Second Weddings

Not exactly a wedding question but i'm sure someone else has been in my shoes.

My husband and I are planning a wedding for June 2012, we got married in the court right before he left on deployment 3 months ago. I am married to a wonderful man with 3 great kids. For the most part his ex wife and I politely avoid each other when we can, living on opposite sides of the country helps. My folks are divorced and have been most of my life, both are remarried and they have always had very harmonious relationships with all my "parents" so i'm trying to have that kind of situation with the ex wife.

Sorry back to the issue at hand, my husbands daughter who is 6 called me "mommy Jenn" last week when I called to talk to the kids and since her brothers are both younger they do whatever she does so now all three are calling me "mommy Jenn". I have no idea where this idea came from but I know it's making their mother absolutely furious.

My problem is i'm honored that the kids think of me as another mommy, that is how I was raised with biological and step parents all being "mommy" and "dad". But I don't want to stir the pot with the ex wife. Is there a graceful way to let her know that i'm not trying to steal her kids? Please help!

Re: Not exactly a wedding question but i'm sure someone else has been in my shoes.

  • edited December 2011
    Either ignore it as far as the x-W is concerned or say to her, "I have no idea where she got that, she must have made it up herself.  What an incredibly bright, creative child she is, you two sure have great kids." 

    Depending on your relationship, the above statement could set off her BS detector just as well.  ~Donna
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks right1, I think just letting it go may be the best idea. The XW already dislikes me, merely for my very presence in my husband and their kids lives, so even though at 6 my step daughter is amazingly bright I know that a comment like that will set the XW off. Antagonizing her purposefully is really a game I do not wish to start playing.
  • handfast4mehandfast4me member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I haven't been in your shoes, but I'm one of those persons that has learned, over time, to confront issues.  I used to avoid it, and then I realized that this caused many, if not all, of these things to get bigger.  So I might call her and ask her about it--what she wants the kids to call you, and definitely mention that you didn't suggsest this name. 

    Good luck.
    image Don't mess with the old dogs; age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
  • mybooboosmybooboos member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    If your goal is to have a open harmonious relationship with the ex, than say something to her. 

    "II just wanted you to know that I'm just as surprised as you are by the way that (child) has been addressing me. I'm sure it must have caught you off guard.  It's comforting to know that she feels that I care for her like a mommy, as well as being able to distinguish the difference between you being her mommy and me being "like a mommy". It's obvious that you've both done a fantastic job in raising her.  I hope that gives you some sense of relief, in regards to the level of care I give to her when she's with us, instead of taking it negatively."

    Something like this, if it's truly heartfelt, may help.

    Good luck! 
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  • edited December 2011
    Thank you handfast & mybooboos, under normal circumstances i'd do just that but I know she hasn't been taking her antipsychotics since she got pregnant and she's been very paranoid recently. I'm worried that if I bring it up first she'll freak out and that'll be the end of my phones calls with the kids until my husband gets back from his deployment. Just last week she called me out of the blue and left a screaming message on my voice mail about how I stole my husband away from her. I was obviously shocked since they were already in divorce proceedings and he had been transfered out here to socal for more then a year before we met. I wonder if perhaps I should just let it ride until she brings it up and then use the tactic you suggested. She has to know, on some rational level, that I couldn't have introduced that moniker since all my phone calls to the kids are on speaker phone. She hears everything I say to them and everything they say to me.
  • edited December 2011
    My 4 year old son has a charming speech about how he has two daddies that I'm sure would set his BF off on a rampage.  We've been kind of ignoring the issue and just enforcing their term for FI.  If my exhusband were a reasonable man, I would talk to him about it, but he is not, and so we don't talk about it.

     I think that a short conversation letting her know that you were caught off guard, and you want to get her opinion on what she's comfortable with the children calling you would be appropriate.  I would keep it very matter-of-fact.  If it were me receiving this call from my children's stepmother, I wouldn't want a bunch of flowerly, complimentary talk.  I would just think she was full of BS, but then I have a very low tolerance for that kind of thing. Use your best judgement about the kind of person she is to decide how to present it. ;-)
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you lindalou for your take on the situation. Your advice seems sound but for one thing, I don't know if asking what she wants the kids to call me is a good idea. She is barely willing to say my name and often refers to me as "that woman". It may not be terribly upfront but I don't wish to give her the power to say "I want my kids to call you_____" and I don't want to hurt my step kids feelings by rejecting their obvious attempt to say that they consider me family too. But in total I appreciate all the varied and honest feed back i've gotten.
  • edited December 2011
    After reading your last message, I think I'd just let it ride.  Given that your DH is not able to take part in the conversation, you only talk to the kids when she's listening, and she's maybe not-so-stable, just let it go unless it presents itself as a problem, and in the meantime if you have to refer to yourself to the kids ("Hi, guys, it's ....") use whatever term it is they called you before the Mommy Jenn incident.
  • jerseydeviljerseydevil member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    She sounds like the type of person who would FLIP on you if you tried to confront it head on.

    If I was in your position, I would let it slide and if brought up in person or your SD brings it up around you both, just be surprised and say "I don't know where she got that!" Laying it on any thicker than that would probably come off as insincere.

    ETA: It's not like you told the child to say that. Children are perceptive and it's very nice that the SD has taken to you so warmly.

  • edited December 2011
    Speaking as a step mom and in the stituation where my older children have had a step mom, let it ride until your husband comes home from his deployment.  My fiance's children (especially the oldest) try to get us to say negative things about their mom alot and we don't bite, children are way more observant of stituations than we give them credit for.  Although your SD is using a term of endearment with you, she could also notice how it makes her mother hit the roof when she says it.  My own children when they referred to their father's ex as mom, it was to gauge my reaction and when they noticed I didn't get upset, they resorted back to calling her by her first name when talking to me.  The only thing I told my children was not to disrespect her with name calling (ie a name that would be hurtful) but from reading your posts, I doubt that response has come from your husband's ex wife.
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you to everyone for your thoughts on the situation. I think laying low may be the best option, at least for now. Oh and my husband called from the south pacific this morning (YAY!) when I told him about the situation his voice got very thick with emotion. He adores his daughter and the thought that she's taken to me so well truly made his day. 
  • needle&threadneedle&thread member
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    First of all, X-W should be glad her children love you and think of you as another mom.  My son calls his father's wife...'HER'. 

    Make sure that when you do mom things with them, that they create stuff to take home for their bio-mom (ie. baking cookies or doing some sort of craft); with a note from you.  When you buy holiday gifts for the children, buy her one from the children and you and hubby. Don't take family portraits with her children and then send her one, though...but by all means get a 11x14 for your livingroom.  When they are there, for all intents and purposes, they are your children. 

    Children may not understand the attitude/hatred their mother has about things now...but they grow up and remember.  Sooner or later the bio-mom is gonna look like an idiot for being angry with the nice mommy jenn for no reason--get it!  Just be cordial...it will all come out in the wash.

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  • amy7177amy7177 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    i havent been in your shoes but instead the xwife's...now i think you sound like a wonderful person to have in the children's lives...i am thinking the first suggestion sounds very nice. you will afterall be their new stepmother and it does need to be addressed. To state that you arent coming up with this is very mature on your part and will show the x that you are going to be good for her kids not an evil stepmother. explaiining to her how you grew up will help. Dont write this in a note, like my xhusband's girlfriend did however. You have to have communication. It really does take a village to raise a child. Its probably some kind of supressed jealousy for her not liking you without really knowing you. It is her problem to solve. Just be yourself and do what you think is best when it comes to your new role as stepmother. It took me almost seven years to actually want my ex husband to be happy and find someone that is going to great for him and my kids. I think I had to mature and really get over all the animostiy and jealousy, that and find my own happiness. Now I am ready but he hasnt found her.lol. It sounds like you would be what id pick for him. Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
    Married on July 29, 2011
  • Lisa50Lisa50 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    How do you know it's making their mother furious?  I would think, that if it were really pissing her off, she'd be screaming in the background -- and make sure you could hear it.  She knows you're not trying to steal her kids.  Let the kids call you what they want, as long as it is polite, and keep on truckin'.
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