26 Ways To Make Sure Your Future Daughter-in-law Loves You.

Although I wanted daughters my whole life, I ended up having two awesome boys instead. I’ve always been a bit of a guy’s girl so in the end, someone knew better than I did.

But coming from a family of all girls, I was really scared when I found out I was carrying a member of the foreign male species, cuz I didn’t know nothing about raising no boys.

So I went on a mission asking every mother I knew for advice. And here’s what those lessons boiled down to:

raising boys, good husbands and fathers, daughter in law, mother in law (photo by S Urala)

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1.  You’re lucky because boys will bring you far less drama.  (True so far.)

2.  You’re lucky because boys looooove their mamas.  (True.  So true.)

3.  A son is a son until he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.  (Whoa! What?)

My first reaction was ain’t no hussy gonna walk up in my house and take my boys away from me! Then I thought (or maybe my husband said), “That might not be a great way to start.” And since realistically I’m unable to lock them up in the basement for the rest of their lives (only because we don’t have one), I came up with another, more long-range plan:

Help make him the kind of man she’ll love me for.

Here are 26 ways I’m trying to do that.

1.  Teach your boys to respect women as equals.  At the very least.

2.  Help him learn to listen, not just hear.

3.  Make sure he knows how to cook, clean and change a baby’s diaper — and that he understands none of this is “a woman’s domain.”

4.  Make him do something he’s not good at.  Make him finish it.

5.  Plant deep within him the knowledge that showing affection is a sign of strength not weakness.

6.  Help him learn that no matter how old he gets, he can still find joy in playing.

7.  Show by example that a wife and mom has the right to a life outside of those roles — a career, hobbies, volunteering, whatever fulfills her.  

8.  Make sure he knows how to be by himself and be okay.   Teach him about “me” time — and that everybody deserves a little.

9.  Teach him about perspective, and how sometimes a small shift can change everything.

10.  Show him you can be counted on so he knows he deserves a woman who’ll always be there for him.

11.  Don’t rescue him from every little situation.  Let him figure out how to stand on his own two feet.

12.  Teach him that kindness wins.

13.  Show him how to march to the beat of his own drummer.  Take off your shoes and dance along in your bare feet when he does.

14.  Raise a man who stands up for the little guy.

15. Teach him that real men wear pink.  There’s nothing like a man who’s confident in who he is.Never lose your boys! 26 ways i'm making sure my future daughter in law loves ME! - toulouse & tonic

16.  Show him that marriage is a garden that needs tending forever.

17.  Teach him teamwork — and to give credit where credit is due.

18.  Help him to see not just the big things, but also the small things that others do for him, and to show his gratitude willingly and often.

19.  His first dates should be with you.  Teach him how to treat a real woman — and how he should be treated by one in return.

20.  Help him learn to be more than tolerant –to embrace differences.  How boring we’d all be if we surrounded ourselves with people just like us all the time.

21.  Teach him to be both a gracious winner and loser.

22. Make sure he appreciates the sounds of others’ voices at least as much as he likes the sound of his own.

23.  Expose him to the farthest corners of our world to the best of your ability, even if that means in books and in your own kitchen. 

24.  Teach him tenacity.  Perseverance is far more than half the battle.

25.  Help him learn what it means to be emotionally intimate — how to talk about feelings and to support and be supported by the people he loves.

26.  Make sure he knows that he’s loved beyond measure.

I may not always live up to the high standards I’ve set for myself.  But I’ll easily accomplish #26 every hour of every day – and nothing is more important than that.

So line up, little ladies.  Get out that rainbow loom and whip up a promise bracelet as fast as you can.  Because someday my boys are gonna stop pretending to be heroes and actually become them.  You’re gonna wanna first in line.

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  1. I’m just sorry my girls are too old for them! Ellen

  2. Great post! Love #26!

  3. thehealthymomblog says:

    Love this! As the mom of boys, I whole heartedly agree with every one of these.

  4. This is funny and genius at the same time. We’re raising a son and already started having conversations about making sure our future daughter in law loves us so we can see him often!

  5. This is just brilliant. I am proud to say that I do so many of these, if only because their father has done such a lousy job modeling what a good husband looks like. Thank you SO MUCH for this!

  6. Yes. I agree with all of this. I think this is also why moms of both love the boys just a little bit harder, not more, just harder. We know that we will be replaced, as we should be.

    I’m also hoping my son meets a nice girl without a mom or one of those with a bad relationship with her mother so I can step in and be mom to her too. Joking. (I’m not joking.)

  7. Wow! You and I must be sharing brainwaves! Especially the crazy talk at the beginning my husband had to talk me down from 😉 As a Mommy to 3 little boys, every word of this tugged at my heart strings. I had to speak through tears as I read this to my husband. Thank you for this article! It helps me tame the crazy mama bear thoughts and look forward to the daughters we will gain in the future. It makes me thankful to be part of this time in their lives to show them how they deserve to be loved and what it takes to be a good man. I’m also going to keep soaking up the “only woman here” attention, because I know it will be over way before I’m ready for it.

    • This made me so happy to read and even inspired me! It’s just good to know that someone else has the same dread and hope at the same time about the women (or men) that will come into our sons’ lives – and ours – someday.

  8. Not sure why I would have to make my son wear pink when he doesn’t want to for him to be a good husband. I like the fact that my son doesn’t let me walk all over him.

  9. Hmmm…all good things. My two boys are now in their 40’s, married the right woman for them, and are in good, stable, happy marriages. One daughter-in-law loves me to pieces; the other not so much. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that she and I have different ‘styles’ and she’s allowed. I continue to show her in a gazillion ways that I love her and appreciate all the things she’s doing right. And…I haven’t lost my sons; they are still mine and love me! 😉

  10. I just have to say that I agree with this with my whole heart. I have done my best to raise my boys {16 and 12) this exact way. Unfortunately their Dad and I divorced three years ago and he has turned my oldest against me. He disrespects me and his girlfriends, but my youngest told me the other day that he KNEW how to treat women and that he knows that they should be treated like Queens, not Princesses. He said Queens get more respect, Princesses get spoiled. I grinned from ear to ear, evidently I did something right! 🙂

    • That is so cute and I do hope and pray that as your oldest son gets older and more mature, he’ll see the truth and your relationship will be restored – and even better.

  11. As the mom of a grown (22) son, one of the things he’s told me he most appreciated learning from me was to always ask questions when meeting people, and not to talk only about himself. Children absolutely learn what they live.

    • Most men never learn this skill. When dating, it seemed all I ever did was sit there and nod and laugh at their jokes and try to get a word in edgewise only to be interrupted immediately to hear another one of “his” stories. So you did your son a solid. I’ll try to do the same.

  12. My boys are 24 and 20, and when my older boy got married I realized why some women hate their mothers-in-law and vice versa. I was the #1 woman in my son’s life forever …. until she took over. That was really hard for me to accept, but the thought of losing my son over petty jealousy was harder to accept. My daughter-in-law and I have become very close since my son has been deployed and I even spent a week with her and their baby at Thanksgiving. So not only do we have to teach our sons how to respect women, we need to respect the women our sons choose for themselves.

    • It’s true, and it will take a lot of work and effort on our parts. I don’t look forward to the day I have to go through this with 2 different DILs because I know it will test my fortitude. Not that they won’t be awesome women, but it will be hard to have these boys to whom I have given everything and who have adored me more than anyone on the planet to start putting another woman first. It will happen, I know. I’m just glad it’s years away.

  13. My daughter-in-law has a terrible relationship with her mother, which breaks my heart. But she has learned that I am there to support the decisions she and my son make, not to criticize or belittle, or push my own agenda on them. I offer very little to them other than unconditional love and support, and they appreciate that more than material gifts that are given with conditions. I’m not going to lie ….. I had it good. Both my husbands had deceased mothers.

    • Carla – that last line made me LOL.
      I’m glad you’re being such a great MIL to her. She clearly needs a good strong mother figure in her life who can show her love.

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