Tuesday, October 9, 2018

On a first name basis

Years ago, while hosting a family dinner, my sister-in-law mentioned she was contemplating a name change. She no longer wanted to be called "Mom" and instead preferred to be called by her first name. Having just become a mother myself, it struck me as odd. Why wouldn't you want to wear your namesake with pride?

But I understand now. "Mom" quickly becomes "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, MOM!" Repeated again and again until it's spoken with frustration and heard like nails on a chalkboard.

And to be someone's mom?! Whoah, right? Most days we are best suited as "Amy and John;" just two people doing the best we can with the limited preparation we were given for this parenting gig. Sometimes I think my kids are the ones teaching us the lessons (further proof).

There might be something to this first name thing. It sends the message that this isn't a hierarchical relationship, and it allows for honest connection (the kind most people only find with their parents after having a family of their own). Parents aren't perfect, that's too high a standard for anyone. We are people, and when the curtain is lifted and our children see us as just that, it allows for deeper understanding and communication.

I still love my name "Mom" and all the responsibilities and blessings that come with it. But I'm curious, would you consider being on a first name basis with your children?

In related news, my favorite parenting "manuals" (if only there were such thing) include this one and this one.

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