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What is the key to understanding 'would' in this case?

I can't separate the two different cases of using 'would' in this situation:

"Oh no!" I said, and that's when I couldn't hold it in anymore. Everything that had just happened kind of hit me and I couldn't help it: I started to cry. Like big crying, what Mom would call "the waterworks."

I hesitate between seeing this as a repeated action or an imaginary situation. Could I get any help?

If Mom was here right now, he would call it 'the waterworks' OR When I was yonger, I used to cry. Mom would call my crying 'the waterworks'

I'm having a lot of trouble with 'would' now and I don't have clue how natives understand it immediately by the context.

Why does it mean what it actually means in this case? Where is the clue?