Maybe it’s the siren’s call of jellied cranberry? Or the magnetic pull of stuffing mix from a box? Perhaps it’s the promise of pie? No matter which seasonal favorite lures them, part of the holidays usually means that family will gather.
Since most military families live miles away from hometown ties, when family comes to visit, they all may linger.
For better or for worse, this may include extended time with the in-laws. The following are some scenarios I think you just might relate to, along with some creative and constructive ideas for coping that I hope will help keep your holidays merry!
Scenario 1: The Cooking Critique
Your mother-in-law has been watching an abundance of celebrity chef competition shows on TV. Be prepared for Gordon Ramsay-style critiques. Those lumps in your mashed potatoes don’t stand a chance.
Ask your mother-in-law for a recipe of her favorite side dish. When she arrives, have the ingredients on hand and ask if she'd like to prepare that recipe for your meal. Maybe with a task to keep her busy, her “constructive criticism” will be easier to digest?
Scenario #2: Random Advice
Over the summer, your father-in-law invested in a top-of-the-line lawn mower. He has now become the foremost lawn care expert in the tri-state area. That bare patch lingering in the back of your yard? Prepare for shaming.
With pride aside, patiently listen to your father-in-law’s tips for winterizing your lawn. Ask for pointers on how to make the most of springtime seeding and such. When he realizes you seem eager to learn from his lawn care advice, your father-in-law may be less likely to pass backyard judgment.
Scenario #3: Excited Kids
Then, There’s This
A quick glance into the living room highlights your dear, sweet, angelic children launching themselves off stacked couch cushions.
As much as you’d like your busy bunch to behave perfectly while your in-laws visit, your children simply need the ease of their daily routine. Although it may include a raised eyebrow or audible sigh, your extended family needs to be included in the reality of life around your house.
If your family offers to watch the kids, jump at the chance to leave the house for a bit. A few hours of sweet freedom may improve your mood. Also, a little time away may give you the chance to pick up an indulgent treat. Wine? Chocolate? Or both? When you return, sneak your goodies into the house. After the kiddos are in bed, retreat to your own bedroom sanctuary and enjoy your smuggled splurges.
Even if you find yourself deep in the trenches of family drama and in-law criticism, embrace your inner Frozen lyrics and "Let it Go!" By keeping a positive state of mind, time spent with relatives may pass more quickly.
You ARE a trooper! You CAN do it! You’ll face this holiday challenge with grace and style. When your holiday guests finally pack their bags and depart, you’ll be VICTORIOUS!