Thursday, October 29, 2015


Mom, can you get me a water bottle?

Mom.  Can you look over my homework?

Hey Mom, what time are we leaving?

I didn’t hear you, Mom!  I had my headphones on!

Mom, do you know where my headphones are?

Mom.  Stop it.  Please.  Tell me where you hid my headphones.

As a term of endearment, Mom is pretty mundane.  Mom used to be Mommy, but not for as long as I thought it would last.  In the beginning I wanted it to be Momma, but I'm not a Momma and my kids never took to that.  I am Mother once in a while when the teenager is being funny, but for the most part, I'm Mom.

 I wasn’t sure I wanted to be called Mom until circumstances made it almost impossible not to be.  If you had asked me twenty years ago if being called Mom was in my future, you would have received a slightly aghast response and probably would have walked away from the conversation wondering what on earth made me so against children in general.  Mom wasn’t in my head yet.

It is now.

My whole being swivels to meet every close-to-my-heart voice that calls out Mom, even when coming from the mouths of strange babes.  It’s like a dog whistle, that call of Mom.  My instinct has developed to orient myself toward any utterance of Mom, to run to the siren song of a child who needs my specialized and time-honored skills.  I am confident that I could stand in for the immediate need for a mom, but I’m all too aware that nothing will really come close to the real thing.

For every agonized-over name selected for a child, there’s Mom.

I think about children who don’t call one Mom, and how they struggle, whether by sorrow, or longing, or anger. Mom is a possession – “I have to be home at 9 or my Mom will freak out” – as well as one in a unit of many – “You are a good mom.”  Being a child with a mom, I can’t understand the loneliness I imagine that comes with not having someone to call Mom.

The idea of Mom as a name is not without its limits.  Nobody else except for my children and the occasional well-meaning doctor who needs me to find my wits while I’ve watched a sick or injured child suffer at arm’s length while I stand helplessly by can call me Mom.  It isn’t appropriate.  It doesn’t make sense.  I am Mom to two people only, people who have called me Mom probably more times than anyone else has called me by my real name.

This means that they’ve needed me more than anyone else.

Long after they need me for anything tangible, long after I’ve washed their last t-shirt or located their last pair of sneakers or helped them with their last page of homework or made their beds for the last time, I will still be Mom.  In the years that follow us sharing a space, they will still call me by that name.  The one that only they use.  The mundane, shortened name that I have been called in various voices over the years.

It has become who I am.


This post inspired by:

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop

Prompt #2: The last time someone called you a name.


  1. Love. Love. LOVE.
    "Long after they need me for anything tangible, long after I’ve washed their last t-shirt or located their last pair of sneakers or helped them with their last page of homework or made their beds for the last time, I will still be Mom."
    *Standing ovation*

  2. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing such sweet thoughts.

    "Mom" is a beautiful name, but I gotta tell ya, hearing my new name "Grandma" absolutely melts my heart.

    1. I'm sure I'll feel the same way when that day comes. xo

  3. Great post. I have been a mom for a year now my son calls me mamma and i love it when he does it. Hope you have a great day.

  4. That name has so much meaning in many of our worlds. Your poignant writing expresses this. Love your writing style and your interpretation of the prompt. Coming at ya from Mama's Losin' It!

    1. Hi Lisa, and thank you. It's easy for me to be annoyed with the constant "Mom?" "MOM!" but when it all comes down to it, I'm so happy to hear it daily. There will be a day when I don't hear it as often.

  5. Oh my goodness! So beautiful!!!!! Coming back to read it again later!

    1. Thanks so much, Bonnie. I'm thrilled that this resonated with you. <3

  6. Oh what a beautiful testimony to motherhood in all it's detailed daily utterances of being called "mom".... I can't help but acknowledge that there are many times I hear it and get annoyed, aggravated, irritated at the sound of it. But you have brought me back to what it really means...

    And I like you, am defined and honored by that miraculous name. Oh when it all comes down to it, I absolutely LOVE the name "Mom" and wouldn't trade it for anything in this world.

    1. When you own the name, there's nothing else that fills its place in your heart, is there?

  7. This is so spot on and beautiful. We're the lucky ones.