Friday, February 3, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Phoney Pants

Juliet is getting to the age where she's learning names of everything and everyone. When I ask her "Who's in your family?", she enthusiastically answers, "Mama! Dada! Audrey!"

When I point to a family photo, she can correctly identify all of her Aunts and her Grandpa. (Jamie- sidenote, but when she sees photos of Eva, she says, "AUDREY!")

So my newest parenting dilemma is-- What title, if any, do I expect her to call our adult friends and neighbors?

My mom was always, always "Mrs. Guth" to our childhood friends. And likewise, we were expected to call my mom's friends "Mrs. ___". To this day, I can't call our lifelong neighbors (P__, K__, M__ families for those who know them) by their first names. I'm 31 years old and I feel like I might somehow get reprimanded if I called Mrs. M__ "Ginny" instead!

There were a couple exceptions when I was growing up. Somehow we've always called my Dad's best friend by his first name, Gene. He's a total hippie so the concept of calling him Mr. just seems a bit ridiculous.

I have a couple best friends who have become "Aunties" to Juliet, so that question is resolved. But for everyone else, I need to figure out my game plan. Something consistent.

Calling adults by their first names just seems so...disrespectful? Because of how I was raised, it's just an innate feeling of discomfort. But on the other hand, the idea of having children call me "Mrs. H__" is also just bizarre. Nor can I really picture some friends being called by their last names or being comfortable with it (I'm thinking of you, Samin.)

How did you grow up? Will that impact your choice as a parent? 


  1. I am going to do the Miss Susan or Mr Daniel thing, I think. In Hawaii, EVERYONE that is older is Auntie or Uncle. I think that has rubbed off on us a bit because I do call almost all of my friends Auntie or Uncle so and so to Eva.

  2. I frankly, am fine, with just being called Samin, which is what most Berkeley kids call me. But if that's a little too hippie for you, how about Miss Samin, if you're not into Auntie Samin?

  3. I grew up with first names for everyone - many of my dad's friends have the "total hippie" thing going for them too, and many of my mom's friends are also teachers at the her same Special Ed school, where the students call the teachers by their first names. So it always seemed normal to me! I totally wouldn't mind being called Mrs Ring through, I think it's cute and very polite. :)