Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's not Mama, to you

I want it to be clear I am well aware that what I am about to write is a luxury problem. No cute wildlife is being decimated. No children are going unmedicated. No homeless veterans are affected. It's just a tiny thing. One of those tiny things that make me nuts. See, in my world there are maybe twelve thousand things happening at any one time that make me nuts. Encrazed*. How I get up every day living like this is beyond me. (no really, its the kids screaming about wanting to be fed, again, that gets me up).

I don't mind my kids calling me Mama. Mom, Mommy, whatever. It's sort of how they know me. That's the handle we gave them to refer to me by. Of course I had no clue they would use it like 911 to put out imaginary fires on a minute to minute basis. Whatever.

A year or two ago we went as a family to one of those popular chain restaurants with all the trendy flashy crap and grubby food. We had a gift card. Anyway, they were kind enough to provide my children with an activity page to keep their attention for like 4 minutes. Of course, these are MY children so after 30 seconds my peace was up, now I needed to explain all the stuff to them, play the games with them, read the instructions etc. One of the activities was that game where there is a grid with dots and you take turns making a line and the person who completes a square with lines gets to put their name in the resulting box. I think it is called "Dots". I was playing with Teena and letting her get a few boxes because otherwise she will go ballistic (I don't know where her competitiveness comes from, certainly not her father or I). Finally I could no longer fake out losing and  had to complete a box. Then I put in my initial. "E". My daughter looked at me with all the pretentious airs of a 5 year old well versed in the alphabet, and said, " MAMA, you put the wrong letter down you are supposed to put an "M", did you forget?".

Oh. Um, yeah, I guess I did.

The point of that little story is I have not always completely identified myself as "Mother". More like, "Other". I do now. I can say that after that moment I did embrace the "M" and took it on and pulled it in as part of myself. I have these two beautiful living beings relying on me to mother them and that's what I am doing come hell or high water (of which both seem to have arrived).

So they are it. I have 2 little girls. Occasionally I think of adopting another and I especially enjoy watching The Husbands face balloon into an epic horror show when I mention it. I also have this strange urge to have another biological baby. I guess once that uterus gets fired up it wants to keep going. But I was trying to explain this to a friend recently, I have this desire to have a baby to make sure I do it right, for Genea. Like a tribute or something. Because she got so very little. I could have a baby and make sure it got extra. I can't say that this makes sense even to me, and I live in my brain. It's feelings and feelings aren't always logical I suppose. She didn't get what she needed, but I could make sure someone else did. Maybe. Anyway.

It has always unnerved me a bit when I hear older people, grandparents whose children have long since grown up, referring to each other as "Mommy" or "Daddy". Like they have no names. Like their identities were eradicated once they produced children. And now that they are older they are still doddering about using titles instead of names. My grandmother always called my grandfather "Daddy" and every time she did it I looked  to my Dad to wait for his response that was not going to come because she was not talking to him. Possibly I am just easily confused. I understand that when you have children, adults refer to each other in parenting titles in order that babies will learn what to say. Babies toddling around calling parents by their first names is also unnerving. I'm known to call my own dad by his first name just to irritate him. Okay, so I get that. I get that children need to be taught to use some variation of Mom or Dad. I also get that parents use the terms with the other when speaking to their children. As in, go tell Daddy it's time for your bath. Okay, fine.

But by bloody jingo, my kids know to call me Mama by now. They have learned. They are bright little girls and they understand that I have a real name and a name that they call me by. Constantly. Incessantly. So I have been telling The Husband he can stop now. He can go back to his old habit of calling me by my first name. The one I was born with. Because it is weird to hear this large grown man calling me Mama.

For some reason he always loses track of me when I am in the laundry room. He will holler across the house from the upstairs..... MAMA? And because I am far away I have to shriek in order to be heard....... WHAT? Without fail he says something like, you don't have to yell, followed by something inane like, I just wondered where you were. Well where did you think I was? It's not a big house. I didn't leave for Vegas. Sigh. Anyway.

The other day The Husband became angry with the girls. They had done something heinous, bad enough that they were sent to bed right after dinner, which is a consequence we reserve for the extremes. I think we have used it twice before. They had been playing with friends in the front yard. Teena gave a bracelet, from Daddy,  to one of them to play with and then lost track of it. "Friend 1" found it. She told Genea she had found it, and was taking it. She told Genea not to tell, and  Genea did not. These 2 friends often bring over loads of snacks for the 4 of them, and my girls are very, very good about asking if they can have some. This day, Genea opened the front door and screamed in...... "Can I have a brat (bratwurst)? Friend 1 wants me to have it". I had to pause before I responded. Seriously, did I hear this right? Friend 1 wants to give my child a sausage from her house to eat standing on my driveway? NO. I think not. Of course Teena tattled later that Genea had eaten it. Genea found out she had been busted and promptly pea'd her pants. Then Genea tattled that Teena had been outside eating cheese with them. And I am like, WTF? When is all this shit happening? Because I check on them constantly. I watch, I listen and I go out and walk right up to them all to make sure everyone knows I am there. I also quietly watch and let them "catch me" doing it so they know that every second I could be watching, just in case they feel like doing the wrong thing.

The Husband is handling this mess and I am staying out of it. That is something he and I need to work on and are trying,  not to steamroll over the other. He decides he is so disgusted he needs my input and hollers out in a strident sort of nasally voice...... "Mother.... are you hearing this? Mother? Maeooooooooooother?

Mother? That's how he refers to his own Mother.
Ugh. Vomit rises in my esophagus (that's for effect, if it is not anatomically accurate please just let it go).
His Mother. My mother- in- law.

Suddenly, the offenses of the children are less important than the fact that The Husband, Man of my Dreams, is lumping me in with his own mom. 

Actually, the offenses of the children were not really that bad with a little distance and clarity. All the crying and hysterics really amp up any situation by adding such a chaotic effect to whatever happened.

My name. I have a name. If you are an adult please use it. I am not your mother.

PS. *Encrazed is a word I made up because everyone else does. I figure it fits.


  1. funny story. but, dh and i call each other mommy and daddy...we no longer have I don't care. I like it-crazy person that I am. but i think my mom thinks its weird. it all started becuase we gave son3 dh's first name so there 2 ppl by the same name in our house. problem fixed by calling dadddy all the time and he thus started calling me mommy all the time. funny thing is he always calls his mother by her first name, polly. he's called her polly since he was a teenager.

    p.s. i second the baby

  2. My daugher tried to prank call me on my voicemail pretending to be a telemarketer, but she kept saying "Mom" in her message!

  3. I do NOT like it/let my husband call me "Mom." I am not his mom. There are enough people in our house that call me Mom. He can call me Corey or Honey or Baby or HotPants (TMI?) but NOT Mom (unless the kids are in the room and he is referring to me, obviously.)

    As for more kids.. you're on your own, there.

  4. i say this out of love and as the wife of a man raised in green bay...but only in GB would kids offer each other brats as a snack. i absolutely love it. this totally made my day.

  5. What's also horrible is when otherwise attractive guys with penchants for urban slang decide to hit on me by calling me "Ma" or "Mami" as a pet name. But I'm pretty certain there's nothing maternal about their references.

  6. I forget that if you're not from Wisconsin, you don't know what a brat is, and therefore lead a sad and empty life.

    I would probably puke if Josh called me Mom like it was my name. In fact, I'm currently training him to say things to the kids like, "I will not allow you to talk to my wife like that."

  7. Essie, girl, I am with you 100 per cent on the don't call me Mom thing. Heck, I barely tolerate it when the kids do it.. I kid.. maybe.

    But I was never a fan of married people calling each other Mom/Dad, etc. or even worse, Ma/Pa.

    Thankfully the ex never tried to do it. I will refer to his as Daddy when talking TO the kids, ABOUT him... and he's allowed to the do the same. But that's it.

    As far as I'm concerned, children are the only ones allowed to use those names without sounding creepy or perverted. And not that my oldest is 20 I'm thinking it be high time for her to drop it... even better she can stop calling me all together and start dealing with sh*t her darn self! lol

    I kid, I kid... maybe!

    PS: Kerrie - now that's a smart idea!

  8. I could never understand when I was young, why my mom would sometimes ask me to call her Mrs. Heckman. Years later she told me she just got so damn tired of us kids saying 'mom' all. the. time that she just had us call her by her 'big girl name'. I get it now, especially when these 4 kids continuously refer to me by the moniker of mom and I wish they would just call me Mrs. Laurie.

  9. I hate it when refers to me as Mother, it drives me insane. When my kids started calling me Mom I used to turn my head to see who they were talking about.

  10. I am still laughing about the "when is all this shit" happening diatribe...

  11. Yeah, a beatdown is in order for being lumped in with the MIL, IMHO.

    The bratwurst story gets me every time.

  12. I often carry sausages and cheese around in my pocket to offer the neighborhood children. THAT doesn't seem strange to me (because we actually have neighbor kids who come to our house to ask if we have something for them to eat. Even when my kids are not home AND even when I am pretending I am not!).

    But the first time my soon-to-be husband calls me mom, mama, mother, or any derivative therefore, I will kill him.


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