I became a mother almost eleven years ago when, after an arduous 56 hour labour, my oldest son made his way into the world and transformed me into Mummy. It was a new and much longed for identity which was made more concrete when my other sons arrived in the world, one after the other.
But here in America I am not Mummy or even Mum (because my oldest kids, at 10 and 8, are getting too old and too cool to maintain that final syllable). Here, I am Mommy or Mom. It’s just a switch of a single vowel yet the label feels very different.
I get that my kids are striving to fit in at school and use terminology their peers understand and, for that reason, I am not against the change in nomenclature. It is, however, odd to discover that I feel quite strange about suddenly being Mom. I feel certain that my children, especially the younger ones, will take to calling me Mom at home too, so that it’s not just a school and playground thing. Gradually I just will be Mom and not Mum any longer. It’s not just a title to describe my role; it’s a label that signifies a very important element of my identity; that is indicative of my most special, wonderful relationships ;it’s my job description; it’s who I am. Maybe I am being overly sensitive about it because of the other things that have been happening to my identity since I relocated here but that single shift in vowel sound feels weird on me. I’ve been a Mum for over ten years but am I ready to become a Mom?
I am definitely not opposed to it – whatever makes my kids comfortable and content is absolutely OK by me – but it’s going to take some getting used to.