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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Family And In-Laws

Am I the only one who thinks that once you leave the nest… the nest should leave you alone? You know, family… extended family… in-laws! “Spread your wings and learn to fly! But not too far, come closer, don’t do that, let me help you, not that way, you’re doing it wrong, where are you going, who was that, when will I see you again, how could you do this to me… oh, I should have kept clipping your wings! Why don’t you just come back to the nest and let us take care of you… for the rest of your life!” Does any of that sound familiar? Sound like torture? Come on, admit it! Or are your wings still clipped?

Honestly though, we have all heard the monster-in-law stories but face it, even parents or extended family members can be just as bad when it comes to making your life a living hell! Now, I am not saying that my family (direct or in-law) are this way (or not) but I did find this article on interesting and helpful so I wanted to share.

Survive the in-laws’ visit now; thank us later:

If you’re one of those people who regularly says, “But I get along fine with my in-laws” and means it, go away. Find other perfect people to talk to. For the rest of us, dealing with in-laws is about as comfortable as an hour-long Pap test. You’re being scrutinized, you’re in constant discomfort, and you can’t leave. Alas, like a Pap test, in-laws are a necessary evil. In the end, the only thing you can do is endure them as gracefully as possible. Just be prepared.

Share the pain. Nothing is worse than having your in-laws unloaded on you only to have your partner disappear for a day of golf. That’s a no-go. Make it very clear that when your in-laws show up, he’s going to be around—or else. If he’s a big fan of his parents and has no sympathy for you, make sure you invite your own parents around and then leave to go shopping with your girls. See how he likes it.

Find “escape” moments. When you feel your blood pressure rising, make quick excuses to be alone. Go for a walk to the store to get that “missing” ingredient. Make up an emergency coffee session with a friend. In fact, ask that friend to call in advance to add authenticity. Consider it a personal therapy session.

Bite your tongue. This one hurts, but can save you a lot of grief later. Whether you’re enduring criticisms or hours of pointless prattle, simply nod and smile. Arguing with in-laws can go two ways: either it leads to a verbal battle or months of apologies on your part to oversensitive egos. Ask yourself this: would you rather wax your legs quickly or pluck the hairs out one at a time?

Think of it as a sport. Try telling yourself, it’s you and your partner against the in-laws. If mom-in-law is diving into the baby conversation, your partner jumps in with a food distraction. Dad-in-law is preparing for the big employment speech, you jump in with an interesting book or fact you just read. It’s all about distractions. Bob and weave. Excuse yourself to visit the washroom, then conveniently forget what you were previously discussing. Turn on the TV and gape at something inane: “Wow, Sally, look at the size of that cow!” Silly, but effective.

Beat them at their own game. Every in-law has a schtick. Whether it’s criticizing your cooking, never leaving your side for a second, riling up your partner into a macho frenzy, whatever it is, work with it. Insult your own cooking repeatedly before your mother-in-law gets the chance. Follow them around with dizzying conversation until they need a break. Join in the macho frenzy before your partner can. It’s amazing how matching silly behaviour with even sillier behaviour can bring it to a screeching halt.

For many of us, in-laws are like children. And how should you deal with emotionally petulant children? You coddle, bribe, bargain, or chastise, as necessary. While the latter is done in private after they’ve left, the others can be lifesavers. Even the worst of in-laws must have some good qualities. They did, after all, raise your partner into the person you love today (even if they didn’t teach him how to unload a dishwasher or work the washing machine).

Article Written by: Robyn Burnett