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Mummy and daddy: when to use this phrase in the third person

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It was a rather strange moment. I was sat at my computer, half distracted and I turned round to my wife and said: “And what does mummy think?”

mummy, mummy and daddy, mummies and daddies, parents, partners
A holiday snap from way back in 2010 with Helen on my shoulders. I was definitely “daddy” back then. At times, however, us parents should think long and hard before referring to ourselves as “mummy and daddy.”

At that very moment I realsied how often Mrs Adams and I refer to each other as “mummy” and “daddy.” It’s just second nature in front of the kids.

To them we are simply mummy and daddy. Whether they want food, drink or have come into the bedroom at 3am after a bad dream, we answer to those names.

Yes, I will admit it, I like being daddy. The day I become “dad” will be a sad one, although I know it will happen one day and probably sooner than I imagine.

Even so, there should be limits to when a husband and wife or partners call themselves by these titles.  I propose the following guidelines:

  • The titles mummy and daddy should be used sparingly in public and never if your children are not present
  • The titles mummy and daddy should never be used when the only two people present are mummy and daddy (especially when mummy and daddy are playing mummies and daddies)
  • Extreme caution should be followed when using the phrases mummy and daddy when granny and granddad are present, just in case granny gets called “mummy” by accident (this, I confess, being a specialty of mine) or granddad gets called “daddy” (never happened, thankfully).
  • Before referring to yourself in the third person as mummy or daddy, stop and think: can I rephrase this somehow?
  • Do you have a nickname such as Daddy Bear or Mummy Bear? If yes, ask yourself whether this is necessary.

Most of all, enjoy being mummy and daddy for as long as it lasts because your offspring won’t deem in acceptable forever. Earlier this week Helen came out of class, looked up at her teacher and said “there’s my dad” so who knows, in her case my days as daddy might already be numbered.

Hopefully you have found those guidelines useful. Maybe you have some thoughts on when it is acceptable to use the phrases mummy and daddy? Maybe you can think of some guidelines of your own? If so, please leave a comment below, I’d love to read them.

6 thoughts on “Mummy and daddy: when to use this phrase in the third person”

  1. We get used to referring to ourselves in the third person when our children are tiny and we’re desperate for them to call us daddy and mummy and indeed their own name.
    However this trend tends to stick and even when we’re supposed to be teaching them personal pronouns, and as I’ve found for years afterwards, using the third person keeps sneaking into use.
    Using our own names is psychologically important I think, once the kids are in bed or away. Mark out grown up time, as limited as it often is!

    1. Yeah, you have to mark out grown up time. It’s essential. We generally do, but we slip up from time to time as well.

  2. Totally get this. Helena (mummy) and I slip up from time to time and that’s when being called mummy or daddy feels weird. We both agree on that one. We try to reserve it strictly for the kids’ benefit. Nice post.

  3. Hi John,

    Really agree with you, couples should have their own love-names to call each other rather than mummy and daddy, you would want to stay in love and stay hot with other love-names than mummy and daddy.
    Anyways, what a cute baby Helen is!

    1. Yeah, you have to be careful don’t you? You don’t want to lose your own identity and that could be a risk if you cal leach other mummy and daddy all the time.

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