Becoming ‘Other Mommy’: A Naming Dilemma

Oh dear. It’s the end of the year, that time between Christmas and New Year’s when I get contemplative. And by contemplative, I mean anxious.

I think about the year past and the year ahead and wonder what the next 12 months will bring. This year’s thinking period has been especially intense because 2013 holds many big changes for me.

For one, I’m going to be a mom for the first time. I’m also turning 40 in a few months. Although quite excited, I’m also feeling uncertain about what’s to come.

Among the many things I worry about is whether our kid, whom my wife is carrying, will consider me as much a parent as my partner. My wife is the one who will have carried the baby for 9 months, who will smell like home, who will breastfeed. Me, I’m the one hanging out over here.

Then today, I ran across a post from Susan, aka Mama Non Grata, on the names her son chose for her and her partner. Her partner was This Mommy. Susan was Other Mommy. Ouch.

Unlike many of the other lesbian parents we knew, we had never sorted out whether one of us would be “Mama” and the other “Mommy.” We never made up cute nicknames for ourselves, like “Mama S” and “Mommy R.” Some women we knew had opted for cultural or linguistic variations on the word “mother,” like the Hebrew “Imah” or the Spanish “Mami,” but none of those felt right. We didn’t worry about it. Instead, we figured that Rowan would come up with his own names for his moms. “Kids are smart,” we said. “He’ll figure it out.”

And he did. After hearing his whole life us saying versions of, “This mommy is cooking — ask other mommy to put your shoes on,” or, “This mommy will read you one more book, and then your other mommy will take you upstairs for bed,” he now calls us — quite sensibly — “This Mommy” and “Other Mommy.”

Guess who’s Other Mommy?

Just like Mama Non Grata, my wife and I haven’t been able to decide on what we want to be called. We’ve kind of been hoping our kid would decide. But after reading this, I think it’s time to go back to the naming hat! I don’t know if I could handle being Other Mommy.

What do your kids call you and your partner?

2 thoughts on “Becoming ‘Other Mommy’: A Naming Dilemma

  1. Jen says:

    Congrats on the impending motherhood! Our 2 yo daughter calls me (the non-bio mom) “Mama,” and my wife “Mommy.” (Although lately she’s in a phase of calling herself “kitty” and we are “Mama Kitty,” and “Mommy Kitty.” There is a lot of meowing involved.) Anyway, I had the same fears as the non-bio mom, and now that she is in our lives, I realize how silly that was. She loves both of us, and we are her “two mommies!” as she likes to tell people. What’s really amazing is how much of me I see in her – people think she looks like me, not my wife. She has a lot of my mannerisms and expressions too… biology only goes so far 😉 So good luck and enjoy the ride!

    1. qparent qparent says:

      Ah, thanks so much for your comment. It’s reassuring to hear and makes me feel much better!!
      P.S. Love the ‘mama kitty’ handle. That’s a good one. 😀

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