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meddling MIL



I posted before about my blended family. I have an 8 year old daughter from a previous marriage and my husband has a 10 year old daughter from his previous marriage. My daughter's dad is not in her life so my daughter calls my husband Dad. My stepdaughter lives full-time with her mother, and visits us on weekends. Since I'm not in a mothering role to her she doesn't call me Mom. She has a mom she adores and as hard as it is for me to accept I will never be her mom. Secretly though sometimes I wish she didn't have a mom so I could be the only Mom. I never tell her that and I'm a little ashamed of thinking that way. Her mom is a good mom so I don't really have any issues with the ex-wife so I should be grateful for that. Both the ex-wife and I care a lot for my stepdaughter. We're just in different roles. She's the mom and has all the responsibility whereas I'm only a stepmom on weekends.
Blended families are tough enough without the extended family sticking their nose where it doesn't belong. This past weekend I was so furious at my MIL. My stepdaughter calls me by my first name and I am learning to accept that because after all she has a mother. Also, she's not a little kid. She's 10 and already has a bond with her mother. Its not like she's a 2 year old. Well, my MIL proceeds to tell my 10 year old stepdaughter that calling me by my first name is disrespectful and that she should be calling me Mom or at least something like Mama Christina. I was furious that she told my stepdaughter this. My stepdaughter started crying and saying that she has a mom, and her mom is her only mom. MIL says "Well your not with your mother now, and Christina is your mom on the weekends". That comment did not help anything. MIL grew up in a different time when children didn't call adults by their first names. But I think in stepfamilies that rule doesn't apply. I talked to my stepdaughter and tried telling her that Grandma didn't mean anything by it, and that I would never force her to call me Mom and that I knew she had a mom and that is a very special name reserved for her mother. I told her I'm fine with her calling me by my first name like she always has. Now my daughter does call my husband Dad, but thats a different situation. Her dad isn't in her life. My stepdaughter's mother is raising her, so of course she gets the Mom title. I just couldn't believe my MIL told my stepdaughter to call me Mom. If she had concerns about what my stepdaughter was calling me, she should have discussed it with my husband and me privately and not in front of my stepdaughter. She has no idea how hurt my stepdaughter was.


Senior Member
husband should talk to MIL

Maybe your husband needs to talk to his mother, and let her know how upset his daughter was. It's already an adjustment and can be confusing for some children, so there's no reason to make it anymore difficult.

My parents have been divorced since I was very young. I have a stepmom and a stepdad. My stepdad is more of a dad to me than my real dad, but I still call him by his first name (although I don't believe my real dad deserves to be called "dad"). My stepmom is also called by her first name. A child shouldn't be forced to call a stepparent anything they don't feel comfortable calling them.

Although you wish that you could be "mom" to her, the fact is that she has a mom who takes care of her and loves her. It's okay if she wants to keep that title for her mom. Most children who have stepparents call them by their first name. And Mama Christina sounds a bit strange.


Senior Member

Don't you just wish you could tell people to mind their own business? I also think that your husband needs to discuss this with his mother and tell her to butt out (in nicer terms, of course). Every person I know with a step parent calls the step parent by the first name.