I have been full-time nearly 1 1/2 years. Since coming out to my children, they have called me Amma. That parental title was never enough for me. Now, I am Mom, and I could not be more elated.
When I came out to my children just before I came out to the world, my wife and I fought extensively over my parental title. I had a strong pull to take a maternal title; she was having none of it. I wrote extensively about how important parental title is to an identity (specifically my own), and for a long time, I was forced to accept a compromise title: Amma. It was the closest title to a maternal title she would allow, and it is all my children have called me for awhile. Each time I heard that name, it never felt quite right, and when the kids recently started morphing her title from Mama to Mom, I began to feel physical pain, as that was the title to which I truly felt connected.
Recently, I asked my son why he was beginning to call Mama “Mom” more often. He said he was trying it out even thought he knew I wanted to be called Mom. My daughter, also in the car at the time, immediately wanted to call me Mom, and started in with “I love you, Mom!” My heart fluttered, but I was immediately worried what the end result of that interaction would be. What would happen when she tried to call me Mom in front of my wife? So, I told my daughter, “If you want to call me Mom, you really need to talk to Mama about that first.” Then, I braced for impact and a potential angry e-mail or fight.
A few days later, the entire family dropped off my wife at work as we usually do. The children told my wife that they loved her, then my daughter turned to me and said, “I love you, Mom! Mama? Can I call Amma ‘Mom’?” Here we go, I thought. After a momentary pause, my wife did not flash any anger. No impulsive reactions. She simply said, “Yes.” For the next twenty minutes, I was shocked by what had just transpired. Did that just happen? I was somewhere between crying, joy, and disbelief. When I got home, I texted my wife: “Did you just give the children permission to call me Mom?” She responded that she had indeed done that. She also revealed that for the past few weeks, she had been working with the kids behind my back to slowly transition into that new title for me. It was intended to be a Mother’s Day gift, but the beans were spilled a little early. And then, I breathed a sigh of relief as a new dawn began, and I was able to allow my daughter to freely tell me, “I love, you, Mom!”
While my daughter immediately transitioned into that title, my son took a little longer. However, it only took him a couple of weeks to drop the Amma moniker, and now it’s all Mom for me. There have been bumps and corrections (my wife is trying not to respond to “Mom” as she used to), and now we are beginning to settle into the roles of Mama & Mom on a regular basis.
Last year, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day, and it was a little tense and awkward. This year, we more comfortably shared the holiday. My wife even promised she would “win” Mother’s Day—and she did. The family bought me a Pandora-inspired charm bracelet with five charms that totally suit me and my personality, including one that is a heart with the word “Mom” on one side.
I credit my wife with doing a lot of work to get to this point. For a long time, she maintained that I would never be our children’s mother. Now, she is trying very hard to show that she can share that title with me and that we can co-exist in this role. I know that making this change is not comfortable for her, but I cannot thank her enough for making the effort and acknowledging how important this particular parental title means to me.
My son even brought home two Mothers Day art projects he made at school, one for Mama and one for Mom. While it meant he had double the work than the rest of his classmates, he was super excited to share them with us. So much love!
Being able to freely express myself as a mother and to be called Mom by my children and the world is the best gift I could have received. This move helps validate immensely important pieces of my identity and my womanhood. I feel more complete, and the love of my children will never waiver. I feel like a mom. Now, my children can officially call me one.