Call me Mommy....
If I LOVE YOU are the three best words to hear, CALL ME MOMMY are probably about the least favorite words a child of a blended family can hear!
It's being reported in the national press that former Presidential Candidate, John Edwards fiancee supposedly asked his children to call her Mommy. I say supposedly because who the hell knows what conversations are taking place within their family. I bring it up because it does happen often in blended families and it has happened to our kids in their other families.
When Elle was four years old, her step-mother, Malus, told her she had waited long enough, Elle would now call her "Mom" and me, Lisa. Why? According to Malus, she was the one who was doing all the right things a mother should do. Yes because demanding your step-child call you Mom makes you one of the best in the world. NOT! On top of that Elle's Dad joined in on the fun. When Elle would talk about me and refer to me as Mom or my Mom, they would both respond -- We don't know who you are talking about your Mom's right here (Elle's step-mom). This put unbearable pressure on Elle as she was always having to self edit her comments about me when she was around her Dad and Step-mother for fear of goofing up. And even though she called Malus "Mom" to her face, she always made a point to everyone outside of their home that Malus, was not her mother she had just been ordered to call her so. And now she calls Malus her given name to everyone, including Malus and Dick.
The three older kids experience was a similar one except it was their mom, Bitty, who asked them to call her husband "Dad" and asked her own step-kids to call her "Mom". For a number of years they complained of having to do so especially since growing up in their household they did not get along well with their Step-Dad Mickey. In their adult years, I've noticed that they call Micky, Dad when around him or their mother, but reference him as Micky when outside of their mother's world.
For Little Hart and Jax, their Mom, Greta, married their Step-Dad a year before we walked down the aisle. She never asked Jax to call her husband Dad and so he never has called him anything, but Sal. For Little Hart, Greta referenced her husband as Dad to Little Hart (she was 2) when she was growing up. She called him Dad for a number of years, however, as she grew older and they began to have significant personality conflicts and she started calling him by his name, Sal. This upset Greta and said so to Little Hart. Typical Little Hart, gave it right back and said you don't make Jax call him Dad then why do I have too? Greta replied because you were young enough that you don't have a choice. Well it turns out Little Hart did have a choice and she started calling him Sal a few years ago and still does so today.
For me, I had watched the emotional toll "CALL ME MOMMY" had taken on my own child from her step-mother and to some extent on my three older step-kids. For me it was what made the kids feel the most comfortable to them. Twelve years later the only child that calls me Mom is Little Hart. I have never asked her to do so and when she talked to me about her mom, Greta, asking her to call Sal her Dad she gave me the biggest complement a step-kid can give a step-parent. She said I call you Mom because you feel like my Mom. So I tell you that one child calling me Mom is priceless and means a hell of a lot more to me than having 5 step-kids call me Mom's because I asked.