Out With Mr. and Mrs. And In With…


Hello My Name IsOut with Mr. and Mrs. and in with…WHAT? I need help. I have no idea what kids should call me or what I should have my kids call other adults.

Growing up, addressing adults was not up for debate.

“Don’t forget to say thank you for having me Mr. and Mrs. Jackson”.  Yes, mom. Got it.

“Mr. Jackson, is Kate home?”

“Mrs. Jackson, can I borrow your phone to call my mom?”

Sometime in the 90’s things started to change. I got old and got a job and started working with people my parents’ age and calling them by their first name.  This felt very strange for a while and I just stopped addressing people with their name until I could get used to it.

My friends’ parents and my parent’s friends (often the same people) were begging me to stop calling them Mr. and Mrs. So and So and to use their first names; also a very uncomfortable transition. Sometimes I still just shout out “Hi!” give them a hug and hope I won’t have a need to call them out by name.

Well now it is my turn to be the adult among children and the kids are just as confused as I am as to what they should call me. As they get older it gets that much more awkward, don’t you think? A 3 year old calling me Sarah is pretty cute. But an 8 year old? A 10 year old or a 15 year old? I don’t know.

The trouble is, I don’t have a good alternative. Often if they need to get my attention they call me (insert applicable child’s name)’s mom. Which is fine by me for now, but I’m not sure if its a great long term plan. I have been called Mrs. Dyer once and the child using it was testing it out and I don’t think has used it since. Sometimes I try to get my kids to call adults Miss or Mr. First Name. But I’m not consistent enough with it to make it stick.

This is my plea for help to end the confusion. What should we be using? What do you have your kids call other adults or what do you have kids call you?

With many thanks,

L, A and W’s mom/Sarah/Miss Sarah/Mrs. Dyer




  1. Linds says

    I totally agree – there should be a respectful way of addressing adults and ‘up here in the north’, there just isn’t. I say that because I’ve spent time in the south and I was enamoured with the culture of addressing people as ‘Miss Sarah’, ‘Mr Joe’ etc… Not only is this used by children to address adults / teachers / babysitters / swimming instructors etc., but also a way of respectfully addressing someone you may not know very well in a kind/friendly way. For example, my dentists’ receptionist would address me that way, it made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. I would never want to return to days of Mr. and Mrs., by my children’s friends, for the time being my full first name works for me, but don’t call me any nick-names, kids!

    • says

      I agree, I like the Miss Sarah and Mr. Joe. We’re in the ‘north’ too and I’ve heard a few people use it but it definitely isn’t consistent. You don’t like nicknames Wizzy? Why not? ;) xx

  2. Fiona Green says

    When they were younger, I was called ‘Mrs. G’ by my sons’ friends, something that worked very well. As their friends became older, they drifted into using my first name – at my request. Exception, when a young man, of whom I was not particularly fond, called me by my first name, I felt somewhat affronted. Go figure.
    Now, I introduce my grandchildren to friends as Mr./Mrs. and then anyone who wishes to offer and alternative is free to do so…
    My latest dilemma, though, is being called “Grandma” by grandsons’ hockey/soccer coachesetc. First, my name is “Grandmum”, not the former. Second, I am only called that by my grandsons. I have asked them to explain that it is a very exclusive title reserved only for them and “Fiona” (or Mrs. G!) is very appropriate. So, just to complicate further, I’m ok with grandson’s cohorts calling me “(insert applicable grandson’s name)’s Grandmum”. Ah, yes….. complicated indeed……
    In short, whatever flows well and is feel good. And, the kids sure will learn what flexibility and ‘going with the flow’ is all about!

    • says

      Thanks for sharing Mrs. G! You are so right, as long as both parties are comfortable with the name then it should all work out just fine. It can’t hurt for me to teach them to ask what someone would prefer to be called, as long as they are being respectful with whatever name they are using then I think that is the main point. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences. Sarah

  3. says

    My kids friends all call me mom. And in fact my kids call their mom’s mom as well. It just simplified things when they all were crashing at my house so often and vice versa. Now they are all adults and I still have my 3 daughters by birth, 2 step-sons and 58 other children by other mothers who still call me mom. I love that they call me mom, and I think that is the highest respect any child can offer to another women, enough trust to call them mom. They do however call my husband Mr. C. I’ve never once heard a child refer to us as our first name at all. So I guess the normal is to still call people Mr or Mrs *insert last name or initial here* or mom. :)

  4. Kate says

    I think I will now switch to telling my kids to use Mrs. Mr with the first name. I like it. Sounds too weird to introduce my almost three year old to adults with their first name, although that is what i have been doing. Thanks SArah

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *