Ahh, the holidays. The time of the year when we all pay a fortune to spend time with people we don’t like that much….our families. Between shared bedrooms, bathroom lines and the sugar high crashes, it is practically impossible to escape the holidays with your sanity intact. But don’t worry, when you find yourself contemplating stabbing Grandpa Bill with your salad fork, you can turn to this handy guide for some quick tips to get you through.
- Prepare yourself for the inevitable close encounters of the in-law kind. At some point your father-in-law will walk in on you in the bathroom, or your mother-in-law will catch you ass-grabbing under the mistletoe. Pour yourself an extra glass of wine and remind yourself to just laugh it off when they bring it up at the Christmas dinner table.
- There has to be a clear division of labor. In most cases this means that the grandparents will do whatever they want to do and we parents will do the rest…and by rest I mean all the crap work (literally). The sooner everyone accepts the working arrangements, the happier everyone will be.
- Helping out doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. My idea of help was keeping my kid so I could go to Target. My mother-in-law’s version involved serving Santa cupcakes to my four month old. I’ve learned a lot since that first year about being really clear with my requests.
- It’s never too early to drop and go. I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me to realize that my kid could survive a few hours without me. Now I’ve learned that the best strategy is to give no warning at all. Drop the baby in their arms and say “you’ll be fine” as you run out the door to buy those last minute stocking stuffers.
- Don’t assume that old people and kids will be on the same schedule. Aren’t retirees supposed to be the ones lining up for the early bird specials? Somehow no one in my family got the memo. The only upside to the continued 6am kiddy wake-up calls is that I can count on my in-laws to take over for a while after bedtime. More mulled wine anyone?
- Never let your in-laws make the sleeping arrangements. Mine don’t think twice about suggesting that we cram four people in a king-sized bed or that we just crash out in the living room. We’ve got two kids and my mother-in-law is still trying to keep us from doing the dirty.
- Don’t let anyone call it a vacation. I don’t care if you had to take two weeks off of work and spent your lifetime savings, holidays with the family is NOT a vacation. Which leads me to #8……
- Plan a post-holiday vacation. I used to come home and exclaim, “I need a vacation after my holiday vacation.” Now I book it in advance. Last year I used the “I have to get back to work” excuse to finagle my way home five days earlier than the rest of the fam. Five days of peace and quiet in the office will be just the vacation I need after 10 days with the in-laws.
If you like this post, you won’t want to miss my story of the worst vacation surprise ever.
Like wine, the Nomad Mom Diary is always better when you share her with a friend, so use the buttons below to pass along some love.