Calling MIL Mom or FIL Dad? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've never called anyone other than my mom or dad by those names. It doesn't come naturally to me at all. DH's mom expects that I call her mom and has made this expectation known to me several times. I call her mom, although it doesn't feel right. It feels fake and phony. Maybe this is because I have other issues with her that I'm trying to work through. Most of the time lately I don't call her anything just to avoid the discomfort, but that, it itself, is uncomfortable. I'm also expected to call his aunts (one of whom I've never met in person) Aunt X & Aunt Y, although I can tolerate this more than calling MIL Mom.

I got married at 32 and after being single my whole life, it feels weird to call another woman, whom I've only met in person 3 times in the last 2 years, Mom. I'm trying to understand if my discomfort lies mainly in my bitterness (I am working to resolve this) toward her for the way she treated me this past summer or if I am just generally uncomfortable with calling her mom. For what it's worth, I wasn't comfortable with calling her that from the very beginning, but I didn't want to make her uncomfortable or start our relationship off on the wrong foot. She has talked to me about DH's cousin's wife who calls her in-laws by their first names, which MIL is appalled by.

It doesn't come naturally to call her Mom. Yet, I know that if I call her by her first name, it will invite hard feelings FOREVER. Does anyone else feel this way?

Also, if you're comfortable calling your in-laws Mom and Dad, what makes you comfortable doing so? Was it something you had to learn to be comfortable with or were you comfortable from the beginning?

ETA (And I feel horrible about this) At this point, calling MIL Mom feels like hugging a porcupine. I intuit that if I'm going to work through my issues with her, I'm going to have to suck it up.
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#2 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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I never could. Its so much more than a title. When we started dating I called her so and so aunty, but i barely met/spoke with her. dh did the same with my parents.

Our compromise was to switch all the aunt's uncles with mom's and dads. So dh calls my dad <firstname> dad etc.

That being said, I'm still not comfortable calling MIL j-mom because of they way she's treated me. To her, I try not to say anything, to other people I always say Dh's mom.

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#3 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never could. Its so much more than a title. When we started dating I called her so and so aunty, but i barely met/spoke with her. dh did the same with my parents.

Our compromise was to switch all the aunt's uncles with mom's and dads. So dh calls my dad <firstname> dad etc.

That being said, I'm still not comfortable calling MIL j-mom because of they way she's treated me. To her, I try not to say anything, to other people I always say Dh's mom.
So if your MIL's name is Beth, you call her Beth Mom?

I say, DH's mom a lot when referring to her.
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#4 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 02:54 PM
 
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Both my dh and I call each other's parents by there first names and everyone has been fine with that. When I first met his parents, it was Mr and Mrs _____
then they asked me to call them their first names.
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#5 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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So if your MIL's name is Beth, you call her Beth Mom?

I say, DH's mom a lot when referring to her.
yup. It sounds totally ridiculous, but it's something everyone can live with. And you get used to it after a while-- I mean, how many people are called things like meemaw and the like!

If you are comfortable, post kids, you can switch to something like grandma beth. Come to think of it, we culturally put the title after the first name. You could do Mama beth or the like.

I think this is the most southern post I have ever written.

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#6 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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I don't. FIL, I wouldn't dream of. I don't like him, he doesn't like me and we've never had any kind of relationship. MIL, she implied once that she wanted me to and I politely declined. My mom is Mom. MIL isn't my mom.

DH does call my mom Mom. He just feels like she's a mom-type figure to him and likes to. And she doesn't mind in the least. He does not call my dad Dad because they've never been close or anything remotely like that. Of course since I'm not used to calling inlaws Mom and Dad, I'm always slightly confused when dh refers to my mom as Mom. I'm never quite sure who he's talking about.

I think it's completely up to everyone involved. She may want you to but if you're not comfortable with it, there's no reason you have to.
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#7 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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I would NOT call her Mom. Can you come up with some other name? Like Ms. Beth?

Tell her you're just not comfortable with it. Is your Mom still alive? You can tell her it would be upsetting to your Mom.

What will your child call her?

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#8 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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i was with X for 12 years and I called his parents by their names.
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#9 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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Nope, I either call them by their names, or, because of the kids, grandma and grandpa.
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#10 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would NOT call her Mom. Can you come up with some other name? Like Ms. Beth?

Tell her you're just not comfortable with it. Is your Mom still alive? You can tell her it would be upsetting to your Mom.

What will your child call her?
My 2 DSDs call her Nana and that's what we're teaching DS to call her (he's just shy of 9 months). We're teaching DS to call my mom Grannie (she likes to spell it ie instead of y).

I wish I'd handled this from the beginning. It's hard after 2 years of marriage to start calling her "Beth". I guess I thought I was alone in my feelings, and now I see that isn't so.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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#11 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't. FIL, I wouldn't dream of. I don't like him, he doesn't like me and we've never had any kind of relationship. MIL, she implied once that she wanted me to and I politely declined. My mom is Mom. MIL isn't my mom.

DH does call my mom Mom. He just feels like she's a mom-type figure to him and likes to. And she doesn't mind in the least. He does not call my dad Dad because they've never been close or anything remotely like that. Of course since I'm not used to calling inlaws Mom and Dad, I'm always slightly confused when dh refers to my mom as Mom. I'm never quite sure who he's talking about.

I think it's completely up to everyone involved. She may want you to but if you're not comfortable with it, there's no reason you have to.
DH calls my mom Mom. He's comfortable calling her that, and she never required it of him. Of course, she feels happy that he wants to call her that. My 2 brothers-in-law call my mom by her first name and she's fine with that, too. DH is an only child, so I can't compare what spouses of siblings on his side would call her, although that might make things easier.
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#12 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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DH calls my mom Mom. He's comfortable calling her that, and she never required it of him. Of course, she feels happy that he wants to call her that. My 2 brothers-in-law call my mom by her first name and she's fine with that, too. DH is an only child, so I can't compare what spouses of siblings on his side would call her, although that might make things easier.
That would probably make things easier. My dh's siblings are much older and both of their spouses call mil by her first name. Well, one sil probably calls her much worse, but she's completely insane. My brother's wife calls my mom by her first name, but my brother calls his mil Mom. It was something she insisted on and by now it's normal to him, but I don't think he was real comfortable with it in the beginning.
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#13 of 34 Old 10-26-2010, 10:34 PM
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My MIL cried to me about how she wanted me to call her mom. I just can't do it, and I won't.

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#14 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 01:09 AM
 
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I have wished repeatedly that I did NOT start calling my inlaws Mom and Dad. Such intimate terms for people I never really did get to like or understand. Its too late now but of all the marrieds of his other four sibs, only I call them that (was the first to marry into the family) and I wish I could stop, but after 20 years its too late.
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#15 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 01:18 AM
 
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I have wished repeatedly that I did NOT start calling my inlaws Mom and Dad. Such intimate terms for people I never really did get to like or understand. Its too late now but of all the marrieds of his other four sibs, only I call them that (was the first to marry into the family) and I wish I could stop, but after 20 years its too late.
It's not to late. just switch to what everyone else calls them-- tell them it's confusing.

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#16 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 02:40 AM
 
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wow i'm actually surprised how many people dont call their inlaws mom and dad. i guess that is a thing of the past. I call DH father "dad"...it took some getting used to and felt really weird the first couple times I said it but it comes naturally now. I feel part of the family and that's just how they do it. Everyone calls him Dad and I feel more comfortable calling him that than by his first name. But DH Step Mother we call by her name but just because DH calls her by name as well. DH Mom lives really far and I've only met her twice so it seems weird to call her Mom but I'm sure that I will when I see her, it will just take longer to feel normal. When she emails me she signs it "Mom" so I assume she would like to be called that and I'm OK with that.

In my previous marriage there was no WAY i would call them mom or dad but they never accepted me as part of the family.

So I think it depends on your relationship with the inlaws.

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#17 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 04:20 AM
 
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i call my MIL mom, but then i think of her as a mother. she is more motherly to me most of the time then my actual mom. that being said if i didn't have those feelings for her i wouldn't call her mom. can you talk to your dh about it and maybe he can talk to him mom about it?
my dh does not call my parents mom and dad. he calls them by their first names.

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#18 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 05:16 AM
 
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In my culture we don't use names as much. Instead, it is more like "Hello" in stead of "Hello, Jim." Sooo.... In the beginning I just tried not to use names much. MIL said I can call her by her first name, mom, whatever I want. I ended up using mom and dad. When I speak to others, I use "dh's mom" (never MIL or mom). She is not my mom, but I use the term somehow as one of honor, as she has given birth to my husband.

Then again, ever since dd was two or so, we have used the term she came up with to call her grandma and grandpa. That actually works well these days.

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#19 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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I agree with you, it feels strange to me too.

I call my in-laws by their first name, and my DH does the same with my parents. But my BIL calls my mom and dad "mom" and "dad", and it bugs the heck out of me! The posessive part of me says "Stop calling my mom MOM... she's MY mom, not yours!"... It's kind of wierd for me to hear that.

I don't really think that there is any "right" or "wrong" way of doing things. I think it's nice that they want you to call them mom or dad, it really shows to the strong family bond and connection that they have with you and I think it's wonderful that you are on such good terms with your in-laws. But if you feel weird about it, that's totally understandable.

Are they pressing you to call you mom and dad and they just don't understand why you won't? Do they feel that the name is symbolic of something greater, like a deeper love or connection to them?
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#20 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 10:00 AM
 
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I'm sorry... I should have read your WHOLE first post before I replied...

I asked you a question in my last post and the answer was right there in front of me the whole time. You touched on the issue with your initial post:

There are relationship problems with you and DH's mom. Calling her "mom" is difficult and challenging for you, not just because she isn't your "mom", but because of a deeper lack of love and connection to her. Perhaps she senses that and that this is part of the reason for her sensitivity to the subject?

Is there anything that you can do with MIL so that you can repair the relationship (which may not be completely broken, but it sounds like there is work that could be done there) that would help you to build a strong bond and connection to her so that you ARE comfortable to call her "mom"?
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#21 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 10:01 AM
 
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I called my Mil Mom for awhile several years ago. We had a falling out for a couple of years so I went back to her first name. But as we grew closer again and I had children she became Grams. My Fil is Pop.
But I'm like that with names. I always have a nickname for people I see a lot. Usually names are shortened, so my own way of recognizing someone is usually by calling them by their full name. For example my dear friend Nate to others, is Nathan to me. I do that a lot.

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#22 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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Im on the opposite side of this situation. Id love it if my MIL asked me to call her mom. She has never introduced me as her "daughter in law" Its always "this is my Daughter Krystina, My son David, and his wife Holly" I dont think Ive ever heard her refer to me as anything other than "my sons wife". So, I call her Granny, and when Im making lists and stuff I call her Mom, but i try to think about it in the same way as when I tell my kid, "We dont chew on plastic bags." Of course I would never chew on one, but saying we just feels better. So, saying Mom when talking about meeting her, or what to take to her house, I feel like Im just saying it to keep from pointing out that she isnt MY mom .

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#23 of 34 Old 10-27-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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Another who went to first name after years of "Mom." I started out confused and desperate to appease; after a couple of decades, I realized her treatment of me, DH, and our boys was appalling-cloaked-in-affection. The change in title reflects the distance from her that is healthiest for my little family. She did go from signing cards with "Mom" to using her first name. I don't know how I would have handled it had I wanted to salvage or maintain a connection with her.

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#24 of 34 Old 10-29-2010, 10:57 PM
 
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I called my in-laws by their first names until we had kids, even though I think they expected me to call them Mom and Dad. Now I call them Grandmommy and Pop-Pop, just like the kids - so much more comfortable! Its very easy to do that with little kids, you're teaching them what to call the grandparents and so it makes sense to use those names around them. I even call my own parents Grandma and Grandpa around the kids pretty often!

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#25 of 34 Old 10-29-2010, 11:09 PM
 
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I don't call my inlaws Mum or Dad. We get along OK in a slightly strained way, but... they're not my parents. It would seem very odd. Unfortunately I never really hashed out a decent alternative. FIL mentioned when DH and I started dating that he didn't want me to use his first name (I think because he's a teacher), and even though I think he eventually revoked that, I still feel awkward about it.

So I do a lot of "you and your excellent wife" or "hey" or otherwise stammering. Now DD's a bit bigger I can use Nanna and Grandpa if necessary, but that doesn't work in all contexts.

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#26 of 34 Old 10-29-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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I am no sure I could either but thankfully it's a nonissue as my spouse calls his parents by their first names anyhow... Lol

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#27 of 34 Old 10-30-2010, 02:12 AM
 
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I don't call my ILs Mom or Dad, but my BIL does. So that makes it akward sometimes. And my SIL calls them Mom and Dad too. I guess I'm just crusty that way.

I really enjoy calling them Grandpa and Grandma. It has been great since the kids were born. It works very well and I am comfortable with it. When that really isn't appropriate I go by first names.

OP, can you just switch to Grandma? If your kids already call her that it could be pretty normal.

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#28 of 34 Old 10-30-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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I call my in-laws by their first names. I've been married 10 years and I LOVE my in-laws but still I would feel weird calling them Mom and Dad.

It's too bad your MIL is trying to pressure or guilt you into calling her Mom. Would it be possible for you to explain how you feel to her? Or if you are comfortable with it could you call her Ma or another mom-substitute to appease her?
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#29 of 34 Old 10-30-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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I've never even considered calling them mom and dad and I've never seen any sign that's what they wanted either (fwiw, BIL doesn't call them mom and dad either). Part of the issue may be that they were still very young when we got married (DH was born when his mom was 18, he married me at 24) and although I'm confident they were/are happy he married me, at the time, it may have been a little much.

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#30 of 34 Old 10-30-2010, 02:17 PM
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This thread just reminds me that my MIL signs cards to her children, Love, "Mom."

She actually puts the word MOM in quotation marks. As in, I'm not really your "mom"?

It always makes me laugh.

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