Author Topic: Assumptions on who's the mother.  (Read 7021 times)

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mmswm

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Assumptions on who's the mother.
« on: January 14, 2013, 05:35:06 PM »
BG: Recently I've been acting as my mother's chauffeur, as she is unable to drive.  I have a 10 year old brother and 11 year old sister.  My mother is 64 and I am 37 (I have other siblings, but they are adults and not relevant to my issue).  One of the things my mother has to do is take my siblings to various appointments, including doctors' offices. [/end background]

Most of the time when we are at appointments for my siblings, nurses and doctors assume that I am the mother to all of the younger kids.  Now, I can totally understand why people might make this assumption, considering that my brother is younger than all of my kids and my sister is only 5 months older than my youngest.  If one had to guess, it would make sense to guess that I'm the mother. It doesn't particularly upset me that people do this, but I've been searching for a polite way to redirect the person without embarrassing them. Thus far, I've just smiled, pointed to my mother and cheerfully said, "She's <sibling's> mother".  Unfortunately, the person is almost always a bit embarrassed about the mistake, even though I don't think they should be. Does anybody have any other ideas about how I can handle these situations?  Thanks.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

kckgirl

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 06:03:17 PM »
I think you're doing just fine.
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Jones

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 06:47:59 PM »
I totally get where you are coming from, as my youngest brother is 3 years old and I occasionally babysit him. I turn it into a joke; "These two are mine but I can't claim that one" when I run into people I know who get a puzzled look when they see three children. "Don't you dare be embarrassed, it happens all the time," when it's clear the person was embarrassed by their assumption. "Sorry, just the sister, let me grab Mom," explains the situation while not putting anyone on the spot. There are probably other quick phrases I've used, but I don't recall any off the top of my head. I will say that if it's someone I don't know and will likely not meet again, I don't always correct the assumption.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 12:32:43 PM »
I think you're doing just fine.  If they apologize for the mistake you can always say "No apologies necessary.  It happens all the time.".

CakeBeret

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 01:08:29 PM »
I think you're fine. You could also add, "It's an easy mistake to make, no worries." or "It happens all the time, don't feel bad."

When I was a kid, people often assumed my sister was my mother, and then when my niece was born assumed I was niece's mother, so I've dealt with this for years and years. :)
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veryfluffy

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 01:55:02 PM »
Unfortunately, the person is almost always a bit embarrassed about the mistake, even though I don't think they should be.

I think one of the reasons they might be embarrassed is because it appears they made an apparently insulting guess as to how old your mother looks. A woman aged at 64 would be highly (although clearly not impossibly) unlikely to be the natural parent of a 10 year old. So their reaction might be that, oops, I was insinuating this lady looked much older than she was.

I don't think it's an "interesting assumption", just a very natural one.
   

TurtleDove

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 02:02:20 PM »
This is off topic a bit, but I agree this would be confusing for people since it is atypical (I actually thought largely impossible!) for a 54 year old woman to birth a child! But I think you are handling it well.  No one seems to be intending or taking offense.

Betelnut

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 02:36:32 PM »
This is off topic a bit, but I agree this would be confusing for people since it is atypical (I actually thought largely impossible!) for a 54 year old woman to birth a child! But I think you are handling it well.  No one seems to be intending or taking offense.

Could be adopted too.
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Rohanna

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 02:41:14 PM »
This is off topic a bit, but I agree this would be confusing for people since it is atypical (I actually thought largely impossible!) for a 54 year old woman to birth a child! But I think you are handling it well.  No one seems to be intending or taking offense.

Could be adopted too.
Or step kids :) I can see how it would be a very easy mistake to make, but I'd just smile and breeze past that for them "Oh, I'm not mum to these ones". My sister frequently get mistaken for Mum not auntie of my son, as he is dark like her (he favours my husband)- and my aunt and I were always taken for sisters (we're only 10 years apart and look a lot alike).
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

Hillia

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 03:54:06 PM »
My DH and I have a similar problem, only it's people assuming I'm his mother.  We are 20 years apart (30/50) and while I don't think I'm terribly 'old' looking (I keep my gray covered religiously, for example, and a morbid fear of sunburn has largely protected my skin) he is fairly young looking, despite a full and epic beard.  Since it's not an issue for consenting to treatment at the doctor's or whatever, we don't correct people, just giggle to ourselves later.

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whatsanenigma

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 04:44:38 PM »
This is off topic a bit, but I agree this would be confusing for people since it is atypical (I actually thought largely impossible!) for a 54 year old woman to birth a child! But I think you are handling it well.  No one seems to be intending or taking offense.

Could be adopted too.

My family has these problems a lot, because one of my nieces had a baby she ended up not being able to take care of, and the baby was taken care of from birth and eventually adopted by my parents, who were 55 years old at the time.  That was 13 years ago and it's all going well for our family, but wow. 

The little girl physically resembles me quite a bit, so I get mistaken for her mother a lot.  Sometimes I get mistaken for the mother of my younger sister's daughters (aged 10 and 12 now) even though we look less alike, for some reason.  My response to such mistakes is to smile and talk like they have given me a really nice compliment, which they have.  I say "Thank you so much but I can't take any credit for this one" and I explain who the actual mother is.

Unless it's just a one-shot deal in a store, or something, somebody I'll never see again, and then I don't bother to correct the person.

JacklynHyde

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 05:54:12 PM »
My response to such mistakes is to smile and talk like they have given me a really nice compliment, which they have.  I say "Thank you so much but I can't take any credit for this one" and I explain who the actual mother is.

That is a lovely response you might want to adopt (no pun intended), mmswm.

mmswm

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 05:59:05 PM »
This is off topic a bit, but I agree this would be confusing for people since it is atypical (I actually thought largely impossible!) for a 54 year old woman to birth a child! But I think you are handling it well.  No one seems to be intending or taking offense.

Could be adopted too.

Actually, only two of my mother's six children are biological.  Numbers 1, 4, 5, and 6 are adopted out of the foster care system. I'm number two and number three is also biological.  Number 1 was adopted at age 3, number 4 was adopted as a newborn, number 5 (by age, she was the 6th to join the family) was adopted at age 6 and number 6 was adopted at age 2.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

mmswm

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 06:00:54 PM »
My response to such mistakes is to smile and talk like they have given me a really nice compliment, which they have.  I say "Thank you so much but I can't take any credit for this one" and I explain who the actual mother is.

That is a lovely response you might want to adopt (no pun intended), mmswm.

Oh!  I like this one.  I think I will use this response from now on.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

Sharnita

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Re: Assumptions on who's the mother.
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2013, 07:08:23 AM »
I might be tempted to make a silly joke "if you feel surprised you should have seen the reaction from mom's ob".