Monday, November 26, 2007

How to Address Our In-Laws

I just posted the following on Catholic Dads and figured I might as well post it here too:

A few weeks ago, the Dutchman posted an entry titled "My 'Mister' Problem" in which he opined that teaching our children and their peers to address adults by Mr. and Mrs. is "not a matter of preference, but an attempt to maintain the very fabric of society!"

I'm generally inclined to agree with him on this score, and posted a comment indicating as much.

The Dutchman's post touches closely on another matter that I hadn't thought at the time to mention in the comments section, and it seems to me it's worth its own post — to wit, how to address one's in-laws.

I address my wife's parents as Mom and Dad; ditto my wife for my parents.

I feel very strongly that one should address one's spouse's parents in this way. Yet I don't personally know anyone else who does so. (I should note that my mom and dad addressed each other's parents in this way, but my grandparents are all long since deceased.)

I also don't personally know of anyone who addresses his in-laws by Mr. and Mrs.

Instead, it seems to me that the default setting, if you will, for referring to one's in-laws is by their first names.

This I find loathsome. Presumably, the Dutchman would agree with me. Anyone else? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I'm very curious to hear the thoughts of others out there in Catholic Dads-Land:

How do you address your in-laws?

Also, on a closely related matter:

How would you prefer (insist?) your future sons/daughters-in-law address you?


The Dutchman said...

Though I agree with John in principle, my personal experience is rather at odds with this approach.

I met my mother-in-law BEFORE I met my wife, we were co-workers and, naturally, I called her by her first name. It seemed un-natural to stop, and so to this day I call her Shizuko.

My mother is one of those radical feminists you have no doubt heard about. After her divorce, she changed back to her “birth name,” becoming “Ms. Lewis.” Of course NO ONE actually calls ANYONE “Ms. So-and-so,” people who use Ms. INSIST upon being addressed by their first names. So, when we were dating, Wife-Mate called my mom by her first name. With the birth of our first child however, she became “Grandma Nell,” and has been called that ever since.

John Jansen said...

It seemed un-natural to stop, and so to this day I call her Shizuko.

Makes sense.