Help us settle a matter

by adustyframe ~ July 29th, 2009

Lee and I were talking the other day. He said something about talking to mom on the phone.

I said, “Your mom or mine?” He said, “Mine. I don’t call your mom mom, she’s not my mom.”

I told him that I call his mom and dad mom and dad sometimes. He said I should ask on my blog if you call your inlaws mom and dad?


**Interesting discussion in the comments thank! I often call my inlaws Grandma and Grandpa but when I’m speaking to them, I rarely call them by their 1st names either. They used to go to church with us far before I knew Lee and I was a young teenager. We always called adults Mr. and Mrs. (Last name) so I feel weird calling them by their 1st names.

My mom had a very strained relationship with her mother in law and still called her mom, so I really thought it was pretty normal to call the inlaws mom and dad!

For the record, I truly don’t think it diminishes the relationship with my mom (also very special!) to call my mother in law mom. Hmmm…. thanks for the discussion!


29 Thoughts Shared to Help us settle a matter

  1. Beth

    Lizzie & Lee,
    I always called my husbands parents Dad & Mom. The first time I met them I asked if they cared and they said they would love it. They were very special people. Miss them alot. I think yes call them Dad & Mom.

  2. Katherine

    Nahhh…that would hurt my Dad and Mom’s feelings, plus I think it would confuse my children. I’ve never even been tempted to call anyone but my parents “mom” or “dad”–just my personality, I suppose…

  3. Kathy

    I have always called my mother-in-law “Granny” (she is old enough to be my Granny and easily fits into that role) and have called my father-in-law by his first name. My mom is a very special lady and I would not feel right calling anyone else “Mom”.

  4. celina

    um after 12 years of marriage..(17 yrs together total)i usually still call them mr and mrs….yep…and occasionally linda and rheal….but NEVER mom and sil does..and they don’t seem to mind..but i came into the family when i was 15…and it started of as mr and mrs…we have an odd relationship me and my inlaws…

    my dh loved my mom and she loved him..but it was respect to his own parents who were mom and dad….and my dad is recently Roger…

  5. Marie

    Yes, but not by choice. When we were engaged, Ivo told me the custom was to call them “maiko” (mom) and “tatko” (dad), rather than Mr. or Mrs. N, which is what I’d been doing up until that point, and to stop using “Вие” (the formal, polite form of “you” and to use informal. I certainly didn’t mind switching to informal, but I felt weird calling these folks I barely knew “mom” and “dad” given that my own parents were still living (although I barely saw/talked to them either).

    I didn’t say I didn’t want to though, lest an argument ensue, so I just went along with it even though it felt awkward (although it seemed to make them happy).

    I’ve been told by Bulgarian immigrants I’ve interpreted for her (young people) that the younger generation so dislikes that custom that they sometimes avoid addressing their in-laws in the second person at all – or just without name. I’ve found myself doing the same.

    My SILs call my parents by their first names, which I prefer and think is much more natural.

    Far more info than you asked for! 🙂

  6. MamaHen

    I only call my own parents Mom and Dad. I call my inlaws by their first names. Of course when I first met them I called them Mr and Mrs. ____. Not sure when I switched over to first name basis-probably at the birth of the first grandchild.

  7. Senkyoshi

    I call my in-laws mom and dad. I never asked. My sister-in-law before me did and so I started to. I think they like it.

  8. Kerri

    I called my in-laws Dad and Mom, and my husband calls mine Dad and Mom. That was his idea to do. It is sweet, but often can be confusing.

    When I’m talking to others, I always will refer to my father-in-law as “Todd’s dad.” That way no one gets confused. My hubby doesn’t do that, and a few times it has caused someone to misunderstand.

  9. Jenny

    I call my in laws mom & dad when I’m directly speaking to them, but when referring to them in a conversation I always add the last name or if I’m talking to my husband, say “your mom” (LOL, that looked funny when I typed it – I’m not telling your mama jokes!)

  10. Winter

    Lizzie and Lee,

    Maybe it’s just the way I was raised, but I’ve never called my in-laws mom and dad. I usually call them by their fist name or Papa and Grandma around the kids.

    My husband’s the same way, calls my folks by their first name or Papa and Grandma.

    But I do have friends who do call their in-laws mom and dad. Guess it’s an individual preference.

  11. Lona

    Yep it’s confusing. But i do it anyway–and they seem to welcome it. I’m also my MIL’s “daughter” so it goes both ways.

  12. Lady Why

    No, I call my in-laws by their first names. Is that weird?

  13. Mae

    Ok, this is very relevant post to me. My parents didn’t want my husband to call them Mom and Dad, even though they adore him. At first my dad wanted to be called “Big Dog”, and called my husband “Little Dog” (insert eye roll here), and they would bark at each other. Sigh. Ten years later, they are all on a first name basis.

    As for ME, I didn’t want to call his parents Mom and Dad. But we NEVER talked about what to call them. My husband told me he didn’t think they would like me calling them by their first names. So…do you know, in TEN YEARS of marriage, I have NEVER directly addressed either one of them? My father-in-law passed away very unexpectedly, so now it’s just my mother-in-law. In front of the kids, I can refer to her as “Grandma”, but when the kids aren’t around, I don’t call her ANYTHING!! Ten YEARS!!!

  14. Pam

    My mom has passed away and I don’t call my
    mother in-law mom. I call her by her first name. However my step-children (they were in college when we married) do call me mom and
    always introduce me that way and I am honored.

  15. Christina

    When my dh and I were first married I called his Dad by his first name and he got very upset, offended and wouldn’t speak to me. Since then, I have always called him Dad. I called his Mother Mom too. I don’t call his Dad’s second wife Mom, just by her first name. When you leave and cleave you are supposed to become one so it seems natural to me to think of bost sets of parents as “Mom and Dad”.

  16. Jen B

    My mother-in-law would like for me to call her mom, but I just can’t. Don’t know why! My husband calls my dad by his first name, and my dad doesn’t mind.

  17. Melinda

    I don’t call my in-laws Mom and Dad because I think it is confusing for everyone. I either use their first names, say “your Mama” or “your Daddy” or call them by their grandparent names. What’s funny to me, though is that my dear MIL will sometimes say to me “your Daddy” when she means my FIL. She didn’t do this until after my father died. It’s funny and sweet. He hasn’t tried to take my Daddy’s place, but I know I can rely on him for anything I need. I guess she knows it, too.


  18. Stephanie

    Prior to their deaths, I called my inlaws by their first names at their request. I met them when I first began dating their son in college and that was the natural thing to do. It would have felt weird to change after 2+ years of dating before marriage. My husband still calls my parents by their first names even though his parents have been dead for a long time (10+ years). My parents would be open to him calling them Mom & Dad, but he feels like he only had one set of parents to call mom & dad. I’m not about to argue =)

  19. Barbara H.

    I am surprised at how many people don’t call their in-laws Mom and Dad. That’s what my folks did and what I think everyone else did as I was growing up, so I just thought it was expected. I did call mine Mom and Dad because I thought it was expected, but I never felt quite comfortable with it. I was glad when grandkids came along and we could say Grandma and Grandpa instead. I do call my MIL Mom now, but I never felt doing so diminished the relationship with my own Mom, even when she was alive.

    For the record, my folks and my in-laws lived 1,000 miles away from each other. If we had all lived in the same town, all the “moms” might have been confusing.

  20. Tonya

    I have always called my mother in law Mama,my father in law was Pops.My mom did however call her in laws by their names.When my parents were married,she called my grandparents(both sets)Mom and Dad,but my step father’s parents were always by their names.Maybe it had something to do with her age at time of marriage(?),I don’t know.I have been married to my (only)husband since I was 19,been together since I was 18.So I guess it just always felt natural.My dad always called my grandparents(my mom’s parents)Mom and Dad,even after the divorce,until they died:)

  21. Prairie Rose

    First names here.

  22. ashley@twentysixcats

    I try to avoid calling my in-laws anything, but if I do need a name I use their first names. I don’t think I could ever call them “Mom” or “Dad” – it would be too weird! I’m very close to my parents, so I almost feel like it’s trivializing my own parents to call other people mom & dad. My parents called their in-laws by their first names, too, so maybe that’s where I got it from.

  23. celina

    also just to add sister calls her friends parents mom and mom lafond..or dad smith….and her mil was mom…(and she HATED her..) i KNOW it bothered my mom…maybe that’s why i avoid i know my inlaws don’t feel that way about me…sigh

  24. Jen

    Hi to the both of you!

    I don’t call my husbands parents anything really *grin* They don’t like me, so we don’t talk. When I talk about them, I use their names. If we were on good terms, I might have called them mum and dad.

    Adam calls my dad “Andy” and my mother either “mum” or “Ruth”. Depends on the day and the circumstance.

    My dad called my mums parents mum and dad, but my mum called my dad’s dad Mrs F…, simply because Gran never gave her leave to call her otherwise.

  25. Robin in New Jersey

    When my husband and I were dating/engaged, I always called his parents “Mr. & Mrs. B.” After we got married, his mother told me to call her by her first name, not to call her mom. So we went from Mr. & Mrs. to first names. However, with his grandparents it was what my husband called them and they didn’t mind. Now that I have a sil and a dil, it’s weird. My sil started calling me mom and I asked him not to. He is only 13 years younger than me. He uses our first names, but my daughter calls his parents mom & dad. They old enough to be her grandparents! My dil, though, calls me mom sometimes and my first name sometimes. She always calls my husband dad.

    My mom told me that my dad never called her mother anything! He would try not to have to use her name at all. Very strange.

    Interesting conversation!

  26. Susanna

    I know my sis in laws call my parents in law mum and dad but I do not. Reason being they are not my mum and dad! They are dear kind folks and do a lot for us but it just does not sit right with me. I call them peter and ann (or nanny and grandad when the children are around) and my husband calls my parents Michael and Rosemary (or grandma and grandpa).
    We all have great relationships (praise the Lord). I guess I have had issues with my f-i-l in the past- and also, I live away from my parents which at times I have found hard.

    It cerainly is not a ‘tradition’ or any thing over here, and the funny thing is we will call people ‘aunty’ or ‘uncle’ to our children who are not aunties or uncles- guess it is a way of instilling some respect into addressing people for our children. However it took me a long time to call them by their names and for a while I did avoid directly addressing them, especially my f-i-l.and I too do the ‘your mum’ thing to my husband…and the usually end up laughing becuase of how it sounds!

  27. Saralyn

    My folks are Mom and Dad to both me and my husband, but I call his mom by her first name. Don’t know why.

  28. Revka

    My in-laws have never asked me to call them anything particular, but I call them Mom and Dad or Mom Stearns and Dad Stearns. I’ve done so since I married my husband.

    They certainly don’t replace my parents, but they are my husband’s parents and consequently are my family as well, and I would feel very disrespectful if I were to call them by their first names.

    It was hard at first and even after 10 years doesn’t feel entirely natural, but for me it’s a way to acknowledge both the family ties and the respect due our elders.

    That’s just me, though. 🙂 My husband refers to my parents as Mr. and Mrs. or “your parents.”

  29. PrayerSister

    Wow, so much conversation on what to call the inlaws.
    I call his parents mom & dad; in conversation, I refer to them as your mom or dad.
    He has no idea what to call my parents

    My f-i-l calls me Mrs. ___ 🙂

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