A frustrated wife sought advice on how she should handle her meddling mother-in-law after she went behind her back and convinced her husband to change the spelling of her son’s middle name as she recovered from a c-section.

The mother said she made the shocking discovery that her son’s middle name is spelled “Finlay” instead of “Finley” on all his legal documents two months after his birth.

The new mom is fuming over her mother-in-law’s backhanded dealings with her husband and claims she secretly persuaded her son to change the agreed-upon name to “Finlay” while the recovering mom was sleep after surgery.

She wrote to Slate‘s advice columnist:

Apparently, his mother guilt-tripped him into doing this while I was asleep after my emergency C-section.

She tried to convince him to give our son a first name that I very much hated, saying that I would ‘get mad, but get over it.’

The woman explained:

I, of course, am furious, because I told him I was fine with the middle name but it had to be spelled Finley—and he agreed before our son was ever born.

It was while she was filing away her son’s Social Security card and birth certificate that she discovered her “manipulating” mother-in-law had “blatantly” chosen a different name for her son.

She wrote:

His mother even sent a Christmas gift to middle name ‘Finlay,’ and when I made a comment to my husband he didn’t even have the decency to tell me!

He just let me keep believing for two months that our son’s middle name was spelled Finley when it legally isn’t!

The mom then added:

My husband thought changing his first name was too much but apparently gave in to spelling his middle name the way his mom wanted.

She thinks that ‘Finlay’ is more masculine than ‘Finley.’

Her husband reportedly regretted the decision but was afraid to tell her about the sneaky name change. The woman wrote:

She manipulated my husband into thinking it was all right to lie to me about something as serious as the spelling of our son’s name.

Now that the mom has made the name-discovery she doesn’t know how to confront her mother-in-law and asked the columnist:

Do I approach her about this? Do I let my husband approach her about this? Do we approach her together? What should I say?

The columnist suggested, in part:

[Your husband] owes you a very significant and full-throated apology, and if he doesn’t see why then it’s hard for me to imagine that you are in a relationship with a trustworthy partner.

I don’t think I would talk with Mother. 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.

What do you think? What advice would you give this mom, who says she’s done playing nice and needs answers from her mother-in-law?

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

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55 Replies to “Wife Discovers Husband Let Her Mother-in-Law Change Spelling of Baby’s Name as She Recovered From C-Section”

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    I would tell her to legally go to court and have it changed I’m sure she could do that otherwise get to the mother-in-law

    • Jess 5 months ago

      Yeah it’s ridiculous that it came to that but I sure she can change it back.

    • Batson D. Belfrey 5 months ago

      On what grounds? The father agreed to it. The father has legal standing (just as the mother does) to decide how to spell his child’s name, so legally speaking, the other parent doesn’t have any actionable case.

      • Doris 5 months ago

        You don’t need grounds to change a name …. it’s done routinely.

  • Sandra Hike 5 months ago

    I would never be able to trust her son again, because that’s plainly what he is, her son. She seriously better hope she enjoyed the short time she spent with my son, because you use him to betray me, you won’t get to see him again.

  • Emery 5 months ago

    Go to court and get the spelling corrected and changed to the way it was supposed to be!

    • Susan M 5 months ago

      I very much agree with you as she can go to court and explain the name was spelled wrong. I would also suggest that they move as far away from the mother as possible so she can not meddle in the lives of her son, daughter-in-law and grandson, because she can do what she did about a name, what else is she capable of? How to raise him? What food he can and can not eat? And the list can go on and on.

    • Anonymous 5 months ago

      Take it one step further, send Mother in law a copy of the court documents changing the name, with a note explaining that the name has officially been changed, period

      • Pat 5 months ago

        Good one!

  • Tana 5 months ago

    I found out–from personal experience–that is is sometime very difficult for an adult to come out from under the authority of his parents. It took my husband and I going to a counselor to help him see that he needed to be responsible to me and his children, not his parents.
    I would definitely go through the process to change the spelling on your son’s name–I might even recommend changing his middle name completely. First though, find a good marriage counselor who can explain not just that what he did was wrong, but the importance of putting you and the kids first.

  • AJ 5 months ago

    It’s very unacceptable when grandparents or any other family members think they have the authority to make decisions for your children. That was very wrong for the father to allow his mother to do that. I would confront both of them and tell them that grandma would not be able to see her grandchild until she has the funds for them to go to court and do a name change/correction. Some might say that’s a little extreme but sometimes people need to be put in their place.

    • Anonymous 5 months ago

      Love this!

    • Batson D. Belfrey 5 months ago

      Right. Let’s use this child as a pawn in a family squabble and deny this child an opportunity to have a relationship with his grandmother because of a feud between his mother and grandmother. Yeah, that’s the right thing to do.

      • Anonymous 5 months ago

        Ya this grand will have a lot to teach—starting with how to be sneaky and underhanded and disrespectful!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    I would be upset with my husband he is a grown man yet he let his mommy run the show and that tells me that he is a Mama’s boy and a total puss ,as for my mother-in-law I would let her know what I think of her and her behavior behind my back and then I would let it go, but my husband is a different story I would loose respect for him and it would take a lot of time for him to earn my trust and respect back.

  • MariaRose 5 months ago

    She can get that name change done, plus inform her husband that he better understand the roles of the two women in his life. Mothers-in-laws, like this, are always intrusive, so the wife better step up and enforce some rules for her household as to when and if there will be visitation. Don’t deny the son his mother but make it on your terms–out of your house.

    • Anonymous 5 months ago

      I agree 100%. I have tolerated a dominating MIL for 33 years and my husband, her son has finally had enough of his meddling mother when she caused a terrible situation within our family. He finally told her what he held in for 33 years and initially she denied everything, but later apologized and takes all responsibility for the things she has said. I hope that this son wakes up and gives his mother boundaries immediately.

  • Babintoyland 5 months ago

    I would tell the MIL that she was very mean and that what she did would not be forgiven. I would also tell the husband that it will be his responsibility to get the name changed back and if his mother had a conscience she would pay for it. Personally I think the guy must be a mama’s boy and a wuss and I question his manhood!

  • BARBARA 5 months ago

    Love this!

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    My mother-in-law was manipulative but perhaps not as bad as this although we never gave her an opportunity like this. When she tried to get our 11 year old daughter to try and maneuver a into doing something my wife and I had agreed between us not to do or allow we confronted her. She essentially denied doing what we had proof she had done. She spent the next four years without being invited to our home or seeing them. We felt badly that our children didn’t get to spend time with our children more for them than for her but didn’t feel we could risk her trying to get them to defy us. Eventually things thawed a bit but never completely before she died. My wife and I were always very careful to defer to our children and never take our grandchildren’s side against them. Children need to see a united front fro the adults in their lives.

    • Anonymous 5 months ago

      You need to proofread your post, parts of it are really unclear . The MIL must’ve done something extremely egregious to make you deny your children the grandparent/ grandchild bond, a real shame for everyone involved. Your family sounds messed up, sorry. 😢

  • Mary Berkenstock 5 months ago

    Sorry your mother in law and your husband are so conieving, but had a mother in law and husband just like that, you need to get away immediately because your husband will always be a mommy’s boy and your mother in law will try to run every holiday and birthday every thing you plan she will change half the details and your husband will allow it, you need to go change your sons name back to how you wanted it, believe me will be the best money you ever spent and most of your anger and hurt will go away. Good luck

  • Maggie 5 months ago

    This is a boundary issue and if you don’t take charge of your family this mother-in-law will! You could have your husband do it but it looks as if that would be impossible. Tell her that you steer your own families ship and if she wants to know where they are going she had better respect your authority over your own family! And if she ever wants access to said grandchild she’d better get with the program! Harsh! Yes! Clearly this lady needs to be put in the correct place and it isn’t steering the ship!

    • Anonymous 5 months ago

      Agree 100%

  • C J 5 months ago

    From the sound of things there is already bad blood between DiL & MiL. As usual the man is caught in the middle, so nothing he does will satisfy either of the women he loves. Just who names a kid Finley/lay? Do you want him to get his ass kicked the whole time he’s in school?

    • Anonymous 5 months ago

      Finley is Scottish meaning several things like warrior, fair hero, fight, battle something similar to Braveheart.
      Have you never heard of Dave Finlay Jr? He is a Northern Irish professional wrestling trainer.
      This name is popular in not only the US but really popular in the UK.
      Who names their kid CJ? Everyone has a right to their name and not be shamed for it. I don’t hear you saying anything about the boundaries MIL crossed. Uh oh. I wonder if you are guilty of that yourself!

      • Anonymous 5 months ago

        Dave finlay jr…that’s kind of his last name as if it wasn’t obvious.

      • Batson D. Belfrey 5 months ago

        Who names their kid “anonymous”?

        (in retort to “who names their kid CJ when you know damn well that’s just a moniker on this site and not the person’s real name.)

        • Anonymous 5 months ago

          No kidding Dick Tracy

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Just go behind THEIR backs and change his middle name to Finley. Doesn’t say much for your husband. Sorry to say that but what a pus$Y he is to let his “Mommy” dictate what he should do! You both agreed prior to your sons birth, on his name. This is your MIL baby he’s YOURS! I would be FURIOUS at BOTH of them!! The spelling isn’t a huge issue in itself. It’s the fact that they went behind your back and then lied about it. I’m glad it’s not me as I’d probably be seeking a lawyer to change my sons middle name and my last name!! Your MIL is a meddling bitch and your husband is a coward!!

  • LB 5 months ago

    I would definitely let the mother-in-law and husband how upset I was because of their back stabbing and her underhanded ways. I would also tell the husband that he needs to decide who is more important to him at this point in his life – his wife and child or his mother. I had a mother-in-law like that and it is the reason I am no longer married. I call it the queen bee syndrome.

  • Darlene 5 months ago

    I would just legally change it and not tell the MIL She will find out some time down the line.

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Just change it to Dave…manly enough?

  • Terry 5 months ago

    Two ways to handle this one. (1) change the name and let them know just to be upfront about it or (2) change the name and do it behind their backs like they did you. Either way, they’ll both get the damn message and know their boundaries. You don’t let her walk on you and he should stand up for you and his son. I wouldn’t be a bitch about it, but I’d be a bitch about. Good luck! 😉

  • Emily 5 months ago

    The Mom should contact an attorney and have the baby’s name changed legally. She will then be able to have it changed on birth certificate, social security records and etc,
    I agree with your answer otherwise
    Brooks Emily544@gmail.com

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Go to court and change the spelling right before anymore time goes by

  • Debba 5 months ago

    I am a petty, grudge holding person. I would go to the court and change the middle name completely. I would never tell anyone. That’s just me.

  • Norma 5 months ago

    Go get a name change. Don’t let her get away with it. Now, tell your husband that we are going to have trust issues in the future. Because if he allowed his mom to convince him on the name change no telling what else will happen in the future.
    In fact tell him you want a divorce and your reason.
    “No Trust”!

  • Jodi 5 months ago

    My father in law years ago , told me if I didn’t name my second son after him that I’d be taken out of the will , I looked at him and softly said .. first off it’s my child not yours .. secondly to be honest with you old man you don’t have enough money to worry about !! End of problem … it’s been several months for you , easier said then done , call the court house ask them if the spelling on the birth records name be changed to how you want them , if it cost save your penny’s for a little bit , just go do it , with out telling either of them…you just want to change one letter !!

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Don’t bother yo confront the MIL. Go change the child’s name to the correct spelling.

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    In my state you have a year to fix a misspelling of a name she should look into that possability.

  • Linda Johnson 5 months ago

    I would not sneak and change the babies middle name I’d make darn sure they know I also would let them know what they did was wrong . Don’t lower yourself by sneaking off to do it you are better than that . I would also let your husband know if he ever goes against you again he will be single there isn’t room for 3 people in your marriage . I had to do that with my husband and he knew I meant it that was over 40 yrs ago but trust me he never has gone against me since . Good luck

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Public apology from both husband and mother-in-law, husband needs to immediately change the name to the correct spelling, and supervised visitations only until trust is restored!

  • Olivia Rodriguez 5 months ago

    Poor woman! Her mother-in-law is nuts!

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Change it back to what you want and mother in law doesnt need to know, it’s none of her business. And tell hubby if anything like that ever happens again, he can go live with Mommy.

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Well I would say something to her, and let her stew on that for a while. And for your husband he should be kissing your feet. Just for violating your trust. Make him work hard to regain your trust. If he is so easily persuaded he is a whimp of a man. He was so wrong on so many levels. Don’t let him forget what he did. And please say something to your in-law, because yhis can build up inside of you and no telling what could happen. Your mental and physical health is very important. But go and change his name the way you want it. This is not the time to let sleeping dogs lie. God Bless you and your son.

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Well I would say something to her, and let her stew on that for a while. And for your husband he should be kissing your feet. Just for violating your trust. Make him work hard to regain your trust. If he is so easily persuaded he is a whimp of a man. He was so wrong on so many levels. Don’t let him forget what he did. And please say something to your in-law, because yhis can build up inside of you and no telling what could happen. Your mental and physical health is very important. But go and change his name the way you want it. This is not the time to let sleeping dogs lie. God Bless you and your son.

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    It’s as simple as just filing a name change and paying the appropriate fee. Other than the name being more masculine spelled “Finlay,” is there another reason why the mother-in-law was so adamant about the spelling? Is it a family name? If for no other reason, then file the name change and have your husband break it to HIS mother. All he has to say is that he was wrong in allowing the spelling of the name changed without first discussing it with his wife. Nothing else needs to be done.

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Just change it back. Not a big deal doing it,
    And then make sure told the MIL tugs she changed it back!

  • Normairis 5 months ago

    I would go back and correct the spelling on his birth certificate,and warn your husband that if does this again with any future baby,send him packing back to his mother

  • HS 5 months ago

    I would do one of two things…..

    I would either go and have it changed to what it was supposed to be and put it out there generally to the family that it was misspelled and I had to go and have it fixed. I”m sure I would as many times and I could fit it in to say, passive aggressively that I don’t know why anyone would be so stupid to think that THAT is how you would spell his name lol

    Or, don”t say a word to the MIL about it unless it was in my face. I would simply go and have it changed back to what it was suppose to be. I would be VERY clear to my husband that if anything like that ever happens again it WILL be the gift that keeps on giving and I won’t let his mother off so easy next time.

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    Changing a Name for a Child Under One Year Old – This is a very common reason someone may want to change a birth certificate. Each state has different requirements, but parents may be allowed time (up to 12 months in some states) to make changes to a child’s birth certificate without requiring a court order. In most cases, you can bring the original birth certificate to the vital record office in the city or county where your child was born (generally a department of health or county clerk’s office) and fill out a few forms to make this change. This is often done if the parents have second thoughts on naming the child

  • Wendy Heffner 5 months ago

    First, I would definitely go to court and change the spelling. It’s not that big of a deal to accomplish this. Second, I agree with the columnist about addressing the mother, exactly the way she wrote it. Practice in the mirror. Be firm. And walk away just like the columnist said. Good luck.

  • Melinda 5 months ago

    Doing a name change is easy you go to the court say that you found a spelling error on the birth certificate and they can change it for a small coast of course, send a copy of the revised BC to Social Security and the change is done. Since MIL was a deceitful Bit*ch don’t tell her or even your walked all over husband. You have your way, and if at all possible get rid of the Christmas gift or replace it or if neither is possible when the child is old enough tell him is grandmother can’t spell. My mother insist on spelling my oldest daughters middle name Lee instead of Leigh we just ignore it anymore.

  • David 5 months ago

    The husband/son needs to tell his mom to give him his balls back!

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Wife Discovers Husband Let Her Mother-in-Law Change Spelling of Baby’s Name as She Recovered From C-Section

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