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AIBU for not wanting nana to be called mama?

(106 Posts)
Hawa93 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:10:10


I would love advice from you lovely grandmothers and especially mother in laws!
But I want to add, I AM Persian and this is not norm in how I grew up or how my cousins and friends did.
My maternal grandmother was Naneh Joon && my Paternal was Bibi Joon.


So for some while now my mil has been calling herself mama to my dd. Her daughters children all call her mama, apparently the eldest picked it up from mil children while mil was providing childcare daily and nobody stopped it, mil encouraged it so their mum is “mummy” and grandma is “mama”

I wasn’t actually aware of this until few months ago, as sil lives in another country but visits once every two months for a few days, and her youngest children only started talking 6 months ago. But she has been “mama” to sil eldest for around 9 years now and obviously the two youngest (3,2) have copied their elder brother.

So when she was calling herself mama I was taken back! I did confront her straight away and she just smiled and said “okay, well I’m sure dd will choose whatever name she feels fit to call me” so I thought , phew that wasn’t too bad.
However the next visit every other word coming out her mouth was mama, my husband told me to stay quiet but now my dd has just turned one, he did tell his mum to quit it. She didn’t take it kindly, we went through all the names she should be expected to called, but she just sat there crying that she’s “mama”

Dh stayed firm in his words and now she doesn’t call herself mama anymore however yesterday sil was here for her bi monthly visit and mil as soon as dh left the room was like “KIDS LETS TEACH the baby EVERYONES NAMES” and she had the kids chanting mama a million times to her, I thought hmm this must be so my dd hears them and learns who “she is”

My sister in law pulled me to the side quietly and said she thinks I’m being unreasonable for not going along with her children and that I’m being difficult ?

But I just don’t like it, I’ll be honest, I think it’s because when we visit she try’s to be play mummy. And combined with “oh my daughter” it’s too much, and when sil went for an errand, I heard her refer to herself to sil children not just as mama! But mummy and mum aswell”. Sil dd said to her “no you’re mama, mummy’s gone shops” and she goes “ohhh my dear daughter, it means the same thing!”
So she is trying to blur the lines? And I worry because she may FaceTime them everyday but she sees us like twice a week!

Am I being unreasonable for not going along with sil children? Or am I in my own right? And what tips can I do to make sure dd (dear daughter) doesn’t copy her uncles?
I can’t believe this is even an issue!
And it’s not cultural because I’m from the culture! But maybe it’s a new thing happening?

jura2 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:14:40

Do you mean 'nana'?

Hawa93 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:20:09

Nope she wants to be called mama

Luckygirl Sun 09-Jun-19 14:24:48

What a storm in a teacup. One set of GC call me Mama, and my OH Papa. This is because the first one could not say Grandma and used to call me Mama - and it has stuck. My DD doesn't mind a bit - why would she?

I am sure the children know who is mother and who is grandmother, so why would it matter?

I honestly think you are making far too much of this.

MiniMoon Sun 09-Jun-19 14:28:19

What I think the OP means jura2, is that the first grandchild called the MiL "mama" as a diminutive of grandma when he was learning to talk. The name stuck and the other grandchildren followed suit.
I really don't think she is trying to be mummy to her grandchildren though. If I were the OP I wouldn't let it worry me. Children know the difference between mum and grandma. Your daughter will call her grandmother the name you teach her.

Hawa93 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:28:55

Yeah when I asked my sil would she let her mother in law be called mama she said “NO, I taught them nana because they kept calling her mum I didn’t like it”. So maybe your dd obviously tou’re Her mother?

Is the other set of gc your sons children? X

Hawa93 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:30:23

He called her mama because she taught him too because he said it when he heard his uncles call her maman which is our word for mum. And then she sort of taught him to call her that x that’s why it don’t sit well with me because it wasn’t organic”

My niece claled my mum “mama” until she could said grandma and I undeestand that

leyla Sun 09-Jun-19 14:40:12

OP I am with you. It would really irritate me. Just reinforce whatever name you have chosen for your DD to call her every time she does it and as much as possible at home. If challenged just pleasantly say that your DDs name for Grandma is xxx and refuse to be drawn into further discussion. If she pushes for further discussion just say that your DH has already explained your little family's preference and that there’s nothing more to say.

EllanVannin Sun 09-Jun-19 14:43:53

Two-Mama which is like a second mother---Deep South,USA.
My friend is MeMaw to her GC.

mamaPow5 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:49:29

Like Luckygirl my six Grandchildren all call me Mama because the eldest couldn’t say Grandma. I love it.

notanan2 Sun 09-Jun-19 14:56:54

Mama = mother, not grandmother (which would be Nana if other versions are hard to say)

Ask people (without telling the back story) what "Mama" means and they will all say "mother/mum".

BlueBelle Sun 09-Jun-19 15:07:07

My ex husbands granny was Mama to everyone ( even the grownup grandkids) no one seemed to have a problem or mix her up with the Mum or Mummy’s She was just Mama, the elderly matriarch make sure you talk to your child calling the lady what you want your child to call her he will soon get the idea just like a bi lingual little one will talk to each in their own language
Don’t make an enemy of your mother in law over this

notanan2 Sun 09-Jun-19 15:26:55

Seriously? What century are we in?

FlexibleFriend Sun 09-Jun-19 15:38:27

Just keep telling your daughter she's Nana and it will stick, keep correcting her in the mother in laws presence too. You and your husband agree she's to be called Nana so keep addressing her as such. If you don't want or like her calling herself Mama tell her so politely and calmly and stick to it.

BlueBelle Sun 09-Jun-19 15:43:54

Notanan West Indies if that makes any difference The eldest lady was always looked up to

Starlady Sun 09-Jun-19 15:44:24

Hawa93, I don't think you're BU. As you say, if DD began calling MIL "Mama" organically, b/c she heard the other grands calling her that, then it would be ok. But I can see where the fact that MIL seems to be pushing it would be disturbing.

I agree w/ others, however, that if DD comes to call MIL "Mama,' she will know the difference between that and her actual mum (you). We adults know that Mama actually means "mother," but to DD and her cousins, it will mean "grandmother" for a long, long time. Even when they become conscious of the fact that usually it means "mother," they will know in their family, it refers to MIL/this particular GM.

Maybe MIL became used to being "Mama" b/c of SIL's kids and it has become part of her "identity." But the fact that she now is trying to blur the lines between Mama and Mummy - and between DD and GD - has me concerned. It DOES sound as if she's trying to "play mummy" or, at least, be thought of on the same level as mummy/as a 3rd parent.

It also bothers me that she continues to insist on Mama after you and DH told her how you two feel. And it bothers me that she, apparently, complained to SIL about it, and that one or both of them decided it was all coming from you, even though DH is the one who told her to "quit it."

IMO, you and DH need to talk this over and decide what your priority is - to keep MIL from teaching DD that she's Mama or keep her from mixing up the terms mama and mummy, etc. (the second is more important, IMO, but that's just me). Then, you'll have to approach her as a united front and let her know exactly what your boundary is. And you'll have to enforce it every time. This can be done gently-but-firmly, as in, "No, DD, this is Nana, not Mama" or "No, in this house Mama and Mummy are NOT the same" (caps for emphasis, not yelling).

I know it seems like a petty issue to some people. But, IMO, it's the sign of some larger concerns (MIL trying to be in control, disrespect for the parents' feelings).

If you decide that you're ok w/ Mama as long as she doesn't interchange it w/ Mummy, then you may want to let SIL know about that incident. That may concern her, too, and she may want to be on board w/ you in making sure that doesn't continue.

If this continues to be a problem, you may want to cut back your visits w/ MIL. Maybe you do, anyhow. I'm NOT saying to cut her out altogether over this. Not at all! Just saying that the less DD is around her, the less likely she is to be influenced by her. Meanwhile, you can remind DD of who MIL is or what you feel she should be called and just say she's "being silly" when she calls herself "Mummy" or whatever. It's very easy for parents to do this, especially if you're with them a lot more than the GM. (As a GM, myself, I'm not crazy about the idea, but some GMs force the issue). DD will believe YOU.

Starlady Sun 09-Jun-19 15:46:01

Love BlueBelle's idea of treating this as if it's just a matter of different languages/being bilingual!

notanan2 Sun 09-Jun-19 16:05:12

Notanan West Indies if that makes any difference The eldest lady was always looked up to

Rubnish! The OP NEVER stated who was elder, the maternal grandmother or paternal grandmother. So that cant be what you meant when you called the paternal grandmother the matriarch!

Septimia Sun 09-Jun-19 16:08:02

I'm not surprised you were taken aback and weren't very happy about this.
However, although your DD is very small and won't yet understand, it's more important that your DD knows the relationship than what she actually calls your MiL. You could refer to your MiL as 'grandmama' but leave your DD to call her 'mama' for short. If you make sure that your DD learns the relationship as she grows up, what she calls people won't make any difference.
My niece and nephew are now grown up so I never call my self or my DH aunt or uncle to them, just our first names. Likewise, my son doesn't use 'aunt' or 'uncle' , just first names. It works because we established the relationships when they were all children.

dragonfly46 Sun 09-Jun-19 16:36:52

My children were brought up in Holland and called us Mama and Papa. I would have hated my MiL to adopt the term.

M0nica Sun 09-Jun-19 16:49:02

Hawa93, As you are Persian, why not suggest you would like your children to use the Persian word for grandma 'Naneh'

Although, with others, I would say, do not worry about it, it is too trivial, but if she is using the name to blur the boundary between who is mother and who is grandmother, then that is a different thing.

Callistemon Sun 09-Jun-19 17:00:32

My DB's children called their maternal grandmother 'Mama' and they called my mum 'Nana'.

Unless your children call you Mama, I can't see a problem.

SalsaQueen Sun 09-Jun-19 18:04:41

My granddaughters call me Mamma. I've also got 2 step-grandchildren, and they also call me Mamma. They call their biological grandmothers Nanny and Granny

Nandalot Sun 09-Jun-19 18:13:48

A friend is Mama to her grandchildren.

BlueBelle Sun 09-Jun-19 18:40:22

I m sorry notansn you got it all wrong I wasn’t suggesting anything about paternal or maternal I was simply telling you what happened in my ex s family, do read my post again and don’t be so blooming aggressive
It was NOT advice to the poster just a simple bit of information ...blimey

Summerlove Sun 09-Jun-19 18:51:36

If it’s upsetting you, then it’s a problem.

The fact that your MIL seems to be “doubling down” vs accepting Nana, is a real issue of disrespect for you.

Your husband needs to tell her again. Just keep correcting her every single time.

I’d be seeing her less often though. People who don’t respect me as a parent/mother, didn’t get the benefit of my family.

Callistemon Sun 09-Jun-19 18:53:34

"Mama", as well as 'mother', also means 'a mature woman', notanan

eg 'a matriarch'

trisher Sun 09-Jun-19 18:57:59

I'd go with the Persian "Naneh" as well. Just explain that you want your children to have some knowledge of your language and culture. You could teach some Farsi words as well. Then when your DD get older she can teach her cousins (and see how your sil likes that!)

MamaCaz Sun 09-Jun-19 19:24:25

While I can see the OP's point to some extent, I don't think that anyone else, even the child's parents, should dictate to the grandmother that she accept a name that she doesn't want to be called, as a lot of people seem to be suggesting!

agnurse Sun 09-Jun-19 20:10:51

She wants to be called a name that is only appropriate for the child's mother, and refuses to show respect for the OP.

I'd suggest that if she doesn't start changing her attitude, she may have to be content with being called Grandma Who We Don't See.

Hawa93 Sun 09-Jun-19 21:34:16

What annoys me is tonight, I told her, what about mama and her first name and my dd will only be able to say mama anyway for a while! But it wasn’t good enough.
Btw my dd is 14 months old now and she calls me mama exclusively like she doesn’t babble it to anyone and she will go “that isn’t mama! That’s Hawa, mummy Hawa!” So it’s ok to call me mummy first name lol.
She’s so difficult

Hithere Sun 09-Jun-19 21:49:28

You are not BU.

Her insistence on being called mama and her reaction to your chat with her are huge red flags.

You and your dh pick the name you choose for her. If she does not like it, too bad so sad

Bibbity Sun 09-Jun-19 21:58:06

OP. Stop negotiating. You don’t need to negotiate because only one of you had power. That’s you.

You tell MIL that she will not be Mama. She can either decide her own name or you will decide. End of discussion.

Momof3 Sun 09-Jun-19 22:33:37

Lucky girl the circumstances are very different the Mother in law is actively trying to encourage her grandchildren to call her “Mama”.

My children call me Mama because I am their Mama I would certainly
not be impressed be impressed if my mother or mother in law decided to be known as Mama too. I lost my first boy nearly lost my 2nd and had to have surgery to prevent losing my 4th after a missed miscarriage in-between, I’ve earned the right to be the one and only Mama.

I really don’t think it would take much effort on yours or your husbands part to encourage your grandchildren to call you Nana and Grandad.

Momof3 Sun 09-Jun-19 22:35:07

The Mama is now the matriarch of her family.

Hawa93 Sun 09-Jun-19 23:03:32

And also, most toddlers can’t say grandma yet. My niece called my mum, mama, but my mum didn’t then be like “oh she can’t say grandma let me call myself mama oooo she picked it “ she still called herself grandma and low and behold, my niece calls her grandma, took her around 6 months to grasp the “GR” sound.

My sil kid never called her mama because of this, my sil actively encouraged naneh but unfortunately free childcare is never free and mil kept reinforcing that mama was her

Hawa93 Sun 09-Jun-19 23:04:53

That’s why I’m so against it, because mil orchestrated it from the very beginning with first GS to get what she wanted, she refuses to even use the term grand child, she will say “my son, my daughter” I think she’s conscious about being elder and stuff but it’s just so weird, I can’t wait for my daughter to be older and be like “I’m not your daughter” it’s just soooo jarring !

stevenk Mon 10-Jun-19 04:12:41

Hawa93, It's only a name. A famous Monk once said words are what we use to TRY and communicate. They are just words. He also said "don't cause yourself suffering over words" "you are only given a name so people can talk about you when your not there.

Nansnet Mon 10-Jun-19 06:07:28

My son's MiL spent months trying to decide what she wanted to be called (personally, I don't see why it should be such a big deal). Initially, 'mama' was her first choice, that was until all her friends gave her strange looks, as everyone said that was the name for a child's mummy! She now goes by grandma, but I guess she'll be called whatever our GD can manage to say when she learns to talk! If that turns out to mama, then so be it, but everyone else refers to her as grandma. I do think that grandparents have a right to be called by a name that they choose, and not by a name they're not happy with. However, I do think most people would agree that 'mama' is thought to be another name for mummy, unless a child simply can't say grandma and it comes out as mama naturally, that can't be helped. I personally wouldn't have wanted my kids to call my mother, or MiL, 'mama' by choice, and would simply have told them so, and told them to choose another name themselves that they are happy with, and if grandchild can't say it properly, and it comes out as something else, then that's fine. I would't really stress about it. Just tell her she can't choose mama, and then you and your husband continue to reinforce whatever name she chooses when you refer to her in front of your child.

GracesGranMK3 Mon 10-Jun-19 06:09:49

The monk may have been famous but he, fairly obviously, didn't have a MIL.

I wouldn't like this and the idea that she calls them son and daughter is a bit weird.

I don't know how you sort it out other than just correcting the poor child. If she says mama just say "yes dear, nana" and she will get the message. Don't tell her she is wrong -it's confusing enough as it is.

NfkDumpling Mon 10-Jun-19 06:47:48

Am I right Hawa, that your MiL wants to be called Mama - which is what your DD calls you - and thinks that your DD should call you Mummy Hawa?!! No way!! You’re her mama!

And she refers to her DGC as her DC? It sounds as if your MiL has problems acknowledging her age.

I would stick to calling her Naneh to your DD. It’s a lovely name and there’s no reason why your child shouldn’t call her GM by a different name to the other GC.

I’m Nanny Og by the way. DC decided on that for some reason. Two DGC call me Nanny and two call me Nana. Not so different. I’m proud to be a grandmother and love to say Child of my Child. It’s a privilege a lot of women don’t have and I value it.

MawBroonsback Mon 10-Jun-19 07:36:25

Stick to your guns!
You’re her mum, what you say goes. Never mind what others call her - just hang on in there.

BradfordLass72 Mon 10-Jun-19 08:04:48

I agree that you should insist. It's your child and you and your husband call the shots. He needs to have another firm word and not give in to any emotional blackmail which entails tears. He also needs to make it clear that if his child is coached, behind his back, he'll be very unhappy.

This is a lady who doesn't want to admit she's getting old; nor does she like people standing up to her. Used to getting her own way, she'll try every trick in the book to make sure she wins.

But to me, the main issue isn't names, it's disrespect of you and a hidden (or maybe not so hidden) rivalry, she wants you to know she's still in charge. She isn't.

Try to get it settled now before your child is confused that one person insists she be called 'Mama' and you insist she's Naneh.

Of course you could always teach your little one to call her اژدها باستان that would be fun!! grin

SirChenjin Mon 10-Jun-19 08:21:49

This is a very blatant attempt by your MIL to assert her position as the matriarch of the family, with you accepting her demands without question - or at least, without success should you ever question her.

You've every right to refuse to bow down to her and to make it very clear to her that unless she desists from this nonsense immediately she will no longer be welcome in your home. Naneh is a great solution as it reinforces the importance of your culture in your DCs. Seriously - what gives with some women that they think they can behave like that?!

Luckygirl Mon 10-Jun-19 08:41:17

I really do think there is a lot to be said for laughing this off and not engaging in the discussion directly. It is going to be a perpetual thorn in your side for years to come.

Make a joke when she starts on about it: "Are you afraid of getting old or something?"; "Was being Mum once not enough for you?"; etc.

I hate to think of spending years agonising and fighting over this. She's potty - my MIL was seriously potty, but I just let her craziness wash by me - she did not live with us, so I did not have to bite my tongue much. When the children grew a bit they too could see she was nuts and used to raise an eyebrow to me when she was here - your child will do the same one day. Your child knows you are Mum.

Niobe Mon 10-Jun-19 09:16:10

I was 'Mum' to my boys and my mother was 'Mama' to them but I can't remember how that came about. No one objected or found it strange. When my nephews were born they just followed suit and called her Mama too. With my own grandson I will let him decide what he calls me as he learns to talk.

crazyH Mon 10-Jun-19 09:35:54

What a lot of aggro about a name. I know I am still a bit miffed bcos my exhusband's wife is called 'Nana', same title as I have. She is not their blood relative and so, I felt hurt. I thought my sons could have insisted on her being called something else like 'grandma'. Interestingly, the kids of one of my my sons call their mum's mum, "Ma". My d.i.l. is very close to her mother and I suppose decided to give her mum that honour. It's all water under the bridge now. Names have been established. No point getting hot under the collar. You just feel you are bottom of the pecking order.
'Don't worry Hawa, it will come out in the wash, so to speak.

SirChenjin Mon 10-Jun-19 10:28:12

It's not just a name though - this MIL is deliberately undermining her DIL and pushing for a name that the OP and her DH have said that they don't want her to impose on their family.

Dee1012 Mon 10-Jun-19 10:41:00

But I just don’t like it, I’ll be honest, I think it’s because when we visit she try’s to be play mummy. And combined with “oh my daughter” it’s too much, and when sil went for an errand, I heard her refer to herself to sil children not just as mama! But mummy and mum aswell”.
This was the part that I could see caused you concern.
Personally, I'd just reinforce what name you want used and try to ignore what the rest of your family do...all families have their own way of doing things, in mine, we never used aunt / uncle, it was first names only. My grandparents were Nanny Sarah / Grandad John etc.
Your family, your choice!

Daddima Mon 10-Jun-19 11:57:24

I know a lot of families in the Glasgow area where the granny is called Maw, often ‘ my wee Maw’.

knickas63 Mon 10-Jun-19 13:12:17

My MIL was Grandma - and when my kids struggled to say it - it became Manma, which stuck. You could just try easing it to Manma? it's not ideal, but as someone else said, as long as you are not called Mama it shouldn't cause a clash or confusion. I would save your energy to fight bigger battles, of which I suspect there may be a few!

NotSpaghetti Mon 10-Jun-19 20:18:20

No, you really aren’t being unreasonable. I think I’d try to reinforce either Nana or Naneh.
Is she ever looking after your little one without you?

moggie57 Mon 10-Jun-19 20:26:27

keep telling children you are nana.mother in law in anagram spells woman hitler . lol....

MawBroonsback Mon 10-Jun-19 21:44:26

Ye called Daddima ?

Faye Mon 10-Jun-19 21:44:45

Three of my six GC called me Mama, pronounced Mumma. I always referred to myself as Grandma. I think it’s because Muma sounds like Grandma that GC shorten Grandma to Mumma. One GC always called me Grumma which I thought was very sweet. I found it interesting as the three GC who called me Mama were each from different families. As they got older they all call me Grandma.

OP if you refer to your MIL as Grandma your DC will follow as they get older. Though I have a third cousin, who is a grandmother herself and she refers to her late grandmother as Mama. 😊

Lyndiloo Tue 11-Jun-19 02:05:20

I wouldn't have liked my children to call their grandmother Mama, and I'm pretty sure that my two daughters wouldn't like me to be called Mama. (And for her to hint that she wants to be called 'Mummy' or 'Mum' is just absurd!)

Don't let it upset you, though. When you speak to your daughter always refer to your mother-in-law as Nanna (or whatever you want her to be called) and call her this yourself, when you're in her company. And never waver from this! Your daughter will learn to call her whatever you do. (And maybe even the other grandchildren will follow suit - but if they don't, it shouldn't matter to you.)

stella1949 Tue 11-Jun-19 02:12:21

I wouldn't make a big issue of it. Your DD won't think MIL is her mother - she knows who her mother is. No doubt she'll call you Mummy or Mum, and will call her grandmother Mama . Two different names. I'd say "pick your battles " - you'll have plenty of other problems to deal with over the years, but what name your child calls her grandmother shouldn't be one of them.

GrandmaKT Tue 11-Jun-19 08:45:07

I am caller d Mamar by my 2 SVC from my eldest son. It is what I called my gran and what I requested. They call their mother mummy.
However, my Dil in NZ, who has just had a baby, couldn't hear the distinction between Mamar and mamma, which is what she will be called. Listening to her nieces calling their mum's mamma, I did understand - it sounds very similar with their accents. So I have happily agreed to be grandma for NZ sprogs!I
Would Mamar maybe work for you? If not your Mil should choose an alternative she is happy with.

BradfordLass72 Tue 11-Jun-19 09:58:00

Many Maori grandchildren call their grandparents Nannima and Daddima.

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 10:15:57

Re-reading the heading of the OP

AIBU for not wanting nana to be called mama?

Personally, I think it is very unreasonable for a DIL to decide that a grandmother should be called nana..
It's the name of the dog in Peter Pan, I dislike it and refuse to be called it.

Surely a grandmother should have some choice over what her DGC should call her - and she is already called mama by her other DGC.

So, on reflection, I think that you are being unreasonable, OP.
That is just my view.

Buffybee Tue 11-Jun-19 10:19:59

My Father called his Grandma, Mother and his Mother, Mum.
He told me the whole family, her six daughters, called her Mother so he did too, as did all her other Grandchildren.
I asked him did it ever cause confusion and he told me that it didn't as there was only one Mother.
I've always thought that it was quite sweet.

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 10:25:09

"What's in a name?"

Storm in a teacup

Maggiemaybe Tue 11-Jun-19 10:47:51

Everyone in my family called my paternal grandmother Mother. I don’t know how it came about but it wasn’t a problem. Certainly nobody was in any doubt as to who she was (to me, my much-loved and lovely grandmother), and of course there was no confusing her with our actual mothers!

On the other hand, I don’t have the sort of family where people constantly demand power and respect, and delight in the thought of cutting off elderly relatives. I feel sorry for those who do.

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 11:57:49

My paternal grandparents died before I was born and the others when I was very young.
I wish I'd had a chance to call them whatever they chose to be called.

Is it unusual to call oneself "Persian" these days?
I do hope that your MIL is not of the Muslim faith, Hawa - she could be offended if you want to call her Nana (a dog's name).

This thread is rather weird imo.

SirChenjin Tue 11-Jun-19 12:48:36

The only thing that's weird is the behaviour of the MIL - imo. What sort of a person cries in that situation, or continues to reinforce the name she's chosen for herself to young children even though she's been asked not to, or refers to her grandaughter as her daughter? Bonkers.

Tweedle24 Tue 11-Jun-19 13:01:57

My eldest GC could not pronounce Grandma so called me Marmar. Their mother is known as Mum.
When the great grandchildren came along, they called my daughter, their grandmother, Marmar as well and I am known as MarmarMarmar - bit of a mouthful but, they are happy.

jura2 Tue 11-Jun-19 13:18:53

SirC 'exactly' - totally wrong on her part. Being a French speaker, 'mamma' means mum, not granny/nan/grandma.

If OP has told 'mamma' does not feel right to her and upsets her- that should be the end of it. Way out of order.

Glad GCs don't call me 'nana' as here people would find it funny/hilarious, as a 'nanna' in French means a sexy young woman ...

Hawa93 Tue 11-Jun-19 13:32:40

I referred to her as nana because she is a nana as we know. BUT I NEVER CLAIMED SHE HAD TO BE CALLED NANA. I gave her so many options including being called MAMAN which is mother in Farsi. And even mama her name. She said no.

My daughter ALREADY CALLS ME MAMA!!! But she will say tel her “no that’s not mama that’s mummy hawa or even worse she will say “that’s hawa I’m mama”

????????????????! So it’s appropriate for the grandmother to call me by my first name and try take the name that my child already calls me? To call her instead lol?

Hawa93 Tue 11-Jun-19 13:34:14

Also in our culture, grandmothers are called Bebe, nana (pronounced naneh) it’s not uncommon.

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 14:57:30

So why did you title the thread:

AIBU for not wanting nana to be called mama?

ps there is no need to shout hmm which says quite a lot
I still think that this is all very odd.

Starlady Tue 11-Jun-19 15:06:47

Generally speaking, I think a person has a right to decide their own name. But if a GP's choice of GP name offends the parents, IMO, the GP should be willing to change it. There are loads of alternatives, surely.

But it's NOT just about the name. It's about this...

"My daughter ALREADY CALLS ME MAMA!!! But she will say tel her “no that’s not mama that’s mummy hawa or even worse she will say “that’s hawa I’m mama”

????????????????! So it’s appropriate for the grandmother to call me by my first name and try take the name that my child already calls me? To call her instead lol?"

... and the fact that MIL refers to her GDs as her "daughters," etc. Clearly, she's having trouble accepting the fact that she not the mum this time around and/or that she's getting older, etc. She can't help feeling that way, but she can help how she acts. It seems to me, she's not only "playing mummy" in her own mind but trying to get everyone, even the kids, to go along w/ it.

So yes, I think you and DH have to deal w/ it, Hawa. Perhaps using humor as Luckygirl suggests, will help. At least, it may make DD see MIL's behavior as "funny" or "silly," so DD won't take it seriously and be confused.

But again, I recommend cutting back on the time you spend w/ MIL. Do you and yours really need to see her twice a week? Unless she's childminding, that's a lot, IMO. Less time w/ her is less time for her to try to confuse DD. And less aggravation for you (I can't imagine having to face this twice a week!) Also, perhaps she'll take your and DH's concerns more seriously if she thinks she lost out a little b/c of her behavior (perhaps not, of course). Again, I'm NOT saying cut her off completely, just lower the number of visits and give yourselves more room .... Just my opinion...

Starlady Tue 11-Jun-19 15:12:15

Granted, if you dial back the visits, she'll probably complain and carry on. I don't promise it will be easy. But, at least, you won't have her around so much trying to convince DD that she's her mother.

GracesGranMK3 Tue 11-Jun-19 15:14:55

I don't think the shouting is unreasonable. It is totally unreasonable of the grandmother to try and usurp the mother's place - and a bit worrying that she is being coercive about it. I really don't blame the OP for getting cross with some of the opinions being offered. I might well have found good reasons not to see the grandmother so often by now, if I was in her place. Grandparents only have the rights they earn.

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 15:23:04

I can’t believe this is even an issue!


SirChenjin Tue 11-Jun-19 15:58:31

I can well believe it's an issue - it's unbelievable that even after it's been explained to the MIL she's continuing to behave this way. Very self-centred and childish of her.

Hawa93 Tue 11-Jun-19 16:17:51

Thanks everyone, yes what’s weird to me is the insistence, pretending to our face to call herself Bebe Joon then soon as she walks out the room she calls herself mama and tells my dd to stop calling me mama lol. If my dd turned to call me mummy which probably will.. it wouldn’t even bother me as yes it’s just a name, but it’s everything else, the fact she try’s to be the mom and calls herself every variation of the word mother lol and that she try’s to teach my dd my first name.

She will walk down the stairs going “we going to see hawa now, hawa don’t like you spending time alone with mama don’t she?” Even my dd gets confused and doesn’t really like her,
The only alone time they get is when dd runs up the stairs and mil races to get her so the alone time is literally mil picking her up on the stairs and walking down. And this is mainly because I don’t trust her.

My mother lives 5 hours away and sees my dd once every few months yet my dd has a far stronger bond with her! Will sit with her for hours on end and even try’s to say grandma! Which does come out as mamar lol.

It’s just the whole thing is getting to me, I feel upset that I can’t leave my dd with my mil for few hours while I run my errands or go have time myself but dd just hasn’t warmed to her or that side of the family and I generally think it’s because mil is always in her face begging for cuddles and taking her away from me lol. My dd will grab her shoes and come to me and be like “mama yas go” (her name is Yasmin) after 15 minutes of being in the house lol

Hithere Tue 11-Jun-19 17:30:52

This is very serious. You are under reacting.

This is not a matter of calling her mama.

She wants to be her mother, erasing you from the picture. What good grandmother does that?

What good grandmother tells a child: "hawa doesn't like you spending time alone with mama?"

Why is she using your child to do the dirty work and confuse her?
Your dh must tell her to drop the games or she will not see her grandchild.
Next visit, one warning for her to drop her games and if she does not do it, you leave.

You must protect your daughter from unsafe people.
A person who wants to usurp your mother role, disrespect you so openly and groom your daughter to fill her needs is not a good role model for your daughter, it does not matter there is a DNA link involved here.

Now, I am ready to be called crazy by other posters. I know it is coming

Gonegirl Tue 11-Jun-19 17:41:13

Well, being as your daughter doesn't seem to like her, and you sure as hell don't, I don't see what you are worrying about. hmm

Gonegirl Tue 11-Jun-19 17:42:16

You must protect your daughter from unsafe people

Cobblers! grin

3dognight Tue 11-Jun-19 17:57:32

It's just a name.

There are far more important things to dwell on and get upset about.

Lighten up, chill out.

Naneh, perfect for you to be called as you are Persian.

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 19:30:18

Now, I am ready to be called crazy by other posters. I know it is coming
Well, I wouldn't say you were under-reacting

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 19:30:40

Anyone got their onesie on yet?

Maggiemaybe Tue 11-Jun-19 19:53:29

You say you’d be happy for your mother in law to be called Maman, but are distraught that she is known as Mama?

Is there really a massive difference?

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 20:13:29

It's all quite surreal Maggiemaybe

mama yas - so she is 'mama yas' now, not just mama

I think you are enjoying the fact that you think your DD has not warmed to her or that side of the family

This does not bode well.

I am going to put on my onesie now.

TwoSlicesOfCake Tue 11-Jun-19 20:36:20

How often do you see this horrible woman?
The name is just a symptom of the bigger issue.
See her much less. Give yourself some space. She is awful. She does not like you at all. It’s ok, focus on your baby and husband.
She (and some of these posters) seem to think you have to have this woman in your life. You don’t. She should only add joy, if she adds stress she’s out.
Teach your baby to call her “Mrs Last Name”

Hawa93 Tue 11-Jun-19 21:54:34


No I said my daughter will come to me and be like “mama, yas, go” meaning me (mama) my daughter is called yas, and she’s telling me to go out the house in her baby speech language. She does not call me mama yas. She calls me mama. As I am her MAMA.

And yes I do quite enjoy it considering when she was a newborn my mil loved to tell me how much she can’t wait for my daughter to turn 1 because then she won’t be breastfeeding as much and will love her more than me.

imagine your mother in law turned to you 1 week post partum and said “ohhhh, I can’t wait for your baby to stop breastfeeding probably around one, and be like “I can’t wait to go to mamas house (referring to herself) because I love her more than you”.

I bet you are quite the grandma yourself considering how you take things

Hawa93 Tue 11-Jun-19 21:58:02

Thanks! Twoslicesofcake

Luckily my husband is on board with the no alone time. Even he said it’s completely ridiculous, and his sister used to be so upset when she was called by her first name for years while her son called grandma “mama” but she eventually got used to it.

Honestly this whole kid couldn’t say grandma so mama stuck is actually a excuse. My niece couldn’t say grandma so she said mamarr but my mum still referred to herself as grandma and wooooooo my niece said grandma eventually.
I think many of these mils whose children call them mama secretly wanted it and I bet Their dil weren’t too impressed

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 22:58:25

I bet you are quite the grandma yourself considering how you take things
I am indeed! smile
Love all my grandchildren, love my DC, my DDIL, my SIL and love DIL's mum too.

Esspee Wed 12-Jun-19 06:26:26

The grandmother should choose what she wishes to be called WITH THE AGREEMENT OF THE MOTHER.
Your mother in law is clearly overstepping boundaries OP and you should dig your heels in.

Starlady Wed 12-Jun-19 08:26:21

"imagine your mother in law turned to you 1 week post partum and said “ohhhh, I can’t wait for your baby to stop breastfeeding probably around one, and be like “I can’t wait to go to mamas house (referring to herself) because I love her more than you”. "

I would see that as a red flag. Or I might laugh about it (to myself and DH). But I would definitely see it as weird and out-of-line.

"... his sister used to be so upset when she was called by her first name for years while her son called grandma “mama” but she eventually got used to it."

So MIL won w/ SIL and she thinks she's going to win again w/ you and DH

"Even my dd gets confused and doesn’t really like her, ... dd just hasn’t warmed to her... and I generally think it’s because mil is always in her face begging for cuddles and taking her away from me lol"

So MIL seems to be trying to usurp your role as the mother, you're upset by her, and DD doesn't really like her... So why are you seeing MIL twice a week?

And, Hithere, I don't think you're crazy at all. IMO, you gave Hawa very good advice.

Callistemon Wed 12-Jun-19 09:39:25

There have been other threads that have sounded so similar - that's all I am going to say
I'll leave you all to it.

Gonegirl Wed 12-Jun-19 09:44:57

Oh right! That's why you've been on about your onesie! I thought you were just tired.

Callistemon Wed 12-Jun-19 09:46:04

That too, Gonegirl!

SirChenjin Wed 12-Jun-19 10:16:52

Love all my grandchildren, love my DC, my DDIL, my SIL and love DIL's mum too

And I'm willing to bet that you show that love by (amongst other things) respecting your DCs wishes when it comes to their children, by not crying when you don't get your own way, by not insisting that your DGC call you something that your DC don't want them to and so on smile

GracesGranMK3 Wed 12-Jun-19 10:22:24

I'm afraid I do not see any difference between how this grandmother is behaving and the coercive control of some husbands or partners.

Hawa93 Wed 12-Jun-19 13:05:49


Yep! I have read every single thread on the internet lmao that’s why I came here to ask opinions from actual grandmothers and not other daughter in laws who might add fire to my fuel.

I wanted to know why a grandmother would want to be called mama also!

Laurely Thu 13-Jun-19 10:18:30

Probably because she has a closed, fixed, mindset with few ideas about who she is beyond being a 'mother'. Possibly because she feels / fears that without that identity she is no one. And probably because she is very lacking in self-awareness, unable to see herself with any objectivity.

I have no idea how to fix things - she sounds as though she needs to get out more, meet a wider range of people and so on, but I suspect she would be very resistant to such suggestions. But your DD is yours and your husband's child, not hers; try to keep a calmly united front.

How old is she, by the way? Can you see anything in her background that might explain things?

Tedber Sat 15-Jun-19 22:18:41

Oh Mi...can't follow all this...."A rose by any other name, smells the same" springs to mind!!!!

Is this REALLY about names for grandparents or am I missing something?

agnurse Sun 16-Jun-19 02:18:09


From what the OP has described, it sounds as if the "Mama" thing is a part of MIL's PA campaign to make herself more important in the child's life than OP is. That's not okay.

Apricity Sun 16-Jun-19 05:33:14

I suspect the the real issue here is not the name but concerns about grandma competing with or usurping the mother's role with the children. That does need to be addressed but if it really is just about the name I agree with other posters that you are making a mountain out of a molehill. It is the relationship that is important not the name. There are far more important things to worry about.

I do know a very large family where the dearly loved and respected grandparents were always called Mama and Papa by everyone.

I am known by one name by some of my grandchildren but another name by others as their father has a different background and has always referred to me by the name from his culture and so do his children. And that is just fine with me.