OP (Original Poster) shared her dilemma on Slate when she learned that her cunning mother-in-law changed her child’s name without her knowledge. How should she deal with someone like her?

The Betrayal

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It has been two months since OP’s baby boy was born. However, she only recently discovered that her husband changed their son’s name’s spelling on all the legal documents because of her mother-in-law!

Finlay vs. Finley

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OP is furious because, long before her son was born, she and her husband agreed that their son’s middle name would be spelled “Finley” and not “Finlay.” 

How She Found Out

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As per OP, she found out when her mother-in-law sent their son a Christmas present and wrote “Finlay” on the card instead of the correct one. She confronted her husband about it and got even angrier because he deliberately hid things from her!


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OP was hurt that her husband let her believe lies for two months, and she only found out when her mother-in-law sent a gift and when she was trying to organize their son’s birth certificate and social security card.

Her husband said he was afraid to tell her the truth and came to regret his choices as soon as he saw the printed document showing the finality of his mistake.

Uncovering the Scheme

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OP’s husband said “his mother guilt-tripped him” into changing their son’s name while she was sleeping and recovering from her emergency C-section. OP mentioned that her mother-in-law lived a few states away, so she manipulated him into deceiving her all over a phone call!

First Name or Middle Name—Your Choice!

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Apparently, her mother-in-law was trying to convince her husband to use the first name she chose. However, her husband thought it was too much to change their son’s first name without her consent, so they settled with changing the middle name instead.

As per OP, her mother-in-law thought “Finlay” was a more masculine spelling than “Finley.”

Utter Disrespect!

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OP stated that her mother-in-law has always been a manipulator, and it was no news to her that she hated her. However, it was blatant disrespect for her to change her own child’s name without her permission!

The Cunning Manipulator

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OP said that she believes that her mother-in-law deliberately wrote the name “Finlay” on the card to take a jab at her and to get her riled up. She also said that her mother-in-law no doubt saw no problems with pressuring her son to lie to her about something as serious as their child’s legal name!

Correcting the Mistakes That Have Been Done

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OP knows her husband is also at fault but thinks there’s much more to say to her mother-in-law. She said she would legally change their son’s name’s spelling to the correct one, too.

However, she also needed help and asked, “Do I approach her about this? Do I let my husband approach her about this? Do we approach her together? What should I say? I have no desire to have any sort of relationship with her moving forward, so I am not worried about playing nice.”

Slate Columnists’ Take

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More than giving her advice about approaching her mother-in-law, Slate columnists wittingly said not to approach her in-law because an actual fistfight might ensue!

However, on a more serious note, they said it might not be best to talk with her mother-in-law. A columnist advised, “If I did, I would say only one thing: ‘Whether you let or encouraged your son to go behind my back and change the name of our child, it was an extremely shitty thing to do. You can rest assured that I will remember it for a very long time.’ Then I would drop the subject and let this woman spend the rest of her days anticipating a retaliation that may or may not be soon coming.”

Your Husband Needs a Reality Check!

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They also wanted to zoom in on her husband’s mistakes.

A columnist said, “He’s got to decide if you are his co-parent or if his mother is. And until he makes that decision, he can’t be trusted. Period.”

Feel Your Feelings

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All in all, Slate columnists advise her to take as much time as she needs to feel her feelings and consider the appropriate actions moving forward.

One said, “I’m mad just reading about this; you and your kid deserve so much better. Your husband needs therapy, your mother-in-law needs to kick rocks, and you need to be as angry about this as you feel like being for as long as you feel like being angry about it.”

What Do You Think Is the Right Course of Action?

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What do you think about what OP’s mother-in-law did? How would you approach her?

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