“Step” grandparents & the PD parent

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“Step” grandparents & the PD parent
« on: May 30, 2020, 09:08:26 PM »
I think I am about to open a can of worms with my PD mother. 

Her parents split when she was a teenager.   Both parents have remarried.  They’ve been with their SO since before I was born.   Although my grandpa and his wife didn’t marry until I was in middle school.  My grandma’s husband we always called grandpa (he passed away 10 years ago).  My grandpa’s wife we always called by her first name.

My mom and her siblings had/have some deep rooted issues with him and how they treated their mother.  Those issues translated to us kids (picked up on them from our parents). He has since tried to make it up, to the point of almost costing him his current marriage.   

As an adult, more aware of the ins and outs and also getting to know her, she really is a very nice person.   Quirky, but I really do like her.   My children consider her a grandmother and have questioned why I don’t call her grandma.  They told me it is disrespectful.  It is true!   I feel disrespectful because the last few years I’ve spent really getting to know her, she has a lot to offer and I hate that I didn’t take the time sooner. 

So here is my crossroads:  she and I text quite a bit.   She said she is honored that I share details of my life with her since she’s only a “grandmother by marriage.”   

I have two choices:   Open the can of worms and tell her that She does hold that role in our lives or just keep status quo.   Either way, I know I piss off my mom.   She does not like her.  She finds it disrespect to my grandma (her mom).   But my children have clearly said they don’t feel comfortable calling her by her first name.  The toddler knows nothing different at this point. 

What do I do?   Because my children have spoken.   Period.   It doesn’t mean anything against my grandma or her.   But I know it won’t be viewed that way. 


Thru the Rain

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Re: “Step” grandparents & the PD parent
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2020, 12:44:49 PM »
I had a similar situation growing up. My Dad's parents were divorced and both remarried.

We were encouraged to call all four Grandma and Grandpa, and I felt like (and still feel) that my life was that much richer by having so many grandparents who loved me. I also had my Mom's parents, so 6 grandparents, plus a few great-grands when I was really young.

I also had my Dad's sister's husband's father - who we also called Grandpa.

Many cultures call anyone of grandparent age "grandma" and "grandpa" out of respect. That could be a way of deflecting your M - you are teaching your young children to respect their elders. And naturally you will also switch to calling your step-grandma by "grandma" as an example to your children.

Another option might be to ask your step-grandmother and your children to pick a special name. Something distinct from the name they call your M's mother. Nana, gamma, nonni, etc - many, many choices including something completely unique to your family. That may make this change a little smoother with your M, maybe?

Good luck navigating! I applaud your choice and I think you are doing the right thing for YOUR family of choice.