Subject: Mommmmmmmmm!
From: Melissa Hunter-Kilmer <mhunterk -at- BNA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 10:18:43 EST

On Wed, 16 Nov 1994, Jan Boomsliter said:

> Let me throw this one Out There: do adults in all regions of the
> country call their mothers "Mom?"

Also on Wed, 16 Nov 1994, Laurie Rubin said:

> <snip> I never refer to my parents (including in-laws) as "Mother"
> or "Father." I even try to avoid cards that use those words. My husband
> is from New York, and has always referred to his parents and my mom in the
> same manner! I wonder if it has to do with what your parents tell you to
> call them when you are young, and then those terms just become familiar and
> comfortable. I am not certain there is a geographical relationship to the
> people and the words, but rather a personal relationship for some. Mother
> and Father seem extremely formal, and, to me, may express a somewhat
> distanced relationship between child and parent.

> What I also find interesting is that the word "aunt" is pronounced
> differently in different parts of the country.

I suspect that Laurie has a point in referring to the personal
relationship being shown by the names parents use.

My mother insists on being called "Mother" and loathes the word "Mom." Her
mother went by "Mother" and so did my dad's mother. Her parents went by
"Grandmother" and "Grandfather" to us, and now my parents do the same for
my kids. I think my dad went along with that because of social climbing
-- he came from a working-class background and wanted to achieve, and she
came from an shabby-genteel well-educated background, which he wanted to
emulate. My mother is also a social climber to some extent; the formality
seems to go along with that.

My mother's parents went by "Mr. and Mrs. Stookey" to my father. Talk
about formal! My parents tried to go by "Mother and Father Hunter" to my
husband, but he wasn't having any of it; he calls them "Mother and Dad,"
as I do.

My in-laws go by "Mama" (or "Nana" to the grandkids -- my mother-in-law is
an American raised in France by Americans) and "Daddy" ("Grandaddy" --
he's from New Jersey). I like this a lot more, and my husband and I go by
"Daddy" and "Mama." But when I have grandchildren, I plan to be "Grandma"
(pronounced "Grammaw"), since I would like to be the kind of grandmother
that my father's mother (also Grandma) was.

People get to be called what they want to be called, in my book. (I can't
always convince my husband of this -- see above.) I hate to be called
"Mother" and "Mommy," so I've taught my kids to call me "Mama" or "Mom."

And by the way, I'm an Army brat raised mostly in Virginia and Germany but
also in Kansas, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania, and I've also lived in
Ohio, Connecticut, and California. My parents and their parents come from

I do love language . . .

//\ /\\ **************************************************
|| * \ . . / * || * Melissa Hunter-Kilmer (mhunterk -at- bna -dot- com) *
\\____\X/____// * Bureau of National Affairs (NOT the government!) *
/ * /O\ * \ * Washington, DC *
\__/ " \__/ **************************************************

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