Boomer Grandmother’s View on Being Comfortable With The Names You Call or Don’t Call Your In-Laws, The July 2022 On-Line Survey Results, and How To Earn Extra Cash Doing On-Line Surveys

When this Grandma was a newlywed, decades ago, what to call your in-laws was a major dilemma.  I did not want to offend my parents by referring to my in-laws as parents.  I felt more comfortable calling them by Mr. And Mrs.  However, I did not think they would be comfortable with that.  I never thought to ask and was definitely too young and intimidated back then to ask.  Therefore, I never referred to them as anything. 

I sincerely thought that being concerned with the names you call your in-laws was as old fashioned and outdated as the etiquette rules from a half century ago.  We are in a different era.  I thought being afraid to have discussions about uncomfortable subjects was no longer a thing.  In our society, norms have changed.  Women are no longer shrinking violets. People are more open.  Sometimes, maybe too open.

So, I was surprised to see the article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on November 22, 2022, “Hey You, Please Pass the Gravy: Newlyweds Are Perplexed about What To Call In-Laws,” by Gretchen Tarrant.  As now a member of the Boomer generation, and dealing with it from the other end of being the in-law, I wanted to read this.

The article is based on a YouGov poll in July 2022.  I always want to know the source, so I googled them.  YouGov is an international research data and analytics group headquartered in London, a global public opinion and data company that provides survey results across a wide range of topics.  According to Wikipedia, “YouGov specializes in market research and opinion polling through online methods. The company’s methodology involves obtaining responses from an invited group of Internet users, and then weighting these responses in line with demographic information.” 

People sign up and receive cash for participating in surveys.  You decide how much credibility to give the survey based on this. But, this can be a part-time job for Boomers who have time on their hands. Hmm.  See how to become a paid survey person, “How much can you get paid to take surveys online?,” by Jennifer Earl, CBS News, October 19, 2022. Quoted in the CBS News article, “Survey Junkie says you can earn as much as $40 a month if you complete three surveys each day.”  Three survey companies that pay are listed and described.  With YouGov that makes four.  Do the math yourself.

Here are the July 2022 YouGov poll results on what newlyweds call their in-laws:

29% of couples call their in-laws by their first name

17% call their in-laws mom and dad

9% call their in-laws Mr., Mrs., or Ms. (Ms. Would not have even been part of a poll half century ago. Ms. First appeared in the 1950s and became popular during the women’s movement of the 1970s)

That only adds up to 55% so

45% either don’t have a relationship with their in-laws or do not know what to call them or call in-laws NOTHING

This poll and this article just follow a series of other articles this year: Southern Living Magazine in March 2022, “Not Sure What to Call your In-laws?” and Reddit threads over the last year.  One Reddit comment was quoted, “You can probably get away with avoiding calling them anything to their faces.”  Has nothing really changed in fifty years!

Then, the article veered into territory that we Boomers must take responsibility for.  We understand that interpersonal relationships are hard.  We have the life experience to know how hard it is to address this issue.  My initial reaction was that we Boomers must take the lead and indicate what we would like to be called.  Apparently, that is the wrong answer.  Newlyweds interviewed seemed to be more uncomfortable when told what to call their in-laws.  I wonder whether just giving all the options, including it is okay not to call me any name for now, is the best answer.  I like that the most.  It is the most honest and faces the newlyweds’ issues, of which there are many set forth in the Wall Street Journal article.

Then, I thought about my own circumstances.  We are called “Mema” and “PopPop” by our grandchildren . . . . and their parents!  We called our in-laws eventually by their grandparent and great-grandparent names.  The article gave the same conclusion as when the issue of what you call your in-laws becomes a non-issue!

Names and naming of us grandparents has been the subject of this Grandma’s previous blog posts from 2016 and 2011 and may give you a chuckle or additional insight:

If “PaPa” is Now the Favored Name for “Daddy” and ” MaMa” Is the favored Name for “Mommy” What Should We Boomer Grandparents Be Called?”

“Names for Grandma and Names for Grandchild”

The Wall Street Journal article concluded with an in-law saying he did not blame the newlyweds not calling him anything as he did not know what the newlyweds should call him.

So an option for us all in-laws is to accept the inevitable and wait for the day we have the names we really want. . . .

Grandma and Grandpa with



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