Okay, so I just came across yet another parenting article. No issue in the child-rearing world seems to go untouched… every little thing apparently needs to be hashed out, which really makes me think I should get a gig writing for one these publications, because I could seriously give out some good advice.
But I digress.
The writer of this particular article takes issue with the fact that her kids’ friends call her by her first name. In fact, her “biggest pet peeve” is any child calling any adult by their first name, which she apparently takes as a sign of grave disrespect.
She gets her point across in a joking manner, but makes her point just the same (which I can truly appreciate). What I found funny though is she doesn’t like the idea of being called Ms. or Mrs. either. So what exactly is a child supposed to call her? The author is unsure. She just knows it shouldn’t be her first name only. A modern quandary indeed.
Personally I never had this problem when my children were very young. I didn’t have a name then, you see. I was simply Jacob’s mom and Sarah’s mom for the longest time. As in, “Hey Jacob’s Mom, can Jacob come out and play?” Or “Hi Sarah’s Mom, can she go to the park with us today?”
When I eventually earned a name for myself, I requested they call me “Ms. Wendy.” It was my choice, not theirs. I mean, kids won’t know what to call you unless you tell them, right? One of my son’s friends (who has been around since forever) still calls me “Jacob’s Mom,” and does so with quite a bit of mutual humor and nostalgia. Would I ever consider him disrespectful? Heck no! The boy is a hoot. Hearing “Hi Jacob’s Mom!” coming from a strapping 24-year-old as he yells across a crowded room without a care in the world is always comical to behold, and interesting to explain.
My view is, if you want to be called Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. insert first or last name here, then simply tell the child that so they know. Don’t leave them to their own devices or their own choices in the matter if you care that much about what you’re called. But don’t expect them to respect you simply because of what you choose to name yourself. Respect isn’t a “given” based solely on a title.
Beyond the whole name dilemma, which each parent has to figure out for themselves (hopefully before the kids get to college), I did find one thing about the article that was disconcerting, in a sort of a red-faced, wow, okay, that sounds like me, kind of a way.
She did it to be humorous I’m sure (although probably serious too) but the author wrote out a detailed list of the reasons why she will never ever be friends with her children’s friends and therefore, why they can’t be on a first name basis.
The list consists of things that adults – that is to say, peers – wouldn’t or rather, shouldn’t, do, you see. And, I have to admit that I failed her list by half. That’s right. Half. So. No new friendship on the horizon for me. But that’s okay. I’m sure we’ll both survive.
When you think about it though, following Southern custom (calling on my family heritage here), the author would have to call me Ms. Wendy cause I’m older than her. (Okay, so I’m guessing here at her age, but it’s a good guess – her children must be young given the topic of the article and she knows who the hell The Tings Tings are and I suppose LIKES them since she knows the lyrics to their songs – all of which points to her being way younger than me.) BUT since I failed her test, I’d end up having to call her Ms. So and So or whatever it is she decides she wants to be called… this name game, it’s all so very confusing!