Some people love spending time with their in-laws and welcome them to stay at their house over the holidays, but not everyone has that kind of healthy relationship. Plenty of people have to silently fight through their internal rage when their mother-in-law criticizes their parenting or their father-in-law makes sexist jokes, because they’re family and it’s the holidays. If you’re in that second group, we feel your pain and if you’re stuck hosting them yet again this holiday season, these tips may help save your sanity.
- First: Can they stay anywhere else? - Can you come up with a reasonable excuse for why they can’t stay at your house? Something other than “I can’t stand to hear your dad chew!” like maybe a family member who’s not yet vaccinated or a guest room that needs an emergency repair? If you can get out of it, good for you. If not, we’re sorry and proceed to step two…
- Schedule it when it works for you - Whatever you do, don’t let the in-laws dictate when they’re coming. They can make suggestions or tell you when they’re available, but if you don’t set up their visit, they’ll end up staying a week or deciding to extend their plans. So always set a firm leave-by date, too.
- Set expectations and boundaries for the visit - Don’t let them bulldoze your plans and routine. Let them know when you won’t be available, even if that’s early in the morning because you like to sleep late. They’re completely capable of making coffee and breakfast on their own.
- Have your spouse agree to take the lead - Remind them that these are their parents and you expect them to lead activities, chats and run potential argument interference during their visit.
- Schedule extra self-care before and after - Not being overly anxious and stressed when they arrive helps, so treat yourself to some relaxing activities ahead of their stay and while you’re at it, schedule some for when they leave, too.
- Sneak away anytime you can - Just because the in-laws are staying at your house doesn’t mean you have to spend 24/7 with them. You can still go to your exercise class, to the grocery store alone and even retreat to your room early just to scroll through TikTok if it makes you happy. Anything that gives you a break from being “on” will help you cope with their visit, which will eventually end at some point.