Everybody Knows My Name?

As a Jennifer born in the 1980s, I had no shortage of name sharing/confusion as a kid. Not that my name itself was confusing, but identifying which Jennifer I was always included my last initial which was fine. It was what it was and became exactly why 27 Jennifers by Mike Doughty has been a beloved song of mine for years:

Jenny M. That was me. Until 6th grade (or was it 5th? – c.r.a.p. I am getting old if I can’t remember that detail) when a bunch of us Jennifers of Lincoln Elementary banded together and decided to take charge. We would all be a different version (spelling) of Jenny and it just so happened that I ended up with the “I” on the end of mine instead of the “Y” and my parents totally went with it (unlike some friends who tried for more, um, unique spellings and were totally denied by their parental units, or maybe just got sick of the change in time and went back to Jenny ___). Me? I ran with this new approach to my name and never looked back. And I know it is a wee bit silly because you can’t hear a darn bit of difference when you say “Jenni” versus “Jenny” but I can definitely tell you which one looks like my name and which one does not when I see it written.

Perhaps this whole name game from my youth is adding to the confusion I feel now as a parent because I am extremely befuddled as to why my children have decided to call me by completely different names. Maybe other moms out there don’t really care what their kids call them or don’t care if the name is constantly changing. But to me, my mom name is Mama. Ben and I started calling me that from the very beginning with Harrison and while HD will throw a Mom my way every now and then, we’re 5.5 years into knowing me as Mama. Except Raegan, for well over a year, has been calling me Mommy and I just don’t get it. I never refer to myself this way and like Jenny-with-a-“y” it sounds funny to me to hear myself referenced as such. I won’t even bother asking if my response to this whole situation is normal because my guess is no, it’s not – I’ve just picked something weird to get hung up on, but actually, that’s my point.

After months of (semi-passive-aggressive?) attempts to correct RL (never telling her she is wrong but referring to myself in third person a LOT in hopes of showing her the light but obviously failing), I’ve decided to let it go. If Baby Girl wants to call me Mommy nine times out of ten, then that is what she’s going to call me. It probably makes sense, actually, that my kids would have different names for me because while I am a mother to all of them, our individual relationships are unique and what they need from me on a daily basis is never the same.

So Mama/Mommy/Ma (which is where Linky is currently with a name for me)? They all work. They all represent the role I so gratefully get to play in the lives of these growing, learning, always going individuals and I am honored to be that person to each of them, no matter what they call me. Well, not Hey, You!. That version (and life with teens) is probably coming sooner than I think, but whatever mom name(s) the children decide upon as they grow is going to have to start with an “M” – I’m too much of an English Major to let all rules and convention slide!

An oldie but a goodie: “Mommy” and her Mini. 


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