Dear mother-in-law, thank you for raising an incredible man

The boy you raised grew into a strong, loving man. A supportive, equal partner. And a next-level dad.

thank you message for mother in law

To my wonderful mother-in-law,

I've told you before and I'll tell you again: I seriously lucked out scoring you as my mother-in-law. I count myself extremely fortunate that I happened to fall for a guy who also happened to come from a loving, welcoming family—one that I'm now blessed to call my own.

I'm thankful each day for that, and for the continual support you give our family.

I'm thankful for your talent of picking out toddler clothes that make our son look like a cool little threenager.

I'm thankful for the heart-to-heart talks we inevitably launch into when you and Pop Pop visit and the guys all fall asleep before us. (The gender sleep gap is real, and knows no bounds of age!).

But there is one other massive thing I have to thank you for, as it's changed the very course of my life: I have to thank you for the way you raised your son.

By the time our lives collided, he was already an independent, (mostly) responsible young man—and I fell for him fast. I think the old maxim often holds true: you can tell the measure of a man by how he regards his mother; and I've always known your son to hold you in the highest regard.

I know from the home VHS tapes, the childhood photos, and by his own telling, that you and he have always had a special bond. And I believe that groundwork helped mold him into the wholehearted man he is today.

Thank you for loving him, believing in him and for laying a foundation he could build himself upon.

Thank you for raising a son who thinks, lives and loves with an open heart. His easy acceptance of who I am has helped me grow into a deeper understanding of and respect for myself.

Thank you for raising a son who is independent, responsible and organized. He's taught me a thing or two about productivity and focus in our years together. I'll never forget the first time I saw his “bachelor pad" apartment; I was amazed at how neat and clean it was, the way he respected his space spoke volumes about how he was raised.

Thank you for raising a son who reacted to the news of a surprise(!) pregnancy with strength and grace. The kind of man who held me as I cried, stunned as I was by the sudden, convincing appearance of two pink lines. The kind of man who told me, without a moment's hesitation—that this was the greatest thing that could ever happen to us. The kind of man who has shown me his unshakeable strength in the moments when I have needed it most.

From the shop

Our favorite gifts for Mother-in-laws

Thank you for raising a son who dove headfirst into pregnancy and parenting with me, and never looked back.

A man who watched childbirth documentaries and interviewed doulas with me.

A man who tolerated me as I nerded out over passages from my Ina May books and took childbirth classes as seriously as I did.

Thank you for raising a man who stood by me in labor, made space for me, and helped me bring our son into the world.

Thank you for raising the kind of man who wasn't afraid to help physically catch his newborn son, to hand him to me when he joined us, as our family (and world) expanded.

Thank you for raising a son whose vocation is clearly fatherhood. He is truly an equal parent. I can't imagine parenting without him—without having him to share the wild highs and challenges of this journey.

I'm grateful your son is the kind of man who can put pride aside and really talk to me about things. He can actually enjoy our “post-game" talks, where we recount how we played a situation, and how we can improve on it next time. His ability to communicate with me on a deep level like this improves our parenting skills with each conversation we have. Thank you for raising a son who sends me an empowering text on the morning when work and life are piling up for me and I can't see the light. The kind of man who knows when his words and arms are needed most.

The boy you raised grew into a strong, loving man. A supportive, equal partner. And a next-level dad. I'll always be grateful for the excellent start you gave him in life, for the way your love shaped his DNA, for the backstory that lead him to become the man he is today. The man I love.

With gratitude, I promise to always do my part—to take care of your little boy. To support him the way he supports me. To believe in him the way he believes in me. To be the best mother that I can be to his little boy.

And to give him my whole heart, forever.


Your extremely grateful daughter-in-law


In This Article

14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

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Do you need a family emergency kit? (Hint: Yes, you totally do)

It only takes a few minutes to be better prepared for emergencies.

Right now is understandably a time for concern, but the same message applies: Prepare, don't panic. We parents have a responsibility to care and provide for our children, ensuring their well-being before and after any disruptive event, whether it's a natural disaster or an outbreak that forces temporary shutdowns and closures in our community. When it comes to emergency preparation, I always tell parents one thing: You want to have a plan just in case the worst really does happen.

As a mom of three young kids with a firefighter husband, I'm constantly anticipating potential problems—and thinking ahead about how to cope. Thinking ahead and planning has saved me many nights of pacing the floor, and has made me feel more confident as a parent.

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