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Calling Your Daycare Provider “Mommy” Doesn’t Mean What You Think

100_3966I’ve seen that look so many times.  It’s the look on a mama’s face when she hears her little one call me “Mommy”.  The truth is, I’ve had about 30 babies and toddlers call me “Mommy”, and that’s not including my own children.

Some moms laugh it off, most say it doesn’t bother them.  But I see that flash of sadness in their eyes before they cover it up.  A quick internet search reveals that this is a pretty common occurrence too.  It can be heartbreaking to hear your child call another woman “Mama”.

When Your Child Calls Your Daycare Provider “Mommy”

But it’s not what you think.  You haven’t been replaced.  Your child hasn’t forgotten you.  And no, NO, your child does not love her more.

This is what’s really going through your  baby or toddler’s mind when they call your daycare provider “Mommy”:

  • The word “Mommy” is a role, like “Teacher” or “Doctor”.  It’s not for any one person.  After all, all of the other kids call their female parent “Mommy” too.
  • It’s easy to say.  It’s much easier than “Miss Sue” or even “Jen”.  Try it!  The word “Mommy” or “Mama” rolls out of your mouth easily.
  • Remembering friends’ names is hard too.  Toddlers often don’t even use names with one another.  But ask me to point to James or Jessica, and I’ll get it right every time.  I know each person’s name, but saying those names is much more difficult.
  • My daycare lady calls herself by her own name all the time.  I’ll start using it soon.
  • I’m learning how to sort things.  All blocks are called “blocks” no matter what colour or size they are, and no matter who they belong to.  Right now, I call the women who take care of me “Mommy”.
  • I know who loves me most.  I know who gets up with me at night, and I know who takes care of me when I’m sick.  It’s you!
  • I know who I love the most.  Even when I have a hard time switching gears at pick-up time, I depend on you to be there every day to take me to my own house with my own toys and my own Mommy and Daddy.

So chin up, Mum!  Your little one will move through this phase quickly, and soon enough, there will be another phase to worry about.  Remember that your child is still learning and growing.  As long as you’re taking good care of your child, you have no reason to feel guilty or worry about him or her going to daycare each day.  Believe me, they know who Mama really is, and it’s not the Daycare Lady!

Has your child ever called another woman “Mommy”?  How did it make you

feel?  What advice would you give to others?

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!


  1. Jeanette

    I think it would be hard for me to hear my son call somebody else mommy, but your explanation is a very good one and that would help me a lot if my kiddo had to go to a daycare center and I heard that.
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  2. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    I love this article. This happened to me with one of my kids. This explanation can really take the sting out of it for some moms.
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  3. Cherri Megasko

    I can relate. My son-in-law is off on a temporary remote assignment right now and only gets to see his kids twice a month. We are at the house quite a lot to help out, and my 23-month old grandson frequently calls my husband “daddy.” We just correct him when it happens.
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  4. Jenn

    I totally get that! I always call my kids the wrong name, its not out of disrespect but an accident. Kids are the same way. Just correct them and move on!! Also take it as a compliment that they like their daycare provider that much!
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  5. Liz Mays

    These are great points. It would be a shock to hear it but it’s really not an issue! More moms should read this!
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  6. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green

    I would be devastated if my children called someone else Mom. I would take it as a sign that I’m not spending enough quality time with them.
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  7. Chrystal | Nevermore Lane

    My husband and I are currently going through a divorce and I met him when his daughter was 3, she is now almost 11. For the longest time I was ‘the other mother’ and ‘bonus mom.’ There were even times when I was ‘mom’ especially as she got older and learned some truths about her mom. To me its a title to be earned. Just because someone gives birth, sure that makes them a biological mother, but you have to earn the mom title coming from the child.

  8. OurFamilyWorld

    Yes, a mom would be shocked, but it really shouldn’t be an issue. I love how you explained it.

  9. lisa

    I can’t tell you how many kids have called me mommy over the years that aren’t mine! From kids in dance, to sports, to random kids at the park-I am a mom and I will always answer to mommy (from anyone)!
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  10. Ann Bacciaglia

    I think it is okay if your child accidentally calls someone else Mommy. They are so young it is usually just a slip. My friends little girl calls me Mommy and then looks at me an says i mean Auntie.

  11. rika

    I would be shocked too. Glad my kids never made that mistake but they often hug and try to kiss others
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  12. Lynndee

    My son never called anyone ‘Mommy’, but I don’t think I will make a big deal out of it. I heard some of my nieces and nephews call their aunts ‘Mommy’ and for me, it was cute. 🙂

  13. lisa @bitesforbabies

    Hmm…that would be hard for a mother to hear, especially if she spends very little time with the kids because of work!
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  14. ricci

    I think it’s sweet when kids feel safe enough with a care provider to call them mommy or nana or something similar. That usually means the child is getting great care!
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  15. Bonnie @wemake7

    Yeah that happened to me a couple of times. I was really upset at first.

  16. HilLesha

    This isn’t happened to me yet, but I can easily understand how and why it may sting for some moms. Wonderful article!
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  17. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

    I am not a mom, but I was a special ed teacher and I am an Aunt and Godmother and I have experienced a ton of kids calling me mommy! Personally I think the parents should be happy that their child feels safe and in good hands, kids have a good internal radar/instincts!
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  18. CourtneyLynne

    Omg thankfully my daughter has never done this! However I remember doing this when I was a kid :-/ I called my preschool teacher mom several times.

  19. Crystal Lopez

    I have personally not had an encounter with something like this but I think it would definitely be hard for any mom to experience. Your method of explanation seems like it would ease the situation.

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