As you may know, my family hails from the Northeast, but I have lived in the South all my life. I always say I speak Southern and Yankee, but sometimes word choice flummoxes me.
How do you refer to your parents when speaking to someone else (someone who is not your sibling) about them? I often hear and read people–Southerners in particular–refer to their parents as “Mom” and “Dad” (or variations of those nouns) to this unrelated third party.
Example: Momma had to go to the doctor today.
This always leaves me wondering how they knew that my mother went to the doctor, and I didn’t get the news. They mean their mother went to the doctor, not mine. Why don’t they use the adjective “my”? After all, my mother and their mother are not the same person.
Since I was taught to say “my mother” or “my father,” I kind of assumed this might be a Southern speech pattern. But my husband, who is 100 percent Southern, does not do this. He will call them Mom and Dad when speaking to his sister, which makes sense. They share the same relationship to the people in question. On the other hand, my husband is not a grammar person, so I’m not sure I can go by his speech patterns alone. After all, he’s an engineer who thinks “indubidently” is a word. (Spoiler: he means indubitably.)
So I ask you…do you refer to your parents as Mom and Dad to unrelated people? Or do you use an adjective? Is this a regional phenomenon?