From the moment my first child uttered that special word “Mama,” I gained a new sense of purpose. I’ve worn this title with pride. Smiling on my little ones and being a mama is not all that I am but it is an honor.
Hearing a one year old continuously call for mama raising their voice louder and louder marks a new chapter in life. When I first became a mother everyone told me that kids say “Dada” first, but I was lucky. My eldest and I are so close she shouted, “Mama” so often that no one could mistake her first word.
I’ll never forget that first time she looked into my eyes and simply said “Mama.” Being “Mama” meant that she not only depended on me but also craved my love and affection. Answering such a call is like wearing a badge of honor.
It’s an exciting time in life, but it doesn’t last forever. I’m not a very sentimental person, but all too soon babies graduate from the limited vocals of “Mama” to being a toddler who calls for “Mommy!”
One day I was “Mama”, and somehow overnight I became “Mommy.” “Mommy”, like “Mama” is a title, only it also has an even deeper meaning. “Mama” deems a woman their child’s caretaker, but “Mommy” is the role a woman is given when she becomes a seasoned teacher, nurse, and playmate. “Mommies” don’t have to do everything for their little ones; they’re able to include their young child in more engaging activities and encourage their little one to start trying things on their own. To be daring and test their limits.
Having four kids I am “Mama,” and “Mommy” in my home, but my eldest graduated to calling me just, “Mom” a while back and that’s a whole other realm of parenting.
Just as soon as I adjusted to my newer more mature title of “Mommy”, it changed. (Like everything in parenting.)
If anyone thinks the transition from “Mama” to “Mommy” is fast, the switch to “Mom” speeds past leaving very little time for reflection. One day my daughter just looked over at me and said: “Hi Mom,” as if that was what she had always called me. I didn’t have time to adjust, it just became the norm.
Parenting is many things, but is especially bittersweet. I like being “Mom.” I am the woman my eldest trusts. I taught her to braid her hair, put on lipstick, and love who she is. Recently we went bra shopping together and I imagined helping her get ready for her first date.
I wish I could cry over missing how little she once was, but I adore her so much that I would never want to go back. We have so much to share. She still has a lot of growing to do, but I will be there growing with her.
Whether known as “Mama,” “Mommy,” or “Mom,” the love continues. It deepens and bonds us further. I don’t know what the future holds, but I would be overjoyed if someday I graduated from “Mom,” to “Grandma.”