A Rolling Stone story on Vice President Mike Pence carefully highlights his nonsense posturing during the Carrier deal in Indiana, savages his political tendency to ignore any "square peg in round America," and details his longstanding homophobic ideals.

He also calls his wife "mother."

It's one of the odder personal tidbits in a political landscape full of them.

At a governor's mansion dinner with Democratic legislators during Pence's tenure as Indiana governor, the man who's now just one heartbeat away from the presidency attempted to avoid small talk by yelling to his wife, Karen.


"Mother, Mother, who prepared our meal this evening?"

The legislators looked at one another, speaking with their eyes: He just called his wife "Mother."

Maybe it was a joke, the legislator reasoned. But a few minutes later, Pence shouted again.

"Mother, Mother, whose china are we eating on?"

Mother Pence went on a long discourse about where the china was from. A little later, the legislators stumbled out, wondering what was weirder: Pence's inability to make conversation, or calling his wife "Mother" in the second decade of the 21st century.

Twitter was as weirded out as those Democratic legislators.


While everyone's heard a parent refer to the other as "mom" or "dad" in front of the kids,​ it seems a little strange to go with "mother" and to do it at a formal dinner. To understand this phenomenon, I resorted to Google searching the phrase "calling wife mother"—and I found the following, random post on a message board.


Do you call your wife, mother?

I met a couple the other day and they were both in their 60's I guess and the wife kept calling her husband "Daddy" and I said "That's your dad!!??" and everybody started laughing, then I was pretty embarrassed, but I got over it.

Nobody ever explained why...and I have heard other couples, mostly older ones, do this before but I still blurted out that stupid question.

So apparently this is A Thing. And now it's in the White House. It's not the weirdest part of Trump/Pence, but it's certainly something to think about.