call your inlaws mom and dad
Heart matters

Do you call your in-laws ‘mom’ and ‘dad’?

I just want to know who came up with the rule that said you have to call your spouse’s parents ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. Point me in the direction of that person, please. Don’t worry, I just want to talk, no funny business. Okay, all jokes aside though, do you feel comfortable addressing your in-laws as ‘mother’ and ‘father’?

A friend explained that calling her in-laws ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ just came naturally and it made sense for her to do so. I mean, when you get married, you become a part of their family. She explained that for her, it became more than just a show of respect. It was a way to fully adopt her husband’s mom and dad as her own. I love this concept so much! It wasn’t always easy for me though.

I mean, I have the best relationship with Hubstopher’s parents. They literally are my other set of parents, in every single way. I love them as a mother and father and yet, 5ish years later, I’m still not able to address them as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. I realize that it has absolutely nothing to do with them, and everything to do with ME. My extreme shyness with regards to the matter just never subsided. Fortunately they are gracious and do not expect me to be anything other than my fabulous self (look at me giving myself kudos for doing absolutely nothing).

Anyways, so the other day I had a nice chat with a friend about her awkward situation. She also finds it a bit difficult to refer to her in-laws as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, but her situation is not as gracious as mine is. Her mini rant was overheard by a few others and I was amazed at how many young people feel the same way. They said that calling someone elses parents ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ just felt weird. Some shared that they had such a close relationship with their own parents and could not bring themselves to giving that special title to anyone else. Others did not have a relationship with their own parents and therefore did not feel comfortable using the term of endearment at all.

It made me think… is this a generational thing? I mean, my mom called my dad’s mother “mommy’, even after my parents were separated. Was it easier for previous generations to accept and feel welcomed in their spouses family? Does this new awkward way of dealing with in-laws speak to this generation’s concept of family and marriage?

This brought about another area of concern: “What do we call them instead?!” I mean, if you find it difficult to call your in-laws ‘mom and ‘dad’, what would you prefer calling them? I feel that using first names or “Mr so-and-so” seems a bit awkward and out of place. Or you could spend the remainder of your life just not using any first names at all, resorting to “you” and “your”…. which is pretty cras in my opinion.

So, with that in mind, I thought to take it to the blog. I’d love to hear from you! What do you call your in-laws? If it feels ‘weird’ to call them ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, what do you call them instead?

Clip note: All the pics in this post are, in fact, my wedding photos taken by the talented Donna van der Watt Photography.


  • Siphokazi

    in my culture when someone is old enough to be your mother or father, you suppose to call them mama or tata. so for me it’s not so difficult to address my inlaws like, since I have lots of mamas and tatas anyway. I also call his aunts and uncles like he does which is a bit weird I must say.

  • Candice Gallant

    Hi i also feel awkward and still do at times.Jose calls my mom and dad,mom and dad lol i smile and talk to my mom in law lol 7 years later and it still feels a bit weird but i try my best to call her Mom.Thanks for sharing.God bless

  • Cassarica

    I have called my inlaws mum and dad from day one! I think it may at some point been awkward but it soon stuck cause they are definitely like my own parents! My biological parents I call ma and daddy so there’s a distinction between them. When I’ve been shopping with my inlaws or at a restaurant I always get weird looks cause I refer to them as mum and dad, they are also a different colour to me so I guess some people find that strange. I don’t know what I would call them otherwise

  • Melissa Javan

    It would’ve been weird for me too if I had inlaws. I have an adopted sister and it was SO weird her calling my parents “mummy” & “daddy”. But I eventually got over the weirdness.

  • Tsholofelo

    I call my inlaws ma and pa. It is a lot easier with the mom in law with the dad I feel a bit awkward at times. My wife calls my parents ma and pa as well with no awkwardness at all. Great post!

  • Candy

    I’m english and I call my mother in law tannie, (the oom passed away) and my husband who is afrikaans, calls my parents oom and tannie. Works for us. Cant imagine us calling them anything else.

  • Toni-Leigh

    I call my mother “mommy/mummy” and I call my fiance’s mother “moms” or sometimes “aunty …”. My mother-in-law (to be) understands that I will only call my own mother “mommy” and she is totally cool with it. My fiance calls my mother “moms” too.

  • MrsT

    So yeah. . .I call my MIL mom and my FIL dad. While my hubby and I were dating I called them Mr and Mrs LastName. Then when we got married I did not know what to call the so I did not call them anything. I kinda waited til they looked at me to say anything. Plus I was way shy. We eventually discussed some things and it came out that my MIL was tiffed I did not refer to them as mom and dad. Anyways, long story short, I don’t mind calling them mom or dad. They are my hubbys parents and I respect them and even though we dont always see eye to eye they are my other parents.

  • Candice

    8 years later and I still don’t feel comfortable calling them mom & dad. Although for my husband calling my parents mom & dad seemed to have happened so naturally. We see each other once maybe twice a year (living in different provinces) so perhaps that’s why? I don’t know.

  • Carin

    It’s weird for me. Gosh I couldn’t even call my step dad, dad and he is in my life since the age of 7! I’ve tried in both situations but just not comfy.. For the life of me I don’t know how I called them before we had kids, now I call them what my toddler calls them ( Vòvò (grandma in Portuguese) and Granpa) .

  • Michelle Jones

    I dated my hubby for 10 years an when we tied the knot I found it incredibly difficult to call the in laws mom an dad…I called them Mr or Mrs after the wedding an I think his mom got offended an said you suppose to call me mom!!.since then I havent called her anything until my son came along 2 now I call them Ma and Pa…so much easier..but hubby still calls my mom and dad Mr an they totally ok with that…

  • TJO

    I would much rather prefer to call them Aunty… and Uncle… but its 10 years later and I call them Mum and Dad.

  • Shelley (thedealis)

    If I’m honest I’m the crass one who sticks with “you” and “yours” and only speak in English in order to do so. If I felt accepted for who I am it might have been different. The hubster feels comfortable calling my mom “Mammie”. Did it from the word go. The relationship is different though. Even though she didn’t birth him he is her son. We’ve been married for almost 10 years.

  • Veronique Ebrahim

    I found it extremely natural and easy to call my my mom in law mum because she truly is a ‘mum’ to us all. After all…she’s not my mum in-law….but rather my mum-in-love. And I truly adore her!!!!

  • Sulize Esterhuyse

    I have a bit of trouble saying mum and dad to my inlaws for various reasons… i love my mother inlaw. We get along great and i have a ton of reapecr for her. So i think saying mom wont be an issue for me… the issue is my father inlaw… we have a rocke relationshio as he tends to emotionally abuse me without realising it… he is also a narccisist… so the respect isnt quite there… also my dad died a year before we got married so im still heartbroken by it… will be 2 years next month… so i cant quite justify saying dad to my fatherinlaw as i feel like ot would take away my dads place…

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