What’s In a Name?


            Ommy—a strange word I know.  In case any of you readers are wondering, this is not what my step sons call me.  They call me Morocco, as I believe they should.  Actually Ommy is how I think of myself.  I am not their Mommy, but for all practical purposes, I am their “other” mommy.  In the wake of her absence I am the one who prepares meals, does laundry, signs permission slips, attend parent conferences, helps with homework, mediate arguments, prepare snacks, dispense medicine, buy gifts, host parties, arrange outings, plan vacations, assign chores, chastise, share stories, and all of the other chores that mommies do that I am probably forgetting. 

            Occasionally I fantasize about them calling me something other than my first name.  I’ve pondered the possibilities and decided Ms. Morocco is too stiff and formal, Mo too casual, Rocco too boyish Mom—to untrue, but Ommy sounds just right.  But most of the time I have no qualms about them addressing me as Morocco. It makes me feel proud when the little one, Evan, introduces me to others as his mom.  Although his teacher and the rest of the school staff know that technically I am just his step mom, they always refer to me as Evan’s mom.   I know that I will have this job for many years to come.

I use to feel obligated to correct strangers when they automatically assumed that I was Mom.  I did this out of deference to their Mom.  Plus, I didn’t want to offend my twelve-year-old step son because he is a Momma’s boy.  Simply put I didn’t want him to think that I was trying to take her place.  And if I didn’t correct people, I felt fraudulent.   It was like I was masquerading around in a “Mommy” costume.

 But after awhile, I stopped.  It became too tiresome to notify every stranger that we came into contact with.  I was constantly saying, actually I’m not their Mom, I’m their Step Mom.  My husband was the one who reminded me that it was okay to take some credit.  In his eyes I had earned it.

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