As mothers we all know that the feeling we get the first time our child says “Mama” is pretty close to being on top of the world. I mean… I don’t know what being on top of the world feels like but I’m sure it’s pretty much the same thing. What about the first time your STEP child calls you “Mama”. GASP!!
It could have been accidental. You know, a slip of the tongue. He’s just used to that lady around being called “mama”. Or… maybe it was intentional. Maybe he knows the one that’s there is keeping him safe and loved, like Mama would.
For several years, Murph would slip. Every once in a while for a brief moment I was Mama. “No, Baby.” I’d say. “Mimi.” I had heard “he better not be calling her mom” enough times I was having nightmares about it. Okay, not really. However, I always made it a point to make that simple correction.
Until Murph was four years old and I was the mother of a new baby boy. Murph loved his little brother so much and as Frank started to grow I could tell they were going to be best buds. Frank continued to grow and started to speak. Being “Mama” to someone all the time, every second, every day was an incredible feeling. All of a sudden, the more time spent with Murph, the less I was Mama to Frank. Hearing my little boy call me “Mimi” was like a punch to the eye.
That was it. I never corrected Murph again. I needed to talk to Kim. I needed to tell her how I felt and what was happening. Even as friends, I still get a knot in my stomach when I need to bring up touchy subjects with Mama Bear. When he is with me, would it be okay if he calls me Mom? Just until his brother understands our situation. She told me she was having the same problem with her daughter and the name of “Daddy”. Boy what a relief that was! Josh was completely on board with the plan since I had really been struggling with the issue. From then on I was Mom and Justin was Dad.
We had an understanding. She knew I would never try to take her place. I’ve never pushed Murph to call me anything other than what he chose. I could be Mindy, Mimi, Mom, whatever! As long as he didn’t call me StepMother cause that just sounds ridiculous and he’s not Cinderella! Ever since, Murph has officially had two moms and two dads. Each given the name.
Fast forward and people are in our ears. “Why do you let him call her Mom?” or “Why do you let him call him Dad?” The responses are easy and simple. There is only a difference in who made the child. There is no difference in the love that the four of us have for Murph. It’s hard not to love that kid with your whole heart. I know some of you think the four of us are insane people and that’s okay. We kinda are. But! We know what works for us.
What works for you? Who are you to your stepchild(ren)?