Dear Future Daughter-in-Law


Writing a letter.Dear future daughter-in-law,

Let me start by acknowledging that this is a very heteronormative endeavor. I have two sons, so let’s, for argument’s sake, imagine that one of them marries a woman–you. (If that doesn’t end up happening, then we can all just ignore this letter entirely! Enjoy your day!)

First of all, you’ve got great taste. But that isn’t what this letter is about.

I recently read an article about the “matrilineal advantage,” which basically means that children form closer bonds with their maternal family members; grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles. My first reaction was that, sure, that makes sense based on my own experiences. If I had to identify the family members I feel closer to, it’s those on my mother’s side.

When raising my children, it’s my own mother whose advice and comfort, and wisdom I seek. I also happen to have amazing in-laws, and my boys are certainly very close with their paternal family members, but they are physically closer to and, therefore often spend more time with my family than their father’s. So, you might be wondering, what’s the issue?

Well, my dear–is it okay if I call you that? No one tells you that when you become a mother, one of the things you will think about is becoming a grandmother. Right now, my boys are 7 and 4, so surely the idea of them growing up and having kids of their own is in a too far-off future for it to even enter my mind, right? But alas, here we are.

You see, I won’t have any daughters of my own. (The shop, as they say, is closed.) And don’t get me wrong, I have three amazing nieces to fill my daughterless void. (Oh, and you, too!) The only time it gives me pause is when I think of what will happen when (if) I become a grandparent. 

That’s where you come in. And why I’m writing this letter in the first place. This is all just to say that I would really like it if we could be the exception to the rule. I simply can’t imagine a future in which I am not close to my children’s children.

I know you won’t mean to do it and I’m sure we will get along great. And this might sound like I’m asking for you to keep my proposal in mind, but, like all the mothers-in-law before me, I will take matters into my own hands if I have to.

That’s not to say that we’ll have one of those tropey adversarial mother-in-law relationships you see in the movies. (I don’t have that with my mother-in-law!) Just know that I’m happy to watch the kid(s) whenever you need a break! And I promise not to insert myself where I’m not wanted or come over unannounced. 

I hope you’ll consider it. I think this could be really good for all of us. Did I mention you’ve got great taste?


Your loving mother…in-law.

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Juliana is an English teacher, aspiring novelist, and mother to redheaded sons. (No, her husband doesn't have red hair. Yes, it was a surprise!) She grew up in Scarsdale and now teaches at her rival high school - Mamaroneck - where she also lives with her (brown-haired) husband, Mike, and their two (orange-haired, according to Noah) sons, Noah (2016) and Simon (2019). When she has a free moment (haha) she is reading something: YA Romance, humorous essays, poetry, thrillers, student work, and, sometimes, her own works-in-progress.


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