When stepparents are involved, the rules of engagement can sometimes get a little tricky – especially when it comes to grand-parenting.
A woman shared her story on online forum Reddit recently, revealing her stepmother wants to be called ‘grandma’, despite the family’s protestations, and it’s caused plenty of tension for the new mum.
“I recently had a baby,” she wrote. “It’s the first baby in our immediate family, which includes my mom, 60, my dad 60, and my stepmom, 55.”
In the post, the woman explains the problem is with her dad and stepmother, adding: “They are insisting on being ‘grandpa’ and ‘grandma'”.
She added: “She’s a wonderful person, but she came into our lives when we were in high school and not under the best circumstances — an affair with our dad.”
The anonymous woman said she and her husband came up with an alternative nickname, but her stepmother dismissed it and called it “trashy”.
“Grandma is a title you earn by raising children, and even though she is a parental figure to us now and we love her, we just don’t feel comfortable with it,” she said.
“They’re not considering our feelings, or the feelings of our biological mother, who would be really hurt if our kids called our stepmother grandma.”
Readers replied with their own experiences, with one commenting: “You should be honest and direct. I’m in the same boat as you, except I don’t see my parents respective partners as parental figures. I call them by their first names, and neither will be grandma or grandpa to my imaginary kids.”
Another added: “Tell them they can pick another nickname, or the kids will be instructed to either call them by their first names, or Mr/Mrs.”
Some readers, however, felt the woman was being “petty”, with one reader adding: “I’m going to go against the grain here and say I think you’re being petty. When I was growing up, all of my grandparents were divorced and remarried (under not great circumstances as it often goes). When I was growing up everyone was called grandma and grandpa.”
Another wrote: “I’m in a similar situation, but a few years down the road, and my kids do call her grandma. You write that ‘grandma is a title you earn by raising children’, but my experience has been that ‘grandma’ is a title you earn by grand-mothering.”