When you are cradling your newborn in your arms, you don’t need words. All you want to do is to gaze upon the sweet face of your baby and commit it to memory.
Sometime later, perhaps a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks, you make eye contact with your new baby for the first time, and time will seem like it’s standing still. You don’t need words, the eyes say it all.
But the months whizz by, and your baby starts making the noises he or she is going to need to start talking. They start babbling which eventually turns into ‘words’. Annoyingly Dada is a more common first ‘word’ than Mama as it’s easier to say. But sooner or later, the day comes when your little cherub utters the sound ‘Mama’ for the first time.
Of course, they probably have no idea what it is they are saying at first, but they do know that every time they make this noise, that nice soft milky person who often changes their nappy gets very excited. It doesn’t take them long to figure out that this single sound can take them a long way.
At some point ‘Mama’ gets refined slightly, and becomes ‘Mummy’. In the UK , anyhow. In other countries Mama is more common, and of course it’s Mommy in the States.
It’s fine for my children to call me ‘Mummy’ but I really object to anyone who is not my child referring to me by that name. I find it quite patronising, and I remember not returning to more than one toddler activity because the person who ran it insisted on calling everyone ‘Mummy’. I particularly dislike the term Mummy blogger and so avoid using it. I call myself a parent blogger instead.
But I do like the ‘mummy’ stage when it comes to my own kids. I’ve found it’s lasted until they reach Junior school in year 3. So until they are 7 or 8, they seem quite happy to call me mummy, both inside and outside the home. Once they reach 7-8 years of age, they do start to call me ‘Mum’, or more commonly ‘Muuuuuuuuum’.
My 9 and 10 year olds still call me Mummy in the house sometimes but would rather die than use the term in front of their friends.
My 10 year old told me today that she ‘might’ start calling me ‘Mother’ when she starts secondary school. I hope she doesn’t, it sounds too formal.
What do your children call you? What do you call your own mother?