Here and here I wrote about the mental gymnastics involved in reconciling motherhood and being a guy. Now that I’m at the point where I’m very rarely read as female, it’s becoming even more interesting. Last summer, at a glance, people would read me as male much of the time but could still easily see me as female. If they heard my son call me “Mommy”, then it just confirmed my femaleness for them if they weren’t sure. Now, though, people are honestly confused and get a deer in the headlights look on their face when I’m with him and they hear him call me Mommy. It’s actually pretty amusing. Even the people we already know are subject to mind fucks when he refers to me as “mommy” and “he” in the same sentence. Or when I do something nice and, in that way that kids mimic adults, he says: “Good boy, Mommy!”
One fun anecdote was when I took my son to see a doctor recently for a minor problem he was having. Being the friendly little boy that he is, went up to the doctor and introduced himself. Then he said: “And this is my Mommy.” The Dr. gave me a quick look, then took my son to the examination table to give him a check up. When they came back to the desk, the Dr. peered at my over his glasses and asked me what my name was. I told him Jacky, which, of course, didn’t answer his mental question about my gender. “Why does he call you Mommy?” he asked. “Because I’m his mother,” I offered, with a sly smile. “Are you female?” he asked bluntly. I replied that I used to be female, not wanting to go into long drawn out explanations. A light bulb went off and he excitedly told me about an acquaintance of his that was going the other way and yadda yadda.
I left amused and confident that my son and I will have many more years ahead of us of amusing anecdotes. But it also left me with the usual thought that, when I’m with my son, it will never be possible to blend in. It’s ok. I’m not resentful. His well-being is more important to me than anything and part of that well-being is the reassurance that I’m the same person for him that I always was – Mommy. I’m willing to pay the price of other people’s confusion to preserve that.