Every kid who has a step-mother has probably wondered what they’ll be expected to call her. We’ve all heard stories or seen tv shows with the typical, “She is NOT my mother!” exclaimed by a foot-stomping child. Usually that behavior follows a demand by the child’s dad to call a new step-mother “mom”.
I say good luck to any parent who tries to require Mom & Dad titles for steps. Sure, the kids may obey when you’re around, but I guarantee that’s not the term they’re using once you’re out of earshot.
I base this on my own experience as each of my parents remarried. One set of parents tried to enforce the Mom/Dad titles, and the other left it completely up to me. Approximately 30 years later I still call both of my step-parents by their first names, mainly because that’s just what I’m comfortable calling them. It’s not for lack of love. In fact, I’ve never called my friends’ parents or my in-laws Mom & Dad either. That title is reserved for the two people whose genetics I carry. That’s just how I roll.
Now that I am a step-mother, I completely expected my husband’s 3 children to call me Andi. Even though he refers to me as Mom when he’s talking to them, I’ve let them know that the term means I am the Mom of this household. It in no way means I am requiring them to give me that title or that I am trying to replace their own moms.
So here’s the shocker… a few days ago I am quite certain I heard my 16 year old step-son call me Mom! Was it a slip? Did he mean to do it? I was cooking his favorite food so maybe he was caught up in a teenaged boy hunger induced haze. Who knows?! But I have to admit it made my heart skip a beat.
Now then, our 9 year old girl has called me Mommy ever since her dad and I married, but she was only 4 at the time so that never struck me as odd. I’ve always thought it very sweet. It is funny, however, when her mom and I are together and she calls us both Mommy. Luckily her mom is awesome and we can laugh about it when she says, “no not you Mommy, the other Mommy!”.
(for more on how I get along with this Ex-Wife-in-Law read my Joining Forces with the Ex blog on the Good Enough Mother website)
But to have a teenage boy suddenly sneak a “mom” into conversation without batting an eye, well I don’t want to make too much of it but WOW! I feel so accepted. I feel like he realizes that my role is not just one of wife to his dad, but that I have fully embraced the lifetime role of parent to him. This takes nothing away from his own mother.
It’s kind of like when a mother gives birth to a 2nd child and learns that it takes no love away from the 1st. Our hearts grow to make room for every child. Wrapping your heart around step-children is a much different process, but I knew immediately when I heard this boy use the word “mom” that both our hearts have grown and made room for each other. And that makes me feel kind of super.
What about you? What makes you feel like a “Super-Mom”?