$#*! my mom says

This post isn't about adoption but more about being confident in the role we play in our kid's lives. Parents can have their confidence shaken in all sorts of scenarios. They can feel threatened by teachers, ex spouses, step parents, babysitters, aunts, uncles, in-laws you name it, anyone who their kids seem to connect with. I've even seen parents be jealous of the other parent, with the family in tact. The example I'm using is adoption related because, well, I'm adopted and it has a tendency to come up, especially with the meeting of my bio mom looming large.

So, my mom asks me when my bio mom is coming, where she's staying etc. When answering I mention it's weird to call bio mom a name, that I've always thought of her as "my biological mother", that I'm trying to get used to saying her name. Well my mom, sigh, has to go and respond by saying, "well, call her whatever you want, just don't call her mom". Silence. Eventually I say, "mom, don't say that to me, don't tell me not to call her mom, if I wanted to, I would. If I did, it wouldn't have anything to do with you or your role as a mom". To which she replied, "well, I didn't even like it when your brother called his mother-in-law mom". So I point out how ridiculous that is. How I wouldn't give a rat's ass if my son called someone other than me mom.

I know what I am to my son, that what I've been and continue to be is unique to me. That I can't be replaced just as I can't replace the other people he has relationships with. I want him to have great relationships with other people. When his dad has a girlfriend, I want my son to like her, her to like him. I want him to have a close relationship with his future mother-in-law.

It's funny, it occurs to me that my parents called each others parents "mom and dad". Talk about hypocritical.

I think if we want our kids to value us and our role in their lives, we have to value and have confidence in it too.


  1. You can always call her "late for dinner", lol. It's really hard discussing our reunions with our ap's. No matter how much we love them, or they love us, there is that undercurrent of jealousy. I deal with this from my fp's, as well.

    Sometimes, it's hidden, other times the undercurrent grabs you and tries to drown you. Its all so silly, really. As if we are going to run away and go live with our new old family.

    Your a Mom sounds a lot like mine. She hates the fact that her grown children call their in-laws "Mom" or "Dad".

    Good luck with your upcoming meeting. It's surreal, and quite frankly, a bit emotionally draining.

  2. Pleeeese say it isn't so...two mom's insecurities (*cough* self-centeredness) to deal with?!

    Thanks for the good luck : )

  3. I say you should call your first mom whatever you feel comfortable calling her.

  4. "As if we are going to run away and go live with our new old family. "

    Some adoptees have done that. Repatriation.

  5. Yup, Campbell. And, 2 Dads who on occasion, do the same. It's way fun.

    Yeah, Mei-Ling, you are correct. Some do. Although I have reclaimed my original heritage, I can't physically run away.

    It would not be an option with my f Mom anyway. It definitely would be an option with my f Dad. But, my life is here where I was raised- my kids are here, my career, etc. Not to mention the fact my ap's are declining- one physically, one mentally. I could totally see moving my F dad up here, though. Won't that be fun? Ughhhhh.

  6. Maybe your a-mom just needs time to process it all. She hasn't spent hours on the adopto-blogosphere getting to know different folks, how it works for different people. This may be the first time she has actually confronted the idea deeply that you are going to meet your original mother and oooooh boy, you might bond! I know you'll figure out how to play this.

  7. Nah O Solo, although I'm most certain time to process would help many adoptive parents, it's just my mom's nature to be like this. She's been there done that with my big sister and there was no repatriation, we're still stuck with her :P

    (FYI just teasing big sister that reads here)

  8. I went away overnight for work about 2 months ago, when I cam back my son, who is under the age of 2, spent 2 weeks calling me "D" (the daycare workers name) and refusing to call me mommy. I was so hurt, because he was clearly mad at me. I mentioned it to "D" and she laughed, he was calling everyone at daycare "mommy."

    I've come to realize that no matter what he calls me it will not change how I/we feel about each other.

  9. Okay Campbell here's where our similarities end(at least for today!!) because I really DO think that the title of Mom is reserved for the one that raised you. Your mom. In my opinion as an adoptee my bio mom is not my mom. She's my bio mom or "_____" if I were to know her name and meet. I don't call my MIL mom because she isn't my mom...although shes said I am welcome to call her that.

    WHen I get around to it I'll type up that post I was planning to and I know some might question me about my sincere belief that only one woman deserves to be called mom...but its true for me. No matter what she says and does and wow has my mom ever done a doozy recently, she is my one and only mom. I think that to call another woman mom would devalue the role my mother has played in my life.

    My husbands aunt got pregnant 20 something eyars ago and gave up her child for adoption to her sister. It was obviously an open adoption in the sense that everyone knew. The child called her aunt "aunt" and her mom "Mom" as she would if she were born into the role. However she is very close to her aunt and has many things in common. No one can tell me that she thinks of her "just" as an aunt. And I suppose as long as she is compasionate of her moms feelings thats okay. However to me what crossed the line was that she invited bother her mother and her aunt into the delivery room. She has 7 aunts but only that one was invited(don't get me started on deliveryroom parties...whats wrong with the husband and wife and doctors...why invite the world? Anyway...) and I KNOW the mom was hurt by it. It showed her that she thought of her as another mom and although she said it was fine she allowed herself to look at me, knowing I was adopted, and her eyes clearly showed her hurt. She might not call her mom but she thought of her as one. And that broke my heart for my Aunt in law. 2 cents.

  10. Lol @ "for today" Alex

    I get what you're saying here. I too could never see myself calling anyone but my mom, mom. I suppose given the right circumstance with in-laws, it wouldn't be an impossibility.

    This post was more about my mom feeling the need to say that to me, that that what was what she felt was the most important to say in the moment. I think that maybe some of her insecurity is due to the kind of mom she's been, which is her problem, not mine. My dad certainly never had those insecurities, was always confident in his role in my life. I can see him laughing and saying in a joking whiny voice, "awwww....and I thought I was your daddy" while faking sniffles.

    We can agree to disagree that the word "mom" in itself is so important. Hah, I'm just picturing my son calling his future mother-in-law mom or if he ever has a stepmom calling her mom. It just wouldn't bug me at all at this point. I just know what I am to him, what I've been and still strive to be, and there's nothing anything not of my own doing that could change that.

  11. ....*there's nothing that's not of my own doing that could change that.

  12. "I just know what I am to him..."

    Exactly Campbell. I feel the same way...but I think you might know that about me already ;)

  13. Well my mom was always very confident of her role in my life and offered on several occasions to help me find my biological parents if I ever wanted to. So she has always known her place. I guess its just that Mom in society means so much.

    As for my son(and girls) calling another person mom I've never thought about it. I'm sure if I were to get divorced I'd be jealous if he called another woman mom...because that is my title. Even though I know who I am to my kids its like when someone starts calling my daughter by her nickname that only I use. Back off...thats my name for her :) I just happen to share my special name (Mom) with millions of women out there. But if I were to die, and my husband remarry I would be okay with my children calling that new woman Mom, because I feel that every child should have a mother in their life...and it would break my heart more for them to not have a Mom than for me to hear my name being spoken to someone else. And I would have to trust that my husband would only remarry a woman deserving of being called Mom by my kids.

  14. Hi Campbell,
    Last summer I commented on your post where you wondered if your Mother was deliberately not returning your call. I was sure she wanted to talk to you but that she did not know how to get in touch with you. I wrote:

    "I reunite families for free. I was just reading thru your blog. I thought I'd offer if you want to confirm the contact info you have on her. I'll do that for you. Its probably not what you think."
    and you replied
    July 17, 2010 8:24 PM
    Campbell said...
    Yikes Marilynn, yes of course I remember you. I've continued to read what you write from time to time on Julie Shapiro's blog.

    I appreciate the offer(s?) but no, thanks.

    I am curious though, what's probably not what I think?"

    So I just read your reply to my original message today, many months later. In response to your question about what did i mean when I said "its probably not what you think" I meant you were thinking the worst, that she was avoiding your call and did not wish to speak with you. I knew that she did not know how to get back to you the way you thought she did. Now I'm happy to read that was the case she had tried unsuccessfully to reach you by email. I am happy you tried again. I hope that when you meet it fills in the blanks for both of you. That is the point of the meeting if nothing else ever comes of it than answered questions both of you deserve the peace of mind you'll get from being in control again. Its not really anyone's place to prevent you from being able to answer fundamental questions of life like "where is my kid?" or "am I kissing my brother?" The people with the answers to those questions are in control of you in a way that maybe they really should'nt be.
    First and foremost reunions are about getting your control back from those that should not have taken it from you. The fuzzy warm stuff may or may not happen. I really hope it does though. Its nice to have your control back and find out you like eachother.


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