She Calls Me Mama
I never told my daughter what to call me—she figured it out on her own
One of the many, many (many) questions I have been asked in regards to being a same-sex parent is this:
What is your daughter going to call you?
Since there are two moms in the picture, the general concern was that both parents couldn’t possibly be called, “Mommy.” People often wondered aloud about how my daughter would ever distinguish between the two of us. How would she know who was who? (Despite the obvious fact that my wife and I look nothing alike. We aren’t one of those lesbian couples who started wearing the same hairstyle and dressing alike as the years went by. We are quite different—even to this day.)
The answer is simple. My daughter figured it out. Kids are smart. They don’t always need us to spell things out for them (unless, of course, they can’t spell yet). They are perceptive, much more than we give them credit for. Maggie knows who my wife is. She knows who I am. And she made the distinction all on her own.
In the beginning, friends advised us to refer to ourselves as Mommy (my wife) and Mama (me) in front of Maggie as often as possible. We tried. Seriously, we tried. But we always seemed to mix it up. My wife would refer to me as Mommy and I would refer to her as Mama by mistake. And we both referred to each other as Mom more times than I can count. I’d correct my wife and say, “I’m Mama.” And vice versa. If anything, we were only confusing Maggie even more. So eventually, we just gave upon the idea.
Like I said before, kids are smart. I once heard a story about two moms who raised a son. He called them both, Mom. (Even as he got older.) But they always knew which one he was referring to because of the inflection in his voice.
When Maggie first started talking she called both of us, Mommy. A short time later, she began calling me, Mama and my wife, Mommy—all on her own. We didn’t wear nametags (not that she could read them anyway) or correct her (because she never needed correcting). She solved the “situation” all by herself, choosing to call us what made the most sense in her two-year-old brain.
It’s just one of those things that people tend to overthink. A child with two moms?? How confusing! What on earth will she call you? How will she know what to call you? Maybe you should tell her.
Or maybe we should just let her figure it out for herself and leave it well enough alone?
My daughter just woke up from her nap. She’s calling for me. Mama! Mama!
It’s music to my ears.