Becoming a mom changes so much. Everything that defined you before kids gets pushed below the now most significant defining attribute of “mom.” Some women embrace this, and that’s a beautiful thing.
There are definite benefits to being acknowledged as a mom. I no longer get carded when purchasing alcohol. People take one look at this tired mug and sympathetically sling drinks my way. You also get the empathetic smile and head nod when you pass other moms in public and your toddler is showing his age. Mom tribe.
But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Not only feeling like I aged ten or so years since having my son, my feelings have been validated in public on more than one occasion. Most recently this past weekend. With summer in full swing, the hubby, our boy, and I trekked down to a local community festival to take in the sights (and food, of course). Dressed in my modest-length shorts, T-shirt, and baseball cap, I walked by a vendor booth with my son on my hip and was greeted with “How are you doing today, ma’am?” I locked eyes with the guy who said it and realized he had to be around my age. I held back my urge to cringe and gave a polite smile instead. I hurried off, half annoyed and half embarrassed by a stranger making me feel at least 30 years older than I am.
While I appreciate the politeness of being addressed as “ma’am,” it’s something that I would barely feel comfortable saying to someone my mom’s age (who happens to be 60). Having just turned 30 less than a month ago, there is nothing like confirming my youth is over by making me feel twice my age with the M word.
I would like to know at one point I went from looking like a “miss” to a “ma’am.” Was it my shorts? My pulled-back hair and minimal makeup? The kid clinging to me? I think we need to take some time to determine “ma’am” physical qualities. And then burn that list.
Here’s a little tip to anyone who likes to be polite and say “ma’am”: just go with “miss.” Even if you suspect a woman has lived through WWII, women want to feel young, and strangers recognizing their youth is a nice feeling – it may even make their day.
Now let’s get trending on social media with #don’tcallmema’am (see, I’m hip with the youngsters, right?)