General Question

YARNLADY's avatar

What relation is my son's mother in law to me?

Asked by YARNLADY (41400points) November 6th, 2010

Our families are often at gatherings together. Both of their boys call us grandmother, but what are we to each other?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

36 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

They are your in-laws.

mrentropy's avatar

I could be wrong, because I don’t know anything beyond ‘cousin’ but I don’t think she’s anything to you, relation-wise.

@papayalily Is that how it works? Hang on. I need to diagram… Just “in-law”? Not a “something-in-law?”

FutureMemory's avatar

DIL/SIL’s mother.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@mrentropy Yup. Used in a sentence:
“We’re going to visit our in-laws this weekend and see if we can make peace before the kids have the baby.” or “I saw my in-law at the grocery store. Talk about awkward!”

mrentropy's avatar

Man, I’ve been using things all wrong.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, I think @papayalily is right, she would fall into the general category of your “in-laws” but I don’t know if there is a specific name for this particular relationship. There probably is in another culture. Some cultures can get very, very specific in terms of describing and naming everyone in the kinship structure but ours isn’t one of them, I don’t think. No specific “something in-law’ for this one as far as I know. You probably just have to keep referring to her as your son’s mother in-law.

iamthemob's avatar

I always like when it’s just “grandma A” and “grandma B”. The problem if you follow the “in law” route technically – well, the wife is your daughter-in-law, and in the same generation as your daughter. Any siblings on one side are the brothers- and sisters-in-law of the others. You guys are the parents-in-law to the other child…so if we follow that pattern, if you’re going to relate yourself to your daughter-in-laws mother, she’s essentially yourself-in-law.

I think that to you, she’s just Judith (or you know, whatever her name is. Judith sounds nice…)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@iamthemob Ha! :) I was going to put, “She’s a whatever-you-yourself-are-in-law”, but I wouldn’t have described it as well as you, so I refrained.

iamthemob's avatar

I’m here to serve. ;-)

ZEPHYRA's avatar


mrentropy's avatar

I would give this 2 GQs if I could.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Uh… your daughter-in-law’s mother?? Heh!

mrentropy's avatar

But I could say I was going to visit the in-laws if I meant my father- and mother-in-law? yes?

wilma's avatar

Yes, @mrentropy .
I never thought of my son-in-law’s mother as my in-law, just my daughters in-law.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I have five children, all of whom are married. That’s an awful lot of people to refer to collectively as “the in-laws,” or even as “the outlaws!” : D

Fyrius's avatar

Doesn’t “sister-in-law” reach people a generation above the married couple?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I agree with @mrentropy‘s first answer, although according to a Wikipedia article on in-laws @ZEPHYRA is correct.

It just seems easier to say and understand if you say, “We’re having the family over tomorrow night, including Jack’s (the son) mother-in-law.” If you were to tell me, “We’re having the family over tomorrow night, including my co-mother-in-law”, it not only needs to be mentally translated, it could be confusing since you have more than one child.

janbb's avatar

There is a Hebrew word for the relationship (machutanesim) but not one in English. In English, they are your son’s in-laws, not yours. Unfortunately.

Response moderated (Spam)
MrItty's avatar

She’s not anything. She’s simply your son’s mother-in-law. She is not related to you in any way.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I know, right? : )

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: There is also the looser word, Mishpuchah or Mishpochke, that means “anyone remotely related to me.” (MIsh puch aah)

JLeslie's avatar

To say she is nothing sounds awful. I use Mishpuchah, which I thought was Yiddish? I knew there was a more specific word for parents-in-law, which is kind of the relationship described, but not a real term, but I never remember it. Now @janbb has mentioned it here, and I hope I can remember it. Since English does not have a term, why not use the Yiddish? Although, Mishpookah means family, people related to me, so you could easily use family, but it means outside of the nuclear family, where the English word family can mean either the nuclear family or the extended family.

Anyway, if we have adopted other Yiddish words into English, why not this one?

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie: They’re both Yiddish terms. Machatunim… including a family tree and pithy definition

MIshpuchah would include looser definitions of family, incuding you if you felt like becoming my unmet sister.

BratLady's avatar

I call her by her name. If introducing her, I say “this is Ethel; my daughter in law’s mother”.
That way I’m paying respect to all. Don’t think there is per se a legal term for mother and father in laws.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Most people would just say they’re your son’s in-laws. In our family you’d be referred to as sisters-in-law.

janbb's avatar

Or enemies?

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled That is what I originally thought, but @janbb said Hebrew. But, I guess some of Yiddish is taken from the Hebrew. Sure, I think we are already fluther mishbookah.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie I’m quite sure it’s the same word in both Yiddish and Hebrew.

Ivy's avatar

I consider my daughter-in-law’s mother and sister my extended family, but we have a great relationship. We call each other out-law, instead of in-law ~ a sense of humor is key in all family relationships:) Her mother and I share the same grandchildren, and so as co-matriarchs of the family, I call her Sister Theresa and she does the same with my name. There aren’t any rules for these sort of things. It works for us and what works is all that matters really.

elbie's avatar

I have the same issue. We like each other and call each other sister-out-laws. If Rachael Ray can get spoonula in the dictionary, we should have a movement to name this relationship. Thoughts?

gailcalled's avatar

@elbie: In Yiddish, the world’s most all-encompassing lingua franca , the words exist.

Machatunim including a family tree and pithy definition
MIshpuchah would include looser definitions of family, incuding you if you felt like becoming my unmet sister.

gailcalled's avatar

@elbie: In Yiddish, the world’s most all-encompassing lingua franca , the words exist.

_Machatunim_… including a family tree and pithy definition
MIshpuchah would include looser definitions of family, incuding you if you felt like becoming my unmet sister.

Cleareye1's avatar

I submit the term “coparents” as title for my son’s mother and father-in-laws. The English language should have a common use term for this relationship. Who agrees?

arubansurf's avatar

There is a term in Spanish “consuegra” which might roughly be translated as co-mother-in-law. I like the Spanish term and with all the words there are in the English language, I do find it difficult to believe there is no specific word for this relationship. I don’t think “in-laws” really cuts it, although that being said, I find that “in-laws,” being as close as it is to “out-laws,” actually fits pretty well.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther