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Moms and Maids

She wants me to call her what?!

I'm sure this question has been posted more than once as I'm sure I am not the only soon to be bride with this issue. The problem I am having is with my in-laws, or more specifically my FMIL. When my FI and I started dating I was asked to call his parents Mr. and Mrs. Something I found overly traditional but agreed because who am I to impose my beliefs onto someone else?  Well, with the wedding quickly approaching this name issue has now come up once again. A few months ago my FMIL mentioned to my FI that once his sister in law became part of their family she called my FMIL "mom", and she would like me to do the same. To say that I am uncomfortable with this is putting it mildly. I have a wonderful family and an amazing mother who I am extremely close to. My FMIL and I do get along very well but we are not close by any means, which makes the request to call her "mom" even more confusing. Actually it makes me really angry that she would ask me to call her something so initimate, even though, like I said, we are not close at all. While my FI was out to dinner with his parents alone this weekend the subject was brought up once again. My FI knows my feelings and expressed them to his mother. He asked if I would be able to call my FILs by their first name. My FMIL told my FI she would not be comfortable with that and while she understands my discomfort with the term 'mom and dad' she would still prefer it if I would refer to them as such.

At this point I do not feel comfortable approaching the subject with my FMIL alone because I am very upset by it and I am afraid my emotions will get in the way of a rational conversation. I don't feel like I can depend on my FI to stick up for me in this situation because when it comes to his mother he is a MAJOR push over and refuses to get in the middle. Has anyone else had this problem? Am I being over sensative or are my feelings valid? HELP!

Re: She wants me to call her what?!

  • edited December 2011
    In Response to She wants me to call her what?!:
    [QUOTE]I'm sure this question has been posted more than once as I'm sure I am not the only soon to be bride with this issue. The problem I am having is with my in-laws, or more specifically my FMIL. When my FI and I started dating I was asked to call his parents Mr. and Mrs. Something I found overly traditional but agreed because who am I to impose my beliefs onto someone else?   Well, with the wedding quickly approaching this name issue has now come up once again. A few months ago my FMIL mentioned to my FI that once his sister in law became part of their family she called my FMIL "mom", and she would like me to do the same. To say that I am uncomfortable with this is putting it mildly. I have a wonderful family and an amazing mother who I am extremely close to. My FMIL and I do get along very well but we are not close by any means, which makes the request to call her "mom" even more confusing. Actually it makes me really angry that she would ask me to call her something so initimate, even though, like I said, we are not close at all. While my FI was out to dinner with his parents alone this weekend the subject was brought up once again. My FI knows my feelings and expressed them to his mother. He asked if I would be able to call my FILs by their first name. My FMIL told my FI she would not be comfortable with that and while she understands my discomfort with the term 'mom and dad' she would still prefer it if I would refer to them as such. At this point I do not feel comfortable approaching the subject with my FMIL alone because I am very upset by it and I am afraid my emotions will get in the way of a rational conversation. I don't feel like I can depend on my FI to stick up for me in this situation because when it comes to his mother he is a MAJOR push over and refuses to get in the middle. Has anyone else had this problem? Am I being over sensative or are my feelings valid? HELP!
    Posted by apple114[/QUOTE]

    This is a problem. Your FI needs to have some balls and stand up to his own Mom. Don't think it is going to get better once you are married if you don't nip it in the butt now.

    First, your FI needs to talk with his Mom/parents and let them know how you feel about this. He needs to tell them you are not comfortable with calling her Mom and you need to come up with a solution for what you can call her.

    Edit: I call my IL's by their first names and always have (well, MIL goes by a nickname, but you get the point). They don't expect any different. I have parents that I call Mom and Dad and would feel totally weird calling them Mom and Dad even though we get along great.
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  • AutumnFairAutumnFair member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to She wants me to call her what?!:
    [QUOTE]At this point I do not feel comfortable approaching the subject with my FMIL alone because I am very upset by it and I am afraid my emotions will get in the way of a rational conversation. I don't feel like I can depend on my FI to stick up for me in this situation because when it comes to his mother he is a MAJOR push over and refuses to get in the middle. Has anyone else had this problem? Am I being over sensative or are my feelings valid? HELP!
    Posted by apple114[/QUOTE]

    Your FI needs to wake up and realize that he is a grown man who will be starting his own family and since you are his family he needs to stand up to his mom and defend your wishes. So tell him that he needs to stop being the middle and take your side when it comes to different views with his mother. I hate to say it but something like him not wanting to take a stand for you is a red flag that needs to be dealt with before marriage because just like MissySue said don't think it will change after you are married. 
    As for your feelings, I think that if she understands that you are uncomfortable with calling her "mom" I would say take it as a sign that its alright for you to do it the way you want. Maybe in time you will eventually become more comfortable with calling her "mom". Many of my friends call their FMILs "Mama 'last name'", some just call them their first name, I don't think any of them call them just "mom" yet. I think it is just weird to them like it is to you since they have been apart of that side of the family for very long. So I really wouldn't dwell on this issue and personally I would kick your FI in the butt for not putting this issue to bed with his mother when it first came up. 
  • skippylouwhoskippylouwho member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    A group that I was involved in as a kid and that my daughter was involved in growing up routinely calls all adults Mom or Dad - such as Mom Smith, Mom Jones.  This was started as a term of respect, it's closer than the formal Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Jones but not so familiar as first names.  We just don't think anything of it.

    Having said that - I didn't like or respect my in-laws (I'm not alone, no one I know respected them, not even their own kids) so it was very hard for me to call them Mom and Dad. It IS a term of honor and respect and it should be for people that you honor and respect.

    I hope my FDIL and my new DSIL will call me mom but I don't think either of them are comfortable with it yet and maybe never will be. FDIL calls me by my first name, and as I sit here - I don't think DSIL calls me anything... I have made it, tactfully, clear to them that just as DS and DD are my children, they are now my children also. That I love them as such and will always be here for them, just as I am for DD and DS.   Hopefully one day they will feel comfortable calling me mom and dad but it's possible they never will and if so, I know it's because they are very close to their own parents and can't use or feel comfortable using mom and dad for anyone else.
  • apple114apple114 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the input everyone...feels good to know that this isn't something I've blown out of proportion. As far as my FI goes, ugh, don't even get  me started. I couldn't agree more. He's absolutely wonderful don't get me wrong. I love him so very much and if I can be a little conceited I think we're a great couple. But when it comes to his family, specifically his mother, he has these blinders on. I don't want to make her out to be this wicked witch, she really is a great person who has done a lot for both my FI and I. When we do spend time together we get along, but she does not have a warm personality so it's very difficult to really break through and be very close and personal with her. She has a very strong personality and definitely wears the pants in her marriage. I feel as though my FI growing up with that as his relationship model causes problems with us. He is very close with his family so while I wish I could tell him to stop being such a mama's boy and stand up for me, that's easier said then done. It's so much easier for me, as an outsider, to look upon their family dynamic and say 'wow, that's really effed up'; he doesn't see it because he's so used to it. With that being said the more time that has passed that he has not lived with his parents the better it's gotten. It's been baby steps but I do notice a change in him now that he's out of the shadow of his mother. However when bigger issues, like this, arise he's torn as to what the "right" thing is to do. I know he knows he needs to stick up for me but I don't think he knows the best way to do so. He and I will need to sit down and have a conversation about all of this, but it would just be so nice if he could stand up for me on his own for once!

    Sorry to air my dirty laundry here, but it helps to get it off my chest!
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Counseling.

    If he won't back you up then you two need counseling.  Sometimes it takes a while for someone to begin to understand how to set up boundaries with a parent - but I highly recommend it to you and your FI.  Otherwise you're going to be doing this with all issues that you encounter.


  • edited December 2011
    I call my SOs mom Miss ___ (first name). Maybe that is a southern thing.

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  • Beachy730Beachy730 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I agree with PPs that you and FI need to work on this or it will be an ongoing problem. 

    As for what to call her, I would still call her Mrs Lastname.  If she says anything to you, just say "I'm not comfortable with that." 

    I don't call my MIL anything.  We live on the other side of the country now, so its rare that I see her.  I think I may have called her by her first name once, but it was in a loud room so I don't think she even noticed.  I don't see myself calling her mom ever, but who knows.  Once we have kids I'll probably just call her Grandma and problem solved.  My dad still calls my mom's parents by their first names and they have been married for 32 years. 
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  • mkruparmkrupar member
    5000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I know my parents called their inlaws Mom and Dad, but I cal FILs by their first name and so does FI. FI's BIL calls his ILs (Lucas's parents, confusing I know) Mr. & Mrs., but he's known them since high school and that's the way he's always addressed them. I don't think that will change. I also don't think my ILs would ever tell me I have to call them Mom and Dad. If I'm comfortable with it, maybe I will someday, but right now, it doesn't seem likely.
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  • AutumnFairAutumnFair member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: She wants me to call her what?!:
    [QUOTE]Counseling. If he won't back you up then you two need counseling.  Sometimes it takes a while for someone to begin to understand how to set up boundaries with a parent - but I highly recommend it to you and your FI.  Otherwise you're going to be doing this with all issues that you encounter.
    Posted by banana468[/QUOTE]

    I ditto banana's advice. Pre-marriage counseling/classes is a must if he is stuck on choosing you vs his mom. My best friend is a very timid person but when her FI was trying to be the middle man my friend straight up confronted the situation of "unless you want this wedding put on hold, I suggest your learn what your knew priorities are which is us and our new life together". After that situation he got the idea and pretty much understood that him trying to make both people happy was not going to cut it. 
  • zitiqueenzitiqueen member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: She wants me to call her what?!:
    [QUOTE]Thanks for the input everyone...feels good to know that this isn't something I've blown out of proportion. As far as my FI goes, ugh, don't even get  me started. I couldn't agree more. He's absolutely wonderful don't get me wrong. I love him so very much and if I can be a little conceited I think we're a great couple. But when it comes to his family, specifically his mother, he has these blinders on. I don't want to make her out to be this wicked witch, she really is a great person who has done a lot for both my FI and I. When we do spend time together we get along, but she does not have a warm personality so it's very difficult to really break through and be very close and personal with her. She has a very strong personality and definitely wears the pants in her marriage. I feel as though my FI growing up with that as his relationship model causes problems with us. He is very close with his family so while I wish I could tell him to stop being such a mama's boy and stand up for me, that's easier said then done. It's so much easier for me, as an outsider, to look upon their family dynamic and say 'wow, that's really effed up'; he doesn't see it because he's so used to it. With that being said the more time that has passed that he has not lived with his parents the better it's gotten. It's been baby steps but I do notice a change in him now that he's out of the shadow of his mother. However when bigger issues, like this, arise he's torn as to what the "right" thing is to do. I know he knows he needs to stick up for me but I don't think he knows the best way to do so. He and I will need to sit down and have a conversation about all of this, but it would just be so nice if he could stand up for me on his own for once! Sorry to air my dirty laundry here, but it helps to get it off my chest!
    Posted by apple114[/QUOTE]

    Just remember that if you don't nip this in the BUD entirely and completely before your wedding day, you lose the right to ever complain about his momma's boy ways ever again. You know exactly what you're signing up for, and by saying "I do," you are saying "I happily accept you and your momma's boy ways for the rest of my life." Any time he does something momma's boy-ish that pisses you off after you're married will be 100% your fault. By saying "I do" you absolve him of any blame.

    Remember that.

  • lalap69lalap69 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Ditto-ing the others on pre-marital counselling, but I would put the wedding on hold until this issue with yoru FI is sorted out.  If you marry someone who puts his parents before you, you're in for a lifetime of misery.  It doesn't matter how good of a guy he is, a lifetime of being second best is going to make you resent him.  I've watched this go down firsthand.

    Also, if FMIL said that she understands that calling her mom makes you uncomfortable, but wants you to do it anyway, she's being completely disrespectful of you, and needs to be called out on it.
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  • sarahjared11sarahjared11 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am totally with you! It would feel so incredibly weird to call my FMIL "Mom' or anything like that because she's NOT my mom! Maybe you should have your FI start refering to YOUR parents as "mom" and "dad" in her presence and see if she likes not being the only "mom" for her son. My guess is it will bother her more than she realizes. Whether you do that or not, your FI needs to realize that when you're married, he needs to back you up and stand up to his mother in situations like this where you are very uncomfortable. Things will only get worse if you don't start off by taking care of little things like this.
  • edited December 2011
    I'm imagining the TV show "everybody loves raymond" where they just can't get the meddling MIL out of their lives, and raymond is too childish to stand up to it.  I feel sorry for Patricia Heaton's character everytime I watch.

    I strongly suggest you and FI get some counseling on becoming "a couple" and not just a "date" -- he's treating you more like a date than his partner, and that's where the MIL problems are affecting you so much.

    If he can't grow up and be his own man, then I would strongly caution you to proceed slowly, if at all. 
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  • deb84deb84 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    FI needs to be firm with his parents that you are not comfortable with this and that you need to reach an agreement on this.  If they refuse to discuss it with you I'd continue to call them Mr & Mrs.  I have called my FIL by first names since before FI and I started dating. (We are from the same small town.)  I sometimes catch myself calling them Mom & Dad (never to their face, yet!) but I call my parents by "nick names" so I have no problem calling his Mom & Dad.  And there will be no confusion.  I think your FI not standing up for you is the bigger issue here.  Be firm with him that YOU need to come first now because YOU will be his partner and that he needs to stand up for you to his parents.
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  • edited December 2011
    Wow - your situation is mine exactly.  Actually, I posted something just like this a few months ago!

    It's either Mrs. and Mr. forever, or Mom and Dad. 

    I will never call them Mom and Dad - that is too personal and we aren't close at all!

    I feel like I'm still a child to have to call them Mrs. and Mr. in-law.  I plan to just drop the first names at some point.  While I know they deserve respect, I'm an adult too.  I don't address other adults as Mrs. and Mr.  I don't address my boss at work as Mrs. Boss. 

    But I understand your discomfort.   I wonder where our inlaws came up with this idea.  My parents told FI to address them by their first names since we started dating.  Their theory - we are all adults here.

    At any rate - how long do you think you can hold of not addressing them as anything?  For the past 2 years it's been "um" and "heyyyy"  for me.  Hoping I can make it to when we have kids and I can call them grandmom and grandpop.


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  • edited December 2011
    PS:  Maybe you can suggest to her that she address you as Mrs. Apple - fair is fair.
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  • melissamc2melissamc2 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I agree with the others that your fiance needs to grow a backbone, so that covers that - although I do not believe that your conversations about what you call his Mother need to be monitored or mediated by him.  It's ok to deal with things on  your own, even if they are with his Mom.

    As for what you call her -

    I guess I just don't see the horror in calling in-laws Mom and Dad, though.  I have a Mother and I love her.  She knows she's the one who gave birth to me and raised me, regardless of what I call her.  She also knows, as do I, that none of that changes based on what I choose to call somoene else.

    We all hear about the "Mama's boy" syndrome, but I think women are just as guilty of it at times (or Dad - whichever).  I've never heard a guy get all skeeved out by his in-laws saying it's ok (or preferring) to call them Mom and Dad, but I see it a LOT on here and with people I know.

    As a Mother, I HOPE my children someday have the kind of relationship with their in-laws that would allow them to truly feel like they have another set of parents.  Eventually I'll be dead and I want to think they'll have someone else to help fill the void and offer them that kind of love and support when I can't. 

    A title is just that.  The relationship is what matters.  In your case it sounds like you don't feel "that close" to her, which is fine, but will have to be explained at some point by one of you if she's bringing it up.  I just don't think we should condemn the woman for wanting to make you a true part of her family/children.  She didn't ask you to call her the secret name of Satan, or anything.

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  • edited December 2011
    I am not close to my soon to be in laws and if they asked me to do what yours are i would keep calling them by the names i was introduced to them as. and that is fair. If they wanted you to call them cuz a close meaningful name then they would be close to you. thats how i feel... :) i hope that helped...
  • edited December 2011
    Well, I guess your other option is to call her "Mrs. Jones."

    I call my in-laws by their first names and always have, with their blessing. However, my mom always called her in-laws "mom and dad" so I don't think it's weird or insulting for that to be an option.
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  • ambermorleyambermorley member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I actually am very close with my FMIL, and I would be very uncomfortable calling her mom. It probably is a cultural or family thing for those who don't see the problem.

    I think the main issue here (aside from the well-covered issue of your Fiance's need to step up) is the assumption your FMIL is making, that she can dictate the terms of your relationship with her from beginning to end. Setting yourself up for huge disaster!

    You are so much better off being firm with her (and your fiance) now than having to deal with this over and over at every holiday, family gathering, and let's not even get started about when kids come along!!
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  • edited December 2011

    LOL I love it!

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  • edited December 2011
    I could never call my FMIL "Mom."  First of all, we do not get along.  Second, I already have a mother, and I know she would be hurt by it.

    There are only two people in the world who can call my parents "Mom and Dad."  To my immediate family, those are special titles for special people and are not to be tossed around.  

    My maternal grandmother told my dad he could call her "Mrs. Lastname" or "Mom."  He felt uncomfortable with both of those, so he just didn't call her anything until my brother was born.  She then became "Grandma."
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