How To Deal With Future In-Laws This Holiday Season
Dear Mi Comadre,
I need your advice. With the holidays coming up my fiancé and I always struggle with how we should divide our time up amongst his family and my family. It wouldn’t be such a big deal for us but his mom gets EXTRA emotional about it, and puts this guilt trip on my fiancé. What we normally do is spend some time at one house and then go to the other, but it’s exhausting AND it’s NEVER enough for her! Then for Christmas she wants us to be around for Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. I get that the holidays are for family, but I feel suffocated! I want to spend time with both our families but she has to be understanding that it’s not just about her. How can I go about finding a middle ground without dealing with all the drama!? This is my man’s mom so I know I gotta be careful with how I approach the situation. She is going to be my mother-in-law one day, and I don’t want him to think I’m being insensitive. Please help! - Already Exhausted
Dear Already Exhausted,
Oooohhh the joy of sharing time between families! It makes everything else you have to do for the holidays a piece of cake. But don't fret, hopefully I can get you back into the holiday spirit!
It sounds like your fiancé may be dealing with some of the stress as well. You both need to plan out your holidays right away. Maybe it's Christmas Eve with your family, and Christmas Day with his family. Whatever the case is, you need to plan now! Make sure to just talk logistics during your planning. Don't discuss feelings and what ifs. Once you've got your plan, deliver it! You tell your family how you'll be spending the holidays, and let him tell his family. You both must stand your ground. No matter how dramatic his mom may get, do not worry about it! She'll be fine. Trust me.
I'm all about being with familia during Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's a discussion my husband and I have every year. We usually start planning in August. Most of my family is in Texas, and my husband's family is here. If we could, we'd bring our families together for every holiday, but that's just not possible. So we compromise. This year we spent Thanksgiving in Texas with my family, we'll be spending Christmas with his family, and New Year's Eve will be just the two of us.
Make planning your time for the holidays, and other special events a habit. It will make your lives easier. You will be married one day, and maybe you'll decide to have children, and the holidays will be about them, or maybe you'll want to spend the holidays on some exotic island, or maybe you'll just want to spend the holidays at home with each other. How ever you choose to spend them is completely up to you and your future hubby. Your mother-in-law will have to understand. Families grow, people move, life happens, and we can't always be with the ones we love. And remember, when you can't be with the ones you love, the next best thing is FaceTime! And if you don't have an iPhone, you can download apps like WhatsApp or Hangouts!
Now go make 2 cups of Abuelita hot chocolate, grab your fiancé, and decide what your plans are going to be. Happy Holidays!
Dear Mi Comadre,
I am getting married soon and could use some advice.
A little bit of background info: I am from Argentina but lived in Chicago for the past 2 years. I am getting married in Argentina with all my family and friends. Since we are getting closer to the big day, I am planning the table settlements for all my guests. My eldest brother has a new girlfriend (the relationship is around 5 months old) and I don't know where to sit her. Our head table will include both our families (mother, father and siblings). No other siblings have +1s.
On the one hand, I don't know her. At all. Never spoke to her in my life, and it feels kinda weird to get to know her on my wedding day and have her in the head table + all the pictures forever. On the other hand, I am so happy for my brother and everyone in my family seems to like her very much. I also think I would feel very guilty if the relationship continues and I put her somewhere else. What should I do? Please help! - Bridezilla
First of all, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Secondly, I would hardly call you a Bridezilla just for that question.
There can be stressful moments in wedding planning, ESPECIALLY when it's in regards to familia. Before I give you my suggestions, there is one very important thing you should do once you get to Argentina.
The very first thing you should do after arriving at home, is to meet with your brother and his girlfriend. You should have a conversation with your brother, and let him know that you want to capture photos of just the family during the highlights of the wedding. Then make it a point to meet his girlfriend, and just be honest. Let her know that you had already planned the head table settings, and as much as you are thrilled she and your brother are together, you hope she understands. I promise you, she will appreciate your transparency.
My first suggestion is to sit her with a group of friends near the head table. Your photographer will be capturing beautiful moments that you will be looking at throughout the years. Once all of the highlights of the wedding are captured by the photographer, you can invite her to spend the rest of the wedding at the head table.
The second option is to sit her at the head table, but have a conversation with the photographer to capture moments with just the immediate family.
This will be a little tricky for the photographer, but at least you'll have pictures with just the family. This may also be a bit uncomfortable for the girlfriend, since she will have to remove herself from the table for some of the pictures. Whatever you choose to do, you want to include your decision in the conversation you have with your brother and his girlfriend.
I can sit here and tell you that I know several couples who were in the same situation, and they opted to include boyfriends and girlfriends at the head table. I can also go on and tell you how those boyfriends and girlfriends are no longer around physically, but they are in the wedding photos forever. I can tell you, that you may be upset if your brother and this girl decide to break up, and now you are stuck with her images in your wedding album. But this is your brother, and I can tell that his feelings really matter to you. The most important thing for you to do is to be transparent, and have that conversation with him.
Remember that this is you and your fiancé's wedding. This is a once in a lifetime event, and yours is the most important happiness that day! May your wedding be everything you dreamed and your marriage be filled with a lifetime of blessings!
Dear Mi Comadre,
I'm hosting my family for Christmas this year and I have a problem. My sister recently divorced her wonderful and devoted husband of 10 years, and now she's dating someone who I absolutely despise. It's not because he's the "new man" but it's because he's crass, a heavy drinker, borderline racist and misogynistic, and a complete douchebag. My sister has two small children and I can't stand that she exposes them to his behavior. I want to see my niece and nephew for Christmas, but I cannot stand my sister's new boyfriend and the influence he has over her. She drinks more, seems to have lost all ambition and is just a completely different person. How should I approach things? Thanks! - Worried Sister
Hola Worried Sister,
I have been a worried sister many a time. I'm sure i'll be a worried sister a dozen times more. You know what is so annoying? When my siblings ask me for advice and they don't use it, "sigh." But I'm learning to not let it bother me, because as a sister I'm supposed to be there for my sissies and my brother bears through thick and thin.
It sucks that your sister is dating someone like that, but who she dates is on her. I would not have a conversation with her about whether or not you want to invite him over for Christmas, or your expectations if he attends. Don't compromise your relationship with her over something you don't have control of. Extend the invite, be a loving host, an amazing auntie, and enjoy your family. I can't promise you that he won't do anything crass, but if he does be the bigger person. Don't break. Just breathe in, breathe out, and smile.
You mentioned that your sister's ex was a wonderful and devoted husband. I know you're not hating on her new beau because he's the new guy, but think of how your sister would feel if she read the second sentence of your letter. That's how you saw your sister's ex. However, she was married to him, and sometimes things aren't as they appear to be behind closed doors. That's not to say he wasn't wonderful and devoted, I'm just saying SHE lived the relationship. Some people don't speak on the negativity of their relationships, so that family and friends don't pass judgment on their significant other. Your sister may be going through something right now, and that's why she finds herself with this person. She was with her ex for over 10 years, and sometimes people lose themselves in relationships. I don't know anything about your sister's past, but I do know that you should be there for her, ask her how she's doing, and support her. Your relationship will be amazing if you do this.
I hope your sister finds herself, gets her ambition back, and her and her kids find themselves surrounded by love and positive energy. Remember just be there for her, and if she asks for your advice tell her how your heart feels without passing judgement, and she'll appreciate you for that.
Please let me know how things go. Feliz Navidad to you and yours!