In my parenting e-group, one mother posted a topic titled “Would you mind if other people let your kids call them ‘Mommy?’ ” She was basically asking if it’s all right for other people to coach her kids to call them “Mommy.”
The question drew several responses from mothers. A few said they didn’t mind their children calling other people mommy, while the majority of the respondents said they objected to it. They cited reasons that struck two recurring themes.
Anyway, in following the exchange of views, I find it curious that no daddy has piped out an opinion on the subject.
It appears to me that daddies are no sticklers for titles. By the absence of their reactions, I think most fathers don’t mind their kids calling other men daddies.
I can’t speak for the other fathers, though, but personally, I don’t mind the offhand and frivolous use of daddy (or papa, father, etc.).
The gay hair stylist in the neighborhood beauty parlor calls me “papa” (actually, he pronounces it “fafa”). One instance, my business partner and I walked by a videoke bar, and the GROs at the door addressed me as daddy, as in, “Come on in, daddy.”
I would have been upset had she called me mommy.
The titos and the titas don’t seem to mind, either. Every Tom, Dick and Mary named Juan, Pedro and Susan who come to the house want the kids to call them tito and tita. (In the Visayas and Bisayan-speaking-areas of Mindanao where I grew up, they want to be called “Angkul” and “Antee”). Not once have my brothers and sisters (nor my wife’s brothers and sisters) registered any complaints against people who hijacked their titles.
Judging from the number of responses the “Mommy” topic got, I understand that many mothers view the subject seriously. So without meaning to trivialize the issue, I wonder if it is safe to conclude that this mommy-entitlement concerns only the mommies but not the daddies and other members of the family.
Some posters cited several reasons why they take issues with people coaching their kids to call them mommy. One that strikes me in particular is a mother who admitted that listening to her children call someone else mommy made her jealous. Somehow, the admission paraphrases in my mind a scriptural proscription: “I’m your mommy. Thou shalt not put another mommy before me, for I am a jealous mommy.”
Another reason cited is that allowing children to call some other people mommy may confuse the child. In short, mothers are concerned that a child calling several relatives mommy will lead to the child not knowing for sure who is his/her mother.
In the number of incidents cited, the in-laws are mostly involved. The in-laws figure in the issue so often that I wonder if it is exclusively a name/title thing. No matter how hard I tried, I feel an undercurrent of side-issues involving the in-laws.
I’d be glad to receive enlightenment or clarification from mothers on this matter. As I said earlier, the issue seems to concern the mothers more than it affects other members of the family.
Of course, I could be wrong. My observation is no longer as keen as they used to be.
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