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What's it to you: 'mama', 'mom', 'mommy', or 'mother'?

The other day, someone said to me, "Oh, I saw your website!  The MOMMY one."  I cringed and may have rubbed my ear.  "Mommy", I thought?  Every since I became a mama, I've always been called "mama".  My little ones have always called me "mama."  Always.  Letters to me say, "Dear Mama."  Even my own mom will tell the girls, "Go ask your mama."  I am not sure why the preference.  Could it be that "mommy" (or "mommeeeeee") harkens thoughts of minivans and soccer practices and big houses with three car garages?  Could it be that "mama" is a better-fitting suffix to "yoga-", "bikey-", "urban-"?

A long while ago, Sarah made mention of prefering the moniker " mama" over "mom".  I know we are all urbanMamas here, but we're also "mamas", "moms", "mommies" and "mothers" at home.  I was wondering if you have a preference: do you care?  Does it make a difference?


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I'm definitely a "mama". I like it much better. I don't know why.

My almost-2-year-old just started calling me "mom" all on her own. I'm not sure if I like it! Mama has had a good ring to it, and yes, as you point out, it has kind of a alterna-mama feel to it, that I like. But hey, as long as she doesn't call me Lady ("call me Mom!") I'm fine with it.

I DID (still do) have a preference for "mama" and that's what my kid called me until around age 2, whereupon he suddenly switched to "mommy" and I have no idea why. At around that time, he stopped using his baby names for his grandparents as well ("maga" and "daga") and switched to the more correct (but less cute) "grandma" and "granddad." In the end, we may have preferences but what can you do if the shift occurs organically? I just don't want to be "mom" too soon though - don't want the baby years to fly that fast!

I DID (still do) have a preference for "mama" and that's what my kid called me until around age 2, whereupon he suddenly switched to "mommy" and I have no idea why. At around that time, he stopped using his baby names for his grandparents as well ("maga" and "daga") and switched to the more correct (but less cute) "grandma" and "granddad." In the end, we may have preferences but what can you do if the shift occurs organically? I just don't want to be "mom" too soon though - don't want the baby years to fly that fast!

I called my mother "mommy" but I never liked the idea of it for myself. We're mama and papa to our kids.

My wife wanted to be "mama", so naturally I had to be "papa". Makes sense, no?

mine also call me whatever strikes them in the moment: mom, mommy, mama, aarin, with the occasional "babe" thrown in (thanks to my husband).

My now almost 11 y/old has always called me "mama" when addressing me verbally, with the occassional "mommy" thrown in. When she addresses me in writing, it's Mom. If she is referring to me in writing or while speaking, it's Mom as well.

Middle school is next year, so I'm assuming that "mama" will go underground for use "in private". I suspect that pretty soon I'll become Mom.

Mama is also very, very Southern--I'd sort of thought that's where my kid's use of mama came from, since we lived in the deep South for the first 4 3/4 years of her life. There it is not uncommon for people to refer to their parents as "mama and daddy" for their entire lives--and it sounds totally normal!

I also prefer mama, which is what all the matriarchs in our family have always been called. However, my daughter calls me mom, ma, and mommy in addition to mama.

And, even though I prefer "mama" and live in southeast and do yoga ... I do want to say that this post smacks a little bit of the elitism that folks have complained about here before. Just a wee bit of urban, hipper-than-thou, down-on-soccer-moms going on here. Let's be careful. There are people who chose to live in suburban areas who also bike, do yoga, drink lattes, and buy organic food. And there are people who live in our urban area who drive their kids to soccer in a minivan. I'm uncomfortable with this kind of categorization - the suggestion of "ew!" at the thought of a "mommy" who lives in a suburb as somehow less-than.

I was always a "Mama" until my son turned about 6 and started calling me "Mom." That was about the time my daughter started talking and she calls me "Mommy." So I get all three! I still refer to myself as "Mama" and that's how my husband refers to me. My son calls me "Mom." And my daughter, who tacks the "y" sound onto everybody's name, calls me "Mommy." But if I had my druthers, I'd still be a Mama.

I would just like to say thank you to Amy for voicing exactly what I first thought when reading this post. I live in NE, buy organic, vote democratic, compost and recycle, and I wouldn't choose to live in the suburbs, but making fun of them is petty. It's easy to rip on the 'burbs, but when reading this stuff it just proves my conservative friends point that city-dwelling liberals are more judgmental than conservatives (and I hate it when they are right).

And I have to say, is there really a whole lot of difference between a expensively remodeled five bedroom colonial in Irvington, and a mini mansion in Beaverton? Both people have a lot of money to burn...

I am mostly mommy but there are a few mamas thrown in and I have no idea where they came from. My own mother loves it when my nearly 3 year old calls me "mom" but like someone else stated, I am not crazy about it. It means she is growing up, and while that's ok in some areas, I want to stay mommy as long as I can! I remember when my mommy became mom. It was a long time before my daddy became dad, but I don't know why mommy sounds more baby-ish than daddy to a girl; maybe because it's more important for us for our mothers to see us as peers, or maybe it's just one of those random things. For some it may be a "daddy's little girl" thing, but it was not that way for me and my dad, and he was daddy until junior high for me. My dad and aunt called their mother "mummy" until the day she died.

I dont think I gave it too much thought, but I always assumed I'd be mommy to my kids, but I'm not--it's definitely mama. Mommy does sound very foreign to me, and I dont think it has anything to do with being urban or not, I'm just definitely not a mommy even though I drive an SUV and expect to spend plenty of Saturday mornings on the soccer field in the next several years.

My husband is Norwegian, and in Norway, it's mama or papa and he was quite certain he wanted to be papa, not dad or daddy. Maybe that's how mama caught on for me. Or maybe its because I love biking, yoga and shopping at farmers' markets...or not! :)

And surely there must be some kind of deep resonance with "mama" for all of us, as it really is the first word our babies utter.

My four-going-on-forty-year-old daughter mostly calls me "mom" these days, except for when she occasionally calls me be my first name... In theory, I love the sound of "mama", but since my daughter only uses it when she wants something and is laying it on really thick, it's not the name I prefer to hear!

My almost 2 year old calls me "mama". I'm not really a huge fan of mom or mommy, so I'm hoping he'll use mama for awhile. He calls my husband "daddy" and grandpa is "papa."

I COMPLETELY agree with Amy and *ducks tomoatoes* about your extremely rude, offensive, hurtful and down right nasty comment about "Mommy" harkening thoughts of mini-vans, soccer practices, etc. I happen to be "mama" who lives in the 'burbs and drives my very athletic, extremely talented son to soccer practice (although not in a min-van but who gives a crap if that's what I decide to drive???) and I don't appreciate it when snotty, urban, "hipper than thou" mamas resort to making fun of me or other mothers who choose to live similar lives. My life and parenting is just as important as yours - please do not make fun or belittle my existence, especially since we mamas are supposed to be in this together.

P.S. I am a daily reader of this blog and although there have often been rude jabs at conservative, suburbian mothers, this one hurts the most.

I'm Mommy and my partner is Mama--my sweetie got dibs on Mama long before I got pregnant. She really, really wanted it, and I didn't have a preference. I thought I'd be "Mom," but once the babe was born (5 months ago) I decided mom/mama sound too similar and switched to Mommy in hopes of preventing some household confusion. (Do I hear y'all laughing at the thought of preventing confusion in a new-baby household? Or is it just hallucinations from the sleep deprivation?)

By the way, this mommy is the yoga- and bikey- one in our family. Once upon a time I did own and operate a minivan, but I've been told the statute of limitations has expired, as has any hipster cred I may have once possessed.

Sometimes this blog drives me nuts. Last week it was "Portland Style" wipes, this week judgemental "Mama talk". Uggg. Thank you KT and Ducks Tomatoes--I agree 100 percent.
FYI--My daughter called me mama when she was a baby now she is 3 and she calls me Mommy and sometimes Mom. What difference does it make?

Not to be judgmental in the other direction, but "mama" has always sounded very hippie to me. Mama must be a west coast thing, I don't know any mamas back in the midwest where I grew up. I'm mommy and I love it.

umm ... i live in the burbs and my daughter calls me mama. sorry to burst your theoretical urbanite hipster bubble.

thanks bunches, amy and ducks tomatoes, for articulating something that bugs the daylights out of me about an otherwise helpful and insightful blog. not all of us who live outside the trendy acceptable quadrants of inner NE and SE are stereotypical suburbanites. heck, some of us don't even have cars.

I JUST had this conversation yesterday with my four-year old, who suddenly started calling me MOM. Ugh. I'll be MOM when she's a teenager, and not a moment before.
I admit, though, that it's not nearly as bad as what my seven-year-old has been doing for the past four months, which is to ALWAYS call me by my first name! Which I don't like to begin with! I desperately just want to be MAMA.

Although I never used to like "mommy" much, it has become my preferred term now -- as long as you spell it Mami. Arguably a silly, snobby Spanish major thing, but so it goes. ;)

The more time my kids spend in day care, the more often we hear other variations. Also, my own mother has always been Mom, and her mother (a native southerner) was always Mama.

sorry if I helped add fuel to the fire, above. FWIW, I live in NE, but drive my car a lot, vaccinate my kid on schedule (horrors!) and throw my plastic bags away. ;)

You people need to get over yourselves. Living in SE or NE is no longer cool anyway. It's trendy.....which is the opposite of cool.

What's in a name? Shakespeare would have us believe there's nothing to it. But names conjure up connotations for us, and when those connotations don't match our personal images of who we are, it can make us cringe. I hated it when my high-school boyfriend called me "babe." I'm just not a "babe" kind of person--it made me cringe. But I couldn't care less if other people use it. It fits them just fine.

Ditto on the Mom/Mama/Mommy deal. Only for me, it would be if my kids started calling me "Mother." I associate that with old-time and uptight Midwesterners. Yeah, I guess it's a prejudice or a stereotype, but we're talking about a name for ME. A very personal and special name that encapsulates the biggest part of my life. So of course I want to reflect how I see myself.

Yes, the initial post could have been more respectful of mothers who live in suburbs and drive mini-vans to soccer practices and all that. But if you're a mother who is stylish, polished, professional, etc, and you associated "Mama" with hippies, wouldn't you cringe if that's what people called you? It doesn't have to be that you look down on those people--it's just that they are SO NOT YOU.

I don't live in "trendy" NE/SE, I have a minivan, and I am called "mama". Lately, my older daughter has started to call me "mom", followed by extraoccular movement (eyes to the sky). I just asked my other daughter, "What am I? 'Mom', 'Mommy', 'Mother', or 'Mama'?" Without hestiation, she said, "Mama."

Then she said, "Mommy. Can I have more milk please?"

well, i live in se portland, don't consider myself a hipster or a hippie, am from eastern ky, and am totally a mama. that's what my mom always called herself and now that i'm an adult it is also how i refer to her. i think mommy gets a bad rap because of the movie mommy dearest and i know whenever my 2 1/2 year old uses it, all the vowels are over emphasized because she's whining. and mother is what i called my mom when i was a teenager and was being a brat.

let's take some deep breaths everyone. no matter where you live or what you drive, we're all moms. we're also all different. and that's okay.

"And surely there must be some kind of deep resonance with "mama" for all of us, as it really is the first word our babies utter."

This is what happened to me. I'd been referring to myself as "Mommy" - mostly because that's what I called my mother - until I heard my daughter babble "mamamama." And I decided that she must be calling to me, and have referred to myself as "mama" ever since.

Jan nailed it. Yay Jan.

what does the surly teeenager call me? MO-THER. MAAAAWWWWWWWMMMMMM. In a grocery store, I move towards the sound of "Mom" or "Mommy" even if my kid is miles away.

What she wants something, mommeeeeeeeeeeeee.

In my circle, we're mostly mamas. . . . .though I've been known to mix with moms and mothers.

::::::::happy to not be in the mix::::::::

just wait until the school calls, it won't much matter which one they call ya.

Perspective. My sister is Mama to her two kids and their transgendered parent is Mommy.

My son calls me mamá, and I am a mamá, called my mom a mamá and hope this never changes..haha..my first language is spanish. that;s why! I always wonder why english speaking moms wanted to be called mamas...is this now cool or what??? anyhow, are we really finding this topic of how me are called one that is problematic? is how children are naming us problematic? dividing us? are we really that different? please....this conversation is funny.

i'm sorry some of you are offended, but i didn't see the slightest rude, offensive, or elitist tone in the original post -- i fail to understand how it's elitist to *not* have a big house with a three-car garage! and what does this have to do with neighborhoods? or drinking lattes? maybe we're in a truly rarefied place: where it's elitist to have a bike instead of a minivan and take your child to -- what, poekoelan? -- instead of soccer. that's the kind of elite the *real* elitists must be laughing at.

i love what jan said -- it doesn't have to be bad, it's just *not me.* (neither big renovated house in irvington, nor cul-de-sac in beaverton, for that matter. is a broken-down house in an uncool, not trendy, meth-filled neighborhood one of the options?)

and i don't mind so much what the kids call me but it strikes me as condescending when an adult describes me as a 'mommy.'

at home, i call myself 'mama' but i'm known as 'mom' and 'mommy' by the kids and if it's accompanied by a hug, it's all good.

Wow. As much as I love the Portland lifestyle and feel most "at home" with uM, I too was surprised at the tone of the initial post. Maybe because I am the reverse opinion: one who loves the urbanite lifestyle but PREFER to be called Mami (as we spell it at home...as it goes with Papi).

It is funny, as it seems to be completely regional. As a GRIT (girl raised in the South), "Mama" is ALL southern. And I personally HATED it (I swear I shoulda been born in Portland)! And actually, most of life in the South is suburbia, BIG cars and BIG houses and BIG Republicans.

Not putting it down...it just wasn't/isn't me!

I'm Mama because I love it and it's what I called my mama (who's from the former Yogoslavia)and my husband is Dada. My husbands parents are Nana and Papa which is great because my little boy can say all four of these names perfectly well. My parents are called Grandma and Grandpa which he just finds so so difficult to pronounce. I am assuming that once Rye goes to school he'll realise most children call their mama's "mummy" or "mum" (we live in England)and I won't be surprised when he starts addressing me as such. However, it's definitely something I would love to delay for as long as possible!

No matter what your background or where you live, I think you should all be thankful you have children that can and do call you mama, mommy, mami, mom or mother.

I'm also Mama and my husband is Papa. I have no idea why, but mommy and daddy grate on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I called my mother Mom growing up, which I'm sure my kids will switch to eventually, but now I love the sound of Mama!

Completely agree with what other posters have voiced about the anti-suburban "hipper-than-than" tone that drives me batty about this site sometimes.

I happen to be a full time working "mommy" who has chosen to live close to my place of employment. I can get to work in 10 minutes and spend more time with my family, instead of having to *drive* over 30 minutes each way to live in all the "gotta prove I'm hip" neighborhoods in the SE and NE.

Before I was mommy and before I moved to Portland, I lived downtown (in cities much bigger than Portland), did yoga, drank latters, used public transit exclusively, and bought organic food. I had a planned homebirth for my daughter and practiced all sorts of "hippie parenting" (baby-wearing, extended breast-feeding, co-sleeping) that would make my "conservative" friends wince.

I still do yoga, belong to a farm co-op and compost (though I do own a car and drink fewer lattes) but despite what some posters would like to suggest, none of those things really defines who I am. I was happy with my yuppie urban life, and now I am happy with my suburban professional working-mom life. I don't understand why anyone would want to try and ridicule me by lumping me in with "suburban soccer moms". By the way, I would have NO problem driving my daughter to soccer practice were she so inclined when she's older.

People are multi-faceted. I'm a suburban mother, a working mother with an MBA, a liberal sometimes and a conservative sometimes. I have several "hippie" tendencies as well as a bourgeois pride in my living room decor and backyard landscaping. If you have chosen one neat box to put yourself in, please don't assume that everyone else must fit in one too. It is sad that we are so inclined to think of the world as "us versus them" - all the way down to "mamas versus mommies". And no, I don't think it makes any difference.

I hate "mama." At the same time it sounds baby-ish to me, and it reminds me of Bukowski books when grown men would refer to grown women as "momma."

I also think it's a little silly that thinking a moniker like "mama" somehow makes you "cooler" than a "mom." We're all wiping up spit up and listening to whining--our cool days are past. :)

My boys usually call me "Mom-Mom" (which, admittedly, does sound like "mama"), or "Mom," or, if they want something or are sick/tired, it may be "Mommy."

For those who don't understand what was offensive about the original post - it was written very much as if soccer practice, minivans, and big houses with three-car garages are a set of characteristics that are in opposition to yoga, biking, and the "urban" lifestyle. I think one can live in the suburbs and do yoga and ride a bike. Or live in the city and drive a minivan to soccer practice. It's this kind of blanket characterization of mother "types" that is by nature divisive. And it comes across as elitist to claim yoga and biking (or any other activity with a special claim to health or - ha - enlightenment) under one "type." This is the kind of careless drawing of lines that makes some of us wince.

I have a problem with any list that attempts to define a type of person, because those attempts are always reductive. This sort of post only serves to drive the wedge in deeper between all kinds of mothers, who find themselves shoved into categories and opposing one another over the fence, instead of sharing a cup of coffee.

And for what? To talk about a fairly meaningless subject - what our kids happen to call us.

As K said - we're all wiping up spit.

Um, people who live in NE/N/SE don't necessarily do it because it's "trendy" or to "prove how hip" we are. Some of us were born and raised on the East side of the river and live here because we like it.

You may have been offended by the OPs characterization of suburban dwellers, but your chip on your shoulder just lowered you down to the same level.

I'm beginning to think that a separate thread should begin, where anyone who wishes can list where she lives, doesn't live, or used to live, where she works or doesn't work or what she used to do for work, what she eats or doesn't eat, how often she washes her kids' hands, if she's ever used a disposable diaper or a homeopathic remedy, how long her child co-slept or didn't, when she weaned, if she's ever lost her cool during potty training, if she's ever intentionally brainwashed her kids against Bratz and McDonald's, if she's ever given soda to her four-year-old, if she's ever broken down and bought a birthday cake from QFC, the maximum number of hours her child has watched TV in one sitting, if her child attends public or private school, and if public, is it a neighborhood school or a focus option, what breed of dog she has, whether it came from a rescue or a breeder, and most importantly what kind of car she does or doesn't drive, including a list of all cars ever owned previously. Let's throw sexual history in there too. Then we can all take potshots at each other.

Sorry, but this thread is wearing me down.

y'all, no offense was ever intended and i, for one, am about to close down comments and/or wipe this post from the record. none of the uM founders have a judgmental bone in her body, we've all screwed up in so many ways raising our kids and are just trying to create a nice community where we can talk about interesting or inane things. that so many of you seem to think that stating a preference for something is inherently JUDGING everything else, well, perhaps you've run into that sort of person out there but that's not what we're about. every single one of us has offered our children soda, watched too much tv, and licked a frosting flower from a supermarket cake off her finger. at least once. we identify with the us we want to be. and often, 'mama' sounds good in our ears, it sounds like the aspirational motherhood nirvana. to us. and if you are mami, or mommy, or mom, or mumsy, and that sounds like the be-all and end-all of motherhood perfection to YOU, fabulous!

why it is that preferring to live in an urban area and ride a bike somehow marginalizes those who don't, i'll never understand. we offered up this post as an honest friendly conversation starter about what you prefer to be called, NOT to say that any moniker is holier, greener, more organic, more urban/suburban/eastside/westside, better-mother-ish, sexier, sweeter, sugar-free-er than any other.

now. should i delete the whole thread? or can we just all agree to stop reading in judgment and divisiveness where none was to begin with?

When my son (now 3) was first learning to talk, he called me "Ra Ra" which I thought was adorable (moms are our own personal cheerleaders, right, so what a fitting moniker!). Then one day he just learned to say "mama" and that was it. I was mama, which I was perfectly happy with as well. Recently he went through a phase of calling me "mommy" which I didn't love at first. Then I decided I liked it because it actually seemed a little retro since everyone else is a "mama" these days. But that was a short phase. Now I'm back to Mama or Mom, with an occasional "Wesa" thrown in for good measure.

I prefer the term mama. That was the original question, right? :)

I prefer the term mama. That was the original question, right? :)

I'm not a mama, mommy, or mother - wrong gender. But I follow this blog loosely and relay comments to my wife - who is all of the above. Our 3 yo daughter calls her mama, and she wants to be called mommy. Oh well.

But, while I believe there isn't a judgmental bone in anyone's body, there is an opinionated tone that does intimidate some - my wife in particular. But that's really OK, because passion is lacking in our culture and we appreciate passion.

It's just that I've noticed that Moms live with guilt - I never realized that until 3 years ago. And many moms that I know, don't feel like they live up to the "perfect" standard. But, who does?

We are defined as a semi-rural (in Columbia County, on a 1/2 acre); composting; farmer's co-op membering; home-schooling; liberal/moderate/conservative; Subaru-driving; penny-pinching, single-income; dog-loving; community-building; gay-friendly; church-going; Costco/WalMart/Fred Meyer shopping; 2 kids and were done kind of family.

Sorry to interrupt with a male voice, but just thought I'd chime in. :)

I'm mommy, mama, baby, honey, and occasionally Suzanne. I'm happy with all of them because I love hearing that sweet baby voice whatever the name.

I actually don't associate any kind of lifetstyle preference with any of these names. I love them all and never gave a thought where they came from.

i think i started as a mama but by my 2 yr old daughter's choice became mommy. i love them both. they both make me melt. i couldn't care less. and lately she's been tacking on "sweetie pie". it just kills me, i love it. this little person who wakes up calling out my name--whatever it may be to her--there's just nothing better in this world for me.

I'm flexible. Mama is what the boys call me, mommy is what I call myself when I'm being ironic (I like the perverse appropriateness. I can't believe I was allowed to have kid-are there NO rules about this?) Mom is what I call my mother and what I expect the boys will call me as I get older. Mother, man, that sounds like someone is in trouble "Just wait until your mother gets home."
I'll be a little sad if the boys transition away from mama, but really, as long as I have the boys, I'm ok with whatever they call me, well, that might change when they are teens, God knows I called my mom other things when I hit about 13.

I'm mama to my 3 year old son, which I love. Most recently the occasional mommy which catches me off guard. And for some reason today I am silly goose. Oh my sweet little parrot...

Oh, come now Sarah... the original post DID include an "ewwww" at the thought of an association with being called mommy and images of minivans etc... I think there is a valid reason for people to feel slighted by that post.

I like Mommy. Mommy's the best. And as for mama being the first word our babies utter? My daughter's first word for me was "mimi" and my son's, "mum"!

Honestly, I would take any of these names right now. My 15 month old still calls me DDDAAAAAA when she needs something.

I hope you don't delete this thread. I don't particularly enjoy it, but I think - like a few other threads in the semi-recent past - it has unintentionally cracked open a revealing look at the metro area's cultural divides. It is interesting how many people feel they are outside looking in - and in such a rainbow of ways.

My son (2 yrs) calls me mama and I love it. I think part of the reason I love it so much is that I know he probably won't call me that when he is older. All too soon the "mama" and the snuggles will be just a memory.

I don't think you should close down this thread, Sarah, this is the kind of honesty that this blog not only encourages but demands.

I also prefer to be called "Mama". I don't mind Mommy but would always say "Mama's Milk", or I am Mama or something like that.

"if you're a mother who is stylish, polished, professional, etc, and you associated "Mama" with hippies,"

I laughed when I saw this because it is SO me. I NEVER wanted to be mama. It just seemed so... so... NOT me. I thought mom was more appropriate. And yet, here I am, a stylish & polished (SAH, not professional but in my former life...) MAMA. My daughter really doesn't call me anything but I find myself saying "Give MAMA a kiss" and so forth. Who knew.

p.s. My mom is MOM to me but when I was a teen and wanted to really get to her, I'd call her MOMMY DEAREST. Nothing made her more angry!

p.p.s. I'm an urbanite whose biggest sins on this site are living in the West Hills, belonging to the MAC & being a Patron of the Portland Art Museum (anyone remember *that* judgmental post?!).

My last (or maybe first) biggest sin is that of being trim, which according to the Victoria's Secret post, means that I'm not allowed to feel discriminated against in any way, shape or form.

Anything I do that is positive like supporting the public school system which my daughter isn't even old enough to attend, shopping locally & sustainably, supporting human rights of all sorts, basically being a generally good person AND MORE is negated by the above, don't you think?

While the above accurately states who I am and what I frequently feel in this lovely city of Portland, I do think we all take ourselves a bit too seriously sometimes (this includes me).

And thanks Gary for posting. I think you hit the nail on the head, moms live with guilt.

Perhaps we should ALL make an effort to let things roll off our backs a little more on one hand and on the other, to be aware that words do hurt -- even if don't mean to (which I like to think is the norm) or you're insulting someone you don't think has the right to be offended because they live or may feel differently than you do.

I'm with Jan.

My 5 year old goes between mom, mama, mommy, my first name, and my husband's various nicknames for me, so my almost 2 year old follows suit, but what really cracks me up is at preschool where I teach, and my own baby calls me "Teacher! Teacher!" when she wants my help.

I am sorry that you're still hurt and/or angry about my comments on the diversity of urbanMamas post. That was not my intent.

I know how hard it is for me to hear others when I'm hurt. And in order to stick around these parts I had to let go of some of the many awful things people said about me.

As I've said before I've got 13 year old girl. . . . . . I'm toughening up. Get called Mommie Dearest once or twice by that little darling that slept on your chest. (who sometimes still does snuggles at bedtime)That you made homemade baby food for. That you wanted to always be able to speak her truth.

I love uMs because y'all are so full of hope. And you make a bitter old mama smile.

where's the bourbon? Can we have a mamas only bourbon night or sumptin'?

Wow, i think this was the worst thread i have ever read and i have been reading/posting to this blog for over 2 years....
why would why my child calls me mean anything at all about who i am? does my actual given name mean anything about who i am as a person?
i think as mothers we all try hard to give our children the best and that includes a senses of self-worth....which for me is not realated to what i wear, or drive, what my name is or where i live...to list a few of many non-important items.
we live in crzy times and what your child calls you this week or next year has nothing to do with who you are or who your family is....we are all moms who clearly care enough about families and kids issues to even read blogs/do research etc....so in my mind this thread is a complete waste of time.

yeah...I have 2 kids...one calls me mommy and the other mama so am i only half as cool as i want to be? or need to be? i think the last post got it right, WHO CARES?

I wrote the wipes post. I came across the info on Safemama and thought some people might be interested to learn about the ingredients in the various wipes brands (I was). Also, I am not sure which of those wipes qualify as 'Portland-stlye,' given the broad range of us parents living in the metro area.

My take is that some have ingredients in them that might not be healthy, and as usual, they're unfortunately way more expensive than the rest. Sorry if daylighting what I considered important health info offended you. It never crossed my mind that someone could be offended by sharing wipe ingredient information! Uninterested? Of course. Not everyone is interested in every post around here, including me. So don't read it. But please don't judge me for thinking that info is interesting.

I'm a mommy. My son chose the name, even though I'd planned to be mama. As you all know, telling a 3-year-old your plans doesn't always work out. :-)

I live in SE and ride a bike but not because I'm trendy. That's a laugh! I'm the biggest dork in town. It's just that I have epilepsy and can't drive a car. My life would be very difficult in the suburbs where things are generally farther apart. It's pretty hard as it is, especially with the heat this weekend.

I never gave much thought to this... It seems crazy to. For us it started out as Mama/Dada and has turned into Mommy/Daddy. To associate mini-vans and such is a stretch. Come on, Portland (city I will adore until the end of time), seriously? It seems kooky to me to even want a certain name, don't kids just call you what comes naturally?


Ok, I think a lot of us find it fun to compare what we are called, and where it came from. It never occured to me to be anything other than fun. There are more responses to what mothers are called than there are critisisms (sp?) so many of us are seeing this post just as a fun diversion. There will always be critics (all the way up to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, said the Jewish Mama!).

Hey gals, I'm 62, not a mom, but an aunt and great aunt, who grew up in a big city apt, in a working class family (way before "soccer moms"). My brothers and I called our mother "Mommy" and often still do when reminiscing about her. Don't know when this name became a symbol of what some see as suburban excess. I guess I think your children will call you what feels right to them, and what they will remember is your unconditional love and all you did for them. We treasure our memories and only wish we could have our mom back for just one day to tell her we love her again and thank her for making us the best we could be.

Sarah, We all say that no one here has a judgemental bone and kinda for the most part, that's true.
You can't however be surprised that this thread "went there" when the wording in the the opening post talks about mommy (or screaming.. mmmoommmeeeee!) = minivan and mama = yoga.
There's nothing wrong with a minivan or maintenance free newer homes, or the burbs, or yoga, or cafes in walking distance or cycling everywhere.
Just because no one says, "The 'burbs suck" out loud, doesn't mean that it hasn't been insinuated on many occasions.
I have lived in both and both have there benefits and drawbacks. Most of the time, no matter where my home is, I am a mix of mommy and yoga and Target and a cafe, etc. Most of us fall under the big part of the bell curve which is the mix of values, interests and activities, you know? Who cares?
Even though I get super annoyed by this stuff, I'll always check back because most of the time I find valuable information here.
My comment seems a little after the fact, but I wanted to make my thoughts known anyway.
So, there it is.

I just thought I would chime in on this kinda old thread. I actually found this blog because i was googling...yep, you guessed it: NAMES FOR MOTHERS. My female partner and I are trying to become parents again and I do wonder about names, and who gets to be called what. I do think its kinda importaant what our kids call us. I called my grandmother "Gamu" until her death when I was a teenager, and although it is weird and awkward to tell other adults that now, it is special and important and means something. I am southern and called my greatgrandmother Mama, and love the way that sounds, but will take what they come to naturally (to some extent!) If my kid calls me mommy or mama or even something close to ma, I will take it until they decide to change it. When we got married and my partners daughter became my kid as well (daughter was 13, about 8 years ago) her bio mom thought she might want to also call me mom, to emphasize that we were a solid parenting couple. My daughter calls me by my name, by mom, and sometimes by a simple gesture or look she gives, but there is no doubt we are in our family together, we love each other, and that what she means is "mom also" and thats a real blessing to me! Thanks so much for this great thread about "mom names" I am glad I found it.

"Mama" makes me think of a hick country bumpkin, prematurely aged from repeated childbearing, wearing a denim jumper and surrounded by a bunch of snotty-nosed kids. Or it makes me think of a woman with a babushka.

Mommy (from the young ones) or Mom all the way. To be called mama would make me cringe. I don't know what this new mama trend is, but it sounds awful to me.

I'm coming to this conversation 2 years late, but want to say that I for one have found it valuable, not condescending. It surfaced during a web search as I contemplate what *I* want to be called, what resonates with the person I am as I get my head around a new identity (motherhood). It's unfortunate that some feel judged or polarized by the conversation, but fwiw I'm glad this post and discussion thread exists.

I'm 17 and always call my mother "mama". "Mommy" doesn't sound right when I say it, and it always reminds me of spoiled kids whining to their moms, "mommy".

I'm 66 years old, and have called my mother 'Mama' all my life. I live in St. Louis, where most of my contemporaries (and younger people) call their mothers 'Mom', but we are from the Deep South, and 'Mama' just seems more cultured and refined. I notice that most black people here use 'Mama' among themselves, but will sometimes switch to 'Mom' when talking to whites. Not me, when talking to anyone. My brother, on the other hand, who said 'Mama' until he was grown up--at least among the family--has switched to 'Mom', which I find affected and irritating.

It's weird when an adult uses Mama or Mommy except where it's done by the majority culture, like in the South. It really means you've never grown up. After the teens, expect Mom unless you're a domineering parent who won't let her children grow up.

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