Our Favorite Names for Mother-in-Laws
After the wedding, your mother-in-law becomes the newest member of your extended family, and it’s time to get to know her. What do you call her? They always say that when you marry a man, you marry his mother, and we have a few cute ideas for what to call your brand-new mother-in-law. When she visits, you don’t want to stumble over her name, so talk to her and decide how you’ll refer to her. It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference. Will you identify her by her last name? First name? Another name entirely? Whether Mrs. Jones, Nina, or Nana, we have a few ideas for you. And, if you play your cards right, she might even pass on her top-secret family ambrosia recipe. Your mother-in-law could very well become your new best friend. After the I-do’s are all said and done, you’ve gained a hubby and a sweet new mother-in-law.
Keeping Things Formal
Classic and elegant. If your relationship is more formal, calling her by her last name might be perfect.
Keeping Things Casual
It’s great to get on a first-name basis with your mother-in-law. Calling your MIL by her first name is a popular way to go, and most daughter-in-laws do it…until the kids come along with a grandma name. When that happens, Gam-Gam is Gam-Gam forevermore.
A blend of formal and informal, this mother-in-law name shows deference but also keeps things casual. Adding ‘Miss’ is as Southern as can be.
Add her first initial to Mama, and you have a ready-made nickname.
Keeping Things Easy
Add her first name to Mama, and it is too catchy for its own good.
Sticking with Tradition
Mimi. It's a classic.
Keeping Things Southern
Perhaps the most reverent of mother-in-law names, a Big Mama is the most Southern of hostesses, and a darn good cook to boot.
Give your mother-in-law her own code name by calling her M.I.L, and add a little James Bond/secret agent flavor to your phone calls and emails.
Keeping it Witty
A little anecdote: I once knew a son-in-law who called his mother-in-law MeMaw because he knew how much she hated it, called her MeMaw. She demanded GiGi, but he liked to co-opt MeMaw for a little good-natured ribbing.
Keeping it Efficient
A variant of Nana, Nan is in-between affectionate and practical.
Thinking Long Term
If you have kids, you’ll end up calling your mother-in-law by her anointed grandmother name—Grandma, Gams, GiGi, MawMaw, or Grams—she’ll love it.
Affectionate and sweet, a Meme is always there for you.
Keeping it Short and Sweet
How easy is this one? Can’t you just hear yourself calling Ma on the phone for advice?
Staying Classic and Respectful
When your mother-in-law becomes “Mom,” you’ll know you’ve hit a new level of friendship.
Giving Her Swag
Moms is for the most casual and cool of MILs.
Queen Mother means business.
Keeping it Sweet
She’s sweet as, you know, sugar.
Keeping it in the Kitchen
For the mother-in-laws who are legendary for their oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.
Keeping it Dignified
Let’s be honest, this is what she really wants anyway.