“Mom” is what we answer to day and night when those tiny little voices call. It's the word we wait so long to hear when our kids are beginning to babble. Later, we hear it so much that — let's be honest — there are moments where we lock ourselves in the bathroom just to get away from it for five minutes. Even when I'm hunkered down on the laundry hamper, it fills my heart with so much joy to hear that sing-songy "mo-om" that I'm always called back to my children. For all these reasons, my kids will never, ever call me by my first name.
I was born in 1986, making me a full-blown Millennial. My generation gets a bad rap — we're entitled, we're lazy, we are narcissists, if you believe the media narrative. I've been self-employed for years, and consider myself hard-working and enterprising. I'm here to stand up for my generation... except when it comes to this new trend, outlined by CBS Local, for Millennials to have their kids call them by their first names. Try this on for just a minute: picture your 2 year old falling off the coffee table onto their head and hollering, "Janiceeee!" Imagine your child spying you at daycare pickup, breaking into a smile, and propelling their chubby little legs toward you while crying out, "Susan... SUSANNN!"
Apparently, these trendy Millennial moms (CBS's words, not mine) don’t want their children calling them “mom.” Nope, this badge of honor we earned through strenuous pregnancies and births, this honorific we earn every day as we care for our children, isn’t cool enough.
“I like her calling me by my first name as it makes us feel more like girlfriends than mother and daughter." Jouelle Baracho, mother of 4-year-old Jiselle, told CBS. "We have a lovely bond and she loves sharing her stories and adventures with me.”
These moms are fearful that being called “mom” will make them sound old and keep them from having a friendship like relationship with their kids. Honestly, I don't have enough nopes to deal with this properly.
Looking back, I remember the first time I ever heard a child call their parent by their first name. It was Christmas day and I was at my grandmother's house celebrating the holiday with my family, which included two much older cousins. They giggled while cleaning up dinner with their father, who they casually kept referring to as “Frank” instead of "Dad." At just eight years old, I understood that there was something mean and hard in it, a severing of something precious.
I'd wear a “Hello my name is mom" sticker everyday if I could.
I remember asking my mom why they did it on the drive home. It was so odd to me that I can still close my eyes and hear their mocking voices. My parents replied that it's something they might do in their household, but not something we do in ours. The answer satisfied me then, but as an adult with children of my own, it still rubs me the wrong way.
Every parent is completely entitled to parent the way that they choose, or the way that they feel is best, but in this situation, something feels off.
I have a 9-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter and neither of them have ever tried calling me by my first name. "Mom" is who I am to them. And that's a name I feel so proud to be called. I'd wear a “Hello my name is mom" sticker everyday if I could. It’s a title that I’ve earned that brings me so much joy every time I hear it because it means that these perfect little faces staring back at me are mine.
Calling me by my first name downgrades my role. It would put me on friendship level. Yes, I want that friendship bond, but I always want my children to know that I’m older and wiser, that I’ve been through everything they’re about to experience, so coming to me for guidance is important.
Look, I'm the only mom my kids have. Everyone else in the world can be a Stacy, a Hannah, a Madison, but parents are the rock that your kid is supposed to be able to rest on, the one constant, the only. I want the title of mom to give my kids just as much comfort as it gives me. There is nothing so defining, so joyous as the word mom, and I won’t let trendy Millennials change that.