Mum's the Word

Sometimes, to me, being in England feels so right.  Like these times:

1.  When you go to the beach in the summer, and your feet don't burn on the sand.
2.  When you see a garden filled with rose bushes whose blooms are the size of cereal bowls.
3.  When you've been freezing your arse off in the cold and someone offers you a hot cup of tea.
4.  When you watch Downton Abbey 6 months before all your friends in America.

And sometimes, to me, it feels so strange and foreign I don't even recognise how I could've lived here nearly five years.

Mothering Sunday is one of those days where I just feel out of place.  I know I've only truly had one, but I've celebrated with others, and I know what the traditions are.  I just don't like them all that much.

For one thing, it's in March.  Not the warmer end of March where you start to feel springy and nice, the cold, miserable beginning.  It feels so contrary to my growing-up memories of Mother's Day, where mothers and grandmothers and aunts dressed in their Sunday best in bright spring colours and short sleeves in the middle of May.

Everyone gets daffodils as well it seems.  My theory on this? Because they're the only flower available in March.  Grumble grumble.

At home, I always bought my Mom and Granny a pretty flower corsage to wear to church, but here, they don't even seem to know what that is (also, we go to London and skip church on the one day when a mother's hard work is recognized there).

Also, there's the very word for mother here: mum, or in my case, mummy.  I just cannot get my head around those phrases.  The cards in every shop only make the feeling of wrongness more acute.  For grandmothers, the cards seem to reflect that you can be Nan, Nanna, Grandma, Gran, Granny and a few other things.  For mothers, you are either mum or mummy.

This is a mum:

This is a mummy:

Can you see why I don't really gel with this?  When people say "Ella's mummy," I just don't respond because I very nearly don't understand when they say it.

I already have to compete with every baby book saying "Mummy."  Can you imagine reading a children's story about kissing mummy with the image above in your head?  It's a bit frightening at the very least.  The most infuriating is when Josh calls me "Mummy."  He of all people should know that I prefer "Mom", "Mommy", "Mama" or "Mother Dear."    Basically anything but "Mum" or "Mummy".   Part of the problem stems from the fact that his mother tongue (pun wholeheartedly intended) makes it impossible to say "Mama" properly.  It comes out sounding like "MAR-ma".

I don't really know what the solution is for this, except time.  Maybe I'll get used to it.  Maybe I'll just have to buy all my children's books in America.  Until then, mum's the word.


  1. Want me to send you some?? You can't get used to that!! Ew!


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