Google Something Clever 2.0: My Son Calls Me By My First Name

May 2, 2013

My Son Calls Me By My First Name

Before our son was born, my husband and I decided that we would have him call us by our first names. Our reasoning was this: remember when you were little, the worst thing you could do was call your parents by their first names? Why is that? Your doctor calls you by your first name. Your boss calls you by your first name. How are these people on a higher level than your own kid, the person you're supposed to love most in the world?

This is where I give you the disclaimer that I have have to add every time I write about my parenting choices: This is about my choice, not yours. I don't care what you do. I'm not trying to imply that my way is better than yours. 

This isn't to say that he's not allowed to call us "mom" and "dad," or any other iterations thereof; the point is that he can call us whatever he likes. We didn't want to confuse him as a baby by calling ourselves ten different names, though, so we started with our real names.

You would not believe the hell we caught for it. I had this one work friend who, upon hearing my reasoning, proclaimed it to be "the dumbest thing I've ever heard." What an asshole. I dropped him like a hot potato. Unfriended on Facebook, blocked him on Instant Messenger, and never spoke to him again. You do not question my parenting choices.

Then our family started in. It began with them "forgetting," repeatedly, that the boy was to call us by our first names. They'd constantly refer to us as "mommy" or "daddy" when talking to him. We'd correct them and they'd claim, again and again, that they slipped up. Um, hi, you've been calling me Jenn my whole life. I'd believe that if you'd been calling me "mommy" since the day I was born, and now I was asking you to switch. But this? Bullshit.

Then it got worse. We'd correct them and they'd say things like, "Oh, I don't like that," or my favorite, "I just can't!" Really? Your mouth is suddenly incapable of pulling itself into the right positions to say my name? Bitch, please. To those people, we'd respond, "Then call us nothing at all."

Then they started to argue with us. As I said before, you do not question my parenting. The only two people in the world who are allowed to do that are my husband and my son's pediatrician. No one else.

Their arguments were bizarre. They'd say it was "disrespectful." To who? I'm the one who's teaching him to call me Jenn. I can see where it would be considered disrespectful to Granddad if I taught my son to call him Pete, when he'd specifically requested Granddad, but I get to choose what people call me. The dumbest argument we heard was that "he won't know you're his parents!" I don't even know where to begin with that one. I really don't.

It got so bad that we had to make a note on the boy's Facebook page. (Yes, he has a Facebook page. That way, relatives can stay in touch with him, and my personal page isn't overloaded with baby pics.) Here's the note:
For those of you who don't know, we have chosen to have the boy call us by our names. Surprisingly, we have met with a lot of opposition on this. For that reason, we will not be discussing this subject anymore. 

Please know that every decision we make regarding the boy is made after much careful consideration and, when applicable, discussion with his pediatrician. 

This is one of many personal family decisions that we will make regarding the upbringing of our son, and it was ours alone to make. It can be very hurtful when we feel that our judgement is being called into question. 

We understand that this may be a little unorthodox, but we would appreciate it if we did not have to field any more negative comments. 

Thank you for understanding.
That helped a lot. But four years later, we do still have people "forget."