Mum or Mom?

When I found out that I was having the Popple, I had a big decision to make – would I be a mum or a mom?

I have a mom because I grew up in America, but I’ve been living in the UK for most of my adult life (and the Popple is, at least for now, a British citizen only), so maybe I would be a mum. It was hard to know.

I thought about this a lot, which seems silly, because we’re just talking about one letter. But that one letter illustrates the difference between the culture I was born into and the culture I’ve adopted. My past and my present. Murica and Engerland.

I tend skip back and forth between American and British English. The stupidly expensive contraption that I have to lug down the stairs when I want to leave the house with the Popple is a pram (not a stroller), but the vehicle that delivers my food once a week because I can’t work out how to push said pram and a shopping trolley through Tesco is a truck (not a lorry). She sucks on a dummy, not a pacifier, because it’s DUMB how infrequently the thing actually pacifies her. More often than not, I put it in her mouth, she sucks on it for about five minutes, spits it out, screams, I put it back in, she sucks for five minutes, spits it out, screams, the dummy falls on the floor and gets covered in cat hair, swearing ensues (me, not the Popple). The Popple sometimes wears diapers, sometimes nappies. Regardless of what I call them, there are SO MANY.

Popple with a dummy

In the end, it felt more natural to call myself mommy, so that’s how I refer to myself when talking to her (as in “Mommy needs to sleep. Don’t you want to sleep too? You’re a baby – of course you do. That’s what babies do. It’s 4am. WHY ARE YOU SO AWAKE?”). When I talk to other mothers around here, I’m a mum, just like them. Anyway, it turns out that what to do about that one little letter is the least of my worries. More pressing concerns include:

  • How to get socks to stay on the Popple’s feet
  • How to teach the Popple that tummy time isn’t about face planting into the floor and screaming
  • How to convince the Popple that the moses basket is really a much better place to sleep than on my chest

3 Replies to “Mum or Mom?”

  1. We went for “Mum” because we figured it would be less confusing when she started having to write it at school. But the occasional “Mommy” or “Mom” still slips out occasionally (just like “diaper” instead of “nappy” – mostly when I’m tired and not thinking straight). We used Sock-ons for keeping little socks on feet, but let me know if you figure anything out about the sleeping-on-the-chest-thing. Pumpkin still prefers it and she’s 18 months old…

    1. I never heard of Sock-ons – I’ll give them a go. The other day one fell off in the street without us realising it and we had to take her home in one sock.

  2. I have the same dilemma. Mum never sounds quite right to me, so I prefer Mom. But I’m pretty sure my 4 year old uses Mummy more often, so I have to live with it. I can’t always tell if she says Mom or Mum at times (she does watch some American shows and YouTube videos, so it might be helping my battle). And I do have the same issue of swapping words around. Working in a nursery doesn’t help that at all. It’s kind of funny to see reactions when I slip in an American work without thinking.
    The other big question is how do you do Mother’s Day? It’s always in May to me, so I tend to celebrate it then. I’m waiting to see if my daughter ever questions that.

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