I don’t remember the precise moment that my kids stopped calling me “Momma” or “Mommy” and began to call me “Mom.” However, I vividly recall the first time that I heard “Mom” used as a derogatory term and accompanied by an eye roll. What is it about that transition in childhood from adolescent to preteen that changes their view of their beloved mother?
I used to be their world, their place of comfort when the world was just too harsh. I was the one that they turned to when emotions got the best of them or an injury pained them. I nurtured them through their most delicate years and guided them into the path to adulthood desperately hoping that I wasn’t screwing it up. So many sleepless nights and tears invested into these beautiful creatures, only to be rewarded with a name like “Mom.” As if all of that love and care didn’t at least earn me two syllables!
Perhaps it isn’t the word that bothers me so much as it is the flippancy with which it’s said. So casual and off-handed, as though I don’t rate high enough for them to stretch their vocabulary. Am I being too sensitive? Probably so, but this time in my motherhood has been as much a struggle for me as it is for my children in their childhood.
There are those moments though, you know the ones I mean? When they say “Mom” and it sounds so much longer and it catches your attention. That small cry for help when they are too big to shed tears in front of others. The moment when emotion overcomes them and they once again turn to the ever-ready source of comfort and solace, their mother. Those are the moments I live for as a parent. The voluntary requests for advice or reassurance that remind me I am still needed.
While those moments are few and far between now, I know the gravity of their needs will only increase from here on out. I may not be needed on a daily basis anymore, they will face future decisions that may render me invaluable once again. The patience instilled in me from those early days is proving an important attribute in this season of life. It’s a whole new dance, learning when to intervene and when to watch cautiously. Finding those precious moments when they are open to learning from me and sharing my own experiences.
I want so many things for my children, but above all, I want them to be happy, healthy, and loving. In the last decade, I have surrounded them with supportive people, so I have no doubt that they will be LOVED even after I am long gone. My hope is that their futures are even brighter than our past, that they grow intellectually, in maturity, and emotionally as well as physically. And, perhaps, they too will know the frustration of being called “Mom” or “Dad” with the accompanying eye roll of preteen angst.