Guest Post: Gina from Glamorous Life of a Soccer Mom, on Choosing Your Relatives

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

Gina Valley lives a glamorous life.

A soccer mom and a writer, she has the best of both worlds. She underestimates her sense of humor, and can turn everyday events into stellar blog posts. She’s Los Angeles’ saving grace, if you ask me. (Go dodgers, and take the lakers with you).

Today, she graces the pages of the CD with a post about choosing your relatives.

Bet you didn’t know you could do that, did you? She has seven kids – which makes me think instantly of a 6v6 soccer youth team with a substitute. And she has several pets, which … makes me think of a 6v6 youth soccer team with a substitute.

Give Gina a warm welcome and please check out her blog, The Glamorous Life of a Soccer Mom, as soon as you’re done here.


photo credit: Caro Wallis via photopin cc
photo credit: Caro Wallis via photopin cc

They say, “You can’t choose your relatives.”

I don’t know who “they” are, but I say “Bologna!”

Sure, most relatives are inherited, but in-laws, those you chose. I have to admit my in-law selection didn’t turn out exactly like I thought it would.

So, in typical OCD fashion, I’m leaving nothing to chance in regard to my future children-in-law.  I’ve made a list. I’ve checked it twice. All concerned parties have been notified as to the requirements, so they’ll easily be able to consider my wise recommendations as they chose their mate.

Naturally, I wouldn’t complain if they were amazingly wealthy. After all, I’d like to live out my golden years in the manner that I have not yet had the opportunity to grow accustom to. And, they have to like board games. I don’t know why, but that seems to be necessary for family harmony.

Of course, I want my future children-in-law to be good people, honest people, people of our faith, people who will cherish the perfect imperfections of my children (and me, should I ever develop any), educated, have a great sense of humor, yada, yada, yada.

But, what about the truly important stuff? What about the nitty-gritty, day-to-day, how-did-we-ever-live-before-this-person-joined-our-family stuff?

I want my 7 children to find partners who will provide mastery over the Seven Makes-Me-Wonders of The Modern World.

photo credit: 1968 Dodge Charger R/T | Scott Crawford via photopin cc
photo credit: 1968 Dodge Charger R/T | Scott Crawford via photopin cc

#7.  Automobile Wonders. I don’t care if she owns a chain of car repair shops or is simply a weekend grease monkey, but we need someone who understands and loves to fix these auto-beasts. All I can do is kick tires and pray.

#6.  Plumbing Wonders.  We live in an ancient house with haunted plumbing.  Our toilets spontaneously burp and overflow. Our sinks sing.  We might truly need an exorcist, but let’s start by adding a family-member who’s a plumber.

#5.  Computer Wonders – She doesn’t have to be Bill Gates, just someone who’s a miraculous computer fixer, because I’m a miraculous computer breaker.  I can crash any network, computer, or website without even realizing it.  I need someone to be Ying to my computer killing Yang.

#4.  Plant Wonders – We need someone with a green thumb, two green thumbs would be even better, because I have at least two black thumbs.  I have yet to meet a plant I can’t kill.  Unless, I want to kill it.  Then, even dumping weed killer on it somehow spurs it on to ever more healthy and rapid growth.

#3.  Animal Wonders – Right now, our 110 pound 1 year old Lab is standing on our dinner table.  On our dinner table.  When I holler “Get down!” he looks at me, smiles, and wags his tail. We’ve got to get a dog whisperer. I can’t afford to get another table.

#2.  Electrical Wonders – Not only is our house ancient, the previous owner was an electrical contractor. We have more switches and outlets in one room than most people have in their entire home.  You can turn our foyer light on from 4 different locations, one of which is in the basement of the house next door. We have more than a dozen mystery switches. It’s an electrical 3-ring-circus here, and we desperately need a ring master around regularly to tame it.

#1.  Restaurant Wonders – Lastly, but most importantly, we need someone who knows the recipe for El Pollo Loco chicken. Whether he worked there, owned a dozen of the restaurants, or hacked into their top secret recipe files, I don’t care. I just need that recipe, so I can make some at home. I can’t keep taking out a new mortgage every week to eat there.

I might consider changing my future children-in-law rules if one of my kids falls for someone with access to discount Disney tickets.

Of course, I’d still need to take out a mortgage, to buy us all lunch there.

Laugh Out Loud!


What are you hoping your future children-in-law are like? What are you hoping they are not like? And, most importantly, do you have the recipe for that chicken?!?!

QUE??? photo credit: mrido via photopin cc
QUE??? photo credit: mrido via photopin cc


  1. laurie27wsmith says:

    Phew! That’s a list and a half Gina. I think you have nearly all contingencies covered except for health care.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      With all this other stuff, mate, it might not even matter!

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        This could be true Mate but I see she has the doctor covered now.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s a good thing Gina has us about to help with these things.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        I think we might be a hindrance Mate. Gina seems to have a grip on everything in her life. Spectators Mate, were just spectators.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Story of my life, brother.

      5. laurie27wsmith says:

        That sounds so sad Mate.

    2. That’s a good point. Not sure why I didn’t think of the medical end of things. One of my sisters is a doctor. I guess we’ll have to count on her. ;o)

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You also steered clear of crime, for, you know, a dude proficient with a slimjim, in case you lock your keys in the car, for instance.

      2. Well, Eli, I’ve got that side of things pretty well handled. Learned a few things back when I walked around with a high security clearance. ;o)

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        You have to use what you can. 🙂

  2. ksbeth says:

    glad you have a plan, gina. it’s never to early to prepare. ) i have 3 sons-in-law, each very different and not sure if all of these skills exist between them as a group, but they sure are good guys and make my daughters happy. now as for me, i’m single and looking…….)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      what are your top three off the list there, beth?

    2. Plans are so great, because I know they make God laugh!
      Having good guys that make your daughters happy is a great thing! That’s terrific.
      Since you’re single and looking, feel free to use my list for yourself! ;o)

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I feel like we should charge for access to this list, Gina.

      2. I think you might be right, Eli! ;o)

  3. Now, why didn’t I think of making a list like this when I was looking for a potential mate, because I swear to God my in-laws are good for nothing, especially my husband’s younger sister, but you didn’t hear that from me! But you are right never too early to start a list like this for my girls and who they should bring home! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Think about how this could impact preschool play groups all over America …

    2. I hear ya! My hindsight is much clearer, too, Janine!

      But, luckily, our kids get the benefit of our wisdom, whether they want it or not! ;o)

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Why does it take the kids so long to recognize our wisdom?

      2. Sometimes, I think they won’t totally get how awesome we are until they have kids of their own, Eli.

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        I know this to be true – becoming a parent is the best way to appreciate your parents. Instantly.

  4. claywatkins says:

    We have just two one of each and I am not there yet, but I’d like my in laws to be people I like who make my kids happy and are people of value, character, and faith and it would be nice if they could cook, clean, and fix things, too. Nice list and good luck on the pollo loco recipe!

    1. Thank you, Clay! You’ve got a great list, too!
      Hard to beat having a partner who makes us happy. I know I want that for my kids, too. But, surely, one of them can find someone who makes them happy AND knows that recipe! ;o)

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Happiness is directly proportionate, I feel, to the number of good recipes a prospect can master.

      2. It is always nice to have something that tastes great! Changes moods and attitudes around here!

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        I made steak last weekend and one of my teenagers actually cuddled with me watching TV. This sh*t works, GV.

      4. Food is a miracle worker around here. In fact, when we’ve had a particularly bad case of attitude going, I often realize that I haven’t cooked as much as normal that week.

      5. Eli Pacheco says:

        That would give ME an attitude.

  5. Louise says:

    Now this is certainly the way to plan! I like it!

    That said, I while a plumber-in-law sounds fabulous, what’s that quote about the cobbler’s kids going barefoot? You may want to write those trade services into the dowry… 😉

    As for me? I currently live in fear that my daughters will marry the sons (of exact same age) of the girl who effectively bullied me through childhood. We ran into each other at some mommy and me course and the kids all LOVED each other. She seems to have grown into an okay human being (as determined by months of chatting to her at parks after class as our kids played) but that doesn’t mean I want to be trading off the hosting of Christmas dinners with her in my golden years. Even if her sons are awesome plumbers and auto mechanics.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Just don’t ever let your kids marry a writer …

      1. Louise says:

        Do you mean that isn’t the road to instant fame and riches?

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        If by instant fame and riches you mean reusing tea bags, grocery shopping at the dollar store and extending the life of shoes with duct tape, then yes, I do mean that!

      3. Louise says:

        Hmmmm. Okay – so plumber it is!

    2. Thank you, Louise! I am so glad you like it!
      Your idea to put the expected services in writing in advance is a great idea! I’ll have to get on having some contracts drawn up, so we’re ready.

      Amazing that you have bumped into and interact with someone who used to bully you. Sounds like you are handling it much better than I would! Have you talked about “the old days” with her? I wonder what she would say. But, I wouldn’t want to have my kids marry hers either. Never sure how far that apple will fall from the tree. Be sure to take good care of you in this newly reestablished relationship!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’d suspect many bullies would be a little embarrassed when they become grownups.

    3. Hopefully, they are embarrassed, and changed. Sadly, some of them just remain bullies. There are always issues to address in bullies. If they don’t deal with those, bullying stays part of their arsenal.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think most of the bullies at my high school were so good at it they’re now in orange jumpsuits.

      2. Louise says:

        I think it was odd for both of us. We actually pretty much completely avoided talking about “old times”. I’m almost 20 years out of high school and hadn’t really seen her since. It took some time, and while you never forget how they made you feel, I’m “over it.” By the end of it all I’d gotten better at giving as good as I got with her. And as my forever helpful mother always pointed out – she didn’t have it easy. It was always a bit odd as the bullied with a mother in equal parts trying to point out how rough the bully had it while equally suggesting ways I could stand up for myself/push back. The whole experience is something I’ve thought about more now that I have kids. I’ve also talked to my mom about how she handled it and gotten her adult perspective on it – which was equally interesting (eg: how frustrating and powerless she felt about it).

        But yes – she truly seems fine now. Haven’t seen her since my mat leave ended and I don’t see us being Facebook friends or anything, but if our kids end up in programming again together or having mutual friends, I’d survive.

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        So impressed with your mom’s perspective of it all. When we keep in mind the plights of even the people who treat us worst, it makes all the difference.

      4. Louise says:

        Generally agreed. Difficult to see while you are in the thick of it, but even then I knew I wouldn’t want to trade places with her.

        Perhaps a post topic for the future. I should start keeping a list…

      5. Eli Pacheco says:

        Definitely keep a list. These ideas spill out our ears if we don’t jot them down.

      6. Louise, I am so very impressed with your great attitude and empathy toward this person. Good for you! Even better for your kids!

      7. Eli Pacheco says:

        Do you know Louise, Gina? You’d love her stuff.

  6. tamaralikecamera says:

    I wonder what my in-laws thought of me at first, being that I can’t cook or clean for anything. I mean, maybe money. If they paid me, I’d be better at it.
    However, they did get a “Photography Wonder” which means about 1,000 professional photos of their grandchildren. Weekly. And I turn my head when they print photos without paying for reprint rights. I’d never charge a family member for reprint rights, you see.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think your in-laws ought to cook and clean because of the pictures, T-Bow.

    2. I know what my in-laws thought about me! My MIL was very unhappy with her son’s choice. My FIL loved me like his own daughter, and that was before I fixed his water heater! Lol!

      I think your in-laws are very lucky to have you and your photography talents & skills. Photos are such wonderful ways to preserve memories and bring people together. What a wonderful gift you have given them.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I bet they have fist-pumped before because of you, Tamara.

  7. ksbeth says:

    my 3 from the list? – auto, cooking, garden and computer tie )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      what else could a girl want?

    2. This week, Beth, I’m with you on the auto one! Our cars are in rebellion & I think they are laughing at me!

      1. ksbeth says:

        i completely understand, gina )

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Mine sometimes moves in the parking lot while I’m in the dollar store. Hate that.

  8. There will be a massive screening process when my girls want to settle down. And I won’t rule out arranged marriage….especially if the man can cook. My daughters will thank me!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I find direct eye contact with a boy is a good screening/testing process. For us fellas, if we know what we’re doing in the kitchen, it’s worth 1.3 points on the 10-point scale.

      1. It’s worth at least 3 full points if not more…

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s a lot – that’s like, making a 5 an 8. Think about that one first.

    2. My girls are just reaching the dating age. I don’t like it. I don’t know how my parents dealt with it so calmly. We do actually have a screening process of sorts for dating. Their potential dates have to have decent grades and a job. They must introduce us to their parents. If I was really thinking, I’d have them make us dinner first, too!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        There should be some test of worth … but the thing I fear with teens dating is that we screen to harshly, they’ll automatically and naturally want to gravitate to the one who doesn’t make the grade.

        Isn’t that how it works?

  9. Kerri says:

    Oh my gosh, yes!!! We need a list for our future child-in-law. This is a perfect idea, especially having one of them being a relative of Bill Gates because then we would have our computer fixed, our mortgage paid, dinner out AND a trip to Disney.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The best thing about our kids, Kerri, is that by the time they’re marrying age, Justin Bieber will be too old for them.

    2. Sometimes, just dinner out would be wonderful! I could live without another meal’s worth of mess and dishes!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Dinner … out … *fades into dream state*

  10. Great list! Just the other day I said I’d be happy if my son ended up with a nice girl who isn’t a bitch and whose parents we like. Cause there is this girl at his daycare who turns 5. For over a year she’s been telling people she wants to marry my son. I’m not in favor of it because her mother is a strange person. What does he say? He likes her but it’s the guy’s choice anyway. Plus he is more into a girl who is a year older than him.

    If it was up to me, he should get married to his male buddy – those are the parents I like!!! I say, you can hire a plumber or an electrician, but I want to be able to have a good time with the people who become part of the family.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Wait – you can’t hire people to have a good time with?

      1. I think there’s a coupon for that on Groupon, Eli!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Damn – sold out.

  11. I prefer that they have a genuinly good time, too. I don’t think there’s a price for that 🙂

    1. I agree with you that having in-laws you enjoy spending time with is a wonderful thing, Tamara. I remember when my oldest sister got married thinking how great it would be to have a cool mother-in-law like hers. Well, my MIL was kind of the opposite! Lol! Her mother-in-law is still so much fun to hang out with & is another favorite grandma to my kids.

  12. Excellent list, Gina! We could use some of these types in our family, too. I understand the ancient plumbing of which you speak, since we live in a 1929 bungalow. A carpenter would be another good addition … someone who can build me an addition, dream closets a la Sex in the City (the movie), built-in shelving and refinish hardwood floors!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I feel like maybe you ladies should create a list and present it when the dude comes over for the first date … if he can’t execute the list at that point, at least it gives him a set of goals.

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