Whose Your Daddy?

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.

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17 thoughts on “Whose Your Daddy?

  1. perfect response!! A true parent is someone who puts the CHILD’s wellbeing before their own ego…. the more people who love a child, the better off that child will be! I’m glad you posted on this issue, more people need to take notice and put the kids first! Your little guy is a lucky child… much love to you both! M.

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  2. I love this! A childhood friend of my Dad’s remarried (his first wife passed away years before). His new wife had 3 step children around my age. They referred to their new dad as “Opa”, standing for “other Pa”. I thought that was so cool, and so did my dad’s friend. They definitely meant it as a term of endearment and didn’t get him “mixed up” with their own dad.

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  3. It should be what the child wants and feels comfortable doing. As long as it is their choice, I do not see a problem with it. It should never be forced. For example, I became a stepmother when my step kid was 2 years old. Her mother (who was still single at the time) implanted in her brain that she is not allowed to call anyone “mom” but her biological mother. I’ve always been called by my first name, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Of course when her mother finally met someone, she told my stepkid to call her new boyfriend “daddy” despite that my husband is very much still in the picture. It hurt my husband to hear her call someone else “daddy” but in the end, he knew it was about her. If she wanted to do that, that’s fine. When you become a parent, all you ever want is your child to be surrounded by people that love them. So if he loves her, and he’s around, it’s not a big deal. She was younger then. Now she is older and doesn’t really call her step dad that anymore. She calls him by his first name the same way she does to me. But that was all her choice. If the tables were turned, again, it would be hard to hear my child call someone else “mom” but if that woman is secure in his life and loves him and he loves her, that’s all that matters. I’ll always be his first mommy. It’s not like I will be forgotten.

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    1. I love that. So true. I would never force it and I would want the child to feel comfortable with whatever they want. Life is too short to argue over semantics. Loving and providing for a child has it’s own reward. Yes, no one can replace me as his mom so he would just have a bonus mom too.

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  4. When my son was about Munch’s age he was at a restaurant with his father who had since married someone else. While at the restaurant, the waiter, made a statement where he referred to my son’s step mother as his mother. Baby, my son quickly corrected him and said, “That’s not my mom.”
    Later, my son’s father and I explained that it is not necessary to make such clarifications-especially in a casual environment. My little then 8 year old said, “But she’s not my mommy.”
    Long story go away, you’ll find that certain children will have strong views about how they prefer to refer to a ‘step parent.’
    Ultimately, we let it go.
    Now that he is 22, we often laugh about that story. He said, “I understand now, but I didn’t understand then.”

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      1. Thanks Sis 🙂
        I just wanted to give you a heads up that this could happen with Munch and his father in the future. I say that based on how close you two are; very much like my son and I. Boys often feel very protective of their mother’s position.
        Anyway, “Step mother” told my son that it was okay with her if he called her by her first name.
        Hey, if she liked it I loved it 😉

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  5. I recently was asked this same question… my children’s father and I are separated and although we were never married or anything obviously my kids call him daddy and me mommy… when him and his GF started dating (about 1 1/2 years ago now and only a couple months after we broke up) within the first month he had both my children (1 & 4 at the time) calling her mommy… in my eyes 1) you are not their parent 2) you have only been with their father for a couple months (with in the next month they broke up and got back together again and have been doing so since) 3) you are not married

    now IF they had gotten married and things worked out well for them… AND my children were close enough to her that they wanted to call her something… yes it would kill me to hear them call someone else mommy… however that doesn’t mean they couldn’t call her ma or mom or he name what ever they wanted really… mommy would hurt more than anything however they need to be able to call her something they are comfortable with because then she would indefinitely be a part of their lives…

    If the tables were turned… it would be the same they would be allowed to call my “husband” (HAHAHAHA) what ever they felt comfortable with however I would try to refrain from daddy because their father is in their lives… if he wasn’t maybe that would be a different story…

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. Children that young can call someone (a wife only) another form of mom. Maybe in another language? I would be okay with that. But, your girlfriend is Miss Such and Such. My son is 8 now so I just want him to call his dad’s girlfriend Miss Such and Such. If they got married and he wanted to call her Mom because I’m Mommy. I’m cool with that. Two different names with the same meaning. Thanks for commenting sis! Have a great day!

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