"Mom"


#1

My birth mother died when I was 3. My dad remarried to a woman a year later, and since she has effectively raised me and been my maternal figure in my life. I remember when I was still very young, she chastised me for calling her her first name, which all my older siblings did and continue to do so. So I called her "mom". Now that I'm older, however, I don't feel comfortable calling her that. I feel that is disrespecting the memory of my birth mother, and I feel like I'm alienating myself from my older siblings.

Am I blowing this out of proportion? What should I do.


#2

How old are you now?


#3

Jesus,our Lords peace be whit You.
Continue calling her mom,because that she has been for You. I wos raised by my grandparents,and I could not real call them mom or dad,and I missed that sometimes. It is not always so that the biological mother is Your mother,but she who took care of You,loved You and wos there for You,she is Your mother,and she loves You as a "real" mother.


#4

[quote="duffyk4, post:1, topic:216745"]
My birth mother died when I was 3. My dad remarried to a woman a year later, and since she has effectively raised me and been my maternal figure in my life. I remember when I was still very young, she chastised me for calling her her first name, which all my older siblings did and continue to do so. So I called her "mom". Now that I'm older, however, I don't feel comfortable calling her that. I feel that is disrespecting the memory of my birth mother, and I feel like I'm alienating myself from my older siblings.

Am I blowing this out of proportion? What should I do.

[/quote]

Call the woman who took care of you for so many years Mom; your birth mother will understand and be happy for both of you. My father was in your situation with his father, who was actually his stepfather, and called him Dad all his life.

And if your stepmother is aware of this problem you have been having, please let her know that it was not due to her or any change in your feelings towards her but because of your feelings about your mother. Your stepmother raised you, loved you, and took care of you, there's not a lot more a person can do for another. You are lucky because you had* two* mothers.


#5

I call my father’s 2nd wife “Mom,” although he married her when I was an adult and long out of his house. She’s never even had kids of her own, but she’s the only grandmother my sons know - my father passed away 16 years ago. I think of her as my Mom because she filled a need and she loved my father and took good care of him until his death.

My own mother died when I was 10. She’s not offended by my giving honor to my step-mother, I ask her to pray for me and for my family all the time! she’s in Heaven so how could she be dishonored? And my step-mom calls me her daughter, if I called her by her first name now, she would be very hurt by that.

I think you just feel weird because your older sibs call your Mom by her first name. But you had a Mother, she raised you. Don’t dishonor that now by reducing her to a first name. She deserves that title.


#6

"Call the woman who took care of you for so many years Mom; your birth mother will understand and be happy for both of you."

I FULLY agree with the above statement. In addition, I imagine your birth mom would feel sadness if you pulled the rug out from under your 'mom' who raised you and decided to stop calling her the 'title' she surely wants, needs and has earned. It is not just about you...it is about her too.

Taben


#7

I think you should decide what to do not based on what others are doing (your older siblings--I'm not sure how much older they are?), but on what is right. You have two moms--one who is deceased, and one who has done all the work of being mom. Being a mom is about more than biology (same with being a dad).

Unless they are much older (like there's 15 years between you and the next sibling), it seems disrespectful to me that the older siblings are calling this woman by her first name. But then I'm also looking at that from the perspective of a niece whose aunt married a widower with four children (two of whom were adult when my aunt and uncle married, the third was my age--11 at the time they married and the youngest was 5 years younger than me).


#8

I have some experience that relates here:

I grew up without a father since he was in prison for 15 years of my life. However, I had two grandfathers. My Grandfather by genetics was an abusive alcholic. He beat my grandmother, shot a gun at her once, he held a knife to my uncle's throat once. Since my mother was 16 when she had me, I remember some of this.

Fortunately, my Grandmother managed to divorce him and found another man. He was a great guy, ideal father and grandfather. He treated me, my grandmother, my mother and uncles like gold. Unfortunately he had poor health and when I was a kid I often had to stay with him in the summers to watch over him incase he got more ill while Grandma went to work. Those days I spent with him were by far the biggest influence on me as a man. I learned what being a man was from him since he was really the only male role model I had. So of course, when he died when I was 9 utterly crushed. To be honest, at teh age of 33 today, I still miss Grandpa Joe.

He was the one who took me as his own when he had no obiligation to do so while my biological grandfather was an evil man and my father no better. So, Grandpa Joe was my GRAND FATHER (two words, father and grandfather all in one). We shared not a drop of common genetics, but that's not what makes one family.


#9

I know families that have different names for different mothers and grandmothers. One grandmother is "Grandma", the other is "Granny". The OP might refer to his stepmother as "Mom", and refer to his birth mother as "Mama", as he very likely would have done when he was 3. I know another family that calls their mom "Muti", which is German. Other people use "Ma" or "Mum".

Since the stepmother has been "Mom" all these years, it would be easiest to use the new name on his own mother, but if that doesn't work, he could talk it over with his stepmother and say, "Mom, I know you like 'Mom', but the problem is that it always seems like I'm using our birth mother's name when I say that. Still, you love me like your own and I love the mother you've been for me. I like the idea of having a name for you that recognizes that. Could I call you Muti now, instead of Mom, so we have a special name for you that is all yours? I would really like that." I think she'd probably go for something like that.


#10

I think you will crush your stepmom if you stop calling her mom.

If I die, and my husband remarries, I would want my children to call his new wife mom, esp. if she wants to be called mom. It wouldn't bother me at all.

It sounds like you don't have a very close relationship with your stepmom. But, I think if you call her by her first name, it will only make it more tenuous.


#11

Thank you all for your replies.

To answer some questions, my older siblings are relatively close to me in age. The closest is 3 years older than me, the farthest 8 years.

I'm not particularly close to either one of my parents, not that we hate each other or don't talk, we just don't spill our emotions to each other that much. I'm sort of emotionally distant to anyone I deal with. Something I get from my father (I still to this day have never heard him tell me he loves me, but that's an issue for another day). Also, I'm revert Catholic and they're both mainstream evangelical protestant, so we don't have much common ground spiritually.

I've decided to follow all of you guys' advice and not rock the boat. It would be selfish and hurtful for me to do something like that at this point. I pray to my birth mother every night. She died a devout Catholic, a thought that brings me peace every night.

Sorry to pour my life story in here, just thought I'd sort some things out with the help of some impartial but friendly people here!


#12

duffyK4 have you had any counseling regarding how the loss of your birth mom affected you? A huge loss such as this can have long term effects. The emotional distance you describe may have less to do with your father's character and more of a natural response and defense mechanism to loss. This is no reflection of the quality of the mothering you received from your step-mom. I do not wish to dig up the past to find problems that you feel don't exist, if on the other hand you can't understand your own reaction to some situations or if you have emotional numbness this could be due to your early loss. A caring Catholic counselor could help you integrate your emotional life more effectively.

God Bless you, your "mom" and extended family.


#13

I’m not the self improvement book type of person, but the book The Five Love Languages has had a huge impact on my relationship with my parents. I never felt loved esp. by my mom until I realized her way of expressing her love was giving gifts. Now, everytime she gives me something, I realize she’s saying “I love you.” And, it’s true! Everytime I visit, she’s scouring the kitchen for something to send home with me. Last time, she gave me dry erase markers!

I highly recommend the book.

5lovelanguages.com/

Most libraries have it.


#14

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