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What’s in a name? Everything!

Serious question: Is it okay to call your spouse “mom” or “dad” or any derivation thereof? I’m not judging. It just seems weird to me. I admit that sometimes I refer to myself as “mommy.” Like when I say to my kids, “Mommy is tired right now and needs a few more sips of her Grey Goose Martini. I’ll join you in a few minutes…” And there are plenty of times when I say things like, “Why don’t you go and ask Daddy to help you open that ridiculously packaged toy that even a safe-cracker would have trouble unhinging.”

But I consciously try very hard not to call my husband “daddy.” That just seems so…so…Oedipal or Electra or whatever you call it. But I’ve noticed that lots of parents do that. So I’m wondering, is it just me or is this a little demented? I mean, are there statistics on couples who call each other parental names? Do they end up divorced more frequently? Or more likely, do they find themselves in safe but frigid marriages that are more based on codependency than mutual respect and attraction?

Every once in a while my husband will slip and call me “mom.” Boy does my ire-o-meter go off. “First of all, I am not your mother,” I immediately bite back, “I don’t want that job and frankly you couldn’t pay me enough to take on that responsibility.” (Note to readers, my hubbie’s mom is a lovely woman whom I happen to adore. Still, I don’t really know how she managed to allow my husband to grow into adulthood without turning to drugs, alcohol or cutting out his tongue.)

But the bigger question is, “Doesn’t calling your wife ‘mommy’ somehow destroy the passion in your physical relationship?” I mean the connotations are just…just…icky. I can’t be the only person who notes this and is bothered by it. Can I?

Please, tell me the truth. If you call your husband “daddy,” are you secretly wishing he’d pull you into his strong arms and tickle you till you puked as opposed to enfolding you into a romantic embrace that leads to a different kind of ecstasy? Is the whole “mommy” thing proof that you no longer see your wife as the lustful, erotic goddess she once was, and have now relegated her to the lowly position of chief cook, laundress and child-care provider?

I am troubled by this. Set me straight.

About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Oklahoma City with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

4 responses to “What’s in a name? Everything!

  1. Nancy

    Yes…it’s an ongoing thing in my household. Which doesn’t bother me THAT much if it’s within the confines of my home and the only others around to hear it are the kids. But, lately, dear husband has been referring to me as “Mommy” in public. Mortified is the only way to describe it. Hasn’t killed the passion, though (thankfully).


  2. poisedpen ⋅

    Try “big daddy” and “hot mama”–who says we can’t have it all?


  3. Joy ⋅

    I see your point. But I think it would be even stranger if my husband said to my daughter, “go give this to Joy.” It’s like the show “Darma and Greg” – she called her hippie parents by their first names. Not my thing really.

    I think your frustration may lie more in the use of proper English. Using the posessive “your” in front of Mommy, might help your cringe factor lessen. “Go to your Mommy.” But, on the other hand, “your” may simply be implied when the instructions “go to Mommy” are given.



  4. kimbalie ⋅

    I’m with you…it is weird and icky and I really don’t like it when it’s said to me or when i hear others call each other Mommy and Daddy. Is just gross.


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