I am the mother of two incredibly handsome and energetic sons. I have no daughters. I LOVE raising boys! My boys are enthusiastic, creative, and hysterical. They are the bees knees and are just so fun to be around (most of the time). I don’t feel that I am missing out on anything by not having a daughter and if we choose to have more children, I wouldn’t be ‘trying’ for a girl. I don’t really know how you ‘try’ for a specific gender anyway – it’s completely ordained by God.
What I didn’t realize before having my boys is that there are too many women – myself included – who are terrified of losing their sons one day. We do not want to become the dreaded mother-in-law. We don’t want to be the other woman who our sons and their future families are obligated to spend time with every now and then. To my mind, society perpetuates these stereotypes and makes the situation worse than it needs to be. In order to stop this madness, here is my petition and promise to the mothers of daughters – daughters who will someday be my daughter-in-laws:
1. Tell her that I am not the enemy. Please teach your daughters from an early age that I am not their enemy and I am not out to get them. I do not want to compete with them in any way, shape, or form. The roles that we play in my sons’ lives will be very different and they are meant to be different. The last thing I want is for us to be pitted against one another. We are on the same team, we just play different positions.
2. Tell her that I love her. Odds are that I do not know my future daughter-in-laws yet. But I want to be very clear about this – I already love them. Obviously, my sons will love them, too, and will love them so much that they will commit to spending their entire lives with them. I promise to raise my sons in such a way that they will make wise choices in this regard. As a result, I can say with confidence that I already love your daughter.
3. Tell her I will not try to be her mom. Your daughter already has a mom – you. You are doing a great job and for that I am very grateful. I do not need to fill that role in her life, so I don’t plan to. My goal is to be her friend and encourager. I dream of having the kind of relationship where I can take her out for lunch and then go shopping for a few hours. I want to have her over for coffee and dessert – you can come too. I don’t get much girl time now, so I am very much looking forward to it with her.
4. Tell her that I respect her. When your daughter becomes my daughter-in-law, she will already be a fully grown woman. She will be starting out on a new journey as the wife of my son and will be trying to figure all kinds of things out. There will be choices that she wishes she could take back and ones that she will be grateful she made. I will have her back. I know that at the end of the day, she is always making decisions based on what she feels is best for her family.
5. Tell her I remember. Please let your precious daughter know that I remember what it’s like to be a wife and a new mom. In fact, I am writing this to you while I am in the midst of a crazy time in life (her future husband is a toddler and he’s nuts but we’re working on it). I know full well what it is like to be ‘in the trenches’ of motherhood. I will not judge her, but will be there to lend a hand, give her a hug, and bring her some fresh coffee for goodness sake! I am not naive to the fact that everything will change in the game of parenting by the time I am a grandmother. Unsolicited advice will not come from me because I would not want to receive it myself. However, she is always free to ask me any questions and I will be there.
6. Tell her that I pray for her. Everyday. My sons are 1 and 3 and I pray for the two women they will marry each and every day. Yes, her future father-in-law thinks I am crazy and I’m sure he hasn’t given any of this much thought – but I have. I pray for your daughter just like you pray for her. I pray that she would come to find faith in Christ and will be a woman among girls. I pray that she will be strong and confident and will build others up rather than tear them down. I pray the same thing for my sons.
7. Tell her that I am working hard to raise a godly man for her. Our society doesn’t place much weight on being a godly man (or woman) these days, but I do. I am working my tail off to ensure that my sons will one day grow to be godly men who lead and take care of their families. It didn’t take long for it to become apparent to me that this is a daunting task. Nevertheless, I work each day to discipline and love my boys and teach them about the love of their Savior. I want to ensure that your daughter never has to worry about the morality of my son or whether or not he will do everything he can to provide for and protect her.
I once heard the term ‘mother-in-love’ used instead of ‘mother-in-law.’ I thought it was corny (I still kind of do), but I loved the meaning behind it. It’s my goal to be a loving and encouraging friend in your daughter’s life. I will do all that I can to stick to the promises I have made and I trust that you will, too, dear mothers of daughters.