03 October, 2006

How to address parents-in-law?

Since Mom H asked me about the conversations while I was knitting, here is one.
We were talking about how to call our parents-in-law. As I know, some of the americans would call their in-laws by first name, but for Chinese, it is very rude. So, after I got married, I always call them Mom and Dad. (even before getting married, calling first names is also rude, so I called them Mr. & Mrs. Hitchcock). One girl in the knitting group told me that she has gotten married for a couple of years, but it seems like her husband never addresses her parents... what?? I agree that it is very hard to call someone dad, because you wouldn't have 2 dads... On the other hand, how would the in-laws address themselves when they talk to us? At the beginning of my marriage, when Andrew's Dad called to our house, he would say "Hi, Phoebe, it's Tom, how are you?". To be honest, I felt uncomfortable. It was because I was calling him "Dad", and he was calling himself "Tom". My dad never calls himself by his first name. It felt "distance" when Andrew's Dad did that. Now, It is funny that everytime my parents-in-law called, I would really pay attendion to how they call themselves. Mom always calls herself Mom. And I am glad that when Dad calls us, he says "Hi, Phoebe, it's Dad, how are you?" now. yeah!!


Anonymous said...

Phoebe - you are a daughter to us and I will always be happy to be Mom to you - whether your American mom, husband's mom or your "other" mom. Tom felt funny about identifying himself as Dad because he wasn't sure how you would feel because you have your own dad. He feels like you are a duaghter, but certainly doesn't want to replace your father. Now, since you call him dad, he says that when he calls. I don't always like all the "in-law" names because sometimes prople might think the person isn't liked so much...and we love you!! We just don't want you ever to think we could replace your parents; I guess we're added "extra" parents!!
Love you! Mom H

Sneaksleep said...

I have this dilemma too, only the other way around. My parents want my husband to call them by their first names, but my husband's mom, who is from India, prefers that I call her Mom. That's hard for me to do, not because I don't feel close to her, but because there's only one person I've ever called "Mom," and that's my own mother. I suppose I'll get used to it eventually, though. I calle everyone else in my husband's family by the names he uses for them (aunt, uncle, etc.), so I guess it makes sense.