The name game – MIL's culture/tradition or my culture/tradition?

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 3
Member
1749 posts
Bumble bee

@1_year_in:  Well, I could be wrong, but I think she likes you, and now that you’re not there anymore she wants to be closer to you by way of the title. 

You also answered many of your own questions — the ones about why this is important to her, and the like. She’s of a different culture. One where calling your MIL “Ma” is normal and the respectful thing to do. Also, you said that you see no reason to change the title just because you and her son got married. The thing is, however, that there has been a change: you are her son’s wife. To many people that is different from a long-term girlfriend; she and her culture may consider you family now, hence the different name for her. 

What I think you can do to solve this problem is to tell her why you call her what you do, and emphasize what it means to you and why it means more than the title of “Ma”. It might not work, but it may be worth a shot. 

Post # 5
Member
1749 posts
Bumble bee

@1_year_in:  You’re welcome. 

I completely understand your Hesitation. If you can emphasize your love for her, if you do indeed love her, and how that is tied to what you’ve called her this whole time, it may help her understand where you’re coming from. 

I hope everything goes well. 

Post # 6
Member
1249 posts
Bumble bee

@1_year_in:  I agree with #2 except for the last paragraph.  I really think she might be insulted if you tell her you don’t want to call her ma. She is your ma-in-law. Can that mindset work for you? As you said in that culture it is considered nasty not to do so. Think of it as title of respect. If you still feel uncomfortable ask your husband what he thinks. 

Post # 7
Member
2620 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

my mom is korean and wants hubby to call her mom and my dad dad. he does it.. i call my father in law dad, we used to call my mother in law mom too but she has passed on… the only person we dont use parental names for is fil’s new wife. my step mother in law-we just call her by her first name.

Post # 8
Member
11300 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

@asianyoushi:  We do the same thing, but we’re both American. I call my MIL “mama,” FIL “dad,” and his wife by her first name. We don’t spend…any time with my mother, so I have no idea what DH calls her. We do the same thing with extended relatives, as well. All of the grandmas are just “grandma,” aunts and uncles are “Aunt Soandso” or “Uncle Soandso.” We’re all family.

Post # 9
Member
3047 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I would never call my DH mother mum, it would just feel so incredibly weird – that title is just reserved for my mum. Now, I don’t get along with my MIL, but even if we were on friendly terms it would feel very strange for me to refer to her as “mum”. When it comes to other relatives, we call my uncles wife by her real name, but we all refer to my paternal grandma as grandma (mum, DH and my brothers girlfriend included). Though grandma is sort of a community grandma, so she’s a special case. 🙂

Anyway, I completely see you point of the argument and I wouldn’t change what you call her just based on that text message. Personally I would just rather not take that conversation at all and just sort of pretend that I never saw that message due to all the arguments you mentioned in your text. That’s perhaps a little cowardly, but sometimes that’s to prefer rather than take a stance that then makes things even more awkward!

Post # 10
Member
4760 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@1_year_in:  eeek I donno.  I was kinda in the same boat as you.  After our wedding the mom also mentioned that I should call her mom.  I kinda just ignored it and the topic was never brought up again.  I could never call her mom that is just too weird.

Post # 11
Member
499 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I feel wierd about the whole thing.  I feel rude calling my FI’s parents by their first names, and I also feel wierd that my SIL calls my mom, “mom”…it kinda bugs me.  My other SIL dosn’t and it’s much more comfortable.

That said, I am friends with fillipinos and they call their adult women “Ate” (ahh-tay) as a form of respect (Kuya for males) but often move to mom and dad for inlaws.  It’s important to their families.

Post # 12
Member
1548 posts
Bumble bee

@1_year_in:  marriage IS a change in relationship between everyone. U r now officially one family in their eyes. Ma is to signify that change. No I dnt think it would hav been okay to call her Ma while dating as its nt a permanent situation. It’s important to her otherwise she wouldn’t ask. Nt trying to come off rude but I believe u should set aside ur pride and address her as she would like to b addressed. After all she may nt have raised u but she raised the son u come to love and marry. I think giving her that respect is priceless

Post # 13
Member
1548 posts
Bumble bee

I think only in America we hav all these issues most countries do not even think twice about it. Idk why

Post # 14
Member
1749 posts
Bumble bee

@babypearls:  Those other countries have lots of issues America doesn’t even think about. 

The reason why is that they are different countries with different cultures, and they have different ethnic and religious demographics, as well as long-standing traditions and new ones. 

In America we tend to only call our parents mom and dad, out of repect for them, and because they are titles we don’t really like using for others, even in-laws. It is a boundary most don’t like to be crossed.

The poster, however, is English, so apparently it’s not just Americans that think this way. 

Post # 15
Member
1548 posts
Bumble bee

@Rhopalocera:  I agree with u by America I meant western culture. (I hate using the phrase first world). But I’ve heard so many naming issues on the bee, stuff I’ve nvr even thought would b awkward or uncomfortable. Being a first generation American, my perspectives are much broader. I understand both sides but at the same time feel that in this scenario u hav to set aside some of the trivial issues (which is only a form of endearment to the mother in laws eyes) and focus on the bigger issues. Whenever you marry into a different culture there so some things that u hav to compromise on.

OP more poor attempt is to say somethings need to b taken with a grain of salt Especially when you marry into a different culture. There r going to b bigger issues that come up, I don’t think this has to b one of them. Show your new MIL that you care for her and respect her culture. Set the stage for tur relationship in a positive light.

Post # 16
Member
1749 posts
Bumble bee

@babypearls:  Ah, ok. 

Well, for clarification, I suggested what I did because it seems that the posters affectionate name for her MIL has more love attached to it.

While she could go with Ma, I figure the name that means more would be best. The MIL is getting a type of love from a different culture, in my eyes. It’s not always a one way street when it comes to respect and what culture should make way for the other. In this case, MIL has a name that is special to her relationship with the poster. The title or name “Ma” may come later at time when it comes from the heart and not a sense of obligation. 

 

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