Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Mom

No, Awkward Grandma has not gone rogue. It is more like we are battling the idea of "mom"....that makes it sound way more philosophical than it really is...maybe we better just let Awkward Mom complain about things in her own time.

Once upon a time, the Invisible Woman was the Invisible Girl. You know, until she married Mr. Fantastic and calling her a "girl" just sounded kinda icky. Jean Gray went by Marvel Girl (keep up the creativity over there, Marvel...) until she decided to let her consciousness play landlord to the Phoenix Force, which is an "immortal and mutable manifestation of the prime universal force of life and passion." By the time it took her over, made her eat a planet or 2, and drove her so insane that her teammates had to kill her, she was just going by Phoenix. Personally, I would have evicted Mr. "Manifestation" or maybe just screened my tenants better, but hindsight is 20/20. Robin (not the one who Joker killed) graduated to become Nightwing. The most recent Robin became Red Robin at some point, but that doesn't seem much of a step up in the world, so I am choosing to ignore it. Other than Batman (who was never Batboy, for obvious reasons), most superheroes have gone through a name change...or 12. (I am looking at you, Kitty Pryde.) It is the way of the world, completely natural, a sign of growth and maturity and the ever flowing ebb of life, and it totally sucks.

Readers, Super Preschooler has started calling me "Mom."

Not Mommy. Not Mama. Not Momma or any other way you feel like spelling it. I am grateful that he hasn't resorted to "Ma." Or the dreaded calling-me-by-my-first-name, which is totally not acceptable. We are an alias-only household, thank you very much. But Mom? Really? Already?

You all remember those little "mamas" that start to pop out of your baby's mouth at some point. Unexpected and glorious; like little fireworks to delight the doldrums of diapers and drool. That validation that you are special. You are someone. You are the light of their little world. That is, until you realize that they call everyone mama. The blocks. This banana. The cat. That little spot on the wall where the paint is darker for some reason. But that passes and soon it is Mama for real. You are the best; not Elmo, not Diego, not the lady down the street who has 8 dogs. You are Mama.

It turns into Mommy at some point, but that transition is sweet. Because Mommy can fix anything with a kiss and a sharp look. Mommy can swoop down to the church nursery and rescue you from those other mommys who aren't your mommy and don't know just the right way to cuddle you. Mommy always has snacks. Mommy will hold you all night if you have a bad dream. Mommy is magic. Mommy is beautiful. Mommy somehow knows all the words to every song ever, they might be different from the ones they sing at daycare, but Mommy's words must be right because she is Mommy. Mommy is perfect.

I like being Mommy. I don't wanna be Mom. (Read that in whine because that is totally how I typed it.)

Mom can be said with an eye roll. Mom can be screamed across the mall, with just the right note of embarrassment and fury. Moms can be lame. And old. And completely not in touch with anything the young people are doing. Moms refer to tweens as "young people," like we are in a 1950s movie. Moms are not perfect. Moms can't fix anything and usually make things worse. Moms stand helpless at the bottom of the stairs, watching little angry feet in non-sanctioned heels stomp up the stairs to slam doors. Moms spend a lot of time wondering where their children went and who are these little dictators in their place. Moms freak out and take the doors off the hinges because no one, and I mean no one, slams doors in this house. Moms have to remember that Rachel is the BFF this week, but not next week, when Toni is, because Rachel passed a note to Lee and that is so not cool. Mom sounds like a lot of work.

I am not ready, Readers. He is only 4. OK. He is 4 and a half. But he has a lovie. He still needs help buckling his seat belt. He wants me to cut up his meat. And at night, when he is sleeping and I sit there watching him because I am totally creepy, his face softens just so and I can see him as a baby. The baby he was just last week. Wasn't it last week? Feels like last week. Whatever. I am not ready for Mom, Readers. Not ready.

So I put on my big mom pants and I take a deep breath and I do what all parents throughout the ages have done when big ugly changes come storming into their house. I call my mom and cry for an hour. She calms me and makes me laugh. Offers to send some chocolate. And reminds me that he isn't calling me "terriblewomanthatgavebirthtomeandihate." So I say, "You're right, Mom, " and that "mom" doesn't sound mean or spiteful or harsh. There is no eye roll or sarcasm. It is a "mom" full of joy and love and gratitude. My mom's "mom" is a badge of honor. My mom's "mom" may have dipped it's toe in the mall-yelling, door-slamming, freaked-out-phone-calls of adolescence, but it survived to glow even brighter and bigger. My mom's "mom" is the adult version of "mommy."

OK. Mom-name-change, I am ready. Bring it. (But if you could hold off on the door slamming until we aren't renting anymore, I would appreciate it. Thanks!)

No surprise here. We have been calling her Awkward Mom for ages. Awkward Mommy just doesn't have the same ring. Now, Awkward Ma; that is a Superhero name change worth changing the letterhead for. Am I right? I'm right.

You know, Awkward Mom, he might not grow up so fast if you didn't do things like buy him a bunk bed that says for age 6+!


  1. Aww! I got choked up reading this. I think, in your case, a Mommy by any other name is still super awesome. Don't forget, you told him that it was possible to make your own pickles! And then you actually made them! To me, that's Mommy magic at its best, even if you do it under the alias of "Mom."
    You are so lucky to have such a wonderful mom yourself. I'm glad she helped you remember that "Mom" isn't necessarily synonymous with "lame" or "boring" or "old." :)
    Btw, S.P. is gonna love that bunk bed to bits! To heck with age limits!

    1. True, "Mom" isn't that bad, it is sorta growing on me. But it doesn't hurt that Super Toddler is still calling me Mommy. Sometimes you need a little boost.

      They are loving the bunk bed!

  2. Yeah, it's about when it starts..My 5.5 year-old has been calling me Mom for about a year...It takes time but you get used to it...sigh...

    1. Lucky for me, I have the little one still calling me Mommy. It helps. A little. :)