Sometimes I call my wife “Mom” or “Mommy.”
And just writing that makes me want to shower the ickiness off in a hot stream of sulfuric acid with a power sander for a loofah. It sounds weird, right?
Let me clear a few things up. If you’re here because the title sounded kinda kinky, I apologize. You’re in the wrong place. I’ve never called my wife “mommy” while crawling around on all fours while begging for forgiveness because I’ve been a bad, bad boy who needs to be spanked. (No judgment. Whatever gets you and your consenting partner off is a-OK with me. Just not my thing and not what this is about.)
On the flip side, I’m not a buttoned-up religious nut (cough-Vice-President-Pence-cough) who calls his wife “Mother” and is so afraid of the evil one-eyed serpent in his pants that he won’t even eat lunch with a woman unless his “Mother” is there to chaperone. Something is seriously wrong with that dude.
Maybe there’s something wrong with me, too. Not because of what I call my wife, though.
I get that some people refuse call their partner “Mommy” or “Daddy,” because it’s fetishizing and/or infantilizing … in other words, just plain creepy. A recent article in Romper took this subject on and came down firmly on the “fuck no“ side of the fence. Everyone is, of course, entitled to his/her/nonspecific gender pronoun opinion, but the author seemed a little sanctimonious in her assessment. (Not that big a deal, I’ve certainly looked down my nose at other parents from time to time. Because I’m better than you!) Although eight reasons are promised in the title, the author’s argument boils down to:
- it’s creepy,
- it’s easy and more technically accurate to add the word “your” before “daddy,” and
- her partner has a real name.
Some version of these reasons is probably why other parents may feel the same way she does.
Creepiness is (relatively) subjective. I’m not going to un-skeeve anyone who gets the willies when they hear the word “Mommy” or “Daddy” come out of their partner’s mouth. In theory, I get it and, at one point, I probably felt the same way.
But, as strange as it sounds, I have found calling my wife “Mommy” and hearing her call me “Daddy” totally normal. Under the right circumstances, anyway. It’s so simple that it also addresses the other enumerated issues.
“Mom” (and every derivation thereof) is what our children call my wife. It’s not just a noun, it’s a pronoun! Because she’s not just a mom, she’s Mom! For my kids, that is her name. So when I’m talking about her to them, that’s the name I use. I call my wife “Mom” or “Mommy” when I say things to my kids like “Mommy and I told you to never discriminate against people because of their deeply held religious beliefs. Isn’t that right, Allie?” Because I am a hypocrite (and Mike Pence has some some seriously effed up beliefs), but when I address my wife directly I call her by her name or a nickname or anything other than “Mom, “Mommy” or “Mother.” Because that shit is creepy.
Isn’t that right, Mother?
A version of this first appeared on Amateur Idiot/Professional Dad.