Thursday, February 5, 2015

The "M" Word

Just read a really interesting article in New York magazine's The Cut, called  If You Aren't My Child, Don't Call Me Mom. Lisa Miller tries to put her finger on why that term triggers her gag reflex, when a grown-up uses it to refer to her:
 “Mom” derives from baby talk: ma ma. It’s a deeply intimate word that the tiniest humans learn at the breast and as such is inherently demeaning when applied broadly to all women with children, not too far from having your boss use lovers' endearments like “darling” or “hon.” It’s a kid’s word at heart, containing a kid’s-eye view of things. “Mom” is an overpowering presence: omnipotent, mythic, nurturing, and bosomy, a perfumed provider of succor, discipline, and food; but also (as the child grows up) embarrassing, annoying, nagging, insufficient, disappointing"
I don't mind the term the same way I mind "mommy" as an adjective, say, but this next point I found pretty fascinating:

"There are those who would say that “mom” is an honorific, somehow, a blessing and a tribute to those who do the hardest job of all. But if that were true, then “dad” would be, too, and it’s not. (Look at the text of Obama’s 2008 Father’s Day speech, a 4,000-word exhortation to responsible fatherhood. There, Obama said “father” 44 times; “dad” and “daddy” were each used once.) When we speak of male parents with reverence and respect, we use the word “father”: When we want to signal they’re fuckable we say they’re “cute dads.” 

So, all you mamas out there, be sure to catch this Mom Read.  (Yes, I'm being annoyingly sarcastic).