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What do you call your in-laws?

This came up in a post here regarding names and in-laws, and also recently came up at work and I started thinking about it in my own life.

How do you address your in-laws? Do you call them "Mom" or "Dad"?

I address someone by how they introduce them self to me; if you give me your full name I'll use that, even if other people use a nickname. I work in a hospital and even though most of the nurses address the intensivists and residents by their first name, I still address them as "Dr.XYZ" unless they tell me otherwise. When I was a kid, I had a couple of friends who addressed parents as, "Mr. and Mrs. XYZ" but I was never taught this by my own parents so I often used their first name, if I knew it. Now I look back and wonder if I was being rude? But not all my friends did this either, nor did I have my friends' parents say, "Call me X". I feel awkward with the distinction between calling someone Mr. or Mrs. XYZ vs. their first name; in academic or workplace settings it seems obvious to me, but in real life, I think it gets tricky.

My MIL has never said one way or another, so I address her by her first name. FIL actually told me to call him "Apu", which is Hungarian for dad. DH does not call him this, he calls him Dad (as does SIL). DH does not call my parents Mom or Dad.

Calling FIL "Apu" makes me a bit uncomfortable. Partially because I feel silly about pronouncing it incorrectly, and partially because he's not my dad. For the most part, I usually avoid this by not directly naming him when I address him, for example, I'd look directly at him and ask, "Can you pass the peas?".

In Canada, FIL uses the english form of his name, and for his common acquaintances, they call him by the short form of his name. I could try calling him this and see if he corrects me, but I know he is easily offended by things. He's very old fashioned and might see it as an offense that a younger person was calling him by his first name or a short form. He's already gotten offended at BIL who's children were calling him "Papa {short form of name}"; he felt they should be addressing him by his full name. Us "kids" are still confused about exactly how he wants his grandchildren to address him.

I could also just suck it up and call him "Apu" since it's is a word that does not hold particularly meaning to me and realize FIL is definitely not going to change his ways. But I think the topic is interesting- "what's in a name!". To some people, a lot.



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Re: What do you call your in-laws?

  • I always called my inlaws by their first names until I had their first grandchild.  After that, they were first names on the telephone, but "Grandma" and "Grandad" if the children were present.  When Grandma died and Grandad remarried, the new wife was addressed by her first name.
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    SP29
  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I use first names.  They're not Mom and Dad to me, so I don't want to use that.  But MIL is 'Tia' FirstName to my nieces/nephews, to show seem respect from the kids.  It's Spanish for Aunt, and since she's not their Grandma, but I felt she still deserved something from the kids, we use that.  
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    SP29
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I also use first names. 
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  • I would never call my in-laws Mom and Dad. Yuck. Not my parents. I have called them by their first name since about 2-3 years after FI and I started dating. I called them Mr. and Mrs. Xyz until they asked to be called by their first name. I would say go by what you are told to call them by unless you are uncomfortable in which case I would ask "would you mind if I used your first name instead of Apu?"
    SP29ei34Knottie1452098987JediElizabeth
  • I call mine by their first names.  It feels kind of weird sometimes, but after being married for three years I'm finally getting used to it.  I think it feels weird because my mom has always worked at my school (grade school and high school), so all my friends and my BF (now H) always called her "Mrs. Lastname," which led to them calling my dad by his last name as well.  Even after we all graduated, I think it took my friends until after college to start calling my mom by her first name.  
    SP29
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    First names. It's been meow than three years, and I don't think I could ever call them Mom and Dad. However much I like them (and I do), they simply are not my mom and dad and it seems incredibly weird to me to call them that. My SIL (married to H's brother) when talking about them (as opposed to them) calls his parents "Mom and Dad/Mom/Dad lastname." I don't know what she calls them to their faces. 

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    CMGragain said:
    I always called my inlaws by their first names until I had their first grandchild.  After that, they were first names on the telephone, but "Grandma" and "Grandad" if the children were present.  When Grandma died and Grandad remarried, the new wife was addressed by her first name.
    I called mine Mom and Dad until the grandchildren came. Then just like you! My stepmother was called by her first by my children. I think they thought of it as another word for Grandma, though. My daughter referred to her one time as "my first name".
    SP29
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited June 2016
    My MIL never indicated how she would like to be addressed. It was awkward before I had the first grandchild and I could just call her gram. My husband calls my parents Ma and Pops, which is what he called his parents.

    My SIL calls my husband and I by our first names. My son's GF calls me Mom and my husband a pet name that her little boy made up. I'm comfortable with everyone's choices.

    @SP29 As a child, I called my friends' parents and all the adult neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Soandso. I called my parent's close friends by their their first names. All the children in that close knit group used first names for the adults.

    I'd go with Apu, if i were you, since that's what your FIL suggested. You'll get used to it.
                       
    ILoveBeachMusicSP29CMGragain
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I've always called my in-laws by their first names.

  • I call them mom and dad, although I don't address them by name all that often.  

    I know some people don't like that, and that's fine.  I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here... just whatever you're comfortable with.  They treat me like a daughter, so I don't have a problem saying mom and dad.  That doesn't mean they're on level with my actual mom and dad.  But again, that's my comfort level and totally not others.  

    Go with whatever you're comfortable with!

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    SP29charlotte989875emmaaa
  • @SP29, I have many people from other cultures in my family.  Some of their first names sound odd to western ears.  I got used to it.  My own grandmother was "Mimi", though that was not her real name.  She was young to be a grandmother, and some of the grandchildren were shocked to find out that she was really their grandmother.
    Go with Apu.  I think it sounds cute!
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  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    First names. 

    Maybe this is a regional thing but I never used Mr./Mrs. Last Name as a child. In church we did "Ms. Judy" and "Mr. Danny." I called my friends' parents either first names or "Mama Jill" or "Papa Jeff." Actually now that I think about it I called a couple of parents "Mama Last Name" or "Papa Last Name," sort of a mix of the two.
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  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I wanted to call my ILs mom and dad, but we've had a bit of a falling out, so I know call them by their first names. DH has always called mine by their first name. I call his grandma, grandma Nancy. I find it a lot easier to call elders, grandma or grandpa than their first name only.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    SP29
  • kvrunskvruns member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    honestly I don't use their names or call them anything. But they're across the country and so I rarely have to interact.

    The weirdest thing for me with names was that my mom worked in the same school district I attended, so I knew Ms/Mrs/Mr so and so but she was friends with them so it was the first name. After graduating my mom was at another school in the district and some teachers I'd had before were there and it was like do I still call them Ms/Mrs/Mr or is it now first name especially in my mid and later 20s

  • Mine aren't my in-laws yet, but I've been asked to use their first names (after calling them Mr/Mrs LastName and being corrected). It honestly makes me a little uncomfortable and so I usually just avoid using their names. Maybe I'll get used to it eventually.

    FH's grandma wants to be called Grandma FirstName, and that I have no problem with. Who knows. I'm weird.
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  • I call mine by their first names. One time I sent an email to FIL and addressed him as Mr. Lastname and he was like... who's Mr. Lastname? He will also sign emails as Dad but usually they are to both my husband and me.

    DH's grandfather I will call Grandpa though, and his stepgrandmother I call by her first name like everyone else. I generally take DH's lead.

    DH calls my dad by his first name, but alternates between my mom's first name and "Nikki's Mommy". He has a great relationship with my parents which I am super grateful for!
    SP29
  • I love my ILs but I really struggle at what to call them. I got up the nerve to ask once and they said whatever I felt comfortable with so that wasn't really helpful. I kind of avoid addressing them by name but when I do have to I use first names. I'd like to call them mom and dad but idk how they'd take it. Hopefully when we have a kid I can call them Nana and Grandpappy and then won't need to worry anymore.

    DH said he won't call my parents mom and dad so he uses first names and that's totally fine (some days I don't even want to call them that... we have a strained relationship atm).

    I call DH's grandma Grammy like DH does and I call his Aunts/Uncles Aunt/Uncle [Firstname]. DH does the same with my side. 
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    SP29bridetobe26-2
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    First names. 

    Maybe this is a regional thing but I never used Mr./Mrs. Last Name as a child. In church we did "Ms. Judy" and "Mr. Danny." I called my friends' parents either first names or "Mama Jill" or "Papa Jeff." Actually now that I think about it I called a couple of parents "Mama Last Name" or "Papa Last Name," sort of a mix of the two.
    I think that's a Southern thing and a dance teacher thing. 
                       
    bridetobe26-2
  • I call them by their first names.   Luckily they never asked me to call them "Mom and Dad."   I already have parents. 
    spockforprezSP29
  • peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    first names but in front of the kids (our nephews, their grandchildren) I call them Papa and Grammy.
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  • I'm close to my ILs so I go with "Mom and Dad H's last name". It's what my SIL (H's brothers wife) did and that's how they sign their cards, although to be fair I don't tend to call them that often as it just doesn't come up a lot. I have a good relationship with them and see them often. 

    H calls my parents by their first names. 
    SP29
  • Not married yet, but I use their first names. My fiance's mom wants me to call her mom, but that feels weird to me. I only use "mom" for her on presents or cards. 
    SP29
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    I call the FIL's by their first names, and the Grandparents are Grandma or Grandpa Lastname.

    FMIL was here last weekend, and despite our very bi-polar like relationship had a nice time.  It started as just the two of out for about an hour, and I was telling her a story where I called her "FI's mom."  She interrupts me and says "you know, at this point I think it's okay if you call me....your mother in law."

    I told FI the story and we both cracked up because I would not be comfortable calling her mom and panicked for a second that she was going to suggest it.
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    spockforprezSP29
  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    Everyone in DH's family wants me to use their first names. I've never had a problem with calling his grandmothers "Granny Firstname" because that's just how it's always been; even the grandkids and great-grandkids use that level of formality. I struggle with calling my ILs by their first names, but I was raised to use Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. my whole life, so it's engrained to the point where it feels alien to do it any other way with anyone, not just my ILs, and it seems disrespectful regardless of how the individual feels. But that's what the ILs prefer, so I use their first names, albeit sparingly. Glad I'm not alone; I feel less foolish for being uncomfortable calling them by their first names.


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    SP29
  • I cal FIL and SMIL by their first names, always. I call my MIL by her first name, or "mother dearest" facetiously on occasion, and "Grandma" when referring to her when her grandkids are present.

    As a kid, I only had one friend whose parents preferred to be called Mr. and Mrs. LastName. I always found it oddly formal. Other than teachers and that one friend's parents, I called adults by their first names.
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  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its

    I call H's grandparents "grandma and grandpa". I feel like once you're someone's grandma, everyone calls your grandma.

    I call his parents by their first names, but I do avoid addressing them at all like that. H has stepparents that he calls by their first names so it's easy with them for me. MIL really wants H to address SD as some sort of "dad" - she signs cards with "JoeDad" or "Dad Smith". Maybe if our relationship continues to get better, she'll want me to call her mom. Not going to happen.

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  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm with OP in that I avoid using anything and just look at them directly when I'm talking to them!
    I can call them by their first names but it just seems so weird. I grew up addressing people's parents as Mr or Mrs Lastname. It was actually weird going to my first professional job and working with people who were my parents' ages and addressing them by first names!

    For what it's worth, DH enjoys calling my parents Mom and Dad (though they would never, ever say anything to him, they thought it was kind of odd, yet they really don't mind). My sister's husband addresses my parents by their first names.
    And, fun fact, since my mom is British, DH actually calls her "Mum" and his own mother is still "Mom." That's fun, actually. 
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  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I'm with OP in that I avoid using anything and just look at them directly when I'm talking to them!
    I can call them by their first names but it just seems so weird. I grew up addressing people's parents as Mr or Mrs Lastname. It was actually weird going to my first professional job and working with people who were my parents' ages and addressing them by first names!

    For what it's worth, DH enjoys calling my parents Mom and Dad (though they would never, ever say anything to him, they thought it was kind of odd, yet they really don't mind). My sister's husband addresses my parents by their first names.
    And, fun fact, since my mom is British, DH actually calls her "Mum" and his own mother is still "Mom." That's fun, actually. 
    I think that is great!
  • I call my MIL "mom", she wants me to call her mom.

    Everytime MIL see me, she always smiles and hugs me. She wants me to call her 'mom', and said that I always have her as a family.
    (She does know about my abusive childhood, and the strain situation I have with my parents. Perhaps she feels bad about how my mother treats me, therefore she wants me to call her mom? I dunno).

    MIL also said when we have kids, she will help watch the baby for us.

    She often make cream puffs for me. Everytime she make cake and bake cookies for her grandkids (sister in-law kids), she remember I like to eat cream puffs, so she always bake me some.. Last weekend she make pecan pie and bring it over.

    Christmas last year she gave me Red Lobster gif card. She knows I like to eat at Red Lobster, I guess that why she gave me a gift card so I can use to eat there.

    She very nice to me, I'm very grateful to have her as a MIL.

    Sadly but I have a better relationship with my MIL than with my own mother (the woman who gave birth to me but belittle me, insult me; spit in my face and call me dirty). She said I'm dirty and full of shame. In her eyes, I'm just dirty and a shameful girl.


    SP29
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I call my MIL "Mom" and my FIL by his first name. My husband calls my dad by his first name.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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