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The In-Law Holiday Survival Guide

by Be Heard on December 5, 2011

in Sex & Relationships

Ok, what I’m about to tell you needs to be kept hush-hush.  Because if my in-laws hear this, I may be attacked.  Again. Also, this stuff is pretty life-changing, and I’m only telling you because I like you.  Don’t tell the others.

I married a fabulous man.  My boys and I are his top priority, and he loves us very much.  But, his parents are… challenging.

They are divorced, not only from each other, but from two, three or four other people.  They are both currently remarried, and, as an added bonus, hate each other with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.  We don’t mingle with both of them at the same time.  That means holidays are a fun time if you enjoy juggling the schedules of two of the world’s biggest egomaniacs.  Oh, and my family needs to get some time too.  It’s enough to make a girl up her meds.

Don’t have access to your psychiatrist just now?  That’s okay.  Let me help you get through these holidays sans chemicals.

Holiday Sanity Saver Tip #1: Limit The Alcohol, Yours and Theirs

A little wine keeps me from being so tense I make diamonds in my butt (Wine isn’t a chemical, right?).  The second glass or more?  I babble like it’s my job.  And my volume hits 11.  It is probably amusing to watch, but it does nothing to make dealing with giant personalities easier.  It may be tempting to loosen up the whole damn group, but trust me, this never ends well.  My friend who works in the medical examiner’s office can confirm this.

Holiday Sanity Saver Tip #2: Listen Like A Child

So, your kid only hears every third word or so.  We know this because they hear, “Jump on the couch,” when you really say, “Please don’t jump on the couch ever.”  It works out well for them, and it can help you, too!  Does your MIL tend to drone on and on about how you’re doing everything wrong?  Only half pay attention to that, and it won’t bother you.  You’ll hear, “Clean house, healthy food,” instead of, “I know working and being a mom is a good excuse to not have a clean house, but…Also, I think your kids may eat more if you serve them healthy food.”  Go to your mental happy place instead of your actual very sad and annoying one.

Holiday Sanity Saver Tip #3: Man, The Kids Sure Do Need Me In The Other Room…

This one may give your family more ammo, but, what do you care?  You’ll be in another room.  If you have a babe who is still taking the boob juice, God bless you and your ready-made excuse to get to another room.  Don’t despair if your kids are too old for that; older kids can be useful too.  Surely your kid enjoys having a book read to them in quiet?  Or maybe a very important school project you’d love to supervise.  Even the fake kind will work.

Holiday Sanity Saver Tip #4: Lean On Your Spouse

My husband and I have very knowing glances that take the edge off.  (Think Jim looking into the camera after Michael Scott says something Michael Scott-like on The Office.)  In our brief moments alone, we release all the pent-up snark and giggle.  We also know each other’s biggest triggers, and work hard to either prevent the gun from going off, or taking the bullet if we can.  For example, my husband cannot stand the way a certain family member asks him 547 questions about crap he could not care less about, like landscaping.  I see him reaching his limit and jump in with fake interest and random approving words about plant spacing.  This is when you have to help each other.  I can’t imagine getting through it any other way.

Listen, holidays are supposed to be fun.  We all know there are a million ways to make them not so much.  Spending time with people who challenge your very faith in human beings is certainly not great, but it’s only awful if you let it be.  It seems odd to do so, but sometimes you have to work to be happy.

Stephanie Curvy Girl Guide Contributor, Stephanie Ross, is a SAHM of twin 4 year-old boys.  A former middle school English teacher, she loves to tell people what they are doing wrong when it comes to writing and other basic forms of communication.  In an odd twist, she also loves the crappiest reality TV she can find.  (Lookin’ at you Real Housewives of Atlanta.)  Her husband’s job has the family living in Poland until 2013, not that anyone is counting down.  She stinks at taking care of her children’s nutritional needs, but is sure it will all work out fine in the end because at least they love books.  You can find Stephanie on her blog, Talking is My Primary Function, as well as on twitter!

Shannon Mercer December 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

Great tips, Stephanie!

Jennifer Akin December 5, 2011 at 11:00 am

Did I just get props in #1? Awesome! I haven’t even read the whole article yet, and I love it.

Rosstwinmom December 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Yep, that was all you sister!

Alia December 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I love these tips. I will have to put them into action this Christmas.

Barnali December 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm

ROTFL and agreeing whole heartedly. I have decided to turn the tables this year and instead of being the one who throws the parties, and listens to in laws complain; I have started the whining as soon as I passed out the advent calendar to the kids. YES! ’tis the season to escape !!!!

Carrie December 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I love this – great advice! Great job Stephanie!! :-)

Tara Galuska December 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Ohhhhhhhh Christmas with the family :) Another great little bit of advice I’ve been given is saying “You may be right…” It often deflates the crazy balloon and saves an argument that you just don’t need to have.

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