Sunday, December 12, 2010

Don't call me "Mom"

It's easy to say you're not going to call yourself 'mom' when you have kids.  I thought so too.  But for ease of playground identification, at one time or another, you're going to be "so and so's mom."  That doesn't really bug me.  It's easy to say that you're not ever going to be one of those people who calls your partner "mom" or "dad", because, um ewwwwwww.  But I'm going to wager you'll let that one slip, at least from time to time, too.   I'm alright with that.  (It's not calling L. mom that dampens the sex-life... believe you-me, I blame the exhaustion for that one!  Yes - I'm talking about sex.  Sorry parentals).   

But I really, especially, hate it when other grown-ups (of the non-family member/close friend variety) randomly call me "mom".  (I don't mean saying "ask your mom if that's okay, little dude"  That kind of momming is for descriptive purposes and just makes good sense).  I mean the use of "mom" as an admonishment.  It is always accompanied by a particular tone-of-voice, and the calling out/tone really gets me going.

Here are some examples:

Stranger calling out your parental neglect - this one is often spoken sharply and is a particular favourite of the older-than-me-been-there-before crowd:
  • "Watch Mom - your child could fall!" (note that I was standing right beside my child at the time,) or "Mom - ______ isn't very safe, you know!"
Strangers calling out your child and insinuating you can't control your unruly smalls at the same time (not surprisingly, I get this one a lot.  My kids have spunk.  My kids have spine.  I can actually control them - I just seem to have different ideas than some about when the need arises.)  This kind of "Mom" is often accompanied by a sing-songy-I'm-trying-not-to-be-confrontational-voice, which is also often spoken through the tell-tale tight-lipped grimace.
  • "Mom, child shouldn't be _________ (running, jumping, laughing, talking, breathing, whatever) here."
Or take this one from my doctor awhile back, when I was desparately seeking help for my daughter's sleeplessness, which is just plain condescending. 
  • "You just have to be tough, Mom, and make her cry it out."
  • post-falling off a chair in a food court and whacking his noggin, someone once turned to me and said: "He really shouldn't have been up there, Mom!"  Thank you.  Thank you very much.
Stranger 'Momming".  It's annoying.  It's bothersome. 

It's the soundtrack to the spectator-sport that is mothering. 


  1. Hi! I like your blog and this particular article. Yes, it's annoying when people act like they know better than you with regards to parenting or for any topic that is none of their business. I agree with your article.

    I am single, chubby, 37, i don't have kids, I know I'm not young, but many people who know me say I look years younger my actual age ... but I find it annoying that when I'm alone shopping, when strangers, vendors, drivers randomly call me "mommy". I know they assume I'm married but what's annoying is finding these old-looking strangers calling me mommy. I find it disturbing or I dunno what they mean by that, but it's definitely improper. I understand they're vendors, drivers, maids or gay parlor attendants - maybe they don't have proper orientation about manners, etc.

    But still, I wonder where their common sense is. Because they lose customers with their assumption or calling a stranger "mom" or "dad". right?

    Like, an old driver called me Mom. I don't mean to sound insecure, but common sense lang... WTF was he thining, he's younger than me? Same with a parlor filled with gay beauticians, asking, "Mommy, would you like to get a rebond?" or a store attendant saying "Mommy come buy your kid a t-shirt here." duh?

    The irony of it, when I meet street children or students, they call me "Ate", not "Mommy", not "Tita". Strangers in my neighborhood who are kids or teens think/said I'm just in my 20s. They got surprised when they found out I'm older than their moms, who were my former schoolmates.

    Maybe my looks are chronoligically confusing to different people, but my topic here is old people without common sense.

    I mean, if old strangers call me "mom" and young strangers call me "Ate", it makes me realize young people have more common sense in dealing with strangers.

    I still think it's safe to call people we don't know as "miss", "maam" or "mister", right? It is polite but not judgemental of a person's age or figure, right?

    Stranger "momming" is indeed annoying and bothersome, especially if you're single and not with a kid. :D

    Have a nice day!

  2. great post, i never really thought about it, but its so true!!!