Calling Your Mom By Her First Name Doesn't Make You a Brat

Jeanne Sager Rant

momWhen my daughter stopped calling me Mommy, I had a much harder time than I expected. It seemed to signal the end of an innocent time. And yet, that bump in the road is one I dare say has better prepared me for the inevitable moment when she doesn't want to call me Mom anymore.

This seems to be an even more difficult hurdle for parents. I've talked to moms recently who said flat out that they'll never allow their kids to call them anything but Mom (or Mama or Mommy) because to allow them to deviate is disrespectful.

But is it? Is it really so bad to give your kid a little leeway in how they address you? Even to, gasp, let them use your first name?

You'll notice I just admitted I struggled with the change from Mommy to Mom. I don't want parents to think I don't understand the emotions that come with a kid who is growing up, and the relationship we all have with a name that no one else in the world can use (or should anyway ... if you're not my kid, don't call me Mommy!!).

But I have to say I'm confused by the notion that only one name can connote respect for a parent.

Let me tell you a little story. When I was a teenager, I hit that "don't want to call my parents Mom and Dad" stage. It's been long enough that I don't remember what fueled it, but the more parents I talk to, the more I'm finding it's COMMON.

My father wasn't about to let me call him by his given name, and I knew it. I never even tried. Instead, I started calling him George (his real name is Steve). Even then I wasn't sure why I chose George, but to my father's credit, he went with it. The way he saw it, it was a term of affection that his daughter had chosen.

Fast forward to my adult years, and George still pops out every once in awhile, but I've largely returned to Dad (or even Daddy ... for which I've gotten my fair share of mocking from an old boss and friend).

This memory is what helped me get over the Mommy to Mom transition, and it's what will arm me for the possibility that my kid will one day give up on Mom too. Because, from the kid's perspective anyway, there was nothing disrespectful about dropping Dad. If anything, it was my way of trying to balance respect with my growing independence.

Maybe you don't want your kids calling you by your first name; I respect that. But instead of flipping out, how about you talk to your kid? You might find out they respect you greatly ...

If they don't want to call you Mom, maybe the answer isn't to demand it anyway ... it's to let them find the name that represents their own balance between loving you and growing up.

Would you let your kid call you anything other than Mom or are you holding firm?

 

Image via edenpictures/Flickr

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