• Thu, Feb 20 - 12:00 pm ET

Hey Moms, Please Stop Referring To Yourselves In Third Person On Social Media

shutterstock_164221445As I have entered my late twenties and now early thirties, I’m in the perfect age bracket to observe all of my friends having kids. Left and right, friends are popping out babies one after another. I feel like I’m in good company because at least we’re all focused on the annoying cuteness of our offspring on the Facebook newsfeed.

But I’ve noticed one interesting thing, especially among my female friends. Many of my once cool girlfriends that I used to pound back shots with in my early twenties have now started referring to themselves in third person. And not the cool kind of third person either—a la The Jimmy on Seinfeld. This is the “mommy” third person, and I can’t keep all of my new mommy friends straight.

I get that becoming a mother is a wonderful thing. Many women wait a very long time to do so and may even have difficulty getting pregnant. I have seen a few friends experience that firsthand. But as soon as some women become a mother, their first name, interests, and even personality changes completely.

Maybe I’m thinking way too far in the future, but I don’t want to have a rude awakening when I have to stop being “mommy” when my kid gets sick of hanging out with me in middle school. And I don’t want to feel like my life has ended when my kids move out of the house to go to college—even though I am not looking forward to that day whatsoever.

Being a mom is a great thing, and I’m sure we’re all enjoying ourselves, at least a little bit. But in order for me to remember who my friends are, I’m going to need them to start using their given names again. Maybe “mommy” is tired and has had a long day, but please save the elaborate third person descriptions for Elmo and WWF wrestlers.

(Image: fotoscool/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • Lauren_Alli

    I’m confused…are they saying things like “mommy wants a glass of wine” or “mommy needs a nap”. And who are they saying these things to? I say things like “mama needs a nap” to my daughter when she is driving me crazy, but I wouldn’t call myself “mama” to my friends (if I had friends, lol) or to my husband even. That’s so odd!

    • Lauren_Alli

      In a similar yet slightly unrelated topic, I’ve noticed several men around my workplace call their wife “mama”. I need to know if other women find this disturbing or if it is just me.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I don’t know who they are talking to!!!! That is why I am so very confused. “Mommy is confused.”

    • Lauren_Alli

      Maybe it’s a sign of a psychotic break and they are talking to their old persona? That would make more sense than any other alternative.

    • Muggle

      I find it disturbing, but I don’t have kids, so obviously my opinion doesn’t matter *eyeroll*

    • elle

      I find that very disturbing. I don’t even know how I would react if my husband called me mama but it wouldn’t be positive.

    • Guest

      That creeps me out quite a bit. How can you be romantic with someone after they call you mama? Uck uck

  • Muggle

    I’ve seen a lot of women do this too, and I just can’t understand why they lose themselves in their kids. I would be absolutely miserable doing that. It’s a very unhealthy obsession and these women are probably in for a very rude awakening when Snøfleighkke goes to school.

    Of course, there’s always homeschooling, and it seems like a lot of people on Pinterest have gone that route D:

    • rrlo

      It doesn’t help that everyone starts referring to you as “mommy” either… I remember, when my son was born and the doctors never used my name – just called me mommy… Also, look at the whole “Mommy blogger” etc. everyone wants you to be a mommy as soon as you pop out a kid – and I guess some ladies have trouble fighting against that…

      I guess this is no different than women who are really excited to be called Mrs. So and so right after getting married.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I still feel really awkward being calling Mrs. and Mommy. :/

    • Lauren_Alli

      The worst, for me, is mam. I feel instantly like an old lady if someone calls me mam.

    • Lauren_Alli

      Seriously. The children at my daughter’s daycare started calling me “her mom” when she was still like 3 months old. I was not prepared for that instant loss of my own identity. I thought I had until like, preschool before I became “so and so’s mom”.

    • rrlo

      I know… sigh!

      I was watching the Gold medal game for Women’s Curling (yes, I am Canadian) and commentators brought up the kids of the female curlers all the time.

      I don’t even recall any mention of the men’s team’s kids – whereas I am well-versed in the number of offspring, names and ages of the ladies team – after watching one game.

      Even when you’re an Olympic God medalist – you’re still a “Mommy” to the world… It’s not necessarily a bad thing – but it explains the erosion of female identity after having kids.

    • Lauren_Alli

      I noticed that too in some of the coverage. Honestly, it didn’t even phase me, other than to be impressed because I could not be in the Olympics after only having one child. I couldn’t run 10 feet without getting winded. But, you do make great points. They don’t mention it regarding the men, it is strictly all about the women. I guess they don’t find it “newsworthy” that dad’s can be in the Olympics…and it is sad that they feel they need to mention it about moms.

    • Muggle

      I notice it more in coverage of politics, because I swear female politicians have their maternal statuses brought up more often. Male politicians’ kids aren’t mentioned unless the politicians are running for president.

    • Muggle

      Well really it happens in news coverage ALL THE TIME, period. No woman can just be a life-saver or murderer or politician or acitivist, she HAS to be “wife and mother of X [where X=number of kids]“.

      It got really ridiculous when the local news ran a story whose headline was “Mom shoots dad in apartment.” The kids were at school at the time and saw nothing, but of course the news had to go and make the story ‘interesting’ by mentioning they had kids.

    • elle

      I will always remember when politician Gabby Giffords got shot (are you American? For some reason I’m thinking no but I could be wrong). She was a successful known Arizona Congresswoman but when she was shot the news made such a big deal of her being “Astronaut Mark Kelly’s wife”. It’s ridiculous that a woman can’t be a woman, it’s always emphasized when she’s a wife and mother.

    • Muggle

      I am American, actually. I don’t recall reporters focusing on Giffords’ husband so much, just mentioning him sometimes… at first. (I was “lucky” enough to turn on the news within an hour of the shooting, even though I was in North Carolina). But as time went on, yeah, the reporters started to bring up her husband and kids more and more.

    • Muggle

      The only person who is allowed to call me mommy, EVER, is my future child… and my cat, if she ever learns to speak English. Being referred to only as “mommy” by people I didn’t adopt or give birth to would depress me.

      I’m also getting married in less than 2 months and people just CANNOT figure out why I’m not *SO EXCITED* to be Mrs. Squib. I’m keeping my name. This is 2014, women can have their own lives and identities… or so I thought. It doesn’t help that all of my engaged friends on FB are calling themselves “soon-to-be Mrs. __!” NO. NO NO NO NO NO NO.

    • Mystik Spiral

      All I kept thinking reading this is that I DO refer to myself as third person “mommy”… when I’m talking to my cats. And my mom will use it occasionally, usually if she tells one of them “go bother your mom”.

    • Surfaces

      Can’t lie, I do the same and I hate the word mummy!

    • Lauren_Alli

      I think it is very easy to lose yourself in your kids. The experience is so life-altering, that if you don’t actually push yourself back into the “real world”, you can get trapped in fantasy happy kid land, which I think looks somewhat like where the teletubbies live.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      It makes me so happy how creative we’ve all gotten about people and their precious sneauxfleaques :)

    • Muggle

      oh god that fucking crossed-out O pissed me off. I eventually had to open a new tab, go to Google Translate and translate the word “snow” into Norwegian, then copy that ONE LETTER and paste it here because for some reason alt+numpad combo wasn’t getting me anywhere.

      But you know there is a poor kid somewhere, in an English-speaking country, named Snø. That poor child :(

  • val97

    I had my first child about a decade before any of my friends. It was also before social media took off (thank god). I made a real effort to keep all of my close friends in my life even though none of them had kids yet. I tried to keep the kid talk to a minimum. Occasionally when drunk I would drop some tmi detail to freak out my one friend who was still a virgin all through her 20s. But it was face to face, not on social media.

    Now, though, sitting back and watching them all have babies and kind of flail about a bit makes me laugh just a teeny tiny bit.

  • Guest

    I’ll take women referring to themselves in the third person over grownups shaming other grownups for their (non-professional, non-harmful) speech any day. Ewwwwh.

    • Muggle

      Because this totally isn’t about how women nowadays tend to give up their identities (or have them taken away by others) and become Wife And Mom, but about being big bitchy mean girls. And even if not all mothers refer to themselves in third-person for that reason, the First Amendment (or equivalent law in other countries) totally doesn’t protect us from the jackboots kicking down our doors and arresting us for complaining about something that annoys us on social media.

    • Guest

      You think women now MORE give up identities to be wives and mothers than they used to? Women work outside the home at higher rates, support the families at higher rates and it seems to me are more than ever encouraged to and do maintain hobbies.

      If the mommy bloggers want to encourage that greater identity, DO THAT. Use those words, not the words “Hey Moms, Please Stop Referring To Yourselves In Third Person On Social Media” which is the title and ostensible main point of this “article.”

      Bless your sweet heart.

    • Muggle

      Back in the 90s my mom had no problem going back to work after having kids, and nobody thought it strange that she had a life and identity outside of me, my sister, and my father. Over the past few years there has been a backflash against pretty much everything women achieved during/after the Second Wave of feminism, so now women are encouraged to practice a form of parenting that working parents cannot practice because it requires at least one parent to be with the child at every waking moment, and do nothing BUT parent. Those hobbies tend to be considered traditionally feminine hobbies anyway and of course it’s always for the kids’ benefit. Even now, women aren’t allowed to BE anything other than wife and mom, and of course now it’s led to women referring to themselves as “mommy” in every Facebook status and not appearing to have any life of their own. I’m not saying it hasn’t always happened, but it’s really been ramped up in recent years.

      Mommyish has always been for mothers, yes, but at the same time it’s encouraged women to have lives and identities outside of motherhood. This is part of why Mommyish has so many childless/free readers and commenters.

      In closing, fuck you too princess :)

    • Surfaces

      Referring to yourself in the third person is a ridiculous act in general, it’s just that more gag-worthy when it’s a contrived, babyish word like “mommy”.

    • AP

      You see it a lot on bridal sites, too: women trumpeting “I’m almost Mrs. Smith!”

      You’re still you. You’re just married.

    • Beth

      My own mother started addressing my birthday cards to “Mrs. Joe Schmoe”, which really irritated me. Come on, it’s not some formal communication (like a wedding invitation), and you’re my mom, formality is unnecessary. Geez.

    • Muggle

      It’s part of why I got off those bridal sites. I couldn’t deal with it, partly because it was so OTT, partly because I’m keeping my name anyway.

      I still haven’t learned to STFU when all the venues I’ve been going to refer to me as Mrs. Squib. Another part of the reason I’m keeping my name? My last initial isn’t changing at all and the Mr’s name is very similar to mine, but they act like I sacrificed a baby to Satan or something.

    • Jillian

      Don’t you know if us ladies don’t identify ourselves by our martial and family status with our names and speech how on earth will people know who we are. Personal identity my butt I just want everyone to refer to me as Miss Smith or mom of Xanamander and Spwecious Snowflake for the rest of my life! Who needs an identity or personality outside of the family I’m a family women now with no needs or desires for anything else ever again!

    • Surfaces

      Too right. When I was getting married I was super excited to say I’d be Mrs Husbandsurname soon, but it’s because I couldn’t stand my maiden name! Also screw being referred to as Mr and Mrs Husbandfirstname Husbandsurname. I’m still Myfirstname Husbandsurname, TYVM!

  • Megan Zander

    I laughed at this because when my nephew was first learning to talk, he referred to himself in the third person ” Justin would like a cookie!” And my SIL thought he had language issues until the dr said he was just copying her example of talking about herself in the third person.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Mommy ruined Justin! Hahahaha

    • Lilly

      my son has a similar issue. He always refers to himself as “you” or his name, because that is how I or his dad talk to him. It ends up with really confusing conversations, the big one is when he asks to be carried, he’ll ask “carry you?” took me a good few days and a couple of temper tantrums to figure that out.

    • Mystik Spiral

      My nephew confused “you” and “me/I” for the longest time. It was really cute to listen to him insist that “you don’t want a nap!!!”. But he grew out of it.

    • Ellie

      When my kid sister was a toddler and learning the alphabet, she had something similar, in that when we would say a letter and have her repeat it, the letter “u” became the letter “me”.

  • KarenMS

    I just…like it. I loved being called Mommy by the doctors and nurses because I was so freaking excited by my new title. Doesn’t mean I lost myself. In the 14 months I’ve been a mother I’ve gotten a promotion, started school, ran a half marathon (slowly…) and gone snowboarding a dozen times (my boyfriend and my favorite pastime). But I like being called McKayla’s mom. It makes me giddy and happy. I totally get the point you’re trying to make, I swear (I only post the occasional
    cute picture of my daughter anyway) but I just do like being referred to as the mommy. It takes nothing away from who I am :)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Great explanation – not sarcastic at all. Thanks for sharing the other POV. :)

  • AP

    ” I don’t want to have a rude awakening when I have to stop being “mommy”
    when my kid gets sick of hanging out with me in middle school.”

    This happened to my mother-in-law. She was SUPER MOM, who made her own baby food and homeschooled and did other SUPER MOM things. Her kids grew up, she ended up divorced, struggled financially for years because she had no work experience outside of SUPER MOM-ing. She still periodically ends up crazy upset if one of her kids does something to separate more from her: move further away than they are now, get married, etc., and she’s still barely putting together a new life for herself.

    She’s a nice woman, but it’s a sad cautionary tale. My husband actually said to me, “You can’t be a stay-at-home-mom, because I don’t want you to end up like her if something happens to me.” And honestly, seeing her experience made me agree totally with him.

    • Bethany Ramos

      This makes me really sad, and not in a way where I’m hating on a mom that fits this description. To see it really play out like this absolutely sucks. I’ve heard a few similar stories. :(

  • SA

    I don’t think I’ve done it on Facebook (unless it is MAMA NEEDS A GLASS OF WINE), but I am so tired of talking in third person at home. I did it so much trying to teach her who I was, but now that she has the concept I’d love to be able to stop. But I just. can’t.

  • Kay_Sue

    Mommy needs a drink after reading this post and being reminded that she occasionally does this after a stressful day. :-P

  • http://www.gypsyforlife.blogspot.com/ Trista Crass

    But how will people address me if not as “Braydeynne’s Mommy!?”

  • Rachel Sea

    You do have to teach your kids to call you Mom instead of your name. I think a lot of parents start referring to themselves by their chosen monniker so the kid doesn’t call them by their name (or worse, by their spouse’s pet name for them), and forget to stop.

  • Ptownsteveschick

    Mommy doesn’t like when you tell her what to do Bethany.

  • coffeeandshoes

    GEORGE IS GETTIN’ UPSET!!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yes x1000!!!

  • Tara

    Oh my freaking gosh yes! I seriously want to slap people that do this. It’s especially bad on facebook – “This momma needs a nap” or whatever. Never do my childless friends say things like “this lawyer is eating lunch!” or anything stupid like that. Just stop. Please.

    • Zoe Lansing

      This second cousin twice removed wants to vomit when she reads a status like that.

  • Jillian

    It equally creeps me out when a new mothers friends stop calling her by her name and call her mom, mommy or some variation. People on facebook are the worst for this. Since my friend became a mom almost 5 years ago (she has two kids now) some of her friends on facebook never refer to her as her given name they just call her “momma” when they talk to her on-line. Maybe I am alone but is that weird to anyone else? For example she’ll make a status about anything even small everyday things and people always respond with “aww poor momma” or “You go mommy, yeah your a momma”. Hell she could make a post about watching a tv show and some mommy type responds with shit like “Hell yeah you go mamma watching that show like a mom who needs a break”. WTF she’s watching a show that isn’t even related to anything involving parenting! Maybe this doesn’t bother her or other moms but to me it does. Its like the second you pushed a kid out you don’t even deserve to be called by your given name any more your now just another “mom”. There is such a creepy, cult like vibe to the whole thing

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yes, I’ve seen that, and it’s REALLY weird!

  • Leash

    Oh I hate that so much. If you don’t refer to yourself in third person before you have kids, why start doing it now? I have never, ever called myself mum or mummy, not on Facebook or to my son. I always speak properly around my kid, because how else will he learn how to talk? And he still calls me mum, because other people call me that when they’re talking to him.

  • jordana

    I hate those kinds of posts!!! Are people really that desperate for an identity? Yeesh

  • Surfaces

    I hate how my MIL does the same with my husband in front of his ten year old daughter. She doesn’t say “your dad”, she calls him “daddy”. She’ll shout on him by calling him that. His kid doesn’t even call him daddy anymore, she calls him dad!

  • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

    lol I realized I was doing this when my kids had trouble figuring out pronouns. They would say, “Me want that!” Oddly enough it is hard to train yourself to stop. You go your whole life never talking about yourself in the third person, but pop out a baby and it just slips out. I also was against baby talk, so I always used proper words but for some reason I would say Mommy loves you rather than I love you. I did try and refrain from doing this to other people or on social media.

  • TaimaChan

    Hehe. My boyfriend and I refer to ourselves and each other in 3rd person. We also pluralise everything and make up our own words for everything from having a bath to genitalia