Friday, June 10, 2011

Say my name say my name

What did you call your mother growing up? Mama? Mommy? Mom? Something else?

And do you want to be called the same thing by your child?

I always called my mother "Mama," which is what she'd called her mom as well. I still call her that sometimes, in fact.

When I refer to myself, because it turns out I spent a hell of a lot of time talking about myself in the third person, I refer to myself as Mama. As in, "Mama will help you." and "Mama is making breakfast."

Jordan's first babysitter, David's mom, calls herself Mommy, and so she'd say, "Jordan's mommy." Nick also tends to say "Mommy" although he knows I dislike it, and tries to correct himself.

So Jordan was calling me Mommy, and I certainly wasn't going to correct him, although I'd use Mama when I was speaking.

Now that David is gone, Jordan is using Mama more often than Mommy, which makes me happy. For some reason, Mommy just bugs me. I don't like how it sounds.

It seems silly, I know. But it's going to be my name for years.


  1. Mommy evolved into Mom. Right now, I'm liking "Aunt Jess". I suppose I'd probably go with Mommy and Mom, just because that's what I'm used to, and that sounds right to me.

    I wonder how my mom decided on it, though - since she would have called her mother the Polish equivalents, which I think are closer to mama.

  2. I'm also calling myself "Mama" in the 3rd person, which is what I called mine when I was young.

    Then I went through a very long bratty stage where I called her "Mother".

    Now I call her Mom and try to makeup for being such an adolescent terror.

  3. I totally get this. I, too, prefer Mama. And Mommy bugs me, for some reason. Makes me laugh.

  4. i feel the exact same - i called my mother "Mom" and still do.
    i decided once i was pregnant that i was gonna' be Momma and that's how i've signed everything i've written to the baby and it's what i call myself to him. husband says "Mommy" when he's talking to the baby or writing me anything from the baby... i haven't yet lost my cool about it but once that kid is talking i'll be sure to put my foot down on this term.
    i'm Momma damnit.

  5. For the past couple of months Lara has taken to calling me Miranda. Not always, but quite a lot! She wakes up in the morning and says 'Miranda! Miranda! MIRANDA!" In ever increasing volume until I come to her. Although the past week she calls her dad "MARK!MARK!' so I get lie in which is nice!

  6. Go the way of us Australians (and Brits!) and use mum or mummy? It just sounds a lot less harsh to my ears than mom or mommy.

  7. I have always called my mother "mom." Sometimes, in jest, I call her "muddah." She calls me Nicholas which I've told her I hate many times but she just can't seem to help herself.

  8. For us, it was ma. Not sure why, it just was. Also mum if we were teary eyed or unhappy.

    LBM likes Mum very much, so I get to be a flower. :)

    I don't like mommy, because it sounds like the whiny kid next door who isn't getting his ice cream, right??

    Maybe that's just me though.

  9. I call my mom Mama. It's also what I refer to myself as when talking to my 17-month-old. We pronounce it "muh-muh," though. My husband refers to my as Mommy, I think because that's the term he used when he was little and he thinks Mumma sounds kinda silly. My son rarely calls me anything, except a few times when he's really upset he's said "Mumm mumm mumm mumm."

    I've also noticed we have different ways of saying it's time for bed. I call it "nun-nights" (and so does my sister). My husband calls it "ny-nights."

    It's a pretty high level of intellectual discourse around here.

  10. Haha, Melissa, you are funny. :)

    I called my mom Mommy, and now she's Mom. I much prefer to be called Mommy myself. Mama doesn't sound right to me.

    When we were little and living in the deep south, my mom's mom wanted us to call her Mama Sones, because everyone did. But my mom said Nope, sorry, I am their Mama and you are going to be called Granny. Can you imagine? Granny -- as she did become known -- was not exactly pleased. Then later, when we moved to the PNW, we promptly stopped calling our mom Mama and would only call her Mommy! Her grandkids call her Nana now -- the name of her choosing. I was tempted to have ours call her Granny, but only for a minute.

  11. Jessica - Yah, I always assumed people would choose to have their kids call them what they grew up with. But that doesn't seem to be the case with your mom.

    frugalveganmom - I call my mom Mom sometimes as well. And we all have to make up for terrible adolescent behavior. :)

    Erin - It just sounds wrong to me. Not for other people, but for me.

    jen - You should definitely get to be called what you want. Momma it is!

    Miranda - This makes me laugh! Jordan has called Nick Nick a few times, but Nick was not best pleased, and has not encouraged it. I quite enjoyed it.

    girlhasblog - It just doesn't work for me. And Mummy for me is so foreign.

    Nicole - I think it's cute, actually, but it would drive me crazy if I really didn't want to be called something and my mom kept doing it anyway.

    Moue - That's interesting. I don't think I know anyone who used Ma. And yah, I can see what you mean about Mommy.

    Melissa - That is funny! We have similarly high levels of intellectual discourse around her. This goes along with my thought that you expect to be called what you called your mom (and husband expects you to be called what he called his mom).

    Laura - Exactly - whatever is familiar is what feels right.

    Wow. That's kind of unfair, huh? I assumed my mom would want to be Gramma, because that's what her mother was, but nope, nothing doing. She finally settled on Nana and that's who she is now. Kind of funny that you were going to give her a sip of her own Granny medicine :).

  12. Yes Mark's none too pleased about it either (at any time of day!) which does make it extra funny.

  13. I wanted to be mama, and that's what I called myself since the day he was born. It was always mama, and he never called me anything until he was TWENTY MONTHS OLD, I AM NOT KIDDING. And on that day he grabbed my face and said "Mommy," and I've been Mommy every day since. I thought I would hate it, I thought I'd break him of it, but, oh my, hearing him say it because it's what he wanted to say just sort of filled me up, in a weird way.

    Now, when he starts calling me mom I am going to DIE ON THE SPOT.

  14. I call my mom a range of names. Mommy, Mom, Mama (in Spanish) and Mama (in English). I used Mommy growing up. I think it would be nice for my children to address me in Spanish, we'll see what happens.

  15. I've always called my mom "Mom" but I think I want to be a "Mama." The kid might have different ideas, though, so we'll see.

  16. I'm calling myself Momma for now, but figure it will probably transition to Mom later. That's what I called my mom (except those moments of teenage jackassery when I'd sigh "MOTHER". Ah, I can't WAIT for the teenage years...gah).

    But I also figure the kid may have other ideas...

  17. I'm Mama. My husband goes by Papa.
    My youngest, for some reason, calls me Mommy which is not what I want at all but somehow it sounds darling when he says it. So, I let it slide.

  18. I have step-parents, including a step-father who stayed at home with us kids, so when I fell down and skinned my knee, I didn't shout out for "Mommy" or "Mama", but for "Jimmy." My mom was "mom", except that she was usually "Judy" (about 75% of the time). My dad wanted to be "daddy", but had to settle for "dad", and then only on weekends. When we talked about him during the week we used his name. I think I'll probably wind up being "Alex" with some "mom" thrown in.

    One weirdo I dated thought that using first names for our parents cheapened the relationship, but "Judy" and "Jimmy" means "mom" and "dad" and "love" and "help me" to me, just like whatever Jordan winds up calling you will mean all of those things to him.

  19. I'm also not a fan of "mommy". It comes across as too cloying, too cliched. I'm also a fan of mama.

  20. Miranda - I was totally encouraging of the Nick until he nipped it in the bud.

    Jennie - I can understand that, absolutely. Jordan alternates between the two, and my preference is Mama but I still jump to Mommy and I still think he's adorable when he says it. But Mama is where I lead him. And I don't know that it will bother me when Mom starts...but maybe because I think it's so far off?

    Grace - Interesting. And I assume that your child will alternate between Spanish and English as well.

    Hillary - My thought was it would be whatever he hears the most, but Jennie proved me wrong on that one.

    Ginger - The teenage years are going to stab us all in the heart. Dread.

    Dana - Interesting on Papa. I haven't heard that much. Nick is Daddy or sometimes Dada still. And I find it interesting that your youngest calls you something different than the others. I guess we're all our own people, from very young.

    Alex - I don't remember when I started calling my mom Betty, but I quite like it. I still call her Mama as well as Betty. I think it's bizarre to think using first names for parents cheapens the relationship. The parent-child relationship is so intimate, no matter what the names, nicknames, etc.

    Kate Bee - Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if any of it is regional? Is Mama more common in the Midwest?


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