Wednesday, 10 February 2010

How does a step child address their step mum?

Have been reading @mediocre_mum's blog on terms of endearment and adults referring to them selves as Auntie and Uncle.

I have commented on her post and while I was doing so it got me thinking about my relationship with my step son. He is 20 now and left home two years go. But from the age of 10 I have raised him alongside my other 3 boys.
I consider myself to have 4 children and a step daughter. The reason I call her my step daughter is because she is profoundly disabled and at 22 I am not old enough to be her mother. I also find it very difficult when asked about her disability and 'was she born like this' 'or did something happen to her'. I can't comment other than to say 'it was from birth' 'no there was no indication prior to her birth' and 'yes it must have been very difficult for her mother and father' I cannot comment on that as I am not her birth mother.

Moving back to the reason for my writing this blog is my step son.

So what does he call me? Well, he's always used my 1st name and nothing else. He refers to me as mum and has 3 brothers and 1 sister and if anyone ever said 'you're mum is here' etc he has never corrected them. My children also call my husband by his first name. Youngest goes through periods of calling him dad or daddy and again the kids never correct anyone. My children have a very good, close and frequent relationship with their dad but consider themselves to have 2 sets of parents each teaching them valuable skills and alongside all that extra love don't forget the extra gifts at christmas and birthdays.

Step son has grown up with me being his friend and not a parent. Everything I've ever done with him has caused him grief. If I told him off he'd contact his mum and she would remind me I'm not his mother, she is. None of this was helped by me not having a name he could use.

Using my first name was too informal for a child to call me but using 'step mum' sounds too harsh. 'Auntie' doesn't sound permanent enough and 'Mrs' .... well just plain stupid.

He's all grown up now and left home. If he gets in trouble or needs anything its me he comes running to.Since he's left home I don't know what his relationship with his mother is like now but that's his decision.

But what should he have called me? Is there an official word to use to describe someone that has become your mum and has raised you, but their biological mother is still around?

I'd be interested to know.


  1. I have both a step-mum and step-dad and call both by their first names. It has never been a problem for me and it doesn't change the relationship I have with either of them. My step-dad has been as much of a dad as my biological one but I chose not to call him "dad" out of respect for my biological father.

  2. I have just inherited a step mother as my dad remarried a couple of years back. They have only been back on the scene for 4 months after a 12 year absence (Well my dad anyway, as I say he has only just remarried) But I just know her as "Jenny" or in conversation about it's "Me Dad's Missus" lol! The word "Mum" has quite negative connotations for me, so to call Jenny it just wouldn't sound right? Would it??

  3. I have two stepsons that I have been very close to and looked after since they were five and two years old. They both call me by my first name and we are all happy with that. My own two who have been born since call me mum. I know someone who is a step-granny and she wants to be called granny. I told her not to get hung up on the title - the most important thing is the relationship you form - not what they call you!

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  5. Sounds to me as if you've done a really good job bringing him up. Best thing was probably not to make fuss about things or be over-sensitive about not being called mum like some are. Do you remember this article?