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Mother in law/ Step-mother issues


jenny_mcs

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I would like some suggestions on dealing with comments by my mother-in-law.

 

Background: My own mother died when I was 7. When I was 11, my dad remarried. My step mom is wonderful. She came into the situation in her 30’s, childless, with little experience with kids. She took on 3 pre-teen kids (me and my two brothers), loved us, helped raised us, etc. Her and my dad had one child together (my youngest brother). I can’t really put into words what her presence in my life has meant. My brothers and I all call her mom, and I am so thankful for her love and support in my life.

 

When my husband and I were first dating, and I was getting to know his family, and his mom was asking about my family, I would talk about my mom, my dad, and my 3 brothers. One time when I wasn’t around, my husband let her know my family situation (my mom’s death, etc). The next time I was over and mentioned my mom and dad, she basically told me that she didn’t understand why I called my step mom “mom”, as she wasn’t my “real” mother, and she would never want her kids to call another woman “mom.” I was pretty flabbergasted and didn’t say much, other than I loved her, and although I remembered my real mom, I thought of her (my step mom)as my mother also. My husband, later in private, read her the riot act and told her she was being insensitive.

 

I don’t understand why this is an issue, but she has made several comments that just make me so mad

 

 

- When my husband told his mother that at our wedding we were getting corsages for our mothers, she said “Oh, you mean for the mother and the stepmother?”

 

- When my husband and I were joking around with her about having kids and what our kids would call her (my husband was jokingly asking her what she wants to be called- granny, grandma, nana, etc), she asked me “what do step-grandmas get called?

 

- And finally, on Mother’s Day-- my husband and I were out to brunch with my in-laws, and I ducked out to take a call from my mom (I had called earlier to say Happy Mothers Day and she wasn’t at home.) When I got back to the table, my mother-in-law said “Oh, do step moms celebrate Mother’s Day too?”

 

My husband has spoken with her a couple of times about her comments, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I want to say something to her as I find he comments so hurtful and puzzling. I’m not sure how to even begin, or what to say. The person I call “mom” is my step mom, but she is so so so much more than that, and I can’t stand the way my mother-in-law keeps having to hammer away at the fact that this isn’t my “real” mother. Any thoughts?

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Background: My own mother died when I was 7. When I was 11, my dad remarried. My step mom is wonderful. She came into the situation in her 30’s, childless, with little experience with kids. She took on 3 pre-teen kids (me and my two brothers), loved us, helped raised us, etc. Her and my dad had one child together (my youngest brother). I can’t really put into words what her presence in my life has meant. My brothers and I all call her mom, and I am so thankful for her love and support in my life.

^^^

I would just tell your mother in law what you just told us. flat out.

 

i don't see how she couldn't understand that you are allowed to define the relationships in your own life. you're not denying the existence of or your love for your birth mother, but acknowledging the love an appreciation for another....

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Any time She says "step-mom" I would politely correct her and say "no- you must mean, my MOM"

 

or

 

"Actually, to ME, that's my mom. I prefer not to use the term "step-mom" at all because it doesn't apply."

 

she basically told me that she didn’t understand why I called my step mom “mom”, as she wasn’t my “real” mother, and she would never want her kids to call another woman “mom.”

 

Well it's nice that she is alive to make that judgment. Obviously your circumstances are different. Your biological mother isn't here- if she WAS I don't think you'd be calling someone else mom. Some people are just so simple-minded and clueless. ](*,)

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"Actually, to ME, that's my mom. I prefer not to use the term "step-mom" at all because it doesn't apply."

 

 

 

Well it's nice that is is alive to make that judgment. Obviously your circumstances are different. Your biological mother isn't here- if she WAS I don't think you'd be calling someone else mom. Some people are just so simple-minded and clueless. ](*,)

 

Thank you. Your comment really hit home. It's like my mother-in-law is being defensive on the part of my mother, and the fact that her kids are calling another woman "mom". And she has the luxury of that, because she's here and alive and in her kids' lives. I like to think that my mother is happy that we have someone who loves us, and helped raise us and thinks of us as her kids. I like your suggestion of what to say to her, also.

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Overall I think your guy's mother is a little jealous and threatened by just how much you love your mom, and the bond that you have with her, despite not being her biological child.

 

Your husband's mother is worried that she won't be the queen bee, and would like to downplay your mom's significance in your life so she herself can pretend to be mom of the year. She'd probably love to be the only "mom" in the picture.

 

Watch out because it sounds like she has the potential to be a pain in the ass about other things in the future. Get her in check now (tactfully of course) But if it were me- I would indeed be sure to correct her anytime she said "stepmom".

 

It's not her place to define the relationships in YOUR life. I'm glad your man is sensitive to that too. It sounds like he "gets" it at least, and that is all that matters.

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