“Hi Mom,” said the pediatric dentist to me while my daughter was in the dentist chair.
Earlier the dental hygienist had said the same thing (“Hi Mom”) and I thought she was talking to someone else.
“Hi, my name is Leanne, not mom, nice to meet you,” I said as I reached out my hand and smiled at the dentist.
Why do adults-who-work-with-children lean over to talk to a child and politely and invitingly ask their name but then often look at the child’s parent and not bother with a standard greeting such as, “Hi I am __name__, what’s your name? Nice to meet you.”
This conversation (with “Hi Mom” or similar directed at me) has happened to me, in the time that I’ve been a parent, with all sorts of people who work with children. People at my daughter’s school, at camps she goes to, and some of the medical professionals she sees (not all of them – thankfully her primary doctor is always professional and polite and simply fantastic) often just call me “Mom.” It irks me.
I don’t need anyone to remember my name. I’m most definitely not anyone’s mom beyond my daughter.
Consider other social circumstances:
- At a work or other organizational meeting, if people don’t know each other’s names, then people don’t look at each other and say, “Hi, guy in blue shirt, what do you think of this?” The people in a meeting usually introduce themselves first.
- In a social setting, someone doesn’t look at me and say, “Hi, woman with glasses, how are you doing?”
- When I go to see a doctor or dentist, they usually reference a chart to find my name if they don’t remember me. Or they say, “Hi I’m _name_” and I reply with “Hi, I’m Leanne.” Humanizing.
- When I go to a doctor or dentist appointment with another adult, to support my friend or my wife, then the doctor or dentist usually introduces her/himself and asks my name.
- And so on.
So why is it that I’m no longer a person with a name when I’m with my daughter? My daughter pointed out to me, “she was just saying that you are A Mom.” Well, sure, but we don’t call other people by the name of their assumed/actual relationship with the person in the chair. The dentist, for example, wouldn’t say, “Hi Wife” to me if it was my spouse in the chair.
I wish people who work with kids would always humanize the parent they see, not just label the parent as merely mom or dad or another label. It’s the small courtesies that stick in memory. We do more than just pay the bills and make sure our kids show up. We’re parents and we’re human and we have names and we appreciate what all of these people do for our kids.