Mommy and Daddy Dearest

Boyleing Points

In last week’s RT we suggested you give a listen to This American Life, a weekly radio show on NPR and also available as a podcast. I know some of you ancients don’t know what a podcast is but I’m telling you, branch out, get crazy, try it. It’s an audible thing, ya know, like a mobile Victrola. You can listen to podcasts on your computer or cell phone, if you’ve moved up from a flip phone.

There are podcasts on any, and I mean any, topic you can think of. Whatever it is, somebody’s talking about it and somebody’s recording it.

There’s only so much Z100, Cousin Brucie or Rush Limbaugh you can listen to (I hope).

Podcasts work best while driving or doing mindless house stuff. You can listen to stuff, pretty much without commercial interruption and you hit pause when you feel like it. Podcasts can be funny, inspiring, provocative and every other adjective. Podcasts can make you feel smart.  I said feel smart, not make you smart. Try ‘em will ya?

Anyway, the Re family was the subject of a segment on This American Life a couple weeks back. Eleven siblings were making an effort to distribute 196 items from the parents’ estate. It’s quite the story. One of the things that struck me was how they referred to their parents as mommy and daddy. It’s such a generational thing.

A lot of baby boomers do it. When talking with their siblings, they’ll say mommy and daddy. Fifty- to 60- and 70-year-olds will say mommy and daddy. Most times as a reference. Mommy said. Mommy and Daddy went on vacation. Who’s gonna watch Mommy?

Boomers don’t use Mommy or Daddy directly. They might say, "Hey Ma, what do you have for dinner?" They're not going to say, "Mommy, what do you want for dinner?"

In any case, it’s a little weird, right? Sometimes you’ll hear your friend talking to their sibling and saying mommy or daddy. It’s cute and weird, though somewhat comforting that other people your age, besides you, are actually saying mommy and daddy.

Kids. I mean kids who are 30 years old and younger think it’s icky. They’ll say Dad or Mom. Dad’s gonna be mad sounds a lot better than Daddy’s gonna be mad. I gotta give kids credit for that.

I don’t think there’s a grandmother-grandfather thing. Grandma is the usual and thankfully I’ve never heard grandmommy. I’m not a big fan of Nana or Nanny but I’m not gonna fully hate you for using them. If you live in Kentucky, or some parts of Queens, you might say granddaddy but otherwise it’s Grandpa or Gramps or Papa, nothing cringey.   

How’d I get here? See what happens? Be careful about what I recommend. You listen to a podcast and next thing you know, you have mommy and daddy issues.

Sign up via our free email subscription service to receive notifications when new information is available.