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Don't Call Me Mom

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How do you know you've passed from the realm of hottie to the never-ending land of mom jeans?

Woman looking in the mirror

Lenore Moritz: I truly love being a mom, and there's nothing I cherish more than hearing my kids say "mom." I may not have a smile on my face for my 5:45 AM wake-up "mom" call from my 21-month-old, but I still love to hear that sweet boy in the crib say it. That said, there are times when "mom" is a bad word, when "mom" takes on the connotation of dumpy and frumpy. For example, "mom jeans" or "mom hair."

Here's my new rule: Unless you are my sons, do NOT call me mom (with the one exception being that you are not my son but you've attached the words "world's greatest" just before "mom").

I don't live with lots of rules in my life, but this one is necessary and comes as a direct result of what I'll call the "incident," which happened during my trip to New York a few days ago.

I was in New York to gather cultural finds and see friends. A little context: New York is my former hometown -- I grew up two hours away, visited often as a kid, and lived there for a decade as an adult (until four years ago). Major things took place while I was there, including the best -- meeting my husband. New York is my "soul city," and I always feel like I'm back home when I'm there.

I was traveling alone (my first trip ever without my family), and had put together a great look -- hot over-the-knee boots which I'm mad about, a short knit dress, and leggings. I was feeling of-the-moment but age-appropriate. It was a gorgeous winter day (at 41 degrees, rather balmy compared to the 2 degrees back in Minneapolis).

I was strutting -- yeah, I was -- up Times Square when two words pierced my veil-of-happy. "Hey Mom," the voice said. Wait, what? Never mind, I thought, no way he's talking to me. "Hey Mom," he called out again. Oh no you didn't! Who are you calling "mom" -- apparently you didn't look down and see my sweet footwear!

Before I knew it, he was sticking a homemade CD of his music in my face. "Hey Mom, take my CD." I just kept walking -- it's my New York instinct. As I walked off he said, "Hey, where are you going? Where are you from?" I'm thinking, why do you care -- do you want to ask me if I drive a minivan and wear sweatpants every day? (Incidentally the answers are no, but I would if I had more than TWO kids; and no, because some days I never change out of pajamas.)

I laughed out loud as thoughts raced through my mind:

How did he know I'm a mom?
What was up with that CD, should I have taken it?
Maybe there was an "a" at the end of Mom, maybe he said "Hey Mama" (which is entirely different than "Hey Mom," mama being more a word of "you're looking goooood")
Did he not see my outfit? I don't think this is a "mom" get-up.

I was surprised, but also amused. Of course, I certainly didn't let it knock down how I was feeling about myself -- if all it took was a shout-out in Times Square to change my mood, I'd be one messy lady.

Who knew that "mom" could be such a charged word and range from being the sweetest word in the world to being a name that means you've passed some sort of sexy cool prime ... and you need never outgrow that, you simply need to change the length of your skirt.

next: Dad Heads to Brazil to Retrieve Son
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
abbi December 17, 2009, 8:04 AM

no offense. but all moms pull together their “coolest” outfits and don’t think they look mom-like.
it’s like the girl at the office party who gets so done-up at christmas you know she doesn’t get out all year.

you’re trying wayyyy too hard, and that sadly reeks of desperation, and nothing makes you look older than a mutton mommy dressed as a lamb.

ahahahaha, he was calling you “mama”?
you wish MOM, but tell yourself whatever makes your old, obviously-momish self sleep better at night.

Cheyan DiPerna December 17, 2009, 8:05 AM

He was probably calling you MA which is just a slang word for girl or lady.I’m sure he thought you looked hip and young enough for his cd :-)

michelle December 17, 2009, 9:06 AM

(1) What did your hair look like? A practical bob or too-aggressive highlights are a huge billboard shouting “Midwestern Matron.”
(2) You were in TIMES SQUARE. That’s tourist trap land (unless you work in one of the office buildings). That’s why he asked you where you were from.

michelle December 17, 2009, 9:14 AM

Oh, also, if your outfit was matchy and/or you were wearing visible foundation, those are other clues. I totally understand, btw — I am a native NYer who has been in Chicago waaay too long.

jo December 17, 2009, 10:27 AM

ur a mother now get over it!

Christina December 17, 2009, 11:22 AM

Did any of you look at the writer’s picture? I’m not seeing obvious MOM here. Also, a bob or aggressive highlights are equally indicative of any number of neighborhoods in and around NY, not just the midwest.

Further, why should she get over it? Being a mother is only part of a woman’s identity. Do we go around calling men we don’t know “dad”? The terms, mom, mommy, mama, etc. are special and really should only be used by our children and/or surrogate children. The rest of the world can use miss, ma’am, or our given names.

Anonymous December 17, 2009, 2:45 PM

Put on your mom jeans hop into your soccer mom van and shut up!

Anonymous December 17, 2009, 4:31 PM

i totally totally agree with you! I hate it too. It took me a while to even get used to my kid calling me Mommy…

Rita December 17, 2009, 4:38 PM

I really hate when people think just because a woman is a mommy, they have to lose their identity. Eff you. I’m a 30 year old mommy of 2 kids and I still get carded every time I buy cigarettes or liqour. I still get hit on my freakin’ seniors in high school and college kids. And I have never owned a pair of hideous “mom jeans”. Ew. I don’t wear sweats in public. I know I’m still hot and sexy and if u don’t like it u can kiss my sexy a$$!

Take your stupid stereotypes and shove it in your tiny little head!

tennmom December 18, 2009, 6:10 PM

I don’t dress in “mom garb” or sport a constant pony-tail but many people probably assume I am a Mom,especially considering the amount of time I spend in public with my children in tow;)
I didn’t get pregnant with my first daughter until I turned 30. I still don’t look 30, but I don’t dress like I’m still 20.
I like classy dress when I leave the house but I don’t have a problem with yoga pants when I’ve settled back in at home.
Still, when I was in my 20’s it always pissed me off to hear “hey,mama” and “who’s yo daddy?”(usually from,um, men of darker complection) b/c, really, I could only have been their Mama if I’d given birth at the age of 10 and they sure the hell were not my “daddy”. we looked nothing alike :)

Smart Owl December 26, 2009, 10:59 PM

You’re a moron, lady. He was calling you ma, or mom or whatever as a term of endearment. Clearly you were sheltered when you lived here if you’ve never heard that term.

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