This is an issue that comes up fairly often with our kids, and I’m sure I’ve blogged about it before, but it’s on my mind today, so let’s have another discussion, shall we?
The issue is this: what do your kids’ friends call you?
When I was growing up, some very close family friends were called “Aunt Lady” and “Uncle Gentleman,” but for the most part, we referred to our parents’ friends as “Mr. and Mrs. Lastname.”
Sir Monkeypants grew up in an Indian household where using “Auntie” and “Uncle” for adults is sort of the accepted norm, so he mostly used those terms, with or without an associated first name, for his parents’ friends. But definitely this was a title of respect – neither of us would have dreamed of just casually calling an adult by their first name.
When we were in university, we got to know some parents of our close friends very well, and calling them Mr. and Mrs. always seemed too distant, so we often referred to them as “Mom Lastname” and “Dad Lastname”, which I feel many of them found charming, but I have to say I’m not exactly sure.
When our kids were very small, we had to decide what we wanted for them. We both agreed that we wanted them to call our friends “Mr. and Mrs. Lastname” and so they have, with very few exceptions. It’s how we introduce new adults to them and what we expect them to use.
But we found most of our friends introduced us to their children by our first names, so other kids would just call us Lynn and Sir Monkeypants, while our kids were calling them Mr. and Mrs. Whatever.
It was kind of weird, and often our friends would ask us if we would prefer to be known as Mr. and Mrs. Turtlehead.
And here I have to say: I wanted to seem cool and chill and modern and hip, so I always told them I didn’t care and it was no big deal and that it was an individual parenting decision.
But the truth is, when a kid calls me “Lynn,” I find it odd and a little bit grating. So I guess in my heart of hearts I DO prefer to be known as Mrs. Turtlehead, even though that also has its issues as it sounds so old-fashioned and doddy and pearl-clutching.
All this has come up again because I met a lovely friend of the Captain yesterday, and he was a very nice young man, but one thing he did was ask me my name, directly, as in, “Nice to meet you, what’s your name?” So I hesitantly told him it was Lynn, and now I guess that’s what he will call me? And that’s okay?
I mean, it felt weird and possibly off-putting to say that my name was “Mrs. Turtlehead.”
But it also felt like I was inviting him to call me Lynn, which we have already established I don’t really like very much.
But also, I am not a million years old and living in the Deep South, and he is an almost-grown person of age 16, so…are we on a first name basis now with young men of that generation?
Is it time to accept that teenage friends of the Captain have achieved first-name calling rights?
I don’t know what to make of the whole thing. Most of his other friends avoid this whole subject by not ever calling me anything, and just sort of looming into my field of vision when they need my attention, or randomly calling out “Thanks” when I drop them off and hoping I understand that was meant for me.
I am thinking maybe what I need is a cool nickname that I can hand around as a sort of in-between. Like how hip and fun grandmother characters in books are always like, “Oh, everyone just calls me Bubie!” or “You can just call me Aunt Kit Kat like everyone else does!” and that will work.
So, currently taking:
- your feedback on what you like to be called
- your feedback on what you expect your kids to call other adults
- your ideas for hip and cool grandma-type nicknames
- And side discussion: do you call your in-laws Mom and Dad, or by their first names? Would you want your daughters and sons-in-law to call you Mom, Mrs. Turtlehead, or Lynn?