Mom Feels Uncomfortable Because Her Kids Call Her Husband's Grandma 'Mama'

She says she wants to set a boundary around her kids using the word "mama."

little girl hugging elderly woman De Visu / Shutterstock

We all have the right to set boundaries that make us more comfortable, as long as they don’t hurt anybody else. One mom tried to do that with her family, but they simply wouldn’t listen.

A mom wants her kids to stop calling their great-grandma ‘mama.’

An anonymous mom took to the Parenting subreddit to ask for advice regarding her concerns about her children, calling someone else “mama.” 


She explained, “My husband’s grandma is known to him and their family as ‘Mama (initial)’ and I’ve told my husband from the very beginning I would be uncomfortable with my kids calling someone else mama.”



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“Now our kids are two and three, and they’re still calling her that despite me gently trying to push for ‘Grandma (initial),’” she shared. 

The mom stated that she didn’t think she was asking too much of her family to make this adjustment. “I’ve told my husband I don’t like it; I don’t want someone else telling my kids to call them mama,” she said. “I don’t think it’s crazy.”

However, her husband can’t understand why she’s so upset. “He doesn’t understand at all and says he’s getting frustrated with me for mentioning it,” she said.

The mom concluded that her boundary-setting had not worked, much to her dismay. She said, “It seems I just can’t win with this boundary I’d like to create where other people don’t ask my kids to call them mama.”


Evidence suggests that grandparents now prefer to be called by more unique names.

USA Today reported on a trend seen among modern grandparents.  According to the outlet, "the baby boomer generation is … opting for nicknames that resonate more with their vibrant spirit and sense of individuality.”



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Wanting to go by different nicknames than the typical grandma and grandpa could be a sign that grandparents refuse to accept that they are aging or simply want to differentiate themselves from other generations.


Although the woman in question here is now a great-grandparent, it’s entirely possible that this is how her nickname of “Mama” started out. 

Reddit commenters thought it was best for the mom to move on.

While other Reddit users felt bad for the mother in this situation, they acknowledged that there wasn’t much she could or should do.

“Personally, I wouldn’t put much stock in it,” one person said. “Your kids know you’re their mum/mama, whatever you want to go by. I’d just be grateful they have a great-grandparent in their life and enjoy her while she’s still here.”

Another person chimed in and said, “The problem is your children hear their dad and others refer to her as mama, so obviously they would pick up on that. You can’t expect your husband to change the name of his grandma that he’s [been] using his whole life.”




Others pointed out that this may be more of a cultural debate. “I believe that’s a Southern or family culture thing,” someone said. “Feels like something to be the bigger person about.”

“I’m Hispanic, and we call our grandparents mama and papa,” another said. “Parents are mami and papi. So it may be cultural.”


Yet another person took issue with the mother calling this a boundary at all. “FYI, this is not a boundary,” they said. “What one person calls another person is not your boundary. Boundaries are things that directly affect you.”

While it’s understandable that this mother would want to be the only one her kids call mama, it also makes sense that they would call their great-grandmother what they hear the rest of the family call her. It would be hard to stop two toddlers from simply saying what their family members do.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.