Never rely on the glory of the morning nor the smiles of your mother-in-law.

–Japanese proverb

I often wonder how broadly the bad rap given to mother-in-laws really applies. It would be an interesting anthropological study to undertake, yes? Would an experiment prove that 50 percent of all mothers-in-law were unbearable? 75 percent? 95 percent? And which mothers-in-law have the worst reputations – ones with sons-in-law or daughters-in-law? Someday, if indeed Noah and Chase walk the straight and predictable societal path, I will become such a creature and I will get me a daughter-in law or two. Incidentally, I already have at least one picked out.


Meet J. She is very cute and very smart, she climbed this swingset as fast as Noah, and she can hold a conversation with an adult way longer than any 10 year should be able. And I just have a feeling that her Mom and I wouldn’t fight with each other about who would wear what to the wedding. But I digress.

My point is this: In-Laws get a bad rap. In fact, if you can claim just one of the following fun facts about your in-laws, then you are pretty darn lucky:

  1. They can’t wait to see their grandchildren, even if they just saw them the day before.
  2. They always take your side in a disagreement, rather than the side of their own flesh and blood.
  3. Your mother-in-law asks you to go shopping and you think that sounds like fun.
  4. They love your dog more than as much as they love you.
  5. They’re not afraid to play Monopoly with the grandkids – and whip their little butts into bankruptcy.
  6. They don’t criticize your cooking or the fact that you, um, don’t really cook.
  7. They create their own traditions without even trying – like Papa hugs, lobster dinners, and dominos.
  8. They don’t take offense when you can’t (no matter how hard you try), stomach the family’s famous cucumber soup.
  9. They’re hip enough that you can drop f-bombs around them, cool enough to withstand the boys’ bathroom humor, and good humored enough to crack their own jokes on a regular basis.
  10. Your kids can’t wait to see them, even if they just saw them the day before.

So, I promise you J (or whoever the lucky girl or girls are to marry my guys in uh…20 years or so), that I will strive for all this and more. Because no matter what they tell you, you really do marry “the family”. So if any of these qualifications match your in-laws, send them this post and tell them you love them. As for me, I’ll add just one more sign of great in-laws: They read your blog.

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