Mother-in-Law Dragged for Telling Grandchild to Call Her 'Mama'

A grandmother has been slammed online for asking her grandchild to call her "mama."

In a post on the London-based discussion site Mumsnet, user camila21 shared her frustration as her mother-in-law had been telling her child to call her "mama."

The mom explained: "My mother-in-law and father-in-law keep trying to get my child to call my mother-in-law mama, mother, or a similar sounding name."

Grandmother and annoyed mom
A file photo of a grandmother holding her grandchild up high, with a picture of a woman with arms folded in anger (inset top left). A mom has been backed by an expert who told Newsweek that the grandma asking her grandchild to call her "mama" was disrespectful. StockPlanets/filistimlyanin/Getty Images

Originally from Iran, the mom also wondered if her in-law's different naming was a cultural. When she heard her mother-in-law tell her 18-month-old child to call her mother, she asked her not to do that.

"When I asked my mother-in-law not to call her self mama she said I was mistaken... but I wasn't," she wrote. "I heard my father-in-law do the same thing, until my child shouted at them saying 'you are not my mama!'"

While the poster didn't clarify what languages her in-laws spoke, in Persian—the language spoken in Iran—grandmother is 'maman bozorg,' while grandfather is 'baba bozorg.' These literally translate to "big mother" and "big father" in English.

However, it is not as common for people to refer to their grandparents using these terms. Popular terms in Persian for "grandmother" and "grandfather" include 'mâdar-bozorg' and 'pedar-bozorg.'

Marni Goldman, certified life coach, and author of True to Myself, told Newsweek: "We always hear of the infamous mother-in-law jokes or possibly referred to as 'monster in law.'

"When we marry someone, their parents (and vice versa), we become forced to have a new relationship, not one we choose. Grandparents overstepping their boundaries is more prevalent than not," Goldman added.

"Your children choose what they call their grandparents," wrote one Mumsnet user, while another posted: "Omg I would nip that in the bud NOW."

Another user wrote: "Your mother-in-law is overstepping, and I expect is fully aware of it. She knows that you're mama and she wants to be too."

"Mother-in-laws become very territorial," said Goldman. "It's so much easier to agree than disagree, choosing peace is much healthier than having to be right. But I think we can all agree, the cardinal rule is only one person is called mom.

"Nobody should take it upon themselves to be called mom," she added. "That's just disrespectful to the core. There are a million names you can come up and agree upon."

Another Mumsnet user agreed, writing: "There's no way me or my partner would allow my child's grandparents to call themselves anything related to mum or dad. That is us. We made her, I carried her and it is who we are not anybody else."

Newsweek was not able to verify the details of this case.

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