Sometimes it just happens, when you least expect it, you’re put on the spot, and have to decide in the moment what your policy is going to be. The four year-old was meeting his friend’s mom and asked her what her name is, she looked to me (which at first, I thought was weird, because most people get at least that answer correct on the test). I realized that she was wondering what our family policy was on names. Should she introduce herself as Mrs. ___ or by her first name? I had a slight panic, because I wasn’t sure. Mr. Lindstrom and I had never talked about it, and I didn’t want to offend her if I insisted on one way and she preferred the other.
Let me take you on a journey into my mind (I apologize in advance, you will be free to leave again in a couple short minutes):
- As a young person, I always called my friend’s mothers by their first names, and reserved Mr. and Mrs. for teachers.
- When I got to high school, we called our teachers by their first names (most of them), and by the time I got to college, it was all first names.
- I never equated the title with respect; I always equated behavior with respect.
- The first time I realized I was totally an adult was when I got ma’amed for the first time. I think in the South, that is considered polite, but for the most part, we Yankees cringe a little bit when we get ma’amed.
- When I introduce myself to my friend’s children, I always ask them to call me by my first name.
Plus, now we live in a time where we are given the freedom to keep our maiden names (which I almost did. There’s a story there, but I’ll spare you… for now), and also with divorce, and remarriage, etc. sometimes the Mother’s last name doesn’t match that of the child, and then comes the question of whether they are a Mrs., Miss, or Ms. It can be sort of complicated, and the last thing anyone wants to do is offend another (at least by accident. I feel like it’s so much more fun to offend people on purpose).
What I probably should have done was ask her how she preferred to be addressed. What I did was tell her that if she is comfortable with him calling her by her first name, that’s how we do it at our house. I am probably over thinking this. Correction, I am definitely over thinking this. I am curious to know what other’s policies are on this? Share by commenting, or head on over to the Keeping Her Cool facebook page, click that cute little "like" button, and let me know what you think!