S/O. Do you call MIL Mom or do your IL's call your mom, Mom?

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Posted 1/18/2013 by scrappinghappy in NSBR Board
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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:34:42 AM
It really bothers me. SIL calls MY mom, Mom. Her mom died when she was an infant but her step mom is alive and well and she calls her by her first name. So why is her MIL, my mother, now called "Mom" by her? My kids have noticed this and asked about it too.

I told my mom I found it hurtful, but it doesn't bother my mom and they have a much better relationship together than I have with my mom, so I have let it go.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:37:39 AM
So is the issue that she calls her mom or that she has a better relationship with your mom than you do? I call the inlaws by their first names as does my husband.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:38:08 AM
I would try to take it as a compliment to your mom. Obviously your SIL loves her very much. If your relationship isn't as good, I can see why it would make you feel a little jealous, but that's between you and your mom, not you and your SIL.

That said, I call my in-laws by their first names (although I feel like they're my second mom and dad ) and my siblings' spouses call my mom and dad by their first names as well. My dad always called my mom's parents "Mom and Pop," though. I think it's nice when people feel that close to their in-laws.



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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:40:23 AM
My ex-H called my mom "Mom", and I did the same to his mom. I still do, even though we are divorced. We have a really great relationship. I don;t have a SIL, but I wouldn;t be bothered at all. I would look at it, as a showing of respect for my mother, by the SIL. It doesn't diminish your bond with your mother.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:43:02 AM
I called her "Nana" - the same things the kids called her. Prior to having kids? I waited til she looked my way before I addressed her, lol. "Mom" never felt quite right and she was too old-fashioned for me to call her by her first name.

That being said, my mother's mother died when she was 16. My father's mother was very much a mother to her and my mother called her "mom."

I think the issue here is your relationship with your mother, not your sister in law's. I think you are being a bit unreasonable.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:43:08 AM
Oh, it's definitely the fact she calls her Mom.

I won't go into the family dynamics but suffice to say my Mom won't go out of her way to help my family but will bend over backwards for both my siblings because and I quote: "you have enough money to hire any help you need and they don't". Which isn't true!

Thank goodness for amazing friends is all I can say in that case,


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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:45:02 AM
I call my MIL Mom because I love her. She's such a dear! I tell her that MIL stands for Mother in Love.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:46:32 AM
I call my MIL by her first name. My wife calls my mother "mom". This was her choice and it doesn't bother me. My mom thinks it's sweet.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:47:06 AM
Both DH and I call the in-laws by their first name. I don't have a SIL, but my BIL calls my parents by their first name, as well.

I'm not sure how I'd feel if I had a SIL that called my mom, mom.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:47:30 AM
I call my ILs by their first names, but my son in law and my daughter in law call me mom and my husband dad. Doesn't bother me or any of my children. I feel one reason that they do this is because we are a more stable influence in their lives than their own parents.



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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:47:58 AM
I call my inlaws by their first names, but my dh calls my mother Mom.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 7:50:16 AM
I was VERY close to my MIL till she passed away. Out of respect I could never call her by her first name, she never said, oh just call me Julie, and it felt uncomfortable calling her Mrs X because I was one too lol, so like Peababy I never addressed her directly till she was "named" by the kids and then I called her the same. Made life so much simpler, lol. My FIL, OTOH, immediately told me to call him by his first name.

I just find someone else calling my mom, Mom, odd. None of my friends call their IL,s that, my parents certainly didn't do that with theirs so this was the first time I came across it.

ETA: DH calls my mom be her first name. When we were dating that's what she asked him to call her. How do you go from that to Mom? We dated for a long time before we married, my brother only 6 weeks before they were engaged and married three months later.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:09:25 AM

I told my mom I found it hurtful, but it doesn't bother my mom and they have a much better relationship together than I have with my mom, so I have let it go.

Sorry but you have not let it go at all.
If my husband called my Mum, Mum, then I'd be extremely touched, I'd just see it as a sign that my Mum is an amazing woman who inspires love in other people.
I think your relationship with your Mom is a separate issue here and you're being unreasonable about your sister in law.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:11:41 AM
My ILs are deceased, but my dh calls them mom and dad. As does my brother in law. Doesn't bother me one bit.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:12:38 AM
I call my in-laws by their first names. I am not comfortable calling them Mom and Dad, because they are not my parents. My husband feels the same way about my parents, so he uses their first names too.

I'm sorry you feel hurt by your sister-in-law calling your mom Mom. But I think that is your issue, not your moms or your sister-in-laws.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:17:42 AM
HELL no! I think I did once on our wedding night. I was giddy and naive. I have since came to my senses!!!

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:19:06 AM

It really bothers me. SIL calls MY mom, Mom. Her mom died when she was an infant but her step mom is alive and well and she calls her by her first name. So why is her MIL, my mother, now called "Mom" by her? My kids have noticed this and asked about it too.

She calls her own mother figure by her first name, but the mother of her husband, Mom? That sounds odd to me. But I do know a LOT of people who call their in-laws Mom and Dad. I will in some instances, like when we give them a gift, I write Mom or Dad on the package. But referring to them or introducing them, I refer to them by their names. My husband does the same with my parents.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:19:25 AM
No I do not and my husband doesn't call my mom "Mom" either. We both love our MIL's, it's just not our thing. I think it's cute when other families do though. To each their own.

That said OP you have bigger issues here. My first reaction is to be amazed and judgmental over a grown woman being jealous because someone else calls her mother "mom."

Then I realize there must be more to the story and I'm sad for you. Hope you get it all straightened out.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:19:53 AM
I call my in-laws Mr. & Mrs. (last name) or, in front of our child, Grandfather & Grandmother (in their native language).

oooh, what you said!

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:24:06 AM
I could never get comfortable with it no matter how close our relationship is. Most of her other ILs call her mom, though. it's just me. She's a loving, caring woman, but I have a mom. It feels weird to use that name for anyone else. I did try, but mostly I just call them grandma and grandpa.

I have two sisters in law who call them Mom and Dad. The rest use first names, including my husband. He has a close relationship with my parents, as well, in fact I joke that they like him better than they like me. He just doesn't feel comfortable with Mom and Dad. He'll just use Grandma and Grandpa most of the time as well.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:29:18 AM
I called my late MIL and FIL by their first names.it was what I was comfortable with.....but my own mother was "MA" to all of her sons and daughters-in-law . (she was actually "Ma" to all of our friends tho.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:30:17 AM
We call everyone by their first names. So do SIL and BIL.
At first when I read your post I thought "what's the big deal?" Then I remembered how when my POS half-brother calls my Dad "Dad" it drives me up the wall, so I will PVM you.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:37:54 AM
I think its wonderful! So many women call their mil some nasty names and your sil chooses "mom". You are very lucky that they have a great relationship. It sounds like you may be a bit jealous of their relationship. It is great for your mom that she gets to spend time with his son and his family. Would you rather have a sil that doesn't let them have any contact with your mom? That would hurt her. I think you should look at the good!

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:38:58 AM
My in-laws have passed away but I started calling them mom & dad shortly after our marriage. It just seemed right. They were the sweetest, kindest people and we had a fabulous relationship. I also had a fabulous relationship with my mom.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:40:30 AM
I called my ex-MIL "Mom" because I was raised that you don't call someone older than you by the first names unless they ask (she never did). "Mrs. X" seemed too formal given the circumstances, so it seemed less awkward to call her mom. Likewise, I called his grandparents "Grandma" and "Grandpa". No one ever seemed mind.

For me, it was because I wasn't sure what to call her. Didn't realize it might feel awkward to others. ETA: I'm mature enough now, that if I'm ever remarried, I would just ask what they want me to call them.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:47:32 AM
I called my in laws Mom and Dad. They were very special people and loved me like a daughter. I miss them so much. I call my parents Mama and Daddy, so there was never confusion.

My dh has always called my parents by their first names. He doesn't have the same relationship with my parents that I did with his.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:47:56 AM

But I think that is your issue, not your moms or your sister-in-laws.

You are totally correct.

I never said I was jealous, others said it. I said it bothered me and that I found it odd.

I do wish I had a better relationship with my mom but I can't change that. Therapy has helped me see that to be the truth. If this were all there was "spoiling" our mother-daughter relationship, we would have a fantastic relationship but there is much, much more that has nothing to do with my SIL and is just between me and my mom.

I brought this up once, years ago, when by brother's family moved here and I saw my mom and SIL together for the first time and heard her call my mom, Mom. They'd been married for 10 years by that time. My mom said it didn't bother her and I have never brought it up again. Now that I think about it more, their kids are older and she calls my mom by the same name they do. In fact it didn't come back to me until I read the mom ring thread and the thread about step children calling step parents mom and dad.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:57:57 AM
I grew up in a household and family on both sides that called their in-laws Mama and Dad (or Pop). I think it came from believing that when you marry, you become one. It was a sign of affection and togetherness, not a means to make a dig at the biological children.

So, when I became engaged, I asked my MIL, what to call her...Mom or Mama and said, "Neither, I'm not your Mother and I will never be." So, that put me in my place and our relationship was strained from before we even married. DH struggled with what to call my parents, then realized "Granny and Papa" was perfect since that's what my sister's children called them.

That was 40 years ago and to this day, I feel a twinge of hurt, until I bring myself to my senses and remember that that's just the way she was. She never acknowledged adopted children the same as biological children, where as I see them as the same.

Parenting does not happen just in the womb, it happens with relationships.

I'm so pleased and honored that my SIL calls us Mom and Dad and we know for SURE his parents are tops in his book. He talks to them 2 or more times a day and loves them dearly.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:58:51 AM
I call my in laws by their first names. I was never comfortable with calling them mom and dad because I could never have a good relationship with them. Even afer being married almost 41 years I am now in therapy to cope with DH's mother. DH called my parents by nicknames they were known by when we met. As far as DIL and future DIL we are called by our first names. It might change for future DIL though. I have no problem with either though.



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Posted: 1/18/2013 9:00:58 AM
"Mom" here. I have 2 DIL. One calls me "Mom", and the other calls me GamGam (what grandchildren call me) or my Christian name. Can you guess what kind of relationships I have with these two? I am so blessed to have a DIL who loves me like a Mom. Her mother died before she married my son, and she has loved me unconditionally.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 9:02:28 AM
My brother's girlfriend call my parents mom and dad. To be honest, it does seem weird to me. I know it's no big deal. Her mom has nothing to do with her since she is dating my brother...maybe that is why she calls them that. She's really a sweet girl and I know my parents think the world of her. I have been married 18 years and I call my inlaws by their first names.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 9:03:04 AM
I call my MIL by her first name. I have never been close to her and since I've known her 31 years I don't think anything will change
My DH and BIL refer to my parents by their first names

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Posted: 1/18/2013 9:08:12 AM
When I had in-laws I called them by their first names. I called my XH's Grandmother Grandma though. He never called my parents anything, ever.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 9:39:29 AM
I do not call my MIL Mom, and DH doesn't call my mother Mom. DH and I were in our 30's when we married, and although we've been married 20 years, we don't see our parents very much (I see his mom maybe twice a year, and he sees my mom, who lives 12 hours away, even less frequently). So while we both have good relationships with our MILs, they're nothing like mother/child relationships.

My SIL (DH's brother's wife), on the other hand, started dating my BIL when she was 15. She lived in the same town as MIL for years, and now they live just one town away from her. She's known my MIL well and been part of the family for over two-thirds of her life. She calls her Mom, even though her own mother is alive and living in the same town. This seems appropriate to me, as their relationship is much different from my relationship with MIL. It doesn't bother anyone in the family. MIL has only sons, though, and I can't imagine a guy caring about something like that.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 9:41:32 AM
I call them mom and dad. I have a very close relationship with them and they have always treated me like a daughter. I do have a sil and not long after dh and I were married I asked her if it bothered her that I called her parents mom and dad. She said absolutely not - and then added 'what else should my sister call them "

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Posted: 1/18/2013 9:45:51 AM
I find it weird and would never call my MIL "mom". Nor does my DH call my mother "mom".


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Posted: 1/18/2013 9:58:51 AM
When referring to them or introducing them I use their first names. To their faces I call them Mom and Dad.

They will never compare or replace my own wonderful parents but when I married, I gained a whole new bonus family. My MIL likes to call me her daughter-by-law instead of daughter-in-law as a little joke. She does not have the same relationship with my SIL and they're more comfortable using first names.

I call my DH's Grandma "Grandma", his Aunts "Auntie" etc. It seems very natural for me and I know that they love and appreciate it.

I certainly understand why it's not the right choice for every family, but it's right for me.

I'm sorry that you and your mother have a difficult relationship and I can imagine that it's difficult to watch her bond with someone else if you've spent a lifetime trying to achieve her love and acceptance. However, I think it's really none of your concern what your SIL calls your mother. You don't have to "get" it. They simply have a different comfort level.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 10:07:09 AM
My MIL preferred to be called "Mommy" while I called my own mother "Mama." I felt odd calling my MIL by the name she preferred, but did so out of respect for her wishes. Of my own DILs and son-in-law, one DIL and my SIL call me "Mom" while the other DIL calls me by my first name, which makes me feel a bit funny. I can understand her discomfort with calling me "Mom" so I can live with it, even though for my generation, it seems a bit inappropriate for a woman so much younger to be calling someone my age by my first name. Times have changed.

I call my husband's step-mom by her first name (his mom died when she was only 55, and his dad eventually remarried), but DH's step mom is only 8 years older than DH and I. No way am I calling her "Mom" or anything like it, even if she preferred to be. She's the age of my brother.

I think the issue is a personal one. If your mom doesn't object to your sister-in-law calling her "Mom" then I don't see why it should be a big deal, unless you are feeling hurt about the fact that your SIL has a better relationship with your mom that you do. Personally, I find the situation very sad.

Since it sounds like you are not on the best terms with your mom, and your SIL has no mother, they probably fill a void for each other.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 10:20:19 AM
I call her by her first name.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 10:22:32 AM
I call my MIL by her nickname, Sliver. I called my FIL his first name. But when she calls me or gives me a birthday card she refers to herself as "mom"
My DH calls my parents by their first names.

My husband's brother has a girlfriend and she has a son. They refer to MIL as his grandma. I will admit this does bother me.



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Posted: 1/18/2013 10:42:40 AM
My MIL calls herself Mom to me and I'm the only in law that doesn't call her mom (and there are 10 of us in laws.) My DH calls my mom by her first name.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 10:45:40 AM
We are first names here with my In laws..as does my husband. I have one sister in law that calls my Mother "Mom". But I dont care. Actually I am not sure if my own Mother likes it. She tolerates my SIL. I think you might be bothered by it more since it is a relationship issue.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 10:53:50 AM
My sister and I do things with my mother in law. At a Christmas luncheon we both needed kleenex so we asked "Mom" for some. She really like it so we call her that now. My mom is deceased. I am not sure if I would call her mom if mine was still here.
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Posted: 1/18/2013 11:07:43 AM
Am I reading you right that you never addressed your MIL directly until your children were old enough to speak and let them pick the name for you to use? What did you call her, hey you?

I called my MIL what everyone else called her, her name, Kas. Interestingly enough, my children called her "Mom" and called me "Momma". Never was jealous of that. She was a wonderful woman and a wonderful MIL and grandmother.

I think the "issue" is yours and yours alone. You can't help how you feel (slighted) but it's your choice whether to live with it or be resentful and jealous for the rest of your mother's life. Believe me, it will be much easier to let it go. As they say, don't sweat the small stuff and this is definitely small stuff.


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Posted: 1/18/2013 11:10:54 AM
Yes, of course I call my MIL Mom, and dh calls my mom Mom.

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Posted: 1/18/2013 11:13:24 AM
My MIL is a wonderful one. She has always treated me so kindly, and I am sure it wasn't always easy to do so. However, she can be very formal. I could never call her by her first name. (I was also raised never to call someone of an older generation by their first name) When DH and I got engaged, I mentioned to my mom that I was struggling with what to call her. Like Peabay, I would avoid using any name whenever possible. My mom told me that she and my dad had been married for years when she first called my grandmother "mom". Grandma burst into tears and told her that she had been waiting for years for that. It wasn't comfortable at first, but I always reminded myself of that and started calling her "mom". My older SIL and I both address her as mom, but when we talk about her, we both refer to her as "Mrs. last name". Younger SIL addresses her as Nana. My DH and my BIL call my parents by first name, and my SIL calls them Miss or Mr. first name, as she does all older adults.

Growing up, my friends and I always called our friends' parents Mr. or Mrs. My kids (young adults now) and their friends all call the parents Mama last name or initial, or Papa last name or initial. It's kind of sweet.


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Loc: SF Bay Area, CA

Posted: 1/18/2013 11:20:28 AM
I didn't realize this could hurt someone. I call my MIL mom, and I look at it as a sign of respect and being "in the family". She's a maternal figure to many and there are lots of us (not just ILs like me) who call her mom. I don't think her real kids take any offense, but now I have a tinge of wonder about whether there is anything there...
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Rick Springfield Junkie

PeaNut 78,429
March 2003
Posts: 16,052
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Loc: Mountain High Pea

Posted: 1/18/2013 12:23:46 PM
Nope, she is not my mom.


PeaNut 539,539
January 2012
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Posted: 1/18/2013 12:25:31 PM
I call my MIL by her first name and I call my FIL Mr. _____. They are divorced and I have only met my FIL twice, and one of those times was at my own wedding.

My SIL calls my mom, Mom but it doesn't bother me. My mom gets called Mom by a lot of my friends, we have a lot of people in our lives that don't have mothers anymore so I'm happy to share her with someone who might need one for a day.

boring + nerdy

PeaNut 52,817
October 2002
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Loc: Oregon

Posted: 1/18/2013 12:26:47 PM
I don't know why it would be hurtful.

I don't do it, DH doesn't do it, but that's just our personal preference.
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