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Mommy Dearest: What Should My Step-Kids Call Me?

Mommy Dearest,

My husband and I have been married for two years. He has three sons from a previous marriage and they spend half of the time living with us. In the three years that I have known them, we have become so close that people often mistake me for their mother. The boys call me by my first name, but now that we are family should they refer to me as "mom" or "step-mom"? We don't plan on having any more children.

— What Should My Step-Kids Call Me

To read the response from Mommy Dearest,


What Should My Step-Kids Call Me,

It sounds like you and your stepchildren have a great rapport and that they are comfortable calling you by your name. If you prefer another title, ask your husband for his opinion. Since the children spend half their time with their mother, they may not feel comfortable referring to you as "mom" too. Divorce, remarriage and accepting new family members can be hard on children so you may even consider waiting for them to initiate any type of conversation concerning this. Let's see if any lilsugar readers want to chime in.

— Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.

Join The Conversation
cutiecake cutiecake 7 years
I've never called my step-dad "dad". But in my culture its rude to call an elder by his or her first name. So when I need to speak to him I just say "excuse me" or tap him on the shoulder. I've avoided having to call him anything for the past 4 years.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
i liked that movie and julia looked gorgeous in it
skigurl skigurl 8 years
why don't you let them call you whatever they choose? let it happen's been 2 years and they've been calling you by your first name, so why stop now? be happy your rapport is good and don't rock the boat by making a big deal of labels
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
Never ever ever ever ask them to call you MOM... they only have one and she's still alive and with them"" agree! accept it out of respect for his ex-wife. 'step-mom' sounds weird to me, and if they eventually shortened that to mom, well, i just hope real mom wouldn't find out. although some men might accept that, as said the poster above, but i dont know about moms! If you want to be called mom, why not adopt a child looking for a family? i know i'm going out on a limb there but had to throw it out, because of the last thing you said and how it fits in with the question...
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
our family's situation is a little different, my 8 year old asked if she could call my fiance, daddy, dad, pops, etc, i told her you have your father and you have to first clear it with your dad and then ask my fiance, her dad gave her his blessing and told her the more people that love you makes me proud, so the next day after visitation she came home and asked my fiance if she could call him daddy, dad, pops. etc and he had a smile from ear to ear and said of course, BTW he has no kids so this just made his world, that night he told me that he felt so special, so she refers to both her fathers by dad but my fiance there is a special bond and he is daddy, dad, pops, etc and her biological father is just dad, (mind you her biological father entered her life at five and myy fiance has been there since she was four) so it can be done but on the child's terms not on the adults terms, and I'm glad she asked when she did and not sooner because i know if we ever split up which i doubt, he will forever be in their lives
simplyfab87 simplyfab87 8 years
Me and my stepmom are really close and I still feel weird calling her mom. Sometimes I feel guilty but I'm just so used to refering to her another way its a hard habit to break it might be the same for your stepkids especially is their mom is still around.
amerikanbeanhead amerikanbeanhead 8 years
The only time I refer to my step mom as mom or mommy is when Im telling my little sisters to go talk to mom/mommy becuase she is their mom. I do call my step-dad "stad" often as a nick name but otherwise I just call him by his first name. MY parents got divorced when I was 10 so I was a t a weird age.
lawchick lawchick 8 years
I have always called my stepmother by her first name. I agree with everyone else, be thankful for the relationship you have with them and let them call you whatever they are comfortable with.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
I have a stepdaughter that I am very close to, but she will always call me Heidi. Even if she wanted to call me "mom," I would be very uncomfortable with that. I don't think her calling me by my first name is disrespectful, or means I'm unimportant to her at all. I don't need a special name.
Gravastorm Gravastorm 8 years
Sounds like you have a wonderful family. Try coming up with lovable pet names for each other. Something only you will call them and vice versa. Kids don't get caught up in the hoopla attached to the mom title, a special name is a special name.
nicole121482 nicole121482 8 years
No matter how close you are, you still aren't their actual mother. And since the kids still have their mother in their lives, it would seem to me to be an unnecessary expectation for them to call you Mom or even Step-Mom (whoever heard of that) as well. Stick to first names...
apma apma 8 years
I have a friend who calls his step-dad "Dad". He calls his dad "Dad" also. If they feel comfortable calling you "Mom" and their mom doesn't mind, they'll call you "Mom" anyway. Otherwise, just be happy that you have a great relationship and let them choose what they call you.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 8 years
if the children decide to call you mom than go with it... others wise just stick to what they are used too. You could even try, like mamakate said, Mom "your name"
mamakate mamakate 8 years
I have a step daughter. She calls me Mama Kate or Kate/Katie. I have been in her life since she was 10 months old, so before she could talk. She called me by my first name until we had children a year and a half ago or so. She picked up Mama Kate b/c the other kiddos call me Mom or Mama, so it just sort of evolved. I would never force her to call me Mom or Mama though, the past comments are right on - She already has a Mom. She does know I'm her step Mom, but it never fit as a name/title, especially with all the negative emotion that surrounds it in society. I would let the kids call you whatever fits in the situation. If they know you by your first name then that's probably what will stick.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
I agree with everyone so far. You might feel like a complete family, but just celebrate your relationship for what it is. Even if the children want to call you mom, I would discourage it. They already have a "Mom", and it isn't you. I think step-parenting is way harder than "real" parenting. It can be hard to put so much time, energy, and love into your relationship and only be called by a first name, the same thing you would be called by someone you just met. The bond you have is way more important than what they call you!
amerikanbeanhead amerikanbeanhead 8 years
I have always called my step mom by her first name, same with her parents they go by first name too. I think its wrong to call your step mom mom if the bio mom is in the picture.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Ask their mother's opinion, too. They may want to call you Mom, their dad may want them to call you Mom, but if she's uncomfortable with it, it's pretty crappy to do it. She is Mom.
imcs imcs 8 years
Never ever ever ever ask them to call you MOM... they only have one and she's still alive and with them. I have an excellent relationship with whom I call my BONUS-MOM. She has been married to my father for 21 years and has raised me as her only child (she never had any). Bonus Mom is something I came to call her, not something she asked me to call her by. And it is the more special for that. She introduces my brother and I as her kids, and when she's introducing my mom to anyone (yes, they get a long - great) she introduces her as the mother of my kids. The relationship is very close, but we've never called her mom - that would be disrespectful to our real mother. Don't ask them to call you anything, they'll call you what they want, and as time goes on, and the relationship strengthens, maybe you'll be a "bonus" as well. Till then, just love them and be thankful every day that they love you back.
Mel475 Mel475 8 years
I agree with Mommy Dearest. I don't think you can or should force the kids to call you "mom" - it could create uncomfortable feelings for them and their actual mother. The last thing you want to do is create or add stress to the relationship with your husband's ex-wife. I don't think there are any rules to what kids should call a stepparent. It's up to each family to do what is right for them. If things are working the way they are, then why feel the need to change them? What they call you is not nearly as important as the bond you have with them and it sounds like so far, you and your husband have done a really good job with that!
redheadkimie redheadkimie 8 years
I love my step-mom but I call her by her first name. I have since I meet her. I wouldn't feel comfortable calling her anything else.
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