When I was growing up, my parents were still married, and I wouldn’t have ever dreamed of spending a holiday away from home. At age 16, my parents divorced, splitting all of my holidays in two. Now, at age 30, I have a serious, live-in boyfriend whose parents are also divorced, and my holidays have now been split into quarters.
Spending two hours here and two hours there, fighting traffic in-between, plus the hours of baking/cooking leading up to the big event can really wear a person down. Last year by the end of the day I legitimately thought I was going to kill my family – and I actually like spending time with them. This year, I have not only my family but also my boyfriend’s family to contend with for Thanksgiving.
With the divorce rate being so high these days, I’m sure there are more than a few of you readers who feel my pain and understand my stress. So I’ve come up with a few ways to relieve the stress if you start thinking of ways to kill family members while carving the turkey.
First of all, keep this in mind at all times: There is an end to this day. Dealing with your drunken uncle or sullen cousin is only temporary. My advice is, ignore the haters and enjoy the other company around you. Think about the good things about the day. For example, my grandmother always makes inappropriate comments around the dinner table. Of course, she doesn’t realize they are inappropriate, but they are damn funny when she says them, and my family always ends up laughing so hard there is a danger of milk coming out of someone’s nose.
Leaving the room for at least three minutes and breathing slowly can also work wonders. Deep breathing exercises can help even if you can’t get away, but those few moments of alone time are a bonus that you will definitely be thankful for. “I have to go to the bathroom” always works for me. No one wants to follow someone who just ate a huge Thanksgiving meal into the bathroom. Screaming into a pillow or in the confines of your car is one of my favorites. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in my car and realized I just can’t take it anymore and I scream as loudly as possible. Pillows work too. Do it a few times. Even if someone sees you, you can just claim that you were so overcome with joy over the holiday season that you just had to let it out.
Please refrain from the following: hitting, spitting, yelling, cursing, pinching, or anything else that could harm people physically or emotionally. Resist the urge to beat your mother-in-law with a spatula when she comments on whatever you chose to wear or how you are taking a second helping.
When all else fails, laugh it off. Grin and bear it. Act like everything that comes out of your racist grandfather’s mouth is a compliment. Or just shovel a huge forkful of food into your mouth so that you have to wait at least ten seconds before you can say anything you might regret later.
Emily Little (nee Campbell) was a perpetually single girl who recently met and married her Mr. Right. Her blog, Dating Emily, has been a two-year diary of her adventures in relationships. Her life of bar-hopping and casual dating has turned into one of dog-walking, craft-making and budgeting for eventual home ownership. But just because she can make a mean casserole doesn’t mean her adventures are over. As she prepares to become a first-time homeowner and eventually, a mom, she is discovering that the adventure may just be beginning.