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Old 23.11.2009, 23:57
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Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

Okay. So I admit that I'm not a regular forum user these days, and I usually don't delve into the off-topic forum at all. But I'm experiencing a bit of a cultural crisis regarding familial communications, and I'm hoping a few of you Brits on the forum can help me out. Google was a bit of a let down.

To cut a long story short, I'm a Canadian married to a Brit. I've noticed that my mother-in-law (=MIL, who is as English as they come) refers to both her mother and her MIL as 'mum' in both spoken and written communication. Where I'm from, 'mum' is a term one uses only with one's own mother: everyone else is addressed by their first name. My dad addressed his MIL as Mary and my mother addressed her MIL as Marjorie. Easy peasy.

So I've been addressing my MIL by her first name for years without giving it a second thought. But I'm starting to wonder if I ought to be calling her 'mum'. Is this still a typical thing in modern-day England? And if I choose to continue addressing her by her first name, would this be considered mildly insensitive or completely disrespectful? She signs all of her emails 'love mum' and while I'm touched by the sentiment, am I expected to address her with "Dear Mum" in emails, or say 'Hi mum!" when she calls? I'm just feeling a bit confused. My instinct is to not change anything, but now I'm starting to wonder if she feels offended by me not referring to her as 'mum'

Alas! What trials and tribulations must be borne by star-crossed/transatlantic lovers!

Any insight/opinions would be most appreciated,

Confusedly yours,

Heather
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:01
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

Trust your instinct, as you seem to have a good one.
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:04
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

Just ask her, saves the guessing!
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:14
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

Sounds like she wants you to call her mum, from what you write, i call my mother-in-law mum and have done since we got married
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:25
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

my mum called her Mil and Fil mum and dad but I call my mil by her name and my Sil calls my mum by her name too

I think it used to be popular to call your Mil and Fil's mum/dad etc... but not so much these days - i seriously could not call mine mum anyway
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:30
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

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my mum called her Mil and Fil mum and dad but I call my mil by her name and my Sil calls my mum by her name too

I think it used to be popular to call your Mil and Fil's mum/dad etc... but not so much these days - i seriously could not call mine mum anyway
LOL i am not that old and still call my husband`s parents mum and dad, we are a very close family
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:32
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

How delightfully old-fashioned. There really is no need to address your mother-in-law as "mum" unless you address your father as "Sir" and have a penchant for singing in the Swiss alps...
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:32
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

I call my MIL by her first name, same with my FIL. Only my parents are Mum / Dad. My wife does the same to my parents.
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:33
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

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LOL i am not that old and still call my husband`s parents mum and dad, we are a very close family
yeah but we all know you're nuts......

my mum and sister-in-law are very close but she still calls her by her name
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:36
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

I would not call my ex-mil mum, unless she or my ex told me to, and said it was offensive, if i did not. It simply seems wrong to me.

Doc.
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:37
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

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yeah but we all know you're nuts......

my mum and sister-in-law are very close but she still calls her by her name
LOL love you too i am a peanut

Last edited by Nickers; 24.11.2009 at 00:39. Reason: fixing my own typo
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:43
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

When you say "starting to wonder", did "Mum" give out a sign that she would like you to call her "Mum" from now on? There usually is a reason for such random thoughts.

If the thought has only occured recently, without any concious or subconcious signals from MIL, I wouldn't change it.
Besides, would you feel comfortable calling her Mum?

As an aside, my own Mum, always writes her letters signed "Mum", to all of us, "including" Sons and Daughters-in-law, kind of generic really.
The Sons and Daughters in law will either call her by her first name, or if they have children, Grandma *insert first name*.

Anyway, I bet you a Million dollars, after all this time, she barely gives it a thought.

You also have the advantage of being from somewhere else, "that's just the way they do it over there" type of thing.

As long as you and Mum, MIL, Candice or however she may be labelled, get along together, well, the old adage comes to mind, "if it aint broke, don't fix it"!
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:49
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

That's so last century !
First name is fine enough.
I've got my own Mom, nobody can replace her.
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:53
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

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How delightfully old-fashioned. There really is no need to address your mother-in-law as "mum" unless you address your father as "Sir" and have a penchant for singing in the Swiss alps...

My m-i-l is Swiss, I call her "mom" but then again, I DO call my father "sir"...

I haven't tried singing in the Alps though.
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:53
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

My ex inlaws always wanted the mom and dad thing, but I could never bring myself to call them that. So I just avoided calling them anything. Hm, actually, I've avoided calling my present fil anything, and I think I might have used my mil's name once or twice before she passed away, but I know she wanted the mom thing desperately. I just couldn't do it, these people aren't my parents....and my own mom isn't around anymore and to call another woman mom would be totally wrong to me.
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Old 24.11.2009, 00:56
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

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My m-i-l is Swiss, I call her "mom" but then again, I DO call my father "sir"...

I haven't tried singing in the Alps though.
you call your dad Sir?
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Old 24.11.2009, 01:13
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

Most people that I know use first names for their in-laws and only use Mum & Dad.

Have you asked your Mother in Law whether she prefers to be called by her first name or as Mum? That seems to be the obvious answer.
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Old 24.11.2009, 01:20
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

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Okay. So I admit that I'm not a regular forum user these days, and I usually don't delve into the off-topic forum at all. But I'm experiencing a bit of a cultural crisis regarding familial communications, and I'm hoping a few of you Brits on the forum can help me out. Google was a bit of a let down.

To cut a long story short, I'm a Canadian married to a Brit. I've noticed that my mother-in-law (=MIL, who is as English as they come) refers to both her mother and her MIL as 'mum' in both spoken and written communication. Where I'm from, 'mum' is a term one uses only with one's own mother: everyone else is addressed by their first name. My dad addressed his MIL as Mary and my mother addressed her MIL as Marjorie. Easy peasy.

So I've been addressing my MIL by her first name for years without giving it a second thought. But I'm starting to wonder if I ought to be calling her 'mum'. Is this still a typical thing in modern-day England? And if I choose to continue addressing her by her first name, would this be considered mildly insensitive or completely disrespectful? She signs all of her emails 'love mum' and while I'm touched by the sentiment, am I expected to address her with "Dear Mum" in emails, or say 'Hi mum!" when she calls? I'm just feeling a bit confused. My instinct is to not change anything, but now I'm starting to wonder if she feels offended by me not referring to her as 'mum'

Alas! What trials and tribulations must be borne by star-crossed/transatlantic lovers!

Any insight/opinions would be most appreciated,

Confusedly yours,

Heather
i'd ask. someone i know who got married called the MIL by her first name and the MIL was mortally offended by this.
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Old 24.11.2009, 01:39
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

Regarding signing things mum. My mil signs off mum when she addresses me and my husband but when she sends me a card or email she signs her name. Heather does she sign your birthday cards etc mum? What does your husband say? Does you mil have any other daughter or son in laws that call her mum?

I think it depends on how close you are. I really can never imagine calling mine mum but I understood why mum called her mil mum as she was like a second mother.
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Old 24.11.2009, 09:00
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Re: Should I call my mother-in-law 'Mum'?

Heather, just ask her. Would she prefer to be called by her first name or Mum? Personally, I bet she would be flattered by the gesture on your part, especially if she is already signing things "Mum".
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