My Bio

My Bio
My name is Sharon Levin and I've been reviewing children's literature for 20 years. I founded and run the Bay Area Children's Literature List. My biggest passion (outside my family) is getting books into the hands of children and teens. My favorite thing is getting non-readers to realize that they're readers. I also LOVE t-shirts that have to do with books or literature. As soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll have a click through on the above picture so you can see my entire collection (and where to get them).

October 14, 2014

From Mommy to Mom

Language has always been important to me.  Word choice carries so much significance, even while my brother argues that the word 'girl' as applied to adult females is merely semantics and not denigrating, I say there is no such thing as 'mere' semantics and words convey values and relationships.

So, it is not gently that I go from Mommy to Mom.  I know this is necessary, because it sounds really silly for my 17 and 20 year old to call me Mommy.  "Mom"  that's like an adult word.  "Mom" also can be said with so much more attitude, drawn out with exasperation or short and curt like a reprimand (as in "MOM, stop embarrassing me").  Mommy can sound whiny or needy, but never snotty or fed up.

Mommy is a name that has always made me feel wanted.  There is nothing of 'go away' in the title Mommy,  it's a sobriquet that says, "Snuggle me, feed me, scoop me up, read to me, etc. etc."  Remember the Robin Hood cartoon, or am I really, REALLY dating myself?  Well, REALLY dating myself would be me saying that I loved the Errol Flynn Robin Hood (which I did). ANYWAY, in the cartoon Robin Hood (where Robin is a fox and Prince John is a scrawny lion), Prince John often sticks his thumb in his mouth and says "I want my Mommy!"  He would never say, "I want my Mom!" It just doesn't have the same pathos.

But, sometimes we have to hear words in someone else's mouth to realize how they sound.  For instance, when Elise was little, I had really tried to clean up my language.  One day I startled her as she came down the hallway and she said "Oh my goodness gracious!" which is what I had been saying.  I realized that it sounded absolutely ridiculous and if it sounded ridiculous when a 3 year old said it, then it had to sound completely stupid when I said it.

So, when I heard a friend of my daughter's refer to her parental unit as "Daddy" and I heard how young it sounded, I realized it was time for us to move on.  It's not in the least little bit easy though.  I have started signing e-mails as Mom(my) and I have now moved on to Mom......  Not ready to give up those ellipses (and all they symbolize) quite yet.

"Mom" has its joys as well, I realize that.  Grown up conversations and debates,  daughters who are making their own way in the world, yes there are positives.  But, ah, that doesn't mean I can't miss being "Mommy" now and then.








2 comments:

  1. I love it when I hear kids in our shop calling their parents Mommy and/or Daddy, especially when it is something like "Mommy... Look!" Excitement and wanting to share something they've just noticed in the store. We have a few friends who have "adult" children who still say Mommy or Daddy in more intimate circumstances, and it sounds nice, and appropriate, there too. Hopefully, you can still get a "mommy" once in a while!

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    Replies
    1. Oh Craig, if I get a "Mommy" it's because they're trying to get me to give in on something (and yeah, sometimes it works) :-)

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