Do you prefer people calling you a “Mommy”, “Mama” or “Mother”?


Do you prefer people calling you a “Mommy”, “Mama” or “Mother”?

“In the interstices of language lie powerful secrets of culture”

A bit off the breastfeeding topic, BUT I recently came across a blog where a mother lashed out against ‘non-family’ calling her “mommy”. It made me think….

Why do people call you “Mommy”? Do they suffer from elitism? I have noticed that the people calling non-family “mommy”, are mostly the ones you will treat lightly with when interacting with them.

Whenever I hear a person call someone (who is not a relative) “Mommy”, I feel a shiver down my spine and a sense of dissatisfaction. Do you also feel that the word "mommy" is a derogatory label? Instead of your actual name or being treated like a person with an identity, you have been reduced to simply your biological status. Mommy demands that one be all in, all the time but being a mother will be only ONE of the multiple facets of who you are, not the one defining thing?! (1.)

When I was young, no one was ever referred to generically as mommy or mom; the word was mother. Mom would have been disrespectful if it was used by anyone but a woman’s family.

Mom and Mommy have become derogatory. I think people should try resisting these relational terms if they are not related to them.

It feels like a mom is a woman who does not have much in the way of power or choices, and instead just plays the role written for her by a supercilious society. Mom is just not that fun. Mommy on the other hand (or is it the same hand?), comes off as infantilizing women, whereas Mama makes her feel like a pioneer who is capable and timeless, doesn’t it?

So maybe society should consider using Mother or Mama. Mother is respectful, strong, yet warm and loving - think, “Mother love”. Mama has African roots. It is a term of respect that doesn’t have to do with being a mother. “Mama, is a way to, (if we are being hopeful) reimagine, (and if we are being cynical) rebrand motherhood for a new generation”, one which perceives itself as having more power and choices; especially when that isn’t entirely accurate. (2.)

Mothers today are looking for authenticity and Mama sounds earthy and protective; it is strong, authoritative, yet warm. Mama is an old-school maternal term in so many countries and cultures, and the fact that it has been dusted off for a new generation suggests that modern mothers want to reconnect to their families and cultural background. (3.) There is something pure about mama. “Mama” is one of the first combinations of consonants and vowels that babies can make. Mama is right at home with a folksy, back-to-the-earth approach to motherhood.

Mama is not just about parenting one’s children, but seeing parenting as a medium through which one can change the world. Next time someone trivializes you as a mommy you could choose to either ignore them or educate them.

1. https://jezebel.com/is-mommy-becoming-a-dirty-word-1656918859

2. https://longreads.com/2015/05/10/the-rise-of-mama/

3. https://www.yahoo.com/news/mommy-is-out-why-kids-today-call-you-mama-118962891117.html

#mommy #mom #mama #mother

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