Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The One With The Mom Who "Feels Wrong"

Dear Dad,
Please post this anonymously. My ex husband and I have been separated for 6 years and divorced for 1 year. We have both moved on as he is with another girl and I'm getting remarried in May.
My oldest son with my ex husband now has a cell phone. I look through my son's phone, as he is only 10, and discovered a text message sent to his dad's girlfriend that said: "I love you mom and dad". Now, mind you this lady has only been in his life for a year, and his dad has only been around for two. I get very upset hearing my son call her 'mom'. Am I wrong in feeling this is wrong?
Dear 'Feeling Wrong',
My answer, here, supersedes any prior advice I have given on this subject. I answered a similar question not long ago, and the feedback and discussion which followed my advice made me re-think my perspective.
One year hardly constitutes a girlfriend/boyfriend qualifying as a parent, step parent, or even parental figure. I believe it is inappropriate for your son to refer to your ex husband's girlfriend as "Mom." What if they break up? What if they never marry? I think even for a ten-year-old, calling two people 'Mom' is confusing (heck, I'm 40 and I won't call my mother-in-law 'Mom' as I already have a 'Mom' - but I also don't want to disrespect her, so I often just refer to my mother-in-law as: "Will you please pass the gravy?" or "Hey, do you know what time it is?" grin emoticon ).
I have several questions the information in your question does not provide answers to, but at the end of the day I am going to go with the consensus and with what I learned on this topic: it is NOT OK for your son to call his father's girlfriend of one year 'Mom', and you should immediately put the kibosh on him doing so.
My wife comes from a blended family, and we have Grandma, Nana, and Mee-Maw. My advice is to have your son and ex and ex's girlfriend come up with a title which is more respectful than calling her by name, but more appropriate to her role (and, while I don't know your feelings on the subject, I will assert here that: "Daddy's ho" or anything of that nature will probably not fly - in fact, probably you should not vote on her title). wink emoticon
I do have to add that once you are married in May, so long as your spouse is acting as a parent to your son, I find it completely appropriate for your son to refer to your new husband as "pop" or "Dad (whatever your last initial is)". If one is in a committed long term relationship and their spouse/partner is acting as a parental figure, they have earned the right to the appropriate parent-implying title. Please keep us updated and let us know what happens.
I believe a name is just a name, except when it comes to a situation like this. I once advised someone that if someone acts as a parent, they deserve to be called as such, without taking into consideration that duration and longevity play a crucial role in what a child calls a parent's current flame where there is no long term commitment nor deserved role for such a title. Do any of you have any experience with what to call a step-someone-my-parent-is-dating who is not married, nor engaged/planned to be married nor in a long term committed relationship anytime soon?

No comments:

Post a Comment