What’s In a Name?
I’ve always been a mom. I’m not talking about the feeling in my heart (which always pointed in the mom direction), but how my children address me. “Hi, Mom. Do you want help with dinner, Mom? Let’s run to pilates, Mom” This can be followed by, “Oh, Mom! Why Mom? Let’s chat Mom.”
But I hear there is a cultural shift rumbling these days. Moms are no longer just Moms.
It’s actually hip to be a Mama! Maybe it was Hollywood that started it because all the hot stars call each other “mama” and I don’t think kids even need to be involved here. There’s J.Lo calling everyone “mama.” Suddenly, everyone is doing it. The other day at a store, I got my change and the young woman behind the counter said, “Here you go, mama!”
Then the other day, I read that kids are actually part of this cultural shift because there is a “mama movement” underway. It seems that those who ask to be called “mama” are the new moms and consider themselves the most empowered ones. Mamas, it seems, are considered a driving force and an unstoppable one who better not be crossed.
Maybe it has to do with age. I loved the days when my children were little and called me “Mommy.” Who doesn’t melt when a toddler makes his way to his favorite person on earth and screams, “Mommy!.” As children age, we used to be just plain mom or even “Mother!” if the child wasn’t getting his or her way. I’ve heard a few “Mother! Everyone else is doing it!” Of course, I could easily respond that everyone else did not have me as a mom, mommy, mother!
I’ve been traveling a lot these days and it’s interesting that I hear all ages from wee ones to teens calling out for their “Mama!” The new phenomenon was cemented by an essay called “The Rise of ‘Mama'”—about the increasing cultural use of the term “mama” by Elissa Strauss — and I agree with her premise. The word mama is here because there are shifting views of motherhood now.
Just like that Mama Bear, moms protect, nourish, guide, repair and provide for their children, her family and her community. Mamas are in the driver’s seat guiding futures. Mamas are the rock and the force. Mess with her cubs, and there is going to be trouble!
Some are even calling it a mama lifestyle movement. One article pointed out that there are mom jeans, which mean something not-so-coveted, while mama jeans sound like something most of us would wear with pride.
So, what’s in a name? Personally, I don’t care if it’s mom, mother or mama! The name isn’t so much what matters as are the feelings that earned that title. And, it’s just a gift to be called any one of them. The very best gift.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Martin Photography