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MIL as "mum"

(30 Posts)
OrdinarySoup Mon 20-Jul-15 16:40:52

Afternoon all - hoping for a bit of sage MN advice...
Background - my mum died 3 years ago, and ever since my birthday cards from MIL (on behalf of both IL) are signed from
"Mum and dad". We are not close, and even though I have squared our relationship with myself so I don't drive myself mad every time I see them, this still really REALLY bothers me. It strikes me as massively insensitive at worst, and deluded at best that I would consider them close enough to be called "mum and dad". DH even asked them before the latest card not to sign like this but the request was ignored/ forgotten. On the one hand I think I should just suck it up for 1 card/ year. On the other I feel I'm putting my own feelings second to MILs and that I have every right to ask her not to do this in future. So, AIBU if I ask her to stop and if not, how do I do it tactfully? Sticking up for myself has never been a strong point!

DontDrinkAndFacebook Mon 20-Jul-15 16:43:11

Not so long ago everyone called their PILs mum and dad. It's sort of fallen out of favour now but don't be too hard on her over it - she's obviously just a traditionalist.

mollie123 Mon 20-Jul-15 16:45:42

YANBU - it is insensitive in the extreme. You only have one mother and father and she and her hubby are not yours.
to save this conundrum I am 'Mollie' to my DIL and 'mother' to my son
she has her own Mum and Dad

KumquatMay Mon 20-Jul-15 16:46:11

Sorry for your loss ordinary.

It sounds like it might be a misguided attempt on your MILs part to make you feel even more part of the family since losing your mum, though it's not having that effect, understandably. I think it's totally fair to ask her to stop in this instance, the title of mum was obviously special to your mum who has now passed away, and it's not fair that she try and take that on if you're unhappy with it. Perhaps DH could call her closer to your birthday to remind her, and then call again on getting the card if it doesn't stop? It's definitely possible to broach it gently and without drama, if that's what you want to avoid.

2rebecca Mon 20-Jul-15 16:46:33

My mum is dead and if my MIL signed herself "mum and dad" on a card just to ME (different on joint xmas card to us both) then I would be asking her to stop and telling her that you know she means well but you just had one mum and she's now dead.
It doesn't matter if you hurt her feelings, at the moment she is hurting yours and she is in the wrong here, especially if she only started this nonsense after your mum died.
Some older generations used to call inlaws mum and dad (my mum did but grumbled about having to do so to keep her MIL happy, although my dad didn't) but if you don't actually call your MIL "mum" then her calling herself that is insensitive and strange.

Hornydilemma Mon 20-Jul-15 16:46:53

I disagree, I think if she has done it since your mother died, it was a choice on her part, and a really insensitive nasty one on her part.

Get your DH onside - he has to tell her it's upsetting and she has to stop.

If she does it again, post the card back to her, torn up, with a note saying "You're NOT my mother!"

Hornydilemma Mon 20-Jul-15 16:47:52

Sorry, was disagreeing with drink, that was the only post when I started typing!

MitzyLeFrouf Mon 20-Jul-15 16:48:10

Strange behaviour, especially as your DH asked her to stop signing cards this way.

sparkysparkysparky Mon 20-Jul-15 16:48:17

Totally understand. I get very prickly if mil tries to be "mum". When her cards are to both of you it would be odd for her not to say Mum. On cards just to you (e.g birthday) she is being tactless but probably not realising it. Can your oh have a quiet word?
If that doesn't work I'd probably find an opportunity to tell her how much you miss your mum and no one could ever take her place. If that had no effect I would probably shrug my shoulders as a lost cause.
I'm sorry you've lost your mum. I'm sorry you've got this dilemma.

mollie123 Mon 20-Jul-15 16:48:26

maybe your husband could mention it to his mum and dad that it upsets you (having lost your Mum) but you didn't like to mention it.

CPtart Mon 20-Jul-15 16:58:27

I wouldn't like this. I refuse to sign PIL Mothers and Father's Day cards despite DH protests but I keep telling him, they're not my mum or dad. Only his.

Ragwort Mon 20-Jul-15 16:58:36

It is very insensitive, however well-meaning, you must ask your DH to say something to her again, and be more assertive, as Mollie suggests.

OrdinarySoup Mon 20-Jul-15 17:03:02

Thanks guys. It's actually a card received yesterday - after a quiet word from DH to MIL - that has kicked this off for me again. Just very glad I decided to open it before my (40th) birthday as I had a suspicion this would happen and didn't want to be stewing on it on the day! The card is in the bin in pieces... They are both generally very insensitive to others although MIL prides herself on "knowing people". It's sad, really, and suspect it's a lost cause but I'll see if I can shoehorn something in next time we see them. They are so used to ignoring DH maybe she'll listen to me (ever hopeful!).

sparkysparkysparky Mon 20-Jul-15 17:07:06

She might listen you. Forget my passive aggressive suggestion. Tell her straight that it is upsetting. You might want to warn dh first.

WaxyBean Mon 20-Jul-15 17:08:22

If they're cards to or from both DH and I then I have no problem with mum for ease of what to write. Similarly my parents are mum and dad in those circumstances.

But if to DH from my parents only then they use their names, and similarly if to me from MIL then she uses her first name. We also all use first names in person.

Rosieliveson Mon 20-Jul-15 17:08:58

I think I would say something too.
I do not know what she is like but will assume she isn't someone who wants to hurt you. I would have to say "after losing my mum, it upsets me to receive cards that are signed from you as 'mum'. Please go back to signing your name. I much preferred it"
Fwiw, we also get joint cards from mum and dad but emails, cards and notes just to me are always named.

TheRealAmyLee Mon 20-Jul-15 17:10:05

If only done since your mum died I think its probably done with good intentions. Get your DH on it again to explain that it upsets you but you didnt want to say anything yourself you know its done with a good heart but he is sure they dont want toupset you etc.

TheRealAmyLee Mon 20-Jul-15 17:11:25

Same as rosie here joint things say mum/dad but singular from my in laws they use names. Ditto my parents to DH

InNeedOfABreak Mon 20-Jul-15 17:16:42

Yanbu very insensitive and I would tell her as well meaning as she is it really upsets you and please stop. If that doesn't work I would be putting it straight in the bin each and every time. I remember the first Mother's Day after I moved in with do my mum getting stroppy with me because I hadn't wrote his name on her card. We had been together two years by this point and I hadn't wrote his name on the year before either. She said to me 'I'm really hurt why is the card only signed from you why isn't dp name on it' I laughed. She was serious, and didn't seem to get it when I pointed out she isn't his mum, in fact his mum is dead so if he can't send his own mother a card why would I expect him to send mine one? She wasn't best pleased with my reply and gets a dig in every year but I just roll my eyes and ignore her now.

screamingskull Mon 20-Jul-15 17:20:29

like yourself my mum died (roughly two yrs ago). Not long after that my DP's mum was calling herself mum to me, I just kept ignoring her when she done it sort of in a "jog on love" scenario to myself. It is bloody hard thou

Worse was/is, I don't always see eye to eye with her and was raging, there is no way she could / would ever replace my mum.

I had mentioned it to my DP and she seems to have a least stopped. Like yourself i found it very in-sensative.

Def take a stance for yourself and mention again to DH or just tell her straight, absolutely cannot stand this kind of behaviour. flowers

Judydreamsofhorses Mon 20-Jul-15 17:25:49

Slightly different scenario, but after my dad died my mum remarried and would send cards with "happy birthday daughter" on the front signed from "mum and new husband". I politely told her that I found it upsetting because I wasn't her new husband's daughter. She wasn't pleased - I was in my 30s and not keen on the idea of a "new dad" - but she did stop it and I now get generic birthday cards and "to you both" for me and my partner at Christmas. I find it weird/slightly upsetting that my brother's son calls my mum's husband grandpa.

2rebecca Mon 20-Jul-15 17:42:08

I wouldn't find it strange that your nephew calls your mother's husband grandfather. If she has remarried then grannie's husband being grandad especially to a young boy who has maybe not known other grandads and where he is acting in a grandad role seems fine. I think you can be a married in to the family just like you can be a married in to the family uncle. Parents are different though, and when you are dealing with adults not children it's different as they had a long relationship with the deceased relative.
My mum is dead and if my dad remarried I wouldn't expect to call his wife mum and doubt that my over 15 teenagers would call her granny but would leave that up to them. I would expect though that if they had kids they would call her great granny as she would be acting in that role and be the only great granny they'd have known my dad be with.

Jux Mon 20-Jul-15 17:59:28

Write to her telling her that you are not her daughter, she is not your mother; that though your mum is dead now it is impossible to replace her, and she will always be in your heart; that you do not appreciate anyone trying to take her place as that would be impossible.. (My MIL tried something like this with me, despite my actual mother standing there with us so I may be overly annoyed about it.) It is insensitive in the extreme.

MadisonMontgomery Mon 20-Jul-15 18:02:16

Actually I think it's really kind - my mum is dead & if any future MIL did this I would be touched, it's like saying she thinks of you as a daughter.

2rebecca Mon 20-Jul-15 18:18:56

It could be thought of as kind up to the point when she was asked to stop doing it and didn't...

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