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What Did You Call Me?

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Is it cool to have your kids call you by your first name instead of just Mom?

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As we become parents, our roles expand. Before kids, it used to just be daughter, wife, sister. Now that we're parents, we add the most loaded title of all: Mom.

With all the responsibility and joy that comes with the Mother moniker, some parents opt to have their kids call them by their first names--or, the even more common occurrence, there are those obnoxious kids who use a parent's name even after being told a million times not to. But when you think about it, it could be considered a bit odd that when we have a child we are bestowed with another name and the one we've known all our lives is no longer what we're called around the house. Our siblings don't call us Sister, even though we are one. Why do we force our kids to call us by our title instead of our name?

Pediatrician and momlogic contributor Dr. Cara Natterson says, "I think this is a very personal choice. I have known families in which the kids call their parents by their first names, and it feels very endearing."

Yet some of us fear if we let our kids refer to us in a casual way we'll undermine the entire parenting process. "Letting your kids call you by your first name isn't detrimental," says family counselor Rosanne Tobey. "I don't think it's going to ruin your parent-child relationship." Tobey does believe using titles like 'mom' and 'dad' are useful tools to establish authority. Especially as kids enter the pivotal teen years when their need to recognize adults as authority figures and not "buddies" is key.

Sometimes parents unwittingly let their toddlers refer to them on a first name basis because it's so darn cute. "It doesn't really matter when kids are little if they call you by their first name," say Tobey. "They're mimicking. It matters more when they're about 10."

Would you feel comfortable letting your kids call you by your first name, or will you always be known to your kids as mom?


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20 comments so far | Post a comment now
muddin mom of 2 July 10, 2008, 9:16 AM

one of the BEST things about being a mom is being CALLED “mom”!!! why would you NOT want that?

Anonymous July 10, 2008, 10:20 AM

I like being called mom… unless it’s 5000 times in a row. then I really, really hate it.

Anonymous July 10, 2008, 12:51 PM

when mine was little she called me by name sometimes. I did not care. at least she KNEW my name. imagine your kid lost in a store and an employe says over the intercom, “Attention! Little girl looking for a woman who goes by the name ‘Mommy’” My tot would have been able to tell the person my name. I thought it was a good thing. She is 8 now and calls me mama because she wants to, not because i say so. I do not think it would matter much if she called me by name.

foxymama July 10, 2008, 1:48 PM

My kids tend to call me by my first name when they want something or intentionally to piss me off. So in my case, it’s not a cool thing. I do prefer their friends to call me by my first name rather than my mother-in-law’s name - HA!

momof9 July 10, 2008, 2:31 PM

I like to be called mom or mommy and my children know that, but I do not have a problem with one of my children choosing to use my givne name if they are more comfortable with it in a certain situation. My oldest son was 9 when I became his mom I was only 16. He and I have a very close bond due to some of the things we went through growing up together so to speak. When he was a teen he always called me mom in private but around his friends or his birth mother he usually chose to call me by my given name. At his school when I picked him up or went for conferences and at the hospital when I went with him for his surgeries I was mom again. I always told him he should call me what he felt comfortable calling me. My step-daughter did the same thing. Our two daughters who we are custodial guardianship for call me both names also. My birth chidlren so far have pretty much stuck to calling me mom or mommy. And of course if they are in trouble and need help or money I am always mom… I think they know I really like that name best of all. ;-)

swood July 10, 2008, 2:43 PM

I tell my kids that they are the only ones who can call me “Mom” and that’s what makes it special. If they call me by my first name, well that’s fine too.

Anonymous July 10, 2008, 3:36 PM

My son calls me by my name on days when I watch my friends sons, because they call my by my name. Other than that it is usually mom. He DOES know my whole name and his dads whole name, and he has since he was 2, so if he gets lost he can tell someone what our names are, first middle and last.

momof3 July 10, 2008, 5:50 PM

i carried my kids for 9 months. i earned the name mom. my kids only call me by my first name when they are trying annoy me or there are a bunch of mothers in the room and im not paying attention. it is a name that carries responsibility and respect. if you don’t want to be called mom maybe you should rethink becoming one!

bakermom July 11, 2008, 11:21 AM

My 31/2 year old usually calls me mommy, but sometimes he calls me by my first name. I really don’t mind because I figure that when he starts answering the phone he won’t hang up and say that I don’t live there when someone asks for me or my husband by our first names. I also agree that it is a great idea to know mom and dad’s first names in case he gets lost.

Miranda July 11, 2008, 6:21 PM

The greatest sound in the world to me is my kids calling me mama. My 7-year-old went back to calling me that when her brother was born 2 years ago. I can’t imagine them calling me by my first name, though they both know what it is in case they get lost.

Colleen July 16, 2008, 6:05 PM

My daughter started calling me by my first name when she was about 3. It was cute at first but when it kept up it was a little sad not to be mommy! So I corrected it but now when we play her toys call me by my name. I thought it was good she understood not everyone should call me mommy. And I agree it’s great if she should ever get lost.

Truth July 21, 2008, 10:37 PM

I don’t think it matter. Either way they will love you as a mom or by your first name. I personally love hearing them call me mom, mommy, mama… whatever they choice to do.

They also know my name so in the even they should ever need to tell someone they know it and can find me!!

Being a mom is a great gift and I cherish all parts… even the insane over and over mom mom mom mom I can hear about a thousand times in a row… it only reminds me that they need me!

z August 18, 2008, 3:32 AM

my name is mommy as long as i can have it….once you are MOM …the long looks and stares..like you are from another planet begin…and i am prepaired for them…but….hey lets not make them happen any faster then we have to!!!!

N@KO August 25, 2008, 10:53 AM

A mi me encanta que me digan MAMA,es algo lindo y especial,pero tambien es bueno que sepan el nombre de uno ,por si acaso se pierdesn saben a quien buscar y llamar.Es algo super especial,oir de esa personita tan pekeña que te diga MAMA>

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