Mother's Bill of Rights: Name

The Mother's Bill of Rights is a reclaiming of the rights that the current culture of sacrificial motherhood would strip from us. It is a commitment to ourselves and to our families that we will not diminish ourselves or them by placing these parts of us on the altar of motherhood. We will be whole human beings. This is the gift we give to ourselves, our children, and our world. 

Article Seven: Name

Your name is not Mommy.

Or mom.

Or mama.

Or ma.

Your name is not _______’s mom.

You have a name.

When was the last time you heard it spoken by another adult?

By a friend?

By a lover or partner?

Your name is not mommy. Maybe your name has been passed down through generations,or is one your parents agonized over. Maybe your name came to you through a religious ceremony,or it's something you’ve had to grow into and learn to wear confidently. 

Our names are so deeply personal and so entwined with how we see ourselves that losing them changes us. There is a way that Mommy says and does things that is different than how Graeme says them and does them.

One way has a lot more curse words, for example.

And while being a mother is a part of me and always will be – so is my name. So is the entire rest of my personality.

When someone says my name to my friends (or to my enemies) what comes to mind for them is more than “mother” because I am more than mother.


Our names hold the dreams that our parents and grandparents had for us. Sometimes they hold trauma from our past as well. Our names hold the sound of the voice of the first person who said them with love. They hold the way your second-grade teacher said it when she was so exasperated with you (Hi, Mrs. Wilson, I still love you!). They hold the awe and pride that shone through the first time you said your own name and claimed yourself.

Both of my children have had speech delays, so I had to wait to hear them call me Mommy longer than many mothers and much longer than I wanted. I craved the sound of that word in their voices. With my daughter, it was her 32 word. Yes. HER THIRTY-SECOND WORD. (You’ll never convince me that she didn’t do that on purpose)

Now, I am called Mommy, Mama, or Mom so many times a day that I lose count before breakfast.

"I yub do Mama." What is sweeter than that? NOTHING.

And yet, it isn’t my true name, my real name, the name that encompasses all of me. Because I am not only her mama, I am also ME.

I am Graeme and there is a story to my name. There’s a middle name that hardly anyone knows. There is a last name that I’m not ever changing.

Words have meaning and names mean the most of all.


Our names are powerful and worth reclamation. You - all of who you are - is worth holding on to as you travel through motherhood.

I’m not saying your kids should call you by your first name. What they call you is entirely up to you. I look at Mommy as a badge of honor – I earned that title.

Who are the people in your life who see other sides of you? We all need others who can truly see us and who can hold up a mirror and allow us to see different aspects of ourselves. The friends who see how funny you are, how smart you are, the friends who roll their eyes when you try to claim that you’re shy – who are they? Spend some time with people who talk to you about things other than motherhood. See how that feels. That is reclamation.

How much attention do you pay to the rest of your self? What are the parts of you that you have been neglecting? How can you tend to them?

We spend so much time caring for everyone else in our lives. When was the last time you gave yourself something that you needed?

Do you even know what you need?

Do you know who you are, now?

Reclaim your name.