I’m all for teaching children respect for elders and just good, plain manners–but I have to confess that I am one of those forty-year-old single moms who really cringes when people address me as “Mrs.!” I don’t know if it’s a single mom thing, or just a generational thing, but it makes me feel ancient and icky when someone calls me Mrs. So-and So.
Now, I appreciate that many children have been taught manners and, in this day and age, it can be confusing for children to learn and figure out how to address adults. My own kids have grown up in a world where many of their teachers insisted on being called by their first names. Now that they are all in high school, some teachers want to be addressed formally, and others by first name. It’s definitely more confusing and nuanced than I remember my own growing-up years. But, for me, as a long-divorced, single mom, the “Mrs.” just doesn’t seem to fit. I don’t really feel like a “Mrs.” and while I kept my “married” name as part of my last name due to having children, I’d rather not think of myself as Mrs. Anybody!
So, I politely instruct my children’s friends and teachers to please call me by my first name. I’m not trying to be young and hip (which is how I remember the parents of my own friends who wanted to be called by their first names back in the seventies), it’s just not me. The other day, I actually heard one of my daughters on the phone with one of her friends saying, “Don’t call my mom that, she hates it!” I can only guess that the unsuspecting offending friend had referred to me as “Mrs.” and I could see that my discomfort with the moniker has been surely passed on to my kids.
I’m not trying to be difficult or buck the system of manners and tact–I’ll just continue to ask politely, “Please, don’t call me Mrs…”