Don’t lie… you all just put your fists in the air and started shouting, “JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!”
SO, how do we survive those Jerry Springer marathons? How do you survive your Mother-in-Law criticizing your parenting or your cooking skills? How do you survive your siblings constant passive aggressive trolling of your life choices? How do you ignore those comments about how you haven’t lost the baby weight yet? Or your hair is too short (FYI, this just happened to me). Or the unending questions about why you parent a certain way or why your kids are running a little too wild around Grandma’s house (forget that they have been in the car for four hours strapped into car seats right?) Or everyone’s favorite, just why AREN’T you married yet… FYI they know someone. Beware. He’s probably on probation for stealing Pabst Blue Ribbon from the local corner store and he has a mullet.
Here is my short go-to list of how to handle all harsh Holiday fracas:
#1. Walk away. Remove yourself from the conversation, the vicinity, or location or even the family itself. Whether it is to simply remove your ears from listening range, or to grab a turkery leg to beat your brother-in-law with, just walk away.
#2. Breath. Big deep breaths. 4 deep breaths has proven to, in layman’s terms, reset your brain. 10 deep breaths, however, have proven to render one unconscious. You want to look like you’re a mature adult, not a lush passed out drunk from Grandma’s eggnog.
#3. Put yourself out of the situation. This time I am not talking about physical location. That’s step one. If you have forgotten that already or are confused, please seek immediate medical attention… or put down the eggnog.
So, your mother-in-law may actually NOT be criticizing your parenting or cooking. She may be jealous you are doing a better job in both areas than she.
Your sibling may comment on your life choices, but maybe they are struggling with their own life choices.
Comments on baby weight? They may be struggling with how they look, or their judgment on what is beautiful has been too altered by our current standards of beauty. YOU are beautiful by the way. You created a life. Your body may never be the same, but that’s NO comparison to having a child.
And my hair is short and there I’m not feminine? There is only one person whose opinion matters on that subject, and last I checked three kids under five is evidence enough that I’m alright in his book. *wink*
#4. Don’t retaliate. Remember hurt people hurt people? Don’t pay the hurt forward by commenting back, or telling Cousin Eddie, the family party line, you’re pretty sure they have a drinking problem or that they spend all their money on their PEZ collection and that’s why they are losing their house. And please… for the sake of all Griswald’s everywhere, don’t hurl a Fruit Cake at their person.
Instead maybe do the opposite. My Dad had a bumper sticker stuck by the key rack in our house growing up. It simply said, “Kill them with Kindness.” It was a reminder to all of us that if we were hurt it was not ok to hurt back, but instead to chose to be kind. Not out of a snarky attitude, but simply because that is what reminds us that we are all human; even those who hurt us. It was a reminder to us that kindness heals, and hurt destroys.
So, why not go ahead and give them the largest piece of pie… even though you may have already put your chewed gum into their eggnog.
*Picture Credit and also an opportunity to order a fruit cake: