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Mom, Mommy, Mama: Which Are You?
posted by Amy

Geeky Mom is thinking about reclaiming "mom" as a moniker, writing, "I no longer have negative feelings about my identity as a mom. But that identity is perhaps the most difficult one I have to contend with because the world often defines it negatively."

I seem to be making the transition to "Mom" these days, after years of my children calling me first "Mama" and then "Mommy." (Vincent, of course, calls me "Amy," just as he always has.) I have to admit that I don't notice what name they call me anymore, although I had Opinions on the Subject back when I first became a mother. I tend to be more focused on the fact that they're yelling my name from another room, rather than coming in to talk face-to-face (and yes, I do yell back, "Come in where you can see me if you want to talk to me!" Huh. Wonder where they're learning this habit.).

Then, too, I've got the short low-maintenance hair and the Target clothes of a mom these days. I wear comfortable shoes because I try to walk to work whenever I can, a mostly futile effort to combat the effects of my slowing mid-thirties metabolism. I'm past the point when I could wear the tummy-baring shirts and low-waist pants my students adore, and I like being comfortable more than being stylish. So I'm all for reclaiming "Mom" as a title of respect.

My students have, more than once, written positive comments on my evaluations along the lines of "She's really understanding and organized. She's like a mom to the class." I also get frequent praise for my patience, which makes my husband and children laugh their heads off, as that's not exactly my strong point at home. Neither is organization, come to think of it. Of course, it's a heck of a lot easier to be patient and organized with people I see three hours a week for fifteen weeks total--people who never, ever need my help in the bathroom, I should note--than it is with people I'm with day in and day out, year after year. But my students and my children don't see "Mom" as a derogatory term. Why should I?

Talk about "mom jeans" and soccer moms, internet debates about false advertising that focus on women who cut their hair and/or gain weight after marriage (and, thankfully, inspire some good posts about marriage in response), or wondering whether we're Grups or hip mamas can be starting points for interesting, thoughtful conversations about how we construct our ideas of motherhood. I'm all for that.