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Letter To My (Future) Daughters-In-Law

An open letter to the beautiful girls who will someday be my daughters-in-law.
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Dear DIL,

I thought of you tonight as my son (your husband) was helping me put away our laundry. I had a realization that the skills I teach my boy today will have a direct impact on your life in the future. Good organization and homekeeping skills are not just for girls. As I write this in 2011, husbands and fathers have greater expectations upon them in terms of household duties than ever before in history. I anticipate that these expectations will only increase as time goes on. My sons will be expected to provide for their families financially and contribute to the upkeep of the home as well. I think this is a good thing. Unfortunately too many young men will not learn the skills they need when they are young, leaving their roommates, girlfriends, wives and children to try (in frustration) to teach them or simply pick up the slack. With this in mind, I promise to do all I can to teach my son at least the following 8 skills:

1.Doing laundry involves ALL of the steps below. Throwing a load into the washing machine does not constitute “doing the laundry.”

  • gathering all the items to be washed
  • sorting out anything with special care needs
  • washing
  • drying
  • folding
  • putting away

2.It’s best to put away toys from one activity before getting out new ones. That holds true whether the toys are Tonka trucks or power tools.

3.It’s important to take care of the things we have. Things we don’t take care of won’t last long and the budget may not allow for replacing things we neglected

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4.“Picking Up” your room doesn’t mean stuffing things into random drawers and closets. It means actually putting each item back where it belongs. Sometimes that means moving it to another room or throwing it in the trash.

5.“Cleaning” is not the same as “Picking Up”. Cleaning involves actual use of some kind of soap and/or elbow grease to remove dirt.

6.Labels on containers aren’t just there to look pretty. They mean someone actually wants you to put the items called out on the label into the container. Placing the bag of sugar right next to the empty container labeled “sugar” does not constitute putting away the groceries.

7.When you go shopping, make a list. If you don’t you are almost guaranteed to forget the most critical item from the list and purchase a few things that weren’t needed.

8.If you have time to clean nothing else in the house, prioritize washing the dishes and the clothes.

Having taught my son these important skills I fully expect he’ll be able to survive on his own for many years. And then when the day comes that he finally settles down into married life, he will be prepared to do any of the tasks necessary for the household. Hopefully someday you’ll be thankful to me for all that I taught him.


Your Mother-In-Law


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