To find HCPs and random people referring to me as 'mum' bloody patronising?

(77 Posts)
philbee Wed 26-Jun-13 07:49:58

At a playgroup I used to go to with DD1 the helpers called us all 'mum', as in 'hello mum, sign in here'. I found it annoying because why bother addressing me as anything, just say 'hello'. But hey ho, they saw lots of parents, it wasn't worth making a thing about.

But in the last few weeks my GP has called me 'mum', as I was crying over a bfing issue at an appointment booked UNDER MY NAME, 'Don't worry mum, you're doing a great job.' Well thanks for the encouragement but I'm not your fucking mum, am I, and you know my name, it's on that screen in front of you! Plus, again, why call me anything - you're hardly talking to the six week old! This week a woman in DD's school playground called me 'mum', as in 'mum looks tired as well' (rude anyway) said to me, not to someone else about me, as in 'can't be bothered to ask your name but here's some unasked for judgment and advice about the care of your child.'. Does anyone else find this really patronising? And if so what's a good response?

I'm not your Mum. Please call me Trudie. Or whatever.

I hate it too.

And it's mainly because they can't remember your name and are trying to be supportive IME. But it is still very very annoying and patronising.

WallaceWindsock Wed 26-Jun-13 07:52:47

Big friendly smile "oh sorry, I'm Wallace" as though you'd forgotten to introduce yourself. No confrontation and quietly tells them that you prefer to be called by your name. Job done smile

ElleMcFearsome Wed 26-Jun-13 07:55:29

Argh - I was talking to whatever they call NHS Direct now (111?) a few days ago, about my 15 year old and the HCP who rang me back referred to me as 'mum' throughout the conversation, despite me saying politely, "I'm called Elle" at least twice. She kept saying things like, "and don't you worry mum", "*mum*, do you know [thing x]?""now mum, when you get to a&e..." I ground my teeth.

drinkyourmilk Wed 26-Jun-13 07:56:48

I take my charge to his hospital appointments regularly (routine clinic, parents attend non routine visits, and routine when work allows, they take full responsibility!). The nursing staff and phlebotomists know I'm the nanny. They call me mum every bloody time. I correct them every time. My charge corrects them every time. Then next sentence, they call me mum again.
Maybe its a new directive?

gymboywalton Wed 26-Jun-13 07:57:41

you know-this actually doesn't bother me at all for some reason.

i took my son to a and e the other week and the ovely nurse called me mum. why care? she was being lovely to my son, i was almost certainly the 4 millionth person she had spoken to that day.....shrug.
i just can't get worked up over it.

flipchart Wed 26-Jun-13 08:00:06

This used to annoy me, then I thought fuck it, it really doesn't matter.

Has anyone tried calling them by anything but their given name, eg. "So doctor, what do you think"; "hey phlebotomist, how are you today"; "so do you, rude mum" etc?

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 08:06:24

This fucks me off as well and ime they do not do it to men. Dp has attended several appointments with the madthings, they refer to him as mr .... And if we are both there its mr ... For him and yet stil mum for me!!

middleagedspread Wed 26-Jun-13 08:13:24

When you attend the GP it's the person who has the appointment whose notes are up on the screen. With the child's name on, not the parents.

Can you expect your GP to remember the name of every child's parent, including whether they liked to be addressed by first or surname?

MumnGran Wed 26-Jun-13 08:16:05

Patronising? yes! standard practice that you need to get used to hearing? yes! Do you have to accept it? no!!
It is very easy to say, with exquisite politeness, "actually my name is philbee " with a slight query in your voice ....almost but not quite a question .... which infers that you are wondering why they don't know your actual name. Usually enough to ensure it doesn't happen again, but there will always be some who 'mum' on auto pilot.

All that said ...no-one is doing it intentionally to patronise you. It just is the way it is.

Eskarina Wed 26-Jun-13 08:17:53

It annoys me far far more when the vet refers to me as "mum" when talking to my cat than when it happens in relation to dd. I think he got a hmm when he got as far as "mummy". And it wasn't because I had then 6mo dd with me - he does it to my friend who has no children too!

VigourMortis Wed 26-Jun-13 08:18:54

middleaged yes but why use a name? I speak to tonnes of people every day and I don't usually need to address them by name unless I have to attract their attention.

fluffyraggies Wed 26-Jun-13 08:19:07

Doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm happy in that situation to be identified by my relation to the patient. My DH gets called 'Dad', if he's there too, so it does happen to men.

aftermay Wed 26-Jun-13 08:25:28

You can't know people's first names or assume their surname is the same as the child's. Then you have the whole Miss/Ms/Mrs dilemma. 'Mum' covers all eventualities. Next time introduce yourself but also make sure you know the HCP's name too, so not just 'the lady doctor/nurse' etc. OTOH just put up with a bit of annoyance for the sake of smooth and speedy interaction.

aftermay Wed 26-Jun-13 08:26:22

Now being called Mum in relation to a cat would indeed be weird.

middleagedspread Wed 26-Jun-13 08:29:35

vigour, if a minor attends it has to be established that the accompanying adult is the parent/guardian.

I would agree that addressing the carer as mum is a bit twee but it would be very acceptable to ask "are you this child's mother?", but that does sound a bit formal.

8thplace Wed 26-Jun-13 08:30:36

Never bothers me either and I don't find it patronising

Cockadoodlequack Wed 26-Jun-13 08:30:45

I think other posters are right about the HCPs on autopilot thing. From doctors/HVs/midwives etc it doesn't bother me. In fact, for me who struggles with self confidence) it has a slightly comforting ring to it if you are discussing an issue with your child, as in, they recognise/acknowledge you in the role you are playing (mum). I lsee how it probably is patronising, but I'm a bit sad and choose not to see it like that!

However, it has the opposite effect and drives me bonkers when my own mum calls me mum. It really winds me up, and she keeps 'forgetting' despite me telling her I don't like it.

My DH has been called dad at clinics etc, don't know if he minded.

samandi Wed 26-Jun-13 08:31:27

That's just weird, and stupid, and I can see how it would be annoying. I like Justforlaughs idea. And 5madthings - perhaps keep referring to your partner as "dad" all the time?

peppinagiro Wed 26-Jun-13 08:31:37

Ugh yes I hate this too! Drives me up the wall. Especially when they do it in a sing-song nursery voice like your pregnancy was accompanied by a lobotomy.

The midwife at my booking appointment kept doing it. I was feeling pretty vomity anyway so not in a great mood and it really pushed me over the edge. So when she asked 'and what is your preferred name?' for that bit of the form, I took great joy in fixing her with an icy glare and replying 'Mrs X, if you don't mind'. That put an end to the 'mum' nonsense.

Didactylos Wed 26-Jun-13 08:54:08

I have to say, as a doctor I hate this being done to me when I am a patient and never do it to patients
I do struggle to remember names past one consultation or interaction but try and give the person Im talking to a lead on how they would like to be known eg Mr/Miss/Mrs X unless they say ' call me shirley or somesuch'. Patients with dementia or learning difficulties I will take a lead from their carers and use whatever name/nickname they use as its probably the one they usually respond to

My main problem is forgetting the names of staff I dont work with regularly.

philbee Wed 26-Jun-13 09:00:57

middleaged but the appointment was in my name, not DD's. If the person is someone I'm not going to have an ongoing relationship with, like the playgroup leaders, fine, I'll just suck it up. But another parent of a child in DD's class, and a GP who I've just shown my boobs to and am there about something pretty personal, either don't bother with a title at all or find out my name, thats how I feel.

OodPi Wed 26-Jun-13 09:02:04

It's the fact that a lot of the time they don't need to use a name. Just say 'Hello' rather than 'Hello Mum'

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