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Hi, My Name is Mum
Parenting Parenting
Hi, My Name is Mum
September 6, 2017
(1)
Parenting Parenting
Hi, My Name is Mum
September 6, 2017
(1)

I really like my name.
It’s what has remained a constant from school to school, through relationships and moves, new jobs, new friends, break-ups… It’s what my parents chose for me. I didn’t even change it when I got married. But all it took was for one midwife to greet me as ‘baby’s mum’ and my name was changed forever, despite the fact that at that point my child was a mere cluster of cells.

For me, being referred to as ‘baby’s mum’ was as reductive as it got. I mean, I was used to being introduced as something to place me in someone’s mind – so-and-so’s assistant, The Intern, Rich’s wife – but being called ‘mum’ was a bit like being relegated in my mind. Why?! I think I believed that the last vestiges of anything resembling young and cool would be gone when I gave birth. And is it any wonder?!

When do we fetishise or even celebrate motherhood in our vocabulary?
When do we use the words in praise? In fact, my generation have advanced the field of mum-knocking by adding the prefix ‘mum’ to things that are really rubbish, to really drive their naf-ness home – mum jeans, mum hair, mumface, mummy porn…

So then, mums are tedious, past it and irreparably uncool. You are JUST A MUM. Nothing more than that, even though the ‘just’ suggests you ought to be. It’s just another way of reducing women, of dismissing and degrading them, but it totally worked on me.

But also – my name is a huge part of my identity.
As I stared down the impending shifts in my marriage, career, friendships, even where we lived, I couldn’t believe I didn’t get to keep my name in this new life.

When I had my daughter though, it was a different story altogether. I realised it’s just some dodgy associations with a thing that is actually an honour and an utter joy. And when my daughter first mumbled ‘mama’, it was the greatest thing I’d ever been called. While the influence of advertising’s stereotypes nearly ruined it for me before she had even arrived, ultimately being her mum is the best thing I’ve ever been.

Grace Timothy
@mumfacegrace
Freelance writer, author and contributor to Vogue, Glamour, Sunday Times Style, Red and more.
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1 comments
monica
says
19th Sep 2017

They really do grow up fast, but here’s to enjoying it.

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