Post # 1
I had a wonderful surprise bridal shower yesterday and am going by Paper Source today to pick up some Thank You notes so that I can get them sent out as soon as possible.
My problem is that my wonderfully sweet FMIL (who organized this surprise party only a few days after completing radiation treatment) has repeatedly asked me to call her Mom. She signs everything as Mom, but I have yet to call her that.
I grew up in a culture where it was not appropriate to call an adult by their first name, so I find calling her by her first name also inappropriate. Calling her Mrs. Last Name seems so formal, and I know she’s not keen on it. Her son-in-law calls her by her first name, and she is heartbroken. She told my FH that she hoped that finally, she would have someone else call her mom.
I love this woman dearly and will be sending her a Thank You note soon…but, how do I address her? I have a single mother who did everything for me since a young age – therefore, I don’t feel comfortable addressing FMIL with the same moniker as my mother because “Mom” just carries so many connotations for me.
I have spoken to FH and he has no idea what else I could call her. Etiquette dictates that I should address her as Mom since that is what she would like to be called, but I find it so hard to do that.
Post # 3
I have had this same discussion with my fiance several times. After about a year of us dating, his parents indicated that I should call them Mom and Dad (I had been calling them Mr. and Mrs XXXX) I just did not feel comfortable with this as I already have parents and I was just not on board with calling them M & D.
Now (several years later) I call his parents by their first names. He talked to them about this and they understood.
One thought for your FMIL is maybe to have some sort of little nickname for her that is like “mom”? For example, my fiance calls my mom “Momma [my last name]” It’s just kind of stuck and now my sister’s boyfriend even calls her that. I don’t know how casual she is, but maybe this would work.
I definitely understand you not wanting to call her Mom because I feel the same way.
Post # 4
So, you call your own mother Mom and now FMIL wants you to call her Mom as well.
I do call my MIL by her first name, and although as a child I would not have done that, it’s different as an adult, at least for me.
Could you add her first name, “Mom Sue,” if that sounds better?
I would say that as a shower note, you could write Mrs. Lastname because she’s not your MIL yet. At some point, though, you should consider calling her something you both are comfortable with. You might want to let her know you’re not comfortable with Mom and see what else you can work out. She probably doesn’t want to make you worry!
Post # 5
I have the same issue. Except now shes my MIL and I still dont know what to call her! In general, I avoid directly addressing her. For thank you notes I adresses it Mrs First Last Name and then on the inside I start out the note with a great big “THANK YOU!” and then talk about the gift and why its great etc. In person I just turn to face her directly and speak. It probably can’t work forever, but its served me ok for the past few years. 🙂
Post # 6
I could NEVER call my FILs Mom and Dad. I already have parents and I know they would be insulted if I called someone else Mom and Dad. I call my FILs by their first names, it feels weird to me, so I usually just try to avoid calling them anything.
I felt weird about writing the shower thankyou notes to my FILs and FH’s Grandmom (FGMIL??). My solution was to get my fiance to write them and we both signed them. We both signed all of the thank you cards anyway (we had a co-ed shower, and when you think about it, all the gifts are for both of you anyway!). That way, he wrote “Dear Mom and Dad” or “Dear Grandma” and then we both signed in our own handwriting.
This might work for your thank you notes but doesn’t solve the “mom” problem. There have been some other posts on this and I’ve heard stories of people avoiding calling their IL’s anything for 30 years!
Post # 7
How about the kind of formal sounding “mother?” Or “Mother Firstname”?
Post # 8
@mdarrah: LMAO! I totally do that too! Ugh, I hate it though because sooner or later she is bound to notice.
To her credit, which I failed to mention, is that she does the Mom Last-Name-Initial or Mom Last Name. It is something, but still, it’s “Mom”…
I also thought about something like Gangy (a la Arrested Development, lol) – obviously, not Gangy – but what’s a good quirky name for a FMIL?
I probably shouldn’t be making such a big deal about it because I am very lucky that she considers me a daughter, but as many of you ladies rightly noted, it is tough…
Post # 9
Oh, and I usually do the “Honey, you address them and I will sign them” when it comes to addressing his family, but since this bridal shower was just for me, I think I need to be the one to send the TY notes out, so that option is out (at least for this instance!)
Post # 10
My MIL signs things “Mom” too, but I just can’t make the jump to calling her Mom. It just feels kind of weird because I already HAVE a Mom and it’s not her. Maybe I’ll get there eventually, but for now, I call her by her first name (switched from Mrs. LastName after we got engaged). I figure maybe I’ll get used to Mom eventually, or I’ll just stick with this.
Post # 11
If you want to be cute about it, in the card (if her name is Mary) write
Dear Mary (Mom),
And for the most part refer to her as Mary in person.
I asked my FMIL what she prefers for me to call her and she told me her first name, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m not sure if I would be comfortable calling her Mom.
Post # 12
what do you call your own mother? mom? or mama? or ma? or just mother? Whatever you call your biological mother, call your FMIL one of the other choices.
Post # 13
I could never call another woman Mom or any moniker like that. I think my own mother would be really insulted. Here is this woman, who’ve i’ve known for 4 years, being my “mom?” Plus, doesn’t that make us like siblings with our SO’s? EWWWW, lol.
I think you’ll just have to start slowly addressing her by her first name. I mean, you can’t go forever not calling her something! And, you’re not a child anymore, so it’s perfectly acceptable. I was raised that way, too, and sometimes i feel like i’m being disrespectful, but then I remind myself that i’m an adult, too, and that I wouldn’t be offended if a girl called me by my first name, not “mrs. S”.
I’m with ya, i couldn’t call my MIL by mom, either
Post # 14
Someone mentioned something similar, but maybe you could call her something other than Mom? I sometimes call my MIL “Momma”, in kind of a silly way, but that’s something I’ve never called my own mom. I don’t really mind calling her mom, but in my case we’re both okay with me using her first name. I think you will need to try to move toward that, at least, as it is kind of silly to call your MIL “Mrs. _____”
And, maybe in a few years you’ll have some kids and you can get over this whole thing by calling her “Grandmom” 🙂
Post # 15
FSIL just had a baby and I thought – finally! I will just call her by the Grandma moniker to celebrate this event. However, because FSIL’s family lives so far away, she is hardly ever addressed that way…so you’re right ES123, I will have to wait a few more years until we have a baby to refer to her as Grandma.
I have thought about calling her a variation of mom that I don’t usually use with my mom…but still, it’s so weird. Since the shower and the gift were put on by both FMIL and FFIL, would it be odd if I addressed the TY as: To my wonderful soon-to-be parent in laws? That way, I don’t have to address either as Mom or Dad and I can push this issue off until the next gift/thank you/holiday/birthday card rolls around?
Post # 16
Yes, I think that’s ok. But, at some point I think you’ll have to own up and call them something! instead of “parent in laws” I’d literally just say “mother and father in law”
Then they get that warm fuzzy but there is still the “in law” part