I briefly lost my son when he was younger inside of Dutch Wonderland. Even though it happened about 8 years ago (he is turning 14 next week), it is a parenting moment in time I often replay in my head. Ever since that incident there is an important reason I say please do not call me mom.
The weather finally cooperated recently and warmed up enough for us to get outside. I decided to take my daughter and some friends to a playground, which due to the weather was crowded. Luckily I found a spot in the shade under a pavilion area where I could watch the kids from. I sat down and prepared myself for making conversation with the other parents while the kids ran off to play.
Not long after I opened up my computer to try to get some work done while the kids played did I hear my name.
Not mom, but my actual name.
I immediately looked up and spotted my daughter waving and smiling at me from high atop the heart-shaped slide.
A few minutes later she shouted my actual name again, this time from the swings, and my head swiveled around to exactly where she was.
After the kids were done playing they sat down to eat lunch under the pavilion with me. I caught one of the parents quickly glance over at us when they heard my daughter call me mom. The woman candidly asked me which of the kids were mine and I pointed at my daughter. She admitted she was curious because she heard my daughter call me by my first name multiple times. I responded by telling her there is an important reason I say please do not call me mom to my kids.
The reason has to do with safety. Let me explain.
When kids yell mom in a crowded place I can’t tell if that means me or another parent. But if I hear my first name being called in a crowded place, I know that means me.
This is a simple trick to help locate my kids a lot faster and with less stress. Over the years this has been a lifesaver.
I wouldn’t have panicked and would have found my son a lot faster when he was lost in the amusement park if I would have known this back then.
When people ask if it bothers me that my kids call me by my first name, my reply is always to tell them not if it keeps them safe and preserves my parental sanity.