A letter of expectations to my future daughter-in-law

Today Loud Child sat in my lap and told me stories about all of his favorite things. He played with my hair. He sang me a song. He gave me hugs and he kissed my forehead. This was a remarkably affectionate occasion for my son who is currently going through a Mom-Is-Pure-Evil phase.

I sat there in the grass feeling warm and fuzzy mom feelings until this thought came crashing through my head: Some hussy will one day ruin my sweet boy.

Okay, obviously this was a bit of an over reaction happening in my heart of hearts here. But I couldn’t let the thought go. So I drafted a letter to my potential future daughter-in-law.

Want to read it? (The answer is yes. Yes, you do…)


Dear Future Daughter-In-Law,

As I write this you are likely still a toddler. Unless my son grows up and decides to marry a cougar, in which case, you are a tweeny-teen (or whatever) and probably harboring some serious issues if you’re going to marry a boy nearly half your age. Either way, you exist out in the world somewhere and we’ve yet to meet.

You can bet your bottom dollar that I will always have at least some influence over my son’s behavior and decision-making (being oppositional totally counts, by the way.) That being said, I have a few expectations of you that we should get straight.

You will not use my son as your emotional whipping post.
Please control your emotions. Don’t shame my son for sharing his feelings. FYI, I do not subscribe to the culture of using PMS (or Daddy issues) as carte blanche to be a jerk. That garbage is demeaning to women and a lazy excuse for being an awful example of a human being.

You will not use my son as a Sugar Daddy.
To be fair, you might be the one with the high paying job and so if that’s the case then you go, girl! I can assure you that I won’t tolerate my son mooching off you. But in case you’re not the breadwinner, then I have three little words for you: Pull Your Weight. I’m an artist and writer so I totally get the whole not-making-enough-money thing. But laziness and moochitude is just inexcusable.

You will not be a Bridezilla.
Can I tell you something, girl to girl? Weddings are fabulous to look at in magazines, but they are a freaking nightmare to plan and they cost as much as a down payment on a decent house in a decent neighborhood. Save your money for one hell of a honeymoon, sweetie. Go to the moon. Travel Europe. Visit the Galapagos Islands. Whatever. Caution: This is the advice I will be giving my kids.

I don’t need to know everything about my son.
I had to learn this with my mother-in-law, and you will have to learn this about me. My son holds a special place in my world. That special place is sometimes buffered by imaginary greatness in order to keep me sane. While I get that my kid will occasionally be a total dill hole please don’t ask me to take sides. Also, save details about your relationship for your friends.

If you have my grandchildren then you are stuck with me forever.
So think long and hard about how well you like our family before you become a permanent member. I will probably get all kinds of crazy excited about babies. I will probably ask you inappropriate questions. I will probably buy lots of baby crap without consulting you first. I will probably do all of the hovering grandmother stuff that you read about on the Internet. At least you’re getting a heads up.

I’m partially certain that these things will not ever come up. I say that with high hopes that my son turns out as charming and level headed as I hope he will and that he will court a lady who is deserving of his affections. I hope that you will turn out to be a lovely and wonderful person. In many ways I can’t wait to meet you.

But, honey, if you turn out to be that hussy I described earlier then you and me…we’ll have some problems.

Your Future Mother-In-Law

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Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Sarah Cottrell is a member of the Stay-At-Home-Mom Club and proud herder of two loud boys. She earned her MFA in 2012 and then accidentally washed it in a load of laundry. Sarah's work can be found on popular websites like Mamalode, BlogHer, and Scary Mommy. Her work will appear in two new parenting anthologies in 2015.