June 10, 2006 1:53 PM

What do you call your mother-in-law?

Okay, no wisecracks! I mean what do you call her to her face?

I was thinking about this this morning while doing laundry (along with the shower, my best thinking spot). Josh and Hattie are doing all their just-married stuff - new driver's license for her, new bank account for them, figuring out how to blend the masculine and feminine components of their previous years. . . . and what to call the mothers-in-law.

I'm used to being called Mom by people other than my kids. My sons-in-law call me Mom. And - a special blessing - some of my sons' friends call me Mom or Mama C, though I never asked them too. It's really an honor.

Sad story: when Tripp and I got married, the first time I called his mother Mom, she got upset and told me not to. It really hurt me. Only recently have I realized that in reacting to her rejection, I not only distanced myself from her but from Tripp's siblings too. She died without ever having me call her anything but Barbara (it was her name too).

So I asked Hattie right away to call me Mom - but don't know yet if she plans to take me up on it. I sensed some reluctance. It's her call. But it would be ironic to reach out and be rejected by both sides of the family line.

What is your experience with this - funny and sad stories welcome!

Love,
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To her face: Mom
When referencing her to other people: Mom or Louise
When talking about her to my children: Grandma.

It really is very complicated.

Posted by: Monika | June 10, 2006 2:28 PM

I can't imagine ANY body that close to you not wanting to call you "mom"! It just fits you....and it brings intimacy with you that I would jump on if you were my mother-in-law!!! : ) My experience hasn't been anything similar to yours. I just can't imagine calling my m-i-l "mom"! She's a more distant person.....and very protective of her boys!!! So, us girls (3 daughter in laws) seem to be "threat" to her : ( Not a fun way to have family time! We've tried to have some good talks, but I think it's hard too b/c we are in the states, and they are in Canada....so our times together are very few and far between!!!!

Posted by: shawnda | June 10, 2006 2:35 PM

Interesting question and your reasons for asking. Before I give my answer I would encourage you NOT to think of her calling you by any other name as rejection.

Now for my answer. I call my mother-in-law, Wanda, because that is her name. I felt very odd calling her Mom, Mother, anything of that nature because she is not my mother. It's just me I guess, but it felt very odd calling a woman I just met "Mom". Although I love my mother-in-law very much and through the years have grown to look on her as a mother figure in my life, she is still not my mother. Her other daughter-in-law calls her Mom. It's interesting. I grew up with a mother that, well, we don't speak anymore and she has hurt my children and my husband greatly. It has taken my children long years to recover from the pain my family, especially my mother, has caused and we are still healing. I had adult responsibilities by the age of 16 and in many ways no longer saw myself as anyone's child. I didn't think of myself as having all the answers. I just had been on my own for a long time when we got married (I was 24). So I didn't really want another mother. I wanted a woman whose years of life and experience could be shared, the woman who raised my husband to be a wonderful man to be my respected mentor and friend. But I wanted to be look at as another adult not a child. It took them a long time to accept the fact that I could take care of myself when I needed to do so. If my hubby went out of town they didn't understand why I wouldn't pack up and come stay with them (the other d-i-l would). I can change a car tire, fan belt, oil. I can fix the washer and dryer. I can do some plumbing (with great caution). I know how to handle things although I prefer my hubby to take care of me in those regards, when I need to, I can. I can manage the money and take care of all the children (by myself).
My hubby and I were also engaged before I ever met his family. My husband was renting a room from his aunt and uncle at the time where we lived in Hattiesburg. During our dating/courting time they grew very much in my hearts as his family. Movie nights at their house, Sunday lunches after church at their house, games and practical jokes all around. I was a regular welcomed member of that house. (To this day one of my absolute best friends in the world is his cousin and if we don't talk on a regular daily basis - somebody must be sick or dead.) So it was really weird when I met his parents. Times have changed the relationship into a great one, but I would still call her by her name, Wanda, sometimes it's Wanda-Bee (she stays so busy) and sometimes it's WandarWoman, but it's still her name.

Her other daughter-in-law grew up without a mother because hers died when she was very young and she called our m-i-l Mom before the wedding had even taken place. There relationship was first and I think that the situation rendered itself to their closeness.

Everyone has there reasons for what they use to call their in-laws. They aren't always bad or sad reasons. I think it was awesome to tell her that it was ok for her to call you Mom, but reassure her that if she is not comfortable with that, that you are open to other options. I think that would be the first ice-breaker moment to open up some really comfortable and bonding conversations. If you don't want her to call you Barbara, have her suggest what she is comfortable with. It may change in time anyway. Once they have children they will probably call you by that grandmotherly name all the time anyway. LOL.

Sorry this was so long.

Posted by: the SmockLady | June 10, 2006 2:40 PM

My mother-in-law gets called by her first name - we're not close enough to justify me calling her "mom" or another familial pet name. It IS sad; I don't think it's fixable.
I do call my grandmother-in-law "Grandma", though, since I like her and she likes being called that.
My husband is very close to my parents, and he still calls them by their first names - it's not that he feels distant from them, but that he reserves mom and dad for his parents. I think some people are just like that.

Posted by: Rebecca | June 10, 2006 2:49 PM

My sister in law gets mad when people call her mom "mom". I thought that was a little unusual.

I used to call my mother in law "mom" but after a lot of hurtful things that happened between us, for the last few years I call her by her name and my father in law by his name. It's not a matter of forgiveness really, it is a word of honor to which I don't believe they deserve it. I can forgive people but it doesn't mean I should just let them be cruel to me either.

I sincerely hope that when my children marry my children in law will call me mom. I hope they feel I deserve it.

I am sorry that your mother in law wouldn't let you call her mom. I bet you were a great daughter in law too. Blessings in Christ~ Mrs. DMG

Posted by: Mrs. DMG | June 10, 2006 3:02 PM

I am very close to my son in law and my daughter in law but they call me by my name.Their mom is" mom" to them, not me.I think it would hurt their mother's feelings if they called somebody else mom.
I am nana to the grandchildren and thats the term they use then, but in a conversation between us.it is my name.I think that is quite natural really and that using mom for someone else (if you have a close relationship with your own mom) probably feels unnatural to alot of people.I adored my mother in law(we lost her to cancer) and sat by her side as she die, but I always called her Janine.In fact the last thing I said to her was "I love you, Janine".

Posted by: Mary | June 10, 2006 3:07 PM

I never met my MIL, she died long before I met my husband. By all accounts, she was a beloved woman and theirs was the house everyone gathered at on Sunday afternoons.

Still, I couldn't have called her "Mom". That is reserved for MY one and only Mom. Interestingly, as she and I have matured (i'm mid-40s, she's early 70s), I've begun calling her "Mommy"...a strange turn of events, as it was a word I loathed once upon a time. Babyish. I've noticed Mom, in turn, begin calling my grandmother (in her early 90s) "little Mommy". ???

My SILs call my mother by her first name, except in conversation with their children, when she is called whatever pet Grandmother-name that family invented.

We're all very close and both SILs have great relationships with their own mothers.

Posted by: floorplan | June 10, 2006 3:17 PM

Actually, I guess there are a lot of underlying character traits that shape how we feel about it.

I am the kind of person who is always optimistic and expecting the best of people, so I think of calling my mother-in-law Mother as a symbol that I am willing and want to have a good relationship. Biblically, I think of Naomi and Ruth. In my way of thinking, it wouldn't dishonor or detract from the relationship with the other mother.

I would expect my children to call their mothers-in-law Mom or Mother or Mama_ to show their honor and respect for them as well. So I am consistent.

But it sounds like I see things very differently. And maybe it's because I didn't have much of a relationship with my own mom. Maybe that's why I don't understand. . . .

Posted by: barbaracurtis | June 10, 2006 3:19 PM

I've been married twice. In my first marriage, my ex-husband often joked that I married him for his parents because I fell in love with them so easily and quickly - we were married before I ever met them so in my defense it wasn't true! :) I did not have a good relationship with mine and the moment I met his mom, she became "mom." I was also a lot younger and needed a "mom" in my life. (Though do we ever not need a mom? Anyway...)

Now, I've been married for two years and actually met my husband through his mom - she and I were co-workers. So maybe for that reason it feels weird to call her mom? It just isn't something that feels natural to me. We get along, but we're not terribly close so I call her by her first name. Maybe it will be different 15 years from now. She'll always be called Grandma to our kids.

Posted by: Laura | June 10, 2006 3:26 PM

I call my MIL "Mom" because it is important to her. She didn't pressure me to call her that - she actually initiated a conversation and told me I could call her whatever I wanted - but I knew she would prefer "Mom" so I call her that out of respect. This is the mother of my husband, after all. :) However, it still feels strange to me to say "hi Mom" to her. Because, see, she isn't my Mom. She is a very nice person, but she's not my Mom. I don't think you should take it personally if Hattie decides to call you Barbara. That's your name and it seems like a reasonable thing to call you. :) She probably has a close relationship to her Mom and would feel strange using the same term of affection for both of you.

One possibility that you could suggest (if you wanted to) is to go by "Mum" or "Mother" or "Mil" (if you want to be funny) or something like that. My mom did this with her own MIL and it worked out well.

Posted by: Emily Moothart | June 10, 2006 4:05 PM

She asked me to call her Sylvia (her name), and it works for us. She is a very nice lady, and I couldn't have asked for a better mother-in-law.
Kathy

Posted by: Kathy F. | June 10, 2006 5:11 PM

I have a unique situation that I thought I'd share. My husband's family speaks German exclusively at home to maintain their language skills; yes, they're Americans but spent a fair amount of the kids' lives in Germany.

I call my mother-in-law "Mutti", the German form of Mom. Works out rather nicely.

Posted by: Emily | June 10, 2006 5:12 PM

I call her Diane. There is no way I could call anyone else "Mom". I just can't do it. In fact, several people that work with my Mom call her "Mom" and that REALLY bugs me LOL.

Posted by: Kelli | June 10, 2006 5:14 PM

I call my mother-in-law "Mom," but my husband has always called my parents by their first names. I suspect it makes them sad, as they always called each other parents "Mom" and "Pop"...I wonder if it is generational, to some extent?

I would like to call my father-in-law "Dad," but when I've tried he's made it very clear I am NOT to do so and should call him by his first name. I find it rather painful, quite honestly...and odd, in that on cards, etc. we now write Dad/his first name/Paw Paw!

To some extent, while perhaps it should not, it has kept me at arm's reach from him when I would like to be closer.

Posted by: ADDMama | June 10, 2006 5:40 PM

I call my parents-in-law 'mom' and 'dad'. I moved 2,000 miles away from my own family when my hubby and I got married. We live in the very small rural town that my husband grew up in and live only 2 miles away from his parents. They are my family. We are connected by many experiences and memories and I feel completely at home at their house and in their presence. In fact, during the first year of our marriage when I went through a hard time of being terribly homesick and sad my MIL really pulled me through. That first year cemented a deep and loving relationship that I am so thankful for. I still love my own mother like I can't love anyone else. She is my mentor and loving shoulder to cry on. I talk to her every week. But I have no problem calling my MIL 'mom'.

It's interesting how different people handle that!

Posted by: Beckie | June 10, 2006 7:29 PM

I have to agree. I just wouldn't feel comfortable calling my MIL "Mom," no matter how close we are. It's not personal at all. Luckily, now that she's a grandma, I feel great referring to her as such.

Posted by: Meredith | June 10, 2006 7:56 PM

I agree with those who say it might feel uncomfortable to a daughter-in-law to call her MIL the same name as her own mother. But I can also see it as a sign of respect and reaching out to the MIL. My personal compromise has been to call my MIL "Mama Rosa," as her children call her Mama. My husband calls my parents by their first names.
Sounds as if you already have a handle on this, but whatever Hattie chooses to call you, don't read too much meaning into it. Perhaps ask her what her mom calls her own MIL--the answer might guide her and possibly inform you of some of the family dynamics she is accustomed to. Depending on one's nature and previous experience, marrying into a large, emotionally open family as yours could be very welcoming, or very overwhelming.
Best wishes to you all!

Posted by: Alison | June 10, 2006 9:10 PM

well, she told me to call her by her first name, but I just went ahead and used Mom. Honestly I don't feel comfortable calling her by her first name. I agree with you, Barbara. It's a title of honor and respect. I'm glad to call her Mom (and f-i-l Dad). I have a wonderful relationship with my own Mom and she is fine with me calling my m-i-l Mom too.

Posted by: Monica | June 10, 2006 9:13 PM

hmm, i have to say that i adore my husband's family but for the first 5 or so years of us knowing each other i did not call them anything. not mom, not their first names, not hay you, just nothing. I couldn't call her mom for the same reasons some other ladies here couldn't. i am very close to my mom and it was too strange to call someone else mom. If I really had to call her something I would call her her first name or when I was talking to someone about them I would say "Jeff's mom". I mean no disrespect. again, I have the best in laws ever (no kidding!) Now, sometimes, rarely, I call them by their first names but really, I call them Nana and PawPaw even when our children are not around. They seem fine with it. We get along wonderfully and I like to think they feel the same about me. :)

Posted by: janet | June 10, 2006 9:34 PM

My MIL passed away over 30-years ago. I never met her, but I could never have called her Mom, even though she was a much beloved woman in her family & community. My mom is Mom. I rarely saw my FIL before he passed away six months ago. Before I married DH I called him Joe, because obviously to call him Dad before marriage would have been totally inappropriate. I tried calling him Dad a few times after DH & I got married, but it felt completely wrong, all the way down to my soul. My dad is Dad. I went back to calling him Joe.

There was never any disrespect intended in not referring to my in-laws as Mom or Dad. My FIL was a very sweet man. It's not a Biblical disobedience thing. It's just a name thing.

Interestingly, my DH calls my mom Mom. And when my father was alive DH called him Dad. My DH developed a very close relationship with my parents (he did not have a close relationship with his father, and as I mentioned his mother died decades ago). We saw my parents several times a year, versus us never seeing DH's father after we got married over 10 years ago.

Posted by: Tulip | June 10, 2006 10:08 PM

I just spent half the day with my mother-in-law!

When my husband and I were engaged, we did a workbook together called "Preparing for Marriage," edited by Dennis Rainey. One of the activities was an interview that each person conducted with their parents - and one of the questions was what the parents wanted our future spouse to call them. My MIL said "Mom, or Jan."

Usually, if I am addressing her, I call her "mom." I choose that because (In my opinion) it conveys a sense of respect for the position she has in my life. She is not just some friend that I call "Jan." She is my husband's mother, and by calling her "mom" I think I convey a willingness to be part of the family.

I do call her Jan if I am referring to her while speaking to my Father-in-law. But I do not usually address her this way.

Posted by: Lori | June 10, 2006 10:38 PM

I call my MIL by her first name and my DH calls my mom by her first name. I think, mostly, because although we both are lucky enough to love the other's mom, we are both extraordinarily close to our moms, and that name is reserved for them only.

Posted by: Stephanie | June 10, 2006 11:06 PM

Please don't take it personally if Hattie doesn't call you mom. Is your relationship good otherwise or is there potential to be good? :) I call my MIL by her first name, but interestingly I call the rest of my husbands family (grand and greatgrandparents) the same as my husband calls them (Pappa and so on). Right from the start, his mother signed cards to me with her first name, but the others told me to call them the grand-names. I love my mother in law although we are not very close. She is extremely busy with her career (even on holidays), and we don't live near, so we don't see much of her. I never would have thought to call her Mom. That's a great idea! On the other hand, my husband is VERY close with my parents and he calls them by their first names. It has never been suggested otherwise, however he honors them. :)

Posted by: Angela | June 11, 2006 12:17 AM

I liked Emily's reference to calling her MIL "Mutti". That's actually what I called my grandmother because when I was born my grandfather didn't want to be married to a grandma (we called him by his first name).

I call my MIL by her first name, really because it's never occured to me to call her anything else (I believe I referred to them as Mr. and Mrs. before I married their son). My DH calls my parents by their first names, which makes sense because he works for my father. But this prompts me to reconsider. I'm not super-close to my inlaws, although my FIL and I get along really well - much better than I get along with my own father. But my MIL and I have never really connected, although we enjoy each other very much. I don't know how my mom would feel about it.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

Posted by: Sarah | June 11, 2006 1:16 AM

My husband and I have been married for almost four years, and when we were engaged my MIL told me in the sweetest way that I could call her "mom." She said it, like , "this would be special to me"...but I was (and still am) reluctant to call her this. It *is* strange. But as we have grown closer (although very far apart) I am beginning to think that maybe I should call her mom. It is a very strange dilema...
She often tells me how happy she is to have me as a daughter in law...maybe someday it will just happen?

Posted by: Bonnie | June 11, 2006 2:07 AM

I call my inlaws Mr. Firstname and Mrs. Firstname. It's a Southern thing. That is what I called them before I got married, and it just stayed. Dh calls my parents the same thing, or just by their first names. If mil wanted me to call her mom I would, but this is comfortable for both of us. Sometimes I call FIL PawPaw, which is what my kids call him.

Posted by: CharityGrace | June 11, 2006 10:21 AM

Both me and my SIL called my Mother-in-law Mumsie. She was not our mom or mommy and the British Mum had murphed into Mumsie before I really got to know her. She was a former cheerleader and always vivacious so it fit. You might want to look into other languages words for mom...one of them might be a great fit and a lot of fun for the whole family. It will make it easier for Hattie to have something a little different to call you than she calls her mom. If there are tensions between them it also keeps them from sickening your relationship.

Posted by: JaneD | June 11, 2006 5:59 PM

I can't remember what I called my m-i-l when dh and I first married. I don't think I called her anything before we had children. I didn't know my in-laws very well and we lived many states away and saw them for a week every year.

Once children came, I called her Grandma when we were together.

Six years ago, we moved into their state and we spent one three-day weekend with them each month. Sometime during that stretch I began to call her Mom. Then we moved about 20 minutes away from them and we had the privilege of helping her care for my Dad-in-law while he was on hospice.

I still call her Mom to her face. Grandma to the children and Mom [her last name] when I talk to my mom.

Since I married in to my husband's family, I do consider her to be my other mother. I like the term I heard someone use long ago... she is my mother-in-love... she became my mother because of my love for her son and his for me. Since then, I have thought about Ruth and Naomi too. And although my other mother doesn't yet know the Lord, I have learned a lot from her and hope to continue to for a good while.

I would say she has had at least as much impact on my life as my own mother has.

Posted by: StephanieS | June 11, 2006 8:09 PM

In my family, growing up, as a rule, people were called by their first names. Children called their parents Mother and Daddy or whatever the mother/father designation was, And we called our grandparents by Mommie/Poppy or Big Mama/Grandpa. Yes, those were our actual 'grandparent names' for them. LOL! But we called aunts and uncles by their first names.
So my father called his in-laws by their first names and my mother called her in-laws by ... Mommie and Poppy, I think - when talking to them. To others she called them Mr.... and Mrs....

My DH and my sisters' husbands called my parents by their first names. I called my in-laws by their first names too. And so did my husbands siblings' spouses. I was so close to my Mother, that I would have felt very weird calling my MIL or step MIL 'Mom'.

Two of our children are married, and my DIL calls me Wanda, and my DH, 'Chuck' while my SIL calls me 'Mom' and my DH 'Chuck'. I think he calls me 'Mom' because I'd known him since he was 16, and we were very close over the years. Plus he does not have a good relationship with his own mother. He does have a close relationship with his own father, though. I never asked them to call me any certain name, so they just did what felt comfortable to them. My children call their in-laws by their first names.

I also would urge you not to read anything into your new DIL's choice to call you either Mom or Barbara. Some people just have a hard time doing that. I never would have done it, and to tell you the truth, although I love my SIL dearly, it does feel a little odd to me. But that doesn't mean I am not flattered.

Posted by: Wanda | June 11, 2006 8:39 PM

I call my MIL Pat. It's definitely not an issue of not being close -- she's great! -- and it's not about reserving "Mom" for my mom -- she and I don't get along that well. It's just weird IMO to meet someone as an adult and call them "Mom." In fact, I call my step-grandparents Barb and Hal, and I call my step-dad Mike, because I was already 16 when I met them. And then my step-kids call me mommy, because they were toddlers when I got them.

Fortunately in my hubby's family everyone calls everyone by first names. The kids don't even say Aunt or Uncle. (Though the kids DO use Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa.)

Posted by: Michelle | June 12, 2006 12:38 AM

I do call her mom, but ironically, it takes a lot to say "I love you" to her face. She is a sweet lady whom I love, but I just can't seem to say it to her face as often as she probably deserves. I'm not sure if my mom would appreciate my husband calling her "mom," though. I know my sister-in-law calls her "mother-in-law" as a term of endearment - it's kinda cute!

How sad that your mother-in-law felt that way! :(

Posted by: Amy from Ezekiel's Garden | June 12, 2006 7:38 AM

When DH asked my dad what he wanted to be called, my dad replied, solemnly, "Your Majesty." So that's what he's been ever since. We both call my stepmother by her first name, but collectively they're "Their Majesties."

I have a great relationship with my stepmother and my mother-in-law. But nobody but my mom could ever be Mom.

Posted by: Queen of Carrots | June 12, 2006 8:23 AM

Your majesty? That's GREAT! Love it.

My husband, Matthew, called my father, an Army chaplain, "Colonel Castle, sir" - literally, to his face AND otherwise - for the longest time! My dad told him over and over again, "You can call me Doug!" With great awkwardness, after three years of marriage, my husband has just recently started calling my dad "Doug." He easily calls my mom "Mama C" (!) because many of my friends do too.

I pretty much avoid nouns of direct address with my mother in law. I love her to death, and I know she loves me, it just feels awkward to call her ANYTHING! (This was particularly troublesome when we lived with her for a year!) To other people, I call her "Barbara" or "Matthew's mom" or "my mother-in-law." I am hoping that "mom" becomes more natural for me as time goes on, because I would like to call her that. The first grandbaby, our daughter, is due in October, so maybe I will be like a lot of the commentors and settle on calling her "Grandma."

I still call my mom "Mommy."

Posted by: miller_schloss | June 12, 2006 1:32 PM

My dear MIL passed away from breast cancer about a year before I met my sweetheart-for-life. It is one of the great sadnesses of my life that I never met a woman who was so well-loved by everyone she knew. I don't know if we get to meet those who have gone on before when we get to Heaven (or if we'll even want to) but if we do, she is the first one after my Savior I want to see :)

It took me FOREVER to call my FIL anything but Mr. Morrison. He wanted me to call him by his first name but he is 52 years older than I and the oldest person I know personally, so that was really uncomfortable. I finally started calling him Dad after I became his daughter-in-law. He always refers to his wife as "Rosie" even when speaking to their children. I kind of imagine that I would call her Rosie if I knew her. It's really hard to say though. I have a hard time calling an adult (meaning anyone more than 10 years older than myself) by her first name.

My husband is only 7 years younger than my "dad" so it's kind of weird for him to call my parents Mom and Dad. He generally doesn't call them anything but just talks to them :) The strange thing is that DH calls my grandparents (my step-dad's mom and step-dad [who is just 17 years older than DH]) grandma and grandpa. Probably because I do and so do our kids. We have a really weird family on my side :)

Posted by: Lindsey in AL | June 12, 2006 5:27 PM

Like an earlier post, I have a unique situation that I thought I'd share. My husband is from Mexico and his family speaks Spanish. We're raising our kids bilingual and they have created their own "word" for their grandmom. It's "Tita" which is the shortened form of "Abuelita" for grandmom in Spanish. I call her Tita as well. I just couldn't call someone else mom. There's only one person who could be "mom" to me!! However these days, I find myself calling her "Mimi" more than mom since I'm always with my kids when we're together!!

Posted by: arangel | June 13, 2006 12:57 AM

Thanks so much for all the input! After this wide range of responses, I can tell you one thing: I will not take it personally what Hattie decides.

I never asked my sons-in-law to call me mom - they just did. And as I said, some of my kids' friends call me Mama C.

Like some of those who commented, I still see addressing in-laws by some sort of special address as showing honor and a willingness to embrace the spouse's family. I would feel awkward being called Barbara by my son's wife. But as Rick Warren has reminded us, it's not about me.

Love the discussion and especially the commenters who mentioned that they were rethinking their choices. It's always good to do that and to be intentional in the words we choose. Words mean so much more than the letters they're composed of.

Posted by: barbara | June 13, 2006 7:41 AM

I adore my MIL. I thought when we got married that I would call her Mom and have a certain relationship with her-that was not to be. She already had a daughter and didn't need another one. Now I call her Cheryl, MiMi, friend or Mother-in-love. All of these are approriate and fit our relationship. She and I share a different bond than I have with my mom, different yet wonderful.
I pray that you too will be a Mother-in-love to your new DIL.

Posted by: Lizanne | June 13, 2006 11:10 AM

this has been so interesting! Esp the folks who commented on never coming up with a good solution and through YEARS never really addressing the MIL or FIL by a name, any name!
I can't imagine that behaviour lasting very long in your house, Barbara. My imagination is playing out the most comical scene, right now : )

Posted by: floorplan | June 13, 2006 12:08 PM

Interesting conversation. My turn: I WOULD be willing, I think, to call my MIL "Mom" BUT I flatly refuse to call my FIL "Dad," because of his relationship with his son (my husband) and the way he has treated DH through the years. I have a dad that I love and respect and refuse to share HIS term of endearment (which I think Mom and Dad are) with a man that I do not respect at all. I know that I can't "split" the names without hurt or anger so I will continue to use their first names, unless at some point FIL is out of the picture.

My son can call him Grandpa as long as he wants, but I'm not going to make a special effort to give the man a special "Grandfather" name either. My son is already starting to refer to my dad as "Pa Pa" (I think), but I'm not going to tell the in-laws that.

Posted by: Nancy M. Hall | June 16, 2006 3:51 PM

Thanks for all this input. I just did a google search on "should I call my mother-in-law mom?" and was directed to this page. What insight you all have given me!!!

My MIL is my best friend. We're so close, so much closer than my mom and I. Though I know my MIL would be flattered to be called mom, I still have a hard time uttering that word. I can write it in a card or an email so easily but I just can't seem to say it.

In the back of my mind, I feel as if I might betray my real mom by calling my MIL mom. I don't want my mom to think she's lost her place in my eyes.

I have no problem calling my FIL dad -- I think it's bcs my own dad and I are so close that I'm secure in that relationship with him. I know my dad knows I'll always be HIS little girl. And, he knows that no one can ever take his place.

I'm seeing my MIL this weekend, and just hope the "mom" word will come out naturally. She has no problem calling me her daughter, so why should I have no problem calling her mom?

Posted by: Amy | August 2, 2006 9:23 AM

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