Does your child have other grandma's?
Will she be treating him as a grandchild, buying gifts and visiting...
Your son is young enough that he will be growing up with her ...

Both of my parents have been remarried for many years now and I have a good relationship with both of them, so when I had kids it just felt right to call them grandma and grandpa. I really think it depends on your relationship with the person and with the kids. I can say that if the relationship was different, not as close, they probably would be called something else. I would also ask her what she would like to be called, maybe she doesn't want to be called grandma. Good Luck!

You could call her mrs (sally) but really if its for your child i dont see any harm in calling her grandma. My mom lives in a neighbor hood full of kids and they all call her grandma bc she is in fact a loving grandma to all them so the choice is yours but i dont see what it hurts and maybe whenyour babe grows up and utters them words he might call her me maw or nana or what my kids call my mom(nee nee) lol if you are really uncomfortable with the idea of calling her grandma then think of a creative (sweet) name for her and let it be that.

We call Grandma's husband Grandpa Bob.

We call my dad's wife what all her other grand kids call her...it is a very ethnic form of grandmother and so it worked out for us.

We called our Grandma 'Gommy'. My sisters grandchild calls her 'Gommy'.
It is not 'Grandma' but close. What does the new grandma think? Does she have a preference?

My husband's father died when he was 9. Now his mother has been with the same man for almost 20 years (my husband was 19 when they got together), but he didn't want the kids to call him Grandpa out of respect for his father. So our kids (8 and 6 year olds) call her Grandma, but call him Papa George. It seems to work for all involved, no hurt feelings.
Go with your gut. If it doesn't feel right to you, don't do it. I always say - my kids, my rules. And if she really is a wonderful woman, she'll totally understand. Good luck.

Ask her what she would like the kids to call her. "Sally", or grandma S, but yeah, i would reserve "grandma" for you and husbands mothers.

We have this situation on both sides in our family. In all situations the kids call them by their names. It is Grandpa and Susan or Grandma and Jack. It works for us.

My guy's dad is remarried. Both GPs are young and still around. Grandma chose to be called 'Gigi' (too cool for grandma I guess LOL) and grandpa prefers 'Pop Pop'. We all call his wife Karen. I think if grandma is still around it's the respectable thing to do especially since they are often at the same family gatherings.

Call her nana, grammy, grams, nona, grandmom, gigi, mimi, gma, gmom...

We also call our grandparents by their first name. Grandma Kate, Grandma Sue...

I have a similar family situation. Both my parents remarried when my oldest son was around 2-3 (before my other 2 kids were even born.) He is now 13 so my stepmom and stepdad have been in my kids' lives there whole lives. That's something to think about since your child is still a baby. Your little one will never know Grandpa without his new wife.
My kids call my stepmom Grandma but my stepdad by his first name. Its what they have chosen and done naturally on their own. Although I will admit my stepmom was ecstatic to be a grandma when she married my dad since her children don't have kids of their own yet. My suggestion, which is what my hubby and I did, is to call her by her first name just like you would anyone else. If your baby decides to call her Grandma later on then ok but if not then that's fine too.
The one thing I will warn you about is that my mom and my husband's mom don't really like the fact that my kids call my stepmom Grandma. Its been ten years now and they don't say anything about it anymore. I explained to both of them years ago that my stepmom was in a position of "grandma" in my kids' minds, they don't know any different, and I wasn't going to correct them calling her grandma. They've both realized its not something they can change so they don't mention it anymore.

We don't have family around us, we had to move out of state for my husband's job, and my kids call almost all of our good friends, Aunt and Uncle, it burns my husband's family!! But, the way I look at it, these family's are a lot more part of our life than even our immediate family. We are with them almost every weekend and a lot of holiday's and birthdays. They are our family out here, so I epect my children to treat them just as they treat their "real" family.

Similar situation. We refer to her by her first name. We never see her but I think if we did and her and my daughter spent time together then maybe on my daughters own she would call her Grandma.
I agree Grandma is special name.
Hope this is helpful!

I have done it both ways. With my step-mom, I called her by her name. With my step-grandparents, I called them by their names....probably from them being referred to by my parents by their names.

With my children, my step-mom is MomMom Pam (she was there when each was born even though she and my dad were not together when my daughter was born she was in my life since before I was a year old). My mom remarried when my son was 9 or so and he calls him Dave (like I do) but my daughter will sometimes call him PopPop Dave (he was there since before her birth).

Your daughter is so young that she will not feel weird with whatever you decide. I would personally go with MomMom "her name".

If you feel uncomfortable about it, then I would recommend coming up with an alternate nickname for her. Gigi, Mimi, Nana, maybe something with her initials - whatever you're own bio mom doesn't want to use and is comfortable with. I have five step grandchildren. The first three always called me by my first name - which was fine. The last two call me Grandma. When that admittedly unearned title was offered to me, it meant so much, I cried. Now the oldest has switched to using Grandma, too. The middle two are confused. It's kind of funny to hear them talk about it. So assuming this lady is going to be in your kids' lives for awhile, give her a special nickname. Doesn't have to be Grandma, certainly shouldn't be anything that would upset your bio mom, but in the long run of more kids and cousins, you might be glad that you gave her a handle.

B answered very simply and I think she has a good, valid point.
For me, I guess it depends on your relationship and the circumstances that you feel play a part in it. I call my grandparents "grandma and grandpa". For my kids, my grandparents are both "grandpa __", my biological father is "grandpa __" (who only my eldest has met, once), my mom is "bugga", my dad is "pops", and my dad's wife is "ms __". I have a good friend whose grandchild is a good friend of my son's. We call her "Nana" even though she's not technically family. She is a grandma figure in their lives though. If she's a good woman and you like her, if she's part of the family or you want her to feel like part of the family, a name like Nana or MiMi, or whatever would be fine, and a high compliment.
For me, my children will NEVER call the woman my dad married by a familial name. There's a lot of history and "stuff" that prevent that. My boys call her Ms __ and think she's nice. That's fine. But she will never be family to me; she helped break my family up.

Grandma Anne?

I disagree with a comment made that your step-mom is just as much grandma as the blood grandmas. There IS a difference. If they get divorced, she's not grandma anymore, whereas the blood grandma will also be grandma no matter what.

I speak from personal experience. My mom's husband decided to divorce her recently (he found an 18 year old online that has moved in with him...he's 58...icky!). We always had referred to him as grandpa. We didn't think about the fact that if they got divorced, he'd no longer be grandpa. I suppose he could be, but he's lost interest in relationships with our family...which I think would be a common thing in divorce and when the step parent isn't blood to anyone.

So, for us, we've given it a lot of thought since then and will no longer refer to any step anybody as the usual name for the position. My husband's step-dad, we've always referred to as Grandpa Bill, but I'm not sure I want Grandpa included at all (he's shown a lack of grandpa-ness. He lives 35 minutes away, and it's been two years since we've seen him). So, I think some type of special name - a non-grandparent name - is what we think is best. It really confuses the kids otherwise. We're thinking of what other name we'd prefer the kids to call "Grandpa Bill". Maybe just "Bill".

With our situations on both sides with the step-grandpas, we have discovered that even relationships you think will be great, it doesn't always end up that way. So, now we protect our kids and don't use those special terms because they start loving those people specially and it's very confusing for them when that love isn't returned once the person leaves. And, i really do believe that choosing a non-grandparent name helps a lot in helping it not be confusing to the kids if the step-parent leaves and it's the end of the relationship.

SO...I'd highly suggest choosing a non-grandparent type of name...but still something special. Just don't use the word "grandma".

No, I don't think you're being ridiculous. Both of my parents remarried 20 years ago. We call my stepmother "Nanny Suzie" and my stepfather "Grandpa Ken". (My dad is "Pop-pop" so, you know, everyone gets their special name!)

If you want her to have the grandma relationship then consider calling her Grandma FirstName or something. My mother's stepgrandfather was Grandpa Gus. You can also decide among yourselves what nickname she might have. Ask her. When we got married, I asked my stepkids and mom to sit down and come up with something, so it is THEY who dubbed her Nana, which is what DD calls her now.

Family is what you make it. I had two great aunts (one who has sadly passed on) who weren't aunts at all, but dear friends of my grandmother since their college days.

I don't think you're being ridiculous at all. Depending on your relationship with your dad's wife, maybe ask her what she would like to be called? Or ask your FIL to ask her? She might not even want to be called Grandma by your children. We call my FIL's wife "Aunt So-and-so" at her suggestion. Of course, she's not really an aunt, but the "real" aunties don't care.

Miss Susie? (substitute name)

That's a hard question to answer... I don't envy you figuring this out!!!


Hi David's Momma,
I don't see anything wrong in calling her grandma. The more grandmas the better in my book. I unfortunately had no grandmothers to spoil me while growing up, so give your child the benefit of having as many as he/she can get. You can add her name or last name after grandma. Like grandma Sue or grandma Smith. In my oppinion a child benefits more by having all the grandparents he/she can be spoiled by.

Stop thinking about how you feel about it, put yourself in her shoes. If you married a man with children or grandchildren (think of when your kids become parents), how would you want to be addressed. Put yourself in your children's shoes wouldn't you want more grandma's to spoil you!

But then again maybe your step mother prefers not to be addressed as grandma in any fashion, so give her the respect she deserves and ask her.

I hope this helps. Good luck!


My daughter calls my Grandma's husband "Great Grandpa Marshall" which is fine for us, they've been married for as long as I can remember and she hasn't seen my real grandpa since she was 1. My husband's step dad is also Grandpa. If his father was still alive, his step mother would have been Grandma B, but we would have hated it, since we really don't like that woman.

When we were little my grandma (a widow) remarried, and we called him Uncle _____.

My g-ma died when I was a teenager. My G-pa remarried shortly thereafter.
We call her by her first name.
But I have taught my children to call her Grandma Mary.
She has been apart of our family for a long time now and I think she appreciates this title.
Grandma is very formal for us though...the real g-ma's are grammy and mimi.

There are SO many choices! She can be MeMaw or Grammy or Nana or a hundred other things. Or some cute name could evolve-- for well over a year my Step-mom's granddaughter called my Dad (who's name is David) Dave-Pa.

Personally, since my dad had foster parents he was close too I grew up with an "extra set" of grand parents. Even though I had 3 women I called Grandma, they were 3 seperate relationships that had no impact on each other....How your child feels about your mother depends on your mother (and you), not your step-mother

She's probably wondering... what she is going to be called too. Its been 1 year already.
She is now, a part of the family, after all.
Maybe ask your Dad... for ideas?
He would probably feel nice about that, to know you are thinking of her.... and want to know what to call her.
You said she is a wonderful woman.... and she is now, his Wife. And part of the family.

Every grandmother of my son's (and he has 4) have a different name:

Gramma G

We don't have a step-gma issue, but my MIL and FIL have chosen to be called Mama Peggy and Papa Tom and my parents and Mama and Papa only. How about calling her Mama X or Gmama X?

I'm very close to one of my college professors and I call her my "bonus mom." She's like the mom I always wanted to have.

She's been a HUGE part of my life and can't wait to see her next month. My son hasn't seen her since he was six months old and now is four years old. It's going to be AWESOME!

My husband's grandchildren refer to me at Grandma J.. You can ask her what she wants to be called, but I see no reason not to call her "grandma."

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