What Do You Call A…

Bonnie Johnson's PostThere should be another word for “step-mother”.  Step-mothers are usually portrayed as evil in fairy tales and movies and the word “mother” is too sacred on its own.  When you throw the word “step” in front of it the whole meaning changes.  Damn whoever wrote Cinderella!evil step mother

I’m a step-mother to three adults, one of whom is only ten years my junior.  So uttering the word “mother” as part of my title is not only uncomfortable but really just sounds wrong too. The oldest is married to a wonderful woman whom I’ve become very close to.  It gets awkward when I try to introduce her to others though. “This is my step-daughter-in-law” is a mouthful.  Sometimes I leave off the word step for fun but then I get those funny sideway glances of confusion.  My step-daughter-in-law, by the way, is also a step-mother to one of my step-grandchildren.  Confused? Welcome to the modern family.

I came on the scene after my husband;s children were all grown up and living away from home.  They’d had a few years to get used to their parents divorce and had seen their dad “dating” before.  I wasn’t a home wrecker and I’m grateful for the timing.  It allowed my relationship with his children to start on solid ground.  I remember being pleasantly surprised by the natural affection I had for his three kids right from the start.  I realize it was mostly because they are all such kind and accepting people but a part of the reason came from being in love with their dad. They are, after all, a very big part of him.

Most important to me was that my own son would be accepted as part of the family.  I didn’t need to worry.  Over the years my husband’s kids have developed their own strong relationship with James and there is no doubt that we are all family now.

I feel so blessed to be a part of a large diverse family like ours and excited that it is growing 😉 as I write this.  Yes, there is a new baby on the way!

It’s just the titles I struggle with.  My step-grand kids call me “Bonnie” and I guess that’s ok, but I wish there was a more intimate title to describe what I am to them.  I just don’t know about being called “Bonnie” to this new baby. “Grandma Bon?” But is it ok to change it up with one child when the others are used to another name? If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

I guess the relationship we share matters more than what we call it.  As the years go by I feel more and more “related” to these special people and I’m so grateful to have them all in my life.



  • Kathy

    Bonnie-How about G.G. …for a great grandmother…not that you’re a great grand mother BUT I’m sure you are a GREAT grandmother. Oh dear-that could add to the confusion-but fun.
    I’m sure you’ll get lots of responses 🙂
    hugs, kathy

  • Tracy Westerholm

    I know what you mean, it’s confusing but your right it’s a Modern Family that has so much love and acceptance for each other. You are so lucky to have them as they are so lucky to have YOU ! Grama B, GGB, I like Bon Bon cause they will think your a treat, which you are!! And then they could also say “shake your Bon Bon” (Ricky Martin song) and you would dance for them! Candy and a Toy what more could anyone really want! I like GG too because the little girl across the street calls Jesse GG because she can’t say Jesse and it is the cutest thing you have ever heard when she calls across to him from her driveway. What ever they call you will be great cause that’s what you are!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

  • Lozz

    As you know, I have been researching this same topic. A couple of websites have a lot of options. thenewparentsguide.com and namenerds.com; grandparentsmagazine. One I liked for us was lolly and pop. Not a stretch at all:) I like Bon Bon or Nana Bon.

  • Jacquie

    Lolly and Pop are good, as is Bon Bon.

    I think the image of the typical grandparent is changing with the times and we no longer picture a blue-haired older woman as being the only kind of grandmother out there. Grandma, and all it’s variations, is a beautiful title. I do understand your dilemma is unique, though.

    Bon Bon is good, but I prefer Nana Bon. More specific.

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