It’s always fun to get an article in the New York Times Motherlode, which I did today. I hope you will read it and let me know if this bugs you too. It could have been a menopausal, oversensitive moment – and I adore and respect the person who inspired the write as much as I adore being a mother – but for some reason, something about this topic acts like a bur under my saddle. But it could just be me.
Katy’s comment shows what friends do for each other. Offer a sweet re-direct to not be so sensitive and to appreciate what I do – being a mom to some terrific kids.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
I totally understand your feelings, but I take it from a different “hearing”. For me, being called “mom” doesn’t in anyway reduce who I am in the many other roles for which I wear hats, doesn’t make me feel any less of a person and really being singled out by what is arguably the best position I have ever held in my life by “mom” rather than my first name (which I don’t use because my dad did not like it or the nickname of my middle name which just causes me anguish in every banking situation because after marriage does not show up on my driver’s license) doesn’t hurt my self-image. Hearing the beautiful words “mom” being used to call out to me (in whatever capacity, even when it is an exasperated “Mommmm” coming from one of my 3 teenage daughters) reminds me in the smallest way that I am, among many other things, just that, a “mom”, better yet, their “mom”. For so many that would like to be a “mom”, but yet may never be a “mom”, I consider myself blessed and grateful to be called “mom” because I blessedly am. Then hearing “mom” makes me think of the other “moms” in my life, my own wonderful mom, her mom, the grandmother from which I take my first name (a name again I don’t get to use, but a name that I gave to my firstborn who wears it proudly as the fourth in our matriarchal line of “Beatrice”s until she becomes “mom”), my aunt (a mom of 3), my cousins (moms to many), my middle sister (mom to 3), my littlest sister (mom to her two furry pups) then on to my husband’s family of moms, the grandmom of all at age 96 who like my grandmother remains such a role model to me, as mom to all of us. So you see, I proudly print “mom” on that Name tag. “Mom” is my greatest blessing, not a generic reference, a tag I will wear until I die.
Kay, while I understand your reaction, I hope you consider my impressions on why I don’t mind the others calling me “mom” and perhaps those impressions will soften the irritation for you the next time it happens.
Respectfully the other “Mom” of 5 until that moment when I gladly become “grandmother” (or the like) walking the walk with you,
Katy B. Abel
Katy’s comment is beautiful. Being a mom is a special gift that I don’t take for granted. Thanks sweet friend. :) K
Kay, I enjoyed as always the brilliant sense of humor you bring into everyday life! While I too LOVE being a mom as well as being a wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. I would still appreciate people seeing me as an individual:). Love, Julie
I appreciated your column, because being called “mom” by someone who is not my daughter is always jarring.
In my professional life I was accustomed to generic nicknames like “counsel,” “counselor,” or “attorney for the plaintiff.” From judges who may see hundreds of people in a day, it’s fine. (They butcher pronunciation of my last name, anyway, and I hate telling the person in the black robe they’re wrong about something.)
“Mom” in other contexts is annoying the way “hon” and “sweetie” are–slightly demeaning, even if defensibly polite. (See also: “Bless your heart.”) If you don’t know my name but want to talk to me about my child and feel you need to call me something, then suck it up and call me “ma’am” or ask. Especially if you’re about to throw me under the bus for a perceived parenting failure!
I agree with Kay; when being addressed by someone else, be it a child, teen or adult, we should be addressed by first name or Ms/Mrs. Unless I have given permission to one of my grandkids friends (&I can only think of one who wanted to call me ‘mema’ along with my granddaughter), they need to address me appropriately. It is just plain & simply – good manners.