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I remember when I first met my mother-in-law. What a gem, that one. I remember thinking how kind and generous and sweet she was (she still is, by the way). And then she cooked for me. And I panicked. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing Jason never asked me to cook for him before we got married because I would still be single. Of this I am certain. She tried to teach me once. I’m not a very good student. We’ll just move on now. And the. I visited her home and it was freshly cleaned with beds made and everything in it’s place. And I panicked more. And then she got up from her seat to go to the kitchen for the sole purpose of retrieving a coke and bringing it to Jason who was watching TV. And I freaked out. Because my suspicions were now made truth: I would never ever ever live up to his expectations. Not in this lifetime. Or the next 100.

So I just want to say this one thing to you: RELAX. Take a deep breath. And just sit down & prop those pretty little feet up. I assure you, you have got this in the bag. I have set the bar so low for you that you could crawl over it. You know those women who say to you upon entering their obvious Southern Living homes, “Please excuse the mess! I just haven’t had time to do a thing.” And you go in expecting a war zone & you quickly realize what they actually meant to say was, “There’s a tiny smudge on my stainless steel refrigerator & I left a pair of shoes in the hallway! Please disregard!” Yeah. I am the exact opposite of that person. When I say to you (and if you come to my house ever on any day at all, I will), “Please excuse the mess!” I actually mean, “You are most definitely entering the likes of a construction zone. Enter at your own risk! And please, do not feed the animals, they may bite.”

Dear one, if you simply contain your dirty dishes to the sink, you will be a shining star in my boy’s eyes. And I’m told that is not an entirely impossible task.

And cooking? You want his favorite childhood recipes? Lean in close, honey. It’s a family secret. Are you ready? Make sure you write it down exactly as I say: Spread peanuts butter on a slice of bread. Spread jelly (any kind will do) on a different slice of bread. Put the two slices together. Voila! And if you really want to win his heart? Cut into triangles. If you are above the age of 10, I am confident you can master this. If you really want a challenge, make a box of Kraft mac n cheese. He will love you forever and ever amen.

So dear girl, give yourself a break. Don’t you dare look at my shoes and think your feet could never possibly be big enough to fill them. Because as long as you are funny & tell him he’s your favorite, you are golden. Poor boy. Those are the only expectations I have set for him.

Some people are gifted at the wifing and the mothering and the housekeeping. Those people are not me. If I set it in my mind to do the laundry & the cleaning, I cannot possibly prepare a homemade, organic, straight from my garden meal, as well. Let’s face it. I could never prepare a straight from my garden meal. I tried to grow strawberries once. We had about 5 before I just gave up and never ever tried again. Store bought for the win!

So dear one, throw your apron aside and drop your broom. Otherwise, my son will think he was taken by aliens. Pour yourself a glass of wine & go take a hot bath.

You are so welcome.