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Are They Your “Friends” Or Your “Mom Friends”?

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photographed by James Kicinski-McCoy for Bleubird

The “war” on the word “mommy” and “mom”—when used by people whom aren’t your children—continues, this time in a thought-provoking essay by writer (and mother) Lisa Miller. In her article, “If You Aren’t My Child, Don’t Call Me Mom,” on The Cut, Miller takes on the topic that we ruminated on last year, the idea that widely referring to women with children as “mom” or “mommy” or your “mom friends” is demeaning, and trivializes the often smart, complex, and accomplished people behind the moniker.

To get to the root of the problem, Miller traced the rise of of the word to the 1980s and 1990s, when the terms “moms’ groups,” the “mommy track,” “stay-at-home moms,” and “soccer moms” started to be thrown around at rapid speed. Then, by the early 2000s, the irony crept in, with spoofs on “mom jeans,” the song “Stacy’s Mom,” and the rise of the MILF.

Miller argues that if we need to note the maternal status of any woman, we would be better off using the more respectable word “mother.” In that vein, she notes that in a 2008 Father’s Day speech by Barack Obama, “mom’s” male counterpart “dad” was only used once, whereas the word “father” was used 44 times.

Honestly, we’re guilty of throwing around the word “mom,” “mommy,” and “mama” on both the pages of this site, as well as in our daily lives. Sometimes it makes us cringe a little afterwards (namely when it seems to downplay the individuality of the people involved, especially our “mom friends”) and we check ourselves, and other times it feels appropriate. Of course, other people will argue with Miller and say being referred to as a “mommy” by other adults and politicians is a badge of honor that they wear proudly. Which camp do you fall into?

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