It’s not always easy to combine new partners and kids after the breakdown of a relationship. Complicated feelings rear their heads and misunderstandings can be rife. One mum took her struggle to popular forum Mumsnet, asking for advice on how her ex’s new partner was treating her son.
She is not my son’s mother!
The frustrated woman is mum to a seven-year-old boy and says she’s been a single parent for close to seven years. Her ex is now in a long-term relationship with another woman, and the new couple have a small child together. Things seem to be a little fraught between both parties, despite best efforts and this delicate balance has reached a tipping point.
“She has on her Instagram profile that she is a ‘Happy mother of two boys!!!’ and so help me god I have not been able to rest about it,” the Mumsnet poster wrote.
“She is NOT MY SON’S MOTHER. Nobody else thinks this is weird. I tried to raise it with Dad and he shrugged it off and said I was being sensitive.”
Read more about family life:
- No sh*t, Sherlock! Mums earn less, do more housework, are worse off than dads
- “Most beautiful family” : Lindy Klim’s big fat kid-filled Italian wedding
- ‘Motherhood on my own has been the greatest adventure of my life’
“[My son] later told me that she has told him to call her Mummy as it is apparently ‘confusing’ to his half-sibling (who is not old enough to talk) if he calls her by name. I am incensed. He’s MY SON,” she writes, asking if she’s being unreasonable.
It’s a relatable dilemma – and one that obviously sweeps up lots of big feelings and has no easy answers.
On one hand, the stepmother might be approaching her role wholeheartedly and hoping to bond more closely with her stepson. But on the other hand, she’s not his “Mummy” and encouraging the original poster’s son to call her that is obviously super upsetting for his actual mother.
Trust your relationship
Commenters on the forum were divided, with many noting this would totally get on their goat, but others pointed out that this was not really as big of an issue as it might seem.
“I would explain to your son that it’s up to him what he calls her,” one really sensible woman advised “and he will make his own mind up (which I strongly suspect will be NOT to call her Mum). Stay strong and be secure that you are his mum and his only mum. I wish I had loosened up and trusted my relationship with my own children 10 years ago. I would have saved me and them a lot of grief.”
This is a brilliant response because really we want our kids to have the strongest support crew around them, and nobody can replace a mum, right? But others were not so sure …
“She’s massively crossing some boundaries and so is your ex!! I’m not anti step parent at all, my kids have a lovely step mum, but she is also respectful to me (and vice versa). I wouldn’t tolerate this,” a sympathetic mum commented.
“Call me Mummy”
Some wondered if there’d been a misunderstanding and this was all about simplifying language around her ex-partner’s small child (which she hints at in her post.)
“I would clarify on the calling her mummy thing. My stepson refers to me as mummy when talking to my son – ‘go give that to mummy, where’s mummy?’ Maybe she is asking him to do the same? As in ‘please don’t call me X when talking to my son, please refer to me as mummy’. The same way you would talk to any young child about their parents.”
There are no hard and fast rules with evolving families, and it’s clear this mum is obviously feeling under-appreciated – and a little … erased. That said, doing what’s best for the child in question seems like the very best approach. And in this case, chatting to the seven-year-old about what he’s most comfortable with seems to make the most sense.
Pick your battles wisely, seems like good advice. What do you think? Let us know on Facebook.