It seems that it gets worse every year, and this year it was the worst yet. About December 15th, I started fantasizing about screaming in the streets “I F-ing hate Christmas!” (I actually thought about saying “F-ing.” That is how repressed I am–I censor even my fantasies.)
Between my mom and her “since you dad left, I have no one” and my sister and her “how can we make sure everyone is happy and never left out?” and my dad’s “when can I stop by for half an hour and drop off presents?” the ol’ Christmas spirit ends up nowhere near me. Finally it all came to a head at Christmas. My mom and husband got into a very short argument, he announced that we were leaving, I cried for two days straight, he sent my mom an email trying to explain why he’d been upset then and how he’s been feeling slighted for years.
You also have a family (parents, siblings) and in-laws and a desire to create memories and traditions for your kids. Any advice? My mom forwarded the email to my sister, which I don’t appreciate, but she responded by emailing everyone in the family and suggesting that we start a conversation, which I do. I just feel like no matter what I say–or to whom–I’m going to end up breaking what was already a very fragile dynamic between my husband and my family.
This is crazy long, and feel free to edit. I’m trying not to be one-sided or too complainy, but I’m just so worried that not only am I never going to have this close relationship between my husband and family (which my brother-in-law seems to enjoy), but they’re not even going to tolerate one another, which leaves me feeling like I have to choose one.
Ah, The Holidays, where Your Aunt Becky likes to imagine that she really enjoys drinking or perhaps medicating herself heavily to get through them (side note: I do not)(sadly).
I don’t think you’re being one-sided in wanting to have some sort of traditions of your own at all because you’re an adult, and that’s kind of what adults do: they branch out on their own and start their own. Or, in the case of others, they do not.
This is where you are at an impasse, my friend. You must decide what is important to you. Not to your mom or your dad or your sisters or your brother or Aunt Sally down the block. (Because we have so much family that has to celebrate holidays at odd random times throughout the season, we’ll end up dragging Christmas out for 4 months if we’re not careful, so believe me when I say that I know this from experience)
But it’s your turn to decide what you want. You get to make the call.
Sure, you may piss some people off along the way, because everyone wants you for something because OBVIOUSLY, but this is where it ends: you cannot kill yourself over the holidays.
Or, if you decide that that’s how you want to play it, and you’re going to cater to everyone else, then you have to just accept that the holidays really aren’t about you anymore. Then you can set aside your own feelings and just accept that the holidays are fucking stressful. Plenty of people do it that way and manage just fine.
In the Sausage Factory, we simply say “no” to the things we’re not going to do. It’s not fair to my kids to drag them to every-fucking-thing that we’re invited to just because we’re invited and we feel like we should. My family, my children, well, we matter too. I’m not guilty or sorry about that. And if other people have a problem, well, they can come over and deal with the post-Holiday Meltdown while I go home to their quiet house.
Don’t feel guilty about standing up for yourself, okay? You matter too.
I need your help. We all – except for the receptionist – have nice offices where I work. For over a year now, she comes in my office every day for lunch and sits at my meeting table eating and reading. At first I thought it was cute, but now its just annoying. What if I need to call my doc about a raging case of vag herpies? What if I’m interviewing for a new job? I’ve tried closing my door at 11:50 – she just comes in anyway. Help!
Hungry for Silence
I am BEYOND sympathetic for your plight, my friend, because I cannot even work on my computer with someone standing near me (and believe me that I’m using the term “work” veeerrry loosely here) so I cannot imagine how annoying it’s got to be to have someone with you during your one period of solitude.
I’m sure that she, on the other hand, sees no reason that this would be any sort of intrusion, the same way people who kiss hello on the cheeks don’t find that to be off-putting to those of us who do not. Clearly, if she’s not getting the “door shut” thing, she’s not going to get any other sort of subtle gesture and obviously you don’t want to hurt her feelings.
So, can you put her in a conference room saying that you need to make some “personal calls” a couple of times a week? Certainly, it’s not like HONEST or anything, but you don’t want to make it all weirdness at work and you can’t exactly be all “here, sweetie!! Let’s go sit it SUSAN’S office today!!!” Because she’s not a toddler. (I’m assuming.)
Or, you could start trying to sell her every sort of Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Candlight Party, Sex Toy Party thing, Ginsu knives imaginable. That normally works like a charm to get people the hell away from you.
OR, better yet, you could start polishing your knife collection during your lunch break and pretend to be a serial killer. Then she’d leave YOU the hell alone.
OR, you could pretend to have just married a pillow.
BETTER YET, I’ll open up the floor to my faithful Pranksters who will probably have much better ideas than I do because my next course of action was to suggest filling her car with balloons. CLEARLY I am the unbalanced one.
As always, submit your questions to Go Ask Aunt Becky on the sidebar, yo, and fill in ANYWHERE I left off. Please, Pranksters, HELP THESE PEOPLE.