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When all is said and done you only have one real mum

As teenagers, myself and my big brother would very occasionally call our parents by their Christian names to annoy them. And, generally speaking, it worked but, to be honest, it was equally disconcerting for us. After all, we only have one mum and dad.

Which is why the whole minefield that is step-parenting must be so difficult to navigate for all those concerned.

Last week's pictures of Shane Warne's ex-wife Simone Callahan (42) and his new squeeze Liz Hurley (46) attending a football match at which Shane and Simone's son was playing made me glad that my own childhood was so simple.

The women looked tense around each other and with good reason. It's already been 'out there' that Shane's kids have taken to calling Liz 'mummy' and, no matter how civil a break-up is, this is a big no-no.

In an interview with Australia's Woman's Day magazine, Miss Callahan said she has heard how her children spoke to Miss Hurley, calling her 'mummy' and that she found it disrespectful.

"I can't control what people say, but it's just disrespectful as far as I'm concerned. She is not their mum. And the kids know exactly what the situation is."

And you really can't blame her for being resentful of the situation.


Like her ex-husband, Callahan has started a new life (with Melbourne part-time model and sales manager Toby Roberts, who is in his 30s) so this isn't 'woman scorned' territory. And it doesn't necessarily follow that Hurley is in any way encouraging Shane's offspring to address her in this way -- but one would hope that as a mother herself, to ten-year-old Damian, she would actively suggest something different, such as Auntie Liz.

I've always believed that the old saying 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me' was only for those hard of heart.

Anyway, even thinking about the etiquette involved in these situations is exhausting so, just remember, it's true what they say, you've only one mother, and make sure she knows it.