Mom is not my name

It’s “hon,” not “hun” around here…

Couldn’t resist.


For some bizarre reason, the Sierra Club calls me Mom. All of the mailings are addressed to Mom. I have never communicated or sent a check and signed it Mom. My whole family finds it hilarious.


Maybe one of your kids made a donation in honor of “Mom”?

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Nope. Like I said they find it funny too. I am apparently the Mom to the Sierra Club. I wonder who Dad is?

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That’s the problem for me. It indicates that this woman’s name is “Mom” just like “Mary”. A hard no for me. Told my kids never to do this. But that’s unlikely. When I mentioned it they said they thought this was generational and that while some older people did it, they never heard a young person (millennial or gen z) do so.

Yup, I was team mom, room mom, GS leader, BS troop committee member so HIson’s mom and HIdaughter’s mom. That never bothered me. Most times, I honestly don’t care what I’m called as long as it’s meant in good spirit and acknowledging my presence.


My son had some serious medical issues when he was 13. He was in the hospital for months. All the nurses and doctors and technicians and caregivers addressed me as “Mom.” I had no problem with it. Why should they worry about how my name is pronounced or whether they should address me as first name or Ms. Last name. The only thing that mattered is that they were communicating with me and taking care of my kid.


@deb922 , don’t worry, the kids know exactly your station in the family. My Dad and Mom were very close to my Dad’s best friend and his wife. I was extremely close to their kids. I grew up calling them Aunt and Uncle and were very fond of them. However, I adored, cherished and loved my real twin Aunts and knew when I was saying that word, it had a different meaning to me when I said it.

What really irked me to no end is when a nephew decided to stop calling me, out of the blue, by that honorific. He would do it quietly so no one would hear when we greeted each other, but never aloud in front of others. I thought it was so disrespectful. So, I guess that’s my pet peeve.

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As kids, our parents taught us to refer to some of their special friends as Aunt ___ / Uncle ___ . It was easier than learning Mr/Mrs (when we did not hear parents mention last name). But we clearly understood who the Real aunts and uncles were. I think it’s sweet and am surprised when others dislike the custom.

Having said that, my husband thought it was strange. Thus we had our kids call friends by first name (to avoid cumbersomeness and confusion of last names). Then a southern family moved onto our street, and I liked their custom of Miss _____ / Mr _____. But I realized that there was no way I could avoid laughter if the kids called our neighbor “Mr Ed” (like the old time talking horse on TV). When I started teaching Sunday School, I did go by Miss Jane. It makes me smile when a few of the former students, now grown, still calls me that.

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I do not mind being called Mom. When I need a pep talk I call myself “Mama”. “Come on Mama!”


We believe in calling people ( with whom our relationship is social) what they want to be called so when a Southern family moved in to our area where kids call everyone by theit first name, my kids had no issue with calling the parents Mr and Mrs Last name like they wanted. The parents though didn’t want their kid to call me “Maya.” They wanted at least “Miss Maya”. And I said sweet as pie “I’m sure you wouldn’t want your kids to call me by a name I don’t like anymore than you’d want my kids to call you Jefferson and Suzette, right? “.

The only people besides besides them they called Mr and Mrs were their teachers. I told Doctors that we wouldn’t be using them if they didn’t want to be called by their first name because I think that’s important to a proper doctor patient relationship with a child.

Isn’t it interesting how different people view things differently? That is why I would not get offended, lots of different customs and experiences from all over. Personally, I dislike the informality of first-name interactions with people I do not consider my social friends ( that includes my doctor, the minor children of actual friends or neighbors, and others with whom I do not socialize). A professor friend at a prominent law school is very offended that his adult students expect to use his first name, and he corrects them. Everyone has different preferences, so I just try to live and let live.


When I’ve watched shows from certain countries like Rita from Denmark and The Cliff from Iceland I’m always struck by how no one ever uses last names. I know in Iceland it’s about their unusual naming practices but I was surprised that in Denmark even grade school kids call teachers by their first name.

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I don’t like it either. Even my son-in-law and younger daughter’s fiance call me by my first name. I never corrected a kid who said it to me because in those instances I felt like it was a term of affection or appreciation. However, if I heard that my own kids were calling someone else mom or dad (unless it was an in-law) my feelings would be a little hurt.

I actually feel like children should call me by whatever custom their parents advocate. That makes things more consistent and simple within those families. There is not a right or wrong way here - it’s just my opinion that adapting to variation is simpler for me than youngsters.

If a friend/neighbor wants their children to address all adults by surname (less common now than when I was a kid), then I am happy to be Mrs Smith. Similarly OK to be called Jane. Or Miss Jane. Or Aunt Jane would be OK for near/dear families (though this variation has never been the case for me, except for Real nieces and nephew).

I’ve only been called Mom by my children. And a few times “Mom Smith” (my real name has a nicer ring) by friends of my children in the high school / college years. I liked that :wink: If somebody called me Mom at pharmacy etc, it would annoy me.

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I’m starting to understand the OP’s feelings towards “Mom” - it’s like I’ve always shyed away from the idea that anyone should call me “Mrs” - I would never be offended by anyone, any age just calling me by my first name. If you call me “Mrs”, I’m not going to get mad but I prefer to not have the formality or have to reference that I’m married - after all men are just plain “Mr.” with no reference to their marital status


I grew up calling my parent’s close friends, aunt and uncle first name; it was only 3 or 4 couples. As I became a teenager, I just called them by their first names. I truly do not remember what I called my friend’s parents, but I believe most were by their last name.

My mother, who is 90, gets annoyed when doctors or others that don’t know her personally, called her by her first name; she prefers to be addressed as Mrs. Last Name. I do find that interesting since she is not a formal person, but that is her pet peeve.

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I think that’s an excellent point about how doctors or others address you. If a nurse is calling someone into an office for an appointment the first time and says “Henry Lastname?” it should be followed with “how would you like to be addressed?” First name, Mr. Lastname etc. My mom never said anything but I knew it irritated her to no end.

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I’m an extremely casual person but I think it makes sense for medical professionals to err on the side of caution. Patients are vulnerable, having to share the most intimate, difficult details of life and often suffer the loss of bodily function in ways that can be demeaning and embarrassing. It makes sense, from an ethical standpoint, to keep more formal ways of addressing people, giving a protective boundary for both doctor/nurse and patient. I think elderly people are often treated too much like children as is, so I can understand an elderly patient not wanting to be called by first name.


Yes, I think that is a good way to explain it, about boundaries and respect. The faux equality of addressing those who are grading you or operating on you as equals when they are clearly not by age, education, or expertise really annoys me.