By Erickka Sy Savané
Should your boyfriend discipline your kids? “Hell, no!” says my aunt. Never one to hold her tongue, she tells me that it reminds her of women who let their kids call their boyfriends ‘daddy.’ “If that ain’t your daddy, don’t call him that,” she says, adding that she’s seen women with so many boyfriends/daddies that the kids don’t know who their real father is. She’s got a point.
You can’t just give that title away.
Feeling super chatty and thoughtful this particular evening, we try to come up with reasons as to why some women do it. She says that it probably feeds a mom’s desperation to have a ‘family.’
If the kid starts calling the boyfriend dad, maybe he’ll start acting like one. I speculate that the mom doesn’t want to break the kid’s heart by saying, “That’s not your father!” especially, if the real dad isn’t around. I mean, what kid doesn’t want a daddy?
It’s tricky for me because I never had a daddy. I mean, I did have a man whose sperm helped create me, but we only saw each other a few times a year, and I only called him by his first name. Daddy? No way. That title is special.
But still, we can’t say that it’s never appropriate for a boyfriend, can we? I decided to get off the phone with my aunt and go directly to a source, the daughter of my BFF. She’s in her mid-twenties and has a 2-year-old son that calls her boyfriend daddy. I was curious to see what she had to say.
“I never told my son to call my boyfriend daddy, he just started doing it,” explains T. “Da-Da” was the first words out of his mouth.”
Okay, but what about his father?
Basically, she met her son’s father while broken up with her boyfriend of 10 years. The friendship quickly turned sexual, and before she could figure out that he wasn’t about sh*t, she was already pregnant with his 8th kid.
From there, things fell completely apart. He only saw her once the entire time that she was pregnant, and only spent 15 minutes at the hospital when his son was born. The straw that broke the camel’s back occurred when she called to tell him that their son was in the hospital about to have emergency surgery and the phone went dead. He never called back. To date, he’s seen his son a hand-full of times. And while she doesn’t regret having her kid, because she loves him unconditionally, getting involved with his father, she will tell you, ‘was the dumbest mistake of my life!’
Back to the boyfriend…Obviously he was crushed that his childhood sweetheart was pregnant by another man. However, he held the baby when he was just a few days old and felt an instant connection. In fact, he told T. that he loved the boy before he was even born. Incidentally, he was at the hospital when the baby required surgery and he’s been in his life ever since.
“You can’t tell him that’s not his son,” T. says of her boyfriend. “His parents love him too. Actually, they’re out-of-town with him right now.”
She says that it’s possible that she and her boyfriend will marry one day, and they’ve talked about the possibility of him adopting her son.
While it may not suit everybody, clearly there are some instances where it is appropriate to call mom’s boyfriend dad. Especially, if bio dad is not around.