For Namesake getting on common ground
I honestly feel that most things can be worked out by talking through them.
Let’s be honest, your step children’s other parent is not going to whole heartedly welcome you taking their title. That title is one that is a privilege, and after all these children have no biological ties to you.
As a mother of a child who can potentially have a step mother one day I am ok with the fact that my son may want to call her mom, or some title with relation. To me, the most important factor is what my child wants, and what will make him feel the most comfortable.
There is an un-spoken fear in most parents of broken families that they will be replaced or at least the effort to do so will me there. Children whether consciously or not always remember mommy and daddy, the ones that literally gave them life. Unconditional love is a love that is so pure, and no one can ever take that between a parent and their child, no matter how strong their will may be to do so.
Once this topic does come up, discuss it.
Talk about it not only with your spouse, but if the relationship allows bring it up to your step children’s parent. See what their true opinion is, try to find a common ground, somewhere to meet in the middle.
You may not be in a position to offer a warm hug, and you may not even want to show that your empathetic, for the sake of the children hang your ego at the door. Take the place of your stepchildren’s parent, and ask yourself how you would feel if some new person came into your children’s lives and wanted to or even acted as if they were trying to replace you.
With my stepchildren, and their mother, I always tried to make it very clear that I am not here to replace her. Her relationship with her children is hers and hers alone. I am not their biological mother, and will never try to replace her.
I do however love these children like they are my own, I advocate for them, I kiss their booboos, read them their bed time stories, and in a nutshell mother them as if they were my own.
All I ever asked for was the respect that I felt that I deserved, and sometimes I am sure that was probably asking for too much.
I never requested or even hinted that the children should call me by any other than my birth given name Sara, but don’t get me wrong, the fact that they wanted to call me mom and felt comfortable enough with me to do so was an honor.
My step children’s mom was always against them calling me mom, especially in the beginning when they first started doing it. Many arguments between my husband and his ex-wife were based on this sole topic.
As a mother of my own, I can understand the torment that must have been present every time the utterance of that word in reference to me spewed from her children’s lips. A conspiracy, it must have been, why else would her children feel the need to call me by that name. Believe me, I get it, and it wasn’t until her and I actually had a face to face about it did we find common ground.
Children love their parents, and often don’t want to disappoint them, approval searching is a common behavior for any child, and even more so common from a child of divorce. Unfortunately due to children finding themselves caught in situations that may be disappointing to one parent, lies are often born, and where one lie started another is soon to grow.
I remember the conversation that I had with my stepchildren’s mother in regarding to them calling me mom, it was insinuated that the children we forced to call me mom, and that it was something that their father and I demanded. Naturally, I was upset but who wouldn’t be but I never found confronting the children appropriate instead I allowed the conversation to come up organically, and that is when clarity was found.
In effort to harbor a good healthy relationship with my stepchildren’s mom, we started doing a lot of things together whether it was attending a school function together, bringing the kids to lunch, or planning an occasional party for one of the children together.
While forming a working relationship, we often had the kids with us, and of course a topic of conversation was what they are going to call the both of us. I secretly felt victory because here sat my stepdaughter stating that she wants to call me mom, and her mother mommy. I intervened, and used this moment to say what I was saying the whole time. I didn’t care if she calls me momma sara, sara, stepmom, whatever she was comfortable with, and their sat this little adult, and diplomatically to both her mother and I stated “No, I want to call you Mom, I like calling you Mom, even though you’re not my mom who gave birth to me, your still my Mom”. In that moment I felt vindicated, what I was saying the whole time was just solidified and proven, and more importantly we were now able to move pass this, or at least so I thought.
We still have moments where my step children are reminded that my name is Sara, and that I didn’t give birth to them. To each their own. The children are never going to forget who gave them life, sometimes it is just important to agree to disagree.
Nothing is going to be comfortable in the beginning, there will always be those moments where everyone is walking on eggshells or maybe more on the line of crushed glass, but work together. As the old saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”, and it truly does, but nothing good will come out of the village wanting to battle one another. For the sake and sanity of the child find the common ground.
Sara, Mommsie Knows Best