My little stepdaughter started calling me mommy out of her own about 8 months ago. My husband and I didn’t correct her, although we did teach her how to say my name. We figured that this is what she’s comfortable with and therefore if this makes her happy then it shouldn’t be an issue. She knows her bio-mom, loves her, lives with her half the time & is a very content, confident & well adjusted little girl. She is very happy in both of her homes with both sets of parents & step-parents.
Her bio-mom recently heard her calling me mommy & got very upset. She told my husband that we need to “correct” it, & that it’s psychologically damaging for the daughter & that it’s probably confusing for her. While I totally understand and sympathise with her hurt, we believe that the daughter should choose & call me whatever she’s comfortable with, as long as she’s happy. There is also a baby on the way, and we feel that forcing daughter to call me by my first name while due-baby calls me mommy might alienate daughter & cause a sort of distance, like she’s an outsider.
From the beginning I’ve shared parenting with my husband. I feed, change, dress and bathe her. I love and care for her like she’s my own, but I’ve never tried to interfere or replace her bio-mother whatsoever. I totally respect her as a mother and have always “known my place”.
I really just want to know what is best for the little girl and her psychological and emotional well-being. (From South Africa)My Stepdaughter Calls Me Mommy and Her Birth Mother Is Extremely Upset
My Stepdaughter Calls Me Mommy and Her Birth Mother Is Extremely Upset
Since your step daughter started calling you “mommy” on her own and you taught her your first name, perhaps there may be a compromise that could work. However, I wouldn’t do anything without a discussion and agreement by all the parents. Since your step daughter is comfortable calling you mommy adding your first name as a qualifier might help. As an example, if your first name were Joan then “Mommy-Joan” might be acceptable. This can help her make the distinction while honoring the fact she sees you as a mother figure.
Talk with all the other parents together about this. Once everyone agrees what works best they can help with the consistency.