This post is prompted by what I witnessed earlier this month when the internet was all upset over the fact that R&B singer and model, Ciara, shared a video of her family. She’s newly married and in the video her son asks Momma for a kiss. She gives him one. He then asks “Poppa” for a kiss. His new stepfather, Russell Wilson, is whom he is affectionately referring to as Poppa. Men were so upset at this. They felt as though the mother should stop her son from calling him Poppa because he’s not the biological dad.
So, I wondered what is appropriate for children to call the new spouse of their parent? Do you find it offensive if a child refers to the other parent as momma, dad, poppa, mommy? Would you be okay with your son or daughter calling the new parent Mom, Dad, Poppa, etc? Does age matter? Ciara’s son is only 2 years old and she has primary custody.
In my opinion I think it boils down to ego. How we as adults handle what we perceive as someone coming in and taking our spot. Munch is 8 and my ego is not going to prevent my son from having a relationship with his new parent. I don’t say “step” because I don’t want my son to feel like there is some sort of irregularity with the new situation. It’s another person to love and share in the upbringing of him.
I could care less if Munch wants to call another woman mom. Why? Because I’m Munch’s mommy. That’s it and that’s all. That’s what he calls me. Honestly, if his dad should remarry and my son wanted to refer to the new parent as “Mom” because he calls me Mommy. I would be okay with it.
I wouldn’t feel threatened that my role is somehow diminished if my son wanted to call his dad’s new wife Mom. Nothing will ever change the fact that he’s my son. It just means that he has two moms who love the heck out of him.
Now, Mr. C said “Whatever, T. It’s a man thing. Your ex-husband wouldn’t be cool with your son calling another man Dad.” I laughed and said, “He’d be fine.” But, I really wanted to know. So, I asked him and you know what? He was fine with it.
He said that whatever Munch felt comfortable calling my new spouse he would support. It wouldn’t bother him because he knows that he’s Munch’s father and now Munch has someone else loving and taking care of him.
Pretty amazing huh? He wasn’t threatened. He felt that another parent loving our son is awesome and Munch would be blessed to have two dads. I liked that.
There are still some things that matter to us and one of those is what is best for Munch. Co-parenting has its own struggles but when you have two parents striving to love the heck out of their kids regardless of their own egos, it makes it easier. Don’t worry what your child chooses to call the new parent and just work on making the new parent feel included.
It won’t be easy, but trust me when I tell you that it really does take a village. That bonus parent is now a part of that village.