"HEY, MOMMY!!" she cooed at me seductively.
"MOMMY??!!!" I thought as I walked grimly past her.
Some of my thoughts (in no particular order):
- "Good Lord, am I old enough to be her mother??!
- ("Yikes, I guess I am...!")
- "Do I LOOK old enough to be her mother??!"
- "Do I LOOK like I'm a mother?? Or is it just because I'm a woman of a certain age and young people assume that all women my age must be mothers??"
- "WHY does everyone assume that all women of a certain age must be mothers?"
- "Hey Chickie, only one person in the world has the right to call me "Mommy" -- and she left this earth long before she was ever able to utter that word."
- "Did she think she was complimenting me??
- "Did she think that calling me "Mommy" is going to make me more likely to come over to talk to her??"
- "Since when did "Hey, Mommy!" become a sales pitch?? (And does it actually work on some people??!)"
- "Is "Hey Mommy!" better, worse or about the same as being called "Hon," "Sweetie" or "Ma'am," particularly by people less than half my age?"
*** *** ***
Coincidentally (or perhaps not?), I came across this piece from Slate's Double X blog: "How Being "Mom" Became Cool." The writer, Elissa Strauss, explains that, "According to a story in the New York Times, calling someone “mom” has become the highest form of flattery, a softer sister to sobriquets like boss or queen, and applicable to everyone from tweens to grown women regardless of whether they care for a child."
Strauss sees this trend "as a reflection of the positive changes in the way we view moms, and the way moms view themselves."
"I’m just happy to be living in a time and place in which “mom” represents a figure of comfort and power, the kind of woman non-moms would like to get know," she concludes.
Hmmm. From MY perspective as an older childless not-mom (not to a living child, anyway), I see it as one more example or reflection of how motherhood is glorified and placed on a pedestal in our society -- and how those of us who don't have children (by choice or otherwise) are shunted aside, regarded as lesser or lacking, by comparison.
Calling me "mom," even if it's meant as a compliment (??), is just one more reminder of the title that I wanted so very much but never had (not really, not the way I wanted), of the little girl who might have called me by that name. It's yet another reminder (as if I needed one) that my life didn't turn out quite the way I wanted or planned. It's a reminder of the hole that will never be filled, no matter how much I try or how good my life is in other respects.
You don't hear women calling each other "auntie" as a term of endearment, now, do you?? (Although maybe they should...!)
Again -- thoughts??