After two years of marriage and no clear instructions from her husband or his mother, Rachael Stevens remains “tortured” as she struggles to figure out what to call her mother-in-law.
“I’ve been trying to wing it, but I’m not sure how much longer I can make this work,” Rachael declared in advance of dinner with her in-laws.
When they first met, Rachael assumed that the title would become apparent, or her mother-in-law would drop a hint, like, “Call me Mom.” Through four years of dating, her engagement and the wedding, David’s mother has somehow miraculously avoided stating her preferred noun.
“I’ve had nothing but good experiences with David’s mom. Karen. My mom? Our mother? Ugh,” said Rachael, sweating through her maxi dress outside of P.F. Chang’s. “I’m fucked, aren’t I?”
David, who is known to cycle between variants of “Mom”, “Madre” and even an occasionally ironic “Karen”, remains unhelpful. After hearing her try out 18 versions of the same word, Rachael’s life partner assured her, “Just call her whatever you want”.
“That’s the very definition of a trap,” says Rachael. “I’m no fool.”
Rachael once tried out the popular childhood nickname, “Karrie”. She was promptly met with confused silence and cut “both Kare-Bear and Mama Bear” from the list of possibilities.
While pacing back-and-forth outside the upscale Chinese bistro, Rachael recalled her classic, “Good to see youuuu”. Rachael deemed it worthy as a backup plan to use for the next 35 to 50 years of his mother’s life.
At press time, Rachael was struggling to obtain an item near her mother-in-law on the dining table, and resigned herself to pointing at the item saying, “Hey, could somebody grab that?”.