Friday, June 19, 2009

"Mommy" and "Mommying": Infantilizing Words?

I cannot stop calling myself and the other women in my Mom's group "mommies." I didn't use to talk like that, and that word probably would have grossed me out a few months ago. "Mommy" sounds infantile, yet it sounds right for what I and the other women in my hospital's New Moms groups are doing. Mommies sound young and new, and that's what we are. We are really still in the learning phase. Just in the past few weeks, month 3 of Q's life, do I feel fully confident in getting him to sleep and taking him out in public without any disasters (you know, taking him out when he's too tired so he cries and cries, or forgetting my wallet in the car at the grocery store).

"Moms" sound experienced. Once we go back to work, maybe we'll be Moms, but right now, I spend my days lilting around town. Life with one new kid is blissfully simple (um, after the mildly hellish first few weeks of recovery and sleep deprivation). I'm going to baby yoga, I'm lunching with other moms, I'm going to various Mom's groups. The hardest thing I do is going to the grocery store with the baby. Come on, that's "mommying!" I'm a "mommy." This is a piece of cake. I know it won't always be this easy, so I am going to enjoy this. Later on, I'll be a competent, serious "Mom" who has big problems to worry about (like trying to balance work with family life- I'm not looking forward to that).

I worry that my new way of talking will put off my friends who don't have kids. I'll have to watch myself. Just yesterday, saying goodbye to a friend, I caught myself almost talking to her in my Baby Q voice. I was mixing up adult affection with baby affection. Whoops. That's OK. I'm still pretty new!


Anonymous said...

Go, Mommy, Go!

It sounds like you are doing great, Kristine, loving life and that little munchkin of yours! I am so happy and excited for you!

Never mind watching yourself! You are MOMMY and owning it. Real friends aren't put off by anything. So go ahead, talk in Baby Q's voice and to hell with the rest!

BTW: if the only thing you forget in the car when grocery shopping is your wallet, consider it a good day! Some people forget their children!

Margaret said...


It was great to hear from you via Facebook. I loved my visit with Susan in KG. Enjoy the time when you have the gift of a child who at some point, if not now, will want to call you Mommy. It's one of the sweetest words in the language. I know what you mean about your friends who don't have babies. But, being a mommy is only one part of who you are. Another part of you is being a writer. I look forward to reading your postings.

Margaret Rose (we can skip the madame, don't you think?)