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"His mother" vs "Their mother" vs "The mother"...how do you refer to parents?

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I'm writing a novel that features a 15-yo protagonist, his mother, and his sister. My question is very simple: How should I refer to the mother, whose name has not been introduced yet? Here's an example:

Quote
His mother handed Toby a bagel with cream cheese. Kitty was singing to herself in the next room, and they could hear someone’s TV from down the hall.
“Sorry that you’re stressed,” his mom said.
Toby shrugged. “If Dad could do Afghanistan, I think I can do J.B. High or whatever.”
His mom gave him a long, serious look like she was thinking of what to say to that. Whatever she had in mind was cut short by Kitty’s return.
“Ta da!” she exclaimed. “I am ready for school!”
She was dressed for school, all right…in her Halloween princess costume, complete with tiara.
Her mother groaned. “Not this morning, Kitty—we don’t have time for this!”

So, in sentences where Mom is interacting with Toby, I am using "his mother"; in sentences where she is interacting with Kitty, I am using "her mother." And then I wonder whether I should just be using "their mother," but that seems awkward.

I'm planning a trip to the children's library to figure this out, but any advice would be appreciated.
#1 - October 30, 2019, 08:55 AM

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Is their more than one mom? Couldn't you not just use Mom?

Or do the teens usually refer to her by her proper name? Then I'd get her name out quickly.
#2 - October 30, 2019, 11:55 AM

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If you're writing in close third, I'd go with however the character refers to their mother - Mom, Mum, Mummy, Betty, Ms Draper etc. All are fine, and reveal something about the PoV character and their relationship with their parent(s). No need to add distance by using their/his. If you're writing in omniscient, then I'd personally probably use given name or title and surname (but my omniscient narrators tend to be a bit formal :) ).
#3 - October 30, 2019, 12:12 PM
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If you're writing in close third, I'd go with however the character refers to their mother - Mom, Mum, Mummy, Betty, Ms Draper etc. All are fine, and reveal something about the PoV character and their relationship with their parent(s). No need to add distance by using their/his. If you're writing in omniscient, then I'd personally probably use given name or title and surname (but my omniscient narrators tend to be a bit formal :) ).

This.
#4 - October 30, 2019, 08:06 PM
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