Guys, the Holidays Really are Different for Her

When we, (guys, in general) think of holiday meals with family, we think of watching TV, over-eating, drinking (perhaps a little too much), and teasing siblings.  Have you ever stopped and considered what it’s like for her, your wife or girlfriend?  Consider the following:

  • If she brings a dish, she fears/knows it will be judged on what it looks like, how it was cooked, if people like it/eat it.
  • She’ll be judged on what she is wearing, how her hair looks, and/or what her weight is.
  • She’ll be judged on what she says, how she responds to people who disagree with her, and/or what her political positions are.
  • She’ll be judged by her mother, father, MOTHER-IN-LAW, father-in-law, siblings, sibling’s spouses, her kids, her kid’s kids, her sibling’s kids, sibling’s kid’s kids, aunts and uncles, cousins…..even the dog.
  • She looks out for that lecherous uncle that tends to grope when he hugs “hello” and “goodbye”.
  • She’s judged if she doesn’t help cook and clean up, and how she cooks and cleans up.
  • She is expected to be nice to the neice that complains about her gift (after she agonized over getting the right item).
  • She is expected to be nice to the aunt that is critical of her working full time, the mother-in-law that she never seems to please, and her own sibilings who always insist their child be first.
  • She is expected to be nice to the in-law that is “perfect” in everything including her weight, style of dress, profession, parenting, and religion. (Who, by the way, the mother-in-law loves.)
  • She is expected to be nice to the cousin that is always the center of attention, her father-in-law that goes on and on about small engine repair for hours, and the various “mistakes” people jokingly accuse her of that happened years ago which are brought up at every family meal.

Do you get the picture?

What to do:

  • Ask her what she is most concerned about with holidays at your parents.
  • Listen to her.  Reflect back so she knows you are listening.
  • DON’T minimize her concerns.
  • Ask what she wants you to do to help to prepare for the visit.
  • Check in with her during the visit to see how she’s doing and what you could do to help.

More later……..