Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Hey, Mommy..."

Last week, I was walking through the local mall, when a smiling young girl hawking some kind of hand cream from a kiosk in the middle of the aisle tried to get me to come over to sample her wares.

"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?"   
Your thoughts??! 

*** *** ***

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??


  1. Urgh, I hate that. I think that she probably assumed that you must be a mother. Totally insensitive.

  2. Thoughts:
    1. I think that's super weird and I've never heard of anything like this before. I mean, I think it's almost too creepy to be considered offensive. Just really odd. By any chance, was English her second language?
    2. I get that hon/sweetie is patronizing, and I totally agree. I always thought that ma'am was a respectful way to speak to a stranger? The feminine version of sir?

  3. 1) I have never heard of this marketing technique.
    2) I am impressed that you didn't throat punch her.
    3) I'm sorry that this happened to you.
    4) If I didn't know your age, I'd guess that you were in your mid 40s......

  4. exactly, since when did "Hey, Mommy!" become a sales pitch?

  5. That is really weird. I doubt it would have appealed as a marketing pitch even to mothers.

    I of course agree with you. The glorification of "mom" further ostracises those of us who are not.

    I was called one of those endearments the other day (can't remember which one), and really bristled at it! I hate them. There's the stereotype that butchers are the only ones who do it (and I rarely go to a butcher these days), but it seems to be spreading. Way to make a woman feel small. Argh.

  6. I read something about this a few months ago but it was some little story about social media followers (usually teenage girls) calling their favourite celebrities ‘mama’.... I thought it was a bit odd at the time but put it down to the fact that I’m way out of the loop when it comes to teenagers, or kids.

    I’m not much of a shopper and I haven’t experienced this yet, and I hope I don’t! Try and call me this on an ‘off’ day and I may well snap back at them about the reality of some people not ever being a mum and the hurt their epithet has left on a fragile ego.

    I’ve been called Ma’am a few times :o , it takes me aback (guess I’m refusing to grow old gracefully) but there seems to be no middle-age alternative... I’ve also had a few call me by my given name after I’ve handed over the credit card.... still deciding if I like this or not.

  7. What the hell! It's creepy and absolutely inappropriate to call a stranger 'mommy' - if it were a young male salesperson, it would be pervy. I would be raging if someone did this to me. I already hate those people who ambush you in shopping centres with hand cream; if they called me mummy or mammy too I'd report them I think...
    The other thing is depressing. I was very happy when mom was a negative prefix (mom-jeans, mom-haircut - sorry mums, but..not sorry!). Tell me it's not a general compliment amongst the youth now? Grim and grimmer.