I don’t like when people who don’t know me call me “mom.” This happens at the grocery store, at the post office, at the park, and even at restaurants.
Most recently, a waitress, who I assume was trying to be empathetic, continuously called me mom throughout our entire meal.
“Here, mom, here are some more napkins.” Or “Did you get a chance to eat yet, mom?”
I smiled politely, but there is nothing more annoying to me than someone completely overlooking my identity due to the fact that I birthed a few children. As if women don’t give up enough of themselves everyday to their children alone, we also have to accept that society no longer sees us for the people we are, but for the role we play.
I know this is not solely a mother irritation. Many people are defined by the task they perform. However, it’s difficult to peg an executive on the street. If you see someone wearing a nice suit, you don’t automatically address that person as Vice President of Such and Such Hospital because you really don’t know why they are wearing that suit, and, furthermore, you usually don’t care. A suit, or a hat, or a Subway uniform hardly even register in the public’s eye. Why should motherhood? Some people take their smart phones with them on their lunch break to cater to the needs of others – nothing is said. They are regarded as a person eating lunch, not as an employee making calls. I take my babies with me on my lunch break, and I am regarded as the mother, and sometimes – more often than not – forgotten as the person.
Now, I don’t expect my motherhood to be ignored, especially as I drag two toddlers across town – it is what I am, and I am proud to wear my badge – but there is no need to put me on an entirely different level than your other patrons. There is no need to coddle me, give me a wink and a nod, or relate to me solely in terms of my job. I don’t refer to you as waitress, after all.
So, to the waitress who so well-meaningly tried to converse with me the other week: First of all, I’m not your mom. And secondly, you’re lucky I was up to my elbows in a milky mess trying to shove a jelly sandwich into my babies’ mouths while simultaneously picking up all the crayons they were dropping on the floor and collecting all the napkins they were shredding to pieces, or I would have shown you just how flawless I usually am when I go out to dinner.