My wife and I didn’t pick names for our son to call us — and now I’m “Other Mommy”

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By: Eden, Janine and JimCC BY 2.0
We recently talked about “Bonus Mom” and other names that people pick for their kids to call them, so I know this piece by Susan from Lesbian Family will resonate with many a parent who hasn’t come to a decision in the name game. Susan’s two-year-old recently dubbed her partner, “This Mommy” and Susan has ended up as “Other Mommy” — a name she’s not entirely satisfied with:

Unlike many of the other lesbian parents we knew, we had never sorted out whether one of us would be “Mama” and the other “Mommy.” We never made up cute nicknames for ourselves, like “Mama S” and “Mommy R.” Some women we knew had opted for cultural or linguistic variations on the word “mother,” like the Hebrew “Imah” or the Spanish “Mami,” but none of those felt right. We didn’t worry about it. Instead, we figured that Rowan would come up with his own names for his moms. “Kids are smart,” we said. “He’ll figure it out.”

And he did. After hearing his whole life us saying versions of, “This mommy is cooking — ask other mommy to put your shoes on,” or, “This mommy will read you one more book, and then your other mommy will take you upstairs for bed,” he now calls us — quite sensibly — “This Mommy” and “Other Mommy.”

Guess who’s Other Mommy?

At least, mercifully, he eventually shortened it to “Uh-Mommy,” or “Uh-mum,” which actually sounds quite sweet — if you don’t know what it means.

But I know what it means. And while being Mama non Grata has its perks, especially now that I am 37 weeks pregnant with baby number two and can use all the breaks I can get, little stings quite as much as my crying toddler pushing me away because he wants his This Mommy. Suddenly, I’m on the outside, the fifth wheel at the playdate.

You can read the rest at Lesbian Family.

Comments on My wife and I didn’t pick names for our son to call us — and now I’m “Other Mommy”

    • Haha this made me think of the title we initially used to call me when my god-daughter was a baby. I did a lot of baby sitting as her mama is a solo parent, so we decided to call me Mo-Faux (as in fake mother) but then had visions of her calling “Hey Mo-Faux” out loud when I turned up to collect her from pre-school!!! So we promptly changed it to Meme (before meme’s were all over the Internet). Now she just calls me by my first name, but secretly, I’m still pretty stoked with coming up with Mo-Faux! 😉

  1. While I get that being called “Other Mommy” adds another dimension to this, would it help to keep in mind that a crying toddler pushing away one parent because they want the other one is a pretty much par for the course?

    • So true! And from my experience (in a hetero relationship), it only becomes more pronounced once the baby is born if you are breastfeeding. My oldest son is still pushing me away in favor of his dad, I think out of jealousy towards his baby brother.

  2. My 19mo old calls me “momma” and my husband “mommy”. And she always wants “Mommy” more than me. If she falls or is upset she wants her “Mommy” which is my husband. We used to attempt to correct her and call him “daddy” but in the end its just a name. Although I am hoping she’ll outgrow it and like me again.

  3. When my husband was laid off and I went back to work, our oldest was 9 months old. For some reason, he started calling me “Daddy” and instead of switching my husband to Mommy, my husband became “You.” in a very hateful tone of voice, “No You, don’t want You, want Daddy!” He would crawl over and block the door, and every time he saw the color red (the color of my work uniform) he would scream. It wasn’t until my husband went back to work and I switched jobs that I got to be Mommy again, and my husband went back to being Daddy.

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