Monday, October 25, 2010

What do you call your MIL?

Hopefully you don't call her Monster-in-Law like JLo's character did! The above question might be an odd question but people's answers to this question has always fascinated me. I've observed women and men call their mother-in-laws by their first name, by their last name (i.e. Mrs. Last Name) and just plain ol' Mom.

Out of those three monikers, plain ol' Mom is the most intimate. In my mind, my Mom is my mom. So I can't picture calling another woman Mom. However, I know in many cultures, calling one's mother-in-law "Mom" is tradition and to not address your MIL as Mom is a serious insult to the woman who birthed your partner. I often wonder how the 'real' mothers feel when they hear their children call another mom, Mom. Are they hurt? Is it OK because their children-in-law in turn call them Mom too?

So what about calling your MIL by her first name? I call the BF's mom by her first name as calling her "Mrs." seems way too formal. My own mother would probably express her disappointment if she heard me call the BF's mom by her first name since in our culture, calling an elder by their first name is a serious no-no. However, the BF's mom is fine with me calling her by her first name and if/when the BF get married, I'll likely keep calling her by her name.

Finally, the "Mrs. Lastname" option. This seems awfully formal to me. It seems to infer a distant relationship. With that being said, there is a certain respect that goes with addressing someone by their last name. If you called your MIL "Mrs." before marraige and then switched, what did you switch to and how long did it take you to switch?

See? I told you this topic fascinates me!

What do you call your MIL? Was this something you and the finance discussed before getting hitched?

*This question can also be "What do you call your FIL?" but for simplicity's sake, I'll stick to discussing MILs.


Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I don't have a MIL but my husband calls my mom "ma" (what I call her). It's definitely up to the person and MIL - first names could still work but I know my mom definitely wanted to go by "ma"!

Aubrey S. said...

I call my MIL by her first name...and sometimes, Tizzy, which is what the grandchildren call her. My FIL is a doctor, so I call him Doc Doc, which is a family nickname. My husband calls both my parents by their first names...I really think it's dependent what the other person introduces herself as.

Brandy said...

I call her by her first name. i probably called her "Mrs." and she probably told me to call her by her name.

Mo said...

My MIL wants me to call her Mom and it weirds me out so I just avoid calling her anything--I'm horrible!!

Krista said...

I call my MIL by her first name, and Wade calls my mom by her first name. My mom started inviting my friends to call her by her first name when I was in grade 9.

I think that as an adult, you can call other adults (even if they are your parents' age) by their first name when invited to do so.

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

I call mine by her first name. My mom is the only one who gets the "mom" name! :)

very married said...

oh my gosh. i totally struggled with this for years before getting married! I totally called them Mr. and Mrs. X even though they said I could call them by their first name. So then i'd try the "hey you" approach or refer to her to others as "my husband's mom" BUT once we got married, they said i could call them by "Mom" or "dad" so then i finally felt comfortable calling them by their first names. :)

BEL said...

i only call her by her first name. but there was a slightly awkward conversation about it beforehand. i can't picture my husband calling my parents "mom and dad" so why would i?

once we have kids it'll be easier - grandma!

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