May 16, 2008

Warning: Your identity as a parent is taking over your life and you probably don't even realize it

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week at the boys' daycare, and I've been busy coordinating Alex's classroom's contribution. Alex is in the younger preschool class, and we're teaming up with the older preschool class for maximum impact. I'm responsible for collecting money from the parents and I had to laugh today when I flipped through the envelopes and saw the one that said:

Teacher Appreciation Week
From: Steven's Dad

I have the feeling I might appreciate this even more if I actually knew Steven's dad, but Steven is in the older preschool class and I only have a vague idea of which boy he is. And I haven't the faintest clue who his dad is.

But I can certainly relate to him! All of the kids in Alex's class call me "Alex's mommy" - as in, "Alex's mommy, look, I have a Cars shirt on today." And whenever I send out an email to the other parents, I always put "Alex's mom" underneath my name - otherwise, how will the parents know who I am?

It's a weird feeling to be known only for being a mom, at least in some circles. And I'm sure that's never going to change. I'll always be "Alex and Tyler's mommy" to some people.

The big question is: as the years go by, will I think of myself as "mommy" rather than Cathy? I don't think so. But I've been known to be wrong.

What have your experiences been?


adrienne said...

First of all, kudos on your efforts! I know the teacher will appreciate your work for a special gift.

It's funny, I worry about not being mommy enough when my son calls for me saying "Aaaaadrienne."

My current response is "That's mommy to you, mister!"

Anonymous said...

Wow and double Wow. I've had a bad week this week learning that I have been a bit unbalanced in the categories of work and parenting lately. It's really been reflected as I've brought the kids back and forth to daycare. I received lots of goodies for Mother's Day from our provider and COMPLETELY forgot to give her a thing until she handed me my goodies. Thursday she had to pull out a log and inform me that my little guy had been sick off and on since early May. I had been too lost in work lately to notice. :( Sigh. I totally didn't even think about her at teacher appreciation week and I've never thought to call myself Cat & Max's mom. I just use my first and last name when addressing other parents. I too have had my littlest one who is 2 call me Jennifer and I wonder where it comes from and HOW he knew that????????

I just want to declare a do-over. I feel I've totally been behind the 8-ball lately and not been paying attention at all! I'm glad though that it doesn't seem to be contagious ;) Good for you for taking on the endeavor of organizing events for your son's class.


Chief Family Officer said...

@Adrienne - Eh, we go through that too. I don't think it has anything to do with being "mommy enough"!

@Jennifer - Don't be too hard on yourself! We all go through periods where one part of our life is more dominant than another. As for being identifying myself as Alex's mom, I do it more for context for the other parents. I do it when I meet a new parent for the first time in person too. I started b/c I need that context myself - I know the kids in the boys' classes, but not the parents. I'm sure the other parents (and kids) still think of you as "Cat and Max's mommy." :)

Mercedes said...

I find that I get address as "my son's mom" when I have not introduced myself properly. To the other parents in my sosn't music or swimming class or even the Y babysittind, if they don't know my name of course I am "X's mommy." That's why I try to tell my people my name first and then my sosn's name. But sadly enough when other people tell me their name I remember them as "x's mommy" as well. I bet they are doing the same thing with my name, forgetting it. sigh!

Shan said...

I get called Abby's Mommy a lot between school and the sitters. In fact her friend's little sister calls me that exclusively. I don't mind in the least. Just like I mind being Maya's Mom or Mike's wife or Diane's daughter or Dave's sister and so on. Just means I "belong" to a lot of people. And to me, that's a good thing. Most often I get referred to by those titles when I am in their realm. Nobody is calling me Abby's Mom at work, but when I'm dealing with parents at school, that's Abby world. It all balances out in the end.

I can't imagine there will be a time when I don't think of myself as Mommy. I mean, I haven't stopped needing my Mom yet. But I have been known to be wrong too. Time will tell.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Mercedes - You're exactly right, I often remember parents as "So-and-so's mom" even if I've been told their names! I certainly love being "Alex's mommy" but I thought it was really funny of Steven's dad to actually write "Steven's Dad" instead of "The M. family" or even just "Steven M." A lot of the parents wrote their own name and then their kid's name after that!

@Shan - Of course you're right, it definitely is all about what universe you're in. I just think it's funny for the only identity in the "child's school world" to be mommy or daddy, even amongst the other parents!

Anonymous said...

I liked this post a lot. I am known as "the twins' mom" among many people, and it's jarring! I linked to your post here: