I hear it often. Not by the means you are thinking. I don’t have any toddlers running around causing mayhem, unless you count puppies. I don’t have elementary kids yelling my name because they need help. I don’t have teenagers yelling my name because they are mad at me for taking away their phones. I am not called mom for any reason you would think.
The first time I heard it was from a group of middle school girls. They called me mom because I tucked them into bed and cleaned up a mess in their bunks at fall retreat. The second time I would hear the name mom attached to me was when I was holding a broken middle schooler who was sobbing in my arms. Those moments of complete pure motherly love with my middle school and now high school girls is all I have ever needed. Being their youth group “mom” has always satisfied the mothering urges in my soul.
Which has made it more comfortable over the years to face the facts that I am not a mother to a child running around my house. It has made it easier to wait on God’s timing.
Then fast forward to a few years after starting to work with middle schoolers. I started in at a college and young adult group. During one of the nights I was called mom again, but for the first time it wasn’t out of love or feeling safe, but out of annoyance. Now, I know the tone, because I used it with my own mother and I have heard this specific tone from my middle schoolers as well, but this was different. This wasn’t a student I was charged in protecting or spiritually feeding. This was someone who was supposed to be a friend.
Let me take a brief second to explain something. I know there are ones who are labeled “mom of the group” and I normally am the one to hold that position, but never would my friends call me Mom as my name instead of Ashley. This was the first time.
Something angry shot up through my body because I didn’t want him/her to call me Mom as my name. Why? Because I am not his/her actual mother. Having an unspoken label of my personality and actually using that as my name are two different things.
Now a year later, that name is still getting to me. No matter how many times I tell him/her to not call me that they always do. And until the past week, I didn’t realize why, but now I think I can admit why this hurts.
Reasons Why Not to Call Me Mom (Unless You are One of My Students)
- Every time this person has called me Mom it is not out of a loving tone, but a tone of annoyance. Actually, it is to the point where when one calls me Mom in my friend group I feel as if they don’t want me there at all. That I am just someone this person tolerates and wants gone. I mean remember hanging out with your friends and Mom tells you to be safe or not to do that because it isn’t safe? All you want is them gone. Yeah, that is how it feels.
- I am not a Mom yet. Yes, I have students who look at me as their youth group mother, but that isn’t what I mean. I don’t have my own kids yet. For me, this is a dream that I have had to mourn. In my youth, I wanted to be married by 25 and kids by 27. I am 30. That dream has died for me, and I have to wait on God for a new one. When a “supposed” friend calls me Mom, it bubbles up reminders of what I don’t have.
It probably doesn’t help that a lot of my friends are significantly younger than me here. I am talking 5 or more years younger. So I see something they do or say and my instincts are to help them understand why that isn’t good. Primarily, because I made those mistakes and don’t want them to face what I had to face at their age. But there it is. There is why I get red-faced and defensive when a “friend” calls me Mom.
There might be some women who read this who are mourning the name because of infertility and I pray for you! I can relate to the pain of being childless at least. Keep seeking after God, and he will bring you a path into motherhood, whatever that will look like for you.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.John 16:33
God tells us living in this world is NOT easy, but He has already defeated the trials of the world. We can have peace in him in all situations. We will struggle. We will want to yell and scream at God, but in the end, He can give us peace. Just make sure you remember to ask for Him for it. Whatever ends up happening: baby or adoption or no children at all; God’s got us. That is what gets me through each day and I pray it helps you as well.
Stay Strong My Moms of the Past, Present, & Future,