The Mummy Question

I’ve a sneaky confession to make.

I’m not keen on babies.

We’re running a competition over on Tots100 this month where you can win £500 by sharing your best baby photo, and I’ve been looking at all the entries. Intellectually, I can grasp that the whole big headed, wide-eyed thing is supposed to be cute, but it doesn’t push my “aawww” button the way a kitten might. Kittens are unequivocally cute. Ditto for puppies. Small bush babies, even. But human babies? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved Flea as a baby. Obviously. But I didn’t find Flea especially cute or interesting until she became a toddler – once children can talk and express their personality, they’re much more appealing to me than any small squawking creature that smells faintly of sour milk.

The growing up process doesn’t make me especially sad, then. I love watching Flea reach each new stage of childhood, becoming a bit more independent and confident with each passing season. At seven, she’s a fascinating mixture of independence and neediness, little girl and big kid, depending on the setting, and who might be watching.

I love seeing the person she’s becoming – smart and funny, and unfailingly kind – she disapproved whole-heartedly last night when I tried to nickname one of her particularly obnoxious classmates “The Horrible Kid”, telling me, “Just because she’s unkind doesn’t mean we can’t like her. Why don’t we call her The Okay Kid?” 

Lately, Flea’s been trying out calling me “Mum” instead of Mummy and I must confess, I love the way she does it – always with a moment’s hesitation, as though she’s trying out how the word sounds coming out of her mouth. And this weekend, she told her Dad that from now on, she wanted to call him Dad, not Daddy.

Flea’s Dad is a baby person. Over-protective. He hovers next to Flea always ready to hold her hand or catch her – even while she’s impatiently trying to shrug him off.

It’s a typical father-daughter thing, I think, and I think young girls should have protective, adoring Dads.

But he’s crushed at the idea of being called Dad. He asked Flea not to do it. But she’s insistent. He’s Dad.

Which makes me wonder – what do your kids call you? When did they transition from Mummy to Mum – or did they?



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the HIBS100, Foodies100 and Tots100 - an online community of more than 15,000 UK bloggers. She is also a busy single Mum to Flea, the world's coolest eight year old.

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  1. Nicki Cawood says

    Kieran still calls me Mummy (at 6yrs) but occasionally drops Mum into conversation and slightly shakes his after saying it as if it doesn’t quite sound right to him yet.
    It is worth noting that I revert to Daddy with my father if I want something, or Snertspop (he called me Snert from 13 – Snotty Nosed Egotistic Rude Teenager) and years later, with a husband and two children he still calls me Snert sometimes :)

  2. says

    I spent TWO weeks ignoring Squidge when she decided I was mummy and not mama. I loved being called mama!! I cried. I pleaded. I ignored her. I called her by another name to make her understand what it felt like. Nothing worked! The little cow insists on calling me mummy. I still haven’t forgiven her and it’s been at least 2 years!
    Lindy recently posted..THE AVERAGE FAMILY…My Profile

  3. says

    My baby (who is cute, obviously!) is just starting to call me Mama, which I love. The older three call me Mummy, with the occasional Mum slipping in now and again. I’m fine with that too.

    I called my mum, Mammy (it may be a Welsh thing?). But when I was seven years old and we were writing our Mothering Sunday cards, I started writing “To Mammy, …”. The girl sitting next to me, who was writing, “To Mum” started shouting, “Claire still calls her mum, Mammy!” and laughing.

    From that day, I’ve never been able to call my Mum any name naturally. Now, along with the kids, I usually call her, “Nanny”. When we’re grown ups together, I call her Mum, but it doesn’t come naturally to me.

    I think it’s lovely that Flea has made the switch to Mum, in her own time and she is ready, even if poor Dad is not!

    My “not in-laws” ask me to call them Mum and Dad, but I don’t feel comfortable with that either, so they’re “Granny” and “Grampy” in the company of the kids.
    Claire recently posted..Please help find April Jones by DannyMy Profile

    • says

      Aw, that’s sort of sad – I’d hate Flea to be embarrassed and perhaps that’s part of why I don’t mind the “Mum” thing – I can tell it’s prompted by other kids, and I don’t want them to giggle at Flea.

  4. Nikki says

    Not a baby person myself – although it’s more their heavy dependancy that I disliked than features or smell, however I refuse to be called “Mum”. I’m Mummy and that’s it. Our 7 year old has tested it out Mum a few times and I’ve conveniently gone deaf at that point until I get my Mummy name back. Childish? Yes. In denial of her growing up? Yes. Do I care? No.


    Going to make the most of it too.

  5. says

    I have a 17 year old and an 11 year old and they both use both Mum and Mummy. But like Claire who has posted above, I couldn’t get beyond calling my mother Mummy and when that felt wrong because it wasn’t what other people do then I got stuck with not feeling comfortable calling her anything. We’ve sort of agreed that I call my parents by their first names, but in reality I avoid calling them anything.
    Caz Stone recently posted..Hey, are you awake? Yeah,I’m right here.My Profile

  6. says

    Ha, I have to disagree as I think babies (especially mine) are adorable.

    My daughter at the grand old age of 2 years has just started to call us Mum and Dad. Not all the time, but when she wants to get her attention urgently. In general she still calls us Mummy and Daddy with the odd Lisa and Chris thrown in in times of great inpatience. I think this stems from her having an older brother as things were very different when he was little. I have to admit that I prefer to be called Mummy by someone so small.
    Lisa recently posted..Baby Comp Weekly 09.10.12My Profile

  7. says

    My seven year old is just like Flea she tests out Mum and Dad but still uses Mummy and Daddy 90% of the time. She also tries out Mama and Dada mainly because thats what her Dad calls the in laws but they both tend to use it when they want something in a whiney voice so I kinda hate it. I don’t really mind the Mum thing though, I like the fact that she is growing up and trying new things.
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  8. Lexi says

    My mum also likes to be called ‘Mummy’ and my father is ‘D’, as my mum has an irrational hatred of Mum & Dad! I also found it mortifying as a teenager but it’s the way it is. Now I’m expecting the whole grandparent naming debate has started!

  9. says

    Rory’s 3 and I am still very definitely Mummy, although occasionally “Mum-mums” when he’s feeling matey. Lots of his peers have switched to “mum” already, which I would hate. I think it’s going to be a real wrench when I stop being Mummy.

    I’m with you otherwise though – I’m not keen on babies either. I mean, mine was cute, but only because he was my baby, and I loved him more than I can put into words, but didn’t actually like him all that much until he was running about and properly interacting with me. Fortunately (HAHAHAHAHA), he walked at 9 months and was an early talker too, so he seemed like a very short toddler from very early on.
    Lisa recently posted..‘Baking’ for slackers: Chocolate Ginger Rocky RoadMy Profile

  10. says

    I’m going through the parenting thing for the second time as my oldest two are now 24 and 22. With them I was like you loving each new stage and eagerly encouraging them to grow up and discover the world, new experiences, I loved every minute. (I still do)

    But funnily enough with the twins (4) I have changed to savouring every moment as I am only too aware that in the blink of an eyelid it’s gone, they will be adults, with their own children and families which, as lovely as it is, signs the end of an era.
    Therefore I’m letting my twins enjoy their infancy for as long as possible so mummy gets an overdose of cuteness to last until I’m old and grey and in my rocking chair.
    Mind you when I call out ‘Come here my baby’ I do get the reply ‘We’re BIG girls mummy!’ 😀 so inevitably at some point I’ll have to let them move on *sigh*
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  11. says

    I like mummy abnd no ones dropped it yet (and Frankie is now 8!) I love babies s much abd an startuig to feel really broody agin but I’m 41 and the other two ended up in speical care and I think maybe I need to leave well alonge, but oh the thought of not being a mummy again! (sorry sidetracked brooding there!)
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  12. says

    My eldest daughter jasmine calls me mummy she is nearly 7, and my youngest daughter who is just 4 has ALWAYS called me Mum, i’ve never known why. At first i was a bit gutted but now i like the fact they are not the same!!

    I love holding other peoples babies, but don’t really find them entertaining at all! I like from pre-school age best i think; From age 4 they can come to Stagecoach (loving Flea wearing her Stagecoach top in the pic btw!! She has been fab in our classes so far 😉 x x x x), and am always amazed at how they have such strong opinions and expressions by aged 4!!! They are a lot more willing to share their opinions at this age til about 10 when they decided to decline a comment!!!!!! x KateP x x ps i could get used to this blogging thing! x x x xx

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