Holidays With the In-Laws

By Rebekah Faye for IDEAL Magazine

credit: IDEAL magazine

credit: IDEAL magazine

Before you even leave the house for your in-laws’, sit down with your man for a little heart to heart. You might have done all the shopping, wrapped all the gifts, and decked your halls but don’t leave this discussion off the list.

A recent study released by Hasbro shows that 37% of Brits are already feeling stressed this holiday season, and of that 11% are preoccupied over spending time with their family, making it the third most worrisome aspect of the season.

Approaching the topic of someone else’s mother or father or sister or brother can be a touchy subject. Your guy probably doesn’t see the wicked witch you see when you look at his mom or his sister, and you’ll probably hear him say, ‘Baby, she doesn’t hate you. That’s the way she treats everyone.’  However, the holidays are meant to be a joyful time spent with those who mean most to you, so nip this problem in the bud rather than letting it snowball into an unwanted avalanche.

Tell him you need his support in this.
Honestly discuss what it is that you think is causing the problems specifically. If he says he doesn’t know what you’re talking about, and that he’s never seen or heard his side of the family be snide towards you, create a secret signal between the two of you (gesture, cough, etc.). That way, you can silently give him the signal to point out those uncomfortable moments. This can help open his eyes for him to see things the way you see them.

Think of your own attitude and actions.
When spending time with his family, you should be trying to put your best foot forward. Make sure you’re  just as polite and friendly as you would want them to be towards you. The Golden Rule isn’t golden for nothing. The next time you’re in a conversation with his mother or sister, check your own words and actions.

After all, most of us have room for improvement, so also consider that there may be something you’re doing that sets your in laws off.

Show your in-laws what you bring to the table.
At this Christmas’s family gathering, make a statement that says ‘I’m not just good for him, I’m incredible for him.’ Seize the opportunity to show his family how essential you are to your man.

Are you a good cook? Bring a mouth-watering dish that no one will be able to resist. Discuss things that you and your guy do together, or your future plans, so that they’ll see how committed you are to each other. Make yourself useful around the house. Offer to help set the table, do the dishes, clean up the wrapping paper after presents, or help keep the children entertained.

Look the part.
Wear something suitable to the occasion that says ‘I’m put-together and capable.’ A lot of mothers think no woman will ever be good enough for their sons, but putting on a strong appearance for your in-laws can be a big part of their initial judgments of you. Let them see how secure you are in your relationship, and not only does your man take care of you, but you take care of him as well. You’re a team. Feel free to coordinate a similar color palette with your guy when deciding what to wear – it’ll be one more subliminal message that says ‘hey, we’re together.’

Take positivity with you.
Keep your head high, chat up the family, share some laughter, and wear a confident smile throughout the day. Let his mom or sister  know you won’t be beaten and you won’t be shut down. Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your permission,’ – and that includes your in-laws!