What’s in a name?

In my quest for more resources and information on blended families I just came across this awesome site – this lady calls herself “Smom” instead of step-mom and it works for her and her step-children.

When the KoD and I got engaged my little one asked us if he could now call him “Abba”, which was awfully sweet. But we explained to him that he and his brothers call their own father “Abba” and it would be disrespectful to him to call the KoD by the same name. The boys call the KoD by his given name, and the KoD’s kids call me Hadassah and we are all ok with it. There are times that the kids’ friends have called me Ima, but that was funny. In some old-school movies the kids have called the step-parent “Mother Hadassah” or “Father KoD” – but that just is too formal and weird.

Sometimes I wonder whether it would help the relationship a little if step-parents had an honorary name like Mom, Dad, Abba or Ima etc. The “Smom” has found a name that works for her family – although she did tell me that one of her kids calls her husband, the step-dad – “Cookie” – and I was wondering whether you guys have honorary names for the non-biological parental units in your life? If you do have non-traditional names (like the aforementioned “Cookie”), how did they come about?

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  1. I don’t have any step-parents, but your last anecdote reminds me of a story from my own life: A friend’s mom asked me to stop calling her Mrs. ____ & to start calling her by her first name. I was too nervous, so she said, “You can call me Ralph, for all I care, just stop calling me Mrs. ____!” That was more than 10 years ago. I still call her Ralph.

  2. Batya says:

    l’havdil, when our first child was born we decided that we had to find different “grandparent titles” for all four living grandparents and my grandmother. And a generation (plus) later, my grandkids call my parents grandma and grandpa, while I’m Savta Batya and their other grandmother is Savta Esterie. My husband is Saba Winkie, though he’s the only saba. Your using the first name would probably change if you had kids together. Though maybe not.

  3. Rafaela says:

    I have a man who helped give birth to me… he’s my abba. I have a man who helped raise me… he’s also my abba. I think it’s just as complicated as you make it.

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