I am hosting Thanksgiving this year after a long hiatus from planning any parties due to the birth of and the adjustment of raising a child. (I know my limits). I am so excited to host this year, have made invitations, a menu, decorations, etc. I’m just concerned about the behavior of my mom and my sister.
They have this co-dependent relationship with one another….if my mom is not complaining about something my sister is doing, then my sister is complaining about something my mom is doing. Very often it escalates into cursing and a true argument, and I don’t want that at my party. I just want people to have a good time, and be thankful for one another, which is really what the day is all about.
Now, in a somewhat tacky move, I wrote “No Bitching Zone” on the dry-erase board in my kitchen, and have thought about pointing to the sign whenever I hear a possible complaint session beginning…..but I thought I would ask the Dame of Manners herself: How would you handle this?
Can I maintain my sign and be passive-aggressive about it, or tell ‘em before they walk in the door; “Be nice or go back home?”
They are coming on Wednesday and not leaving until Friday. If they were not staying so long, I would probably just deal with it, but I’m excited for this event, for my in laws and family to be together and share a good meal, and would appreciate any advice you have to give. 1125-13
Two female relatives of mine would squabble throughout the meal prep on Thanksgiving Day, sometimes escalating into a real angry battle. It didn’t happen in my house as I was not the hostess so I took the approach of not getting involved and just watching the drama unfold, sometimes even laughing out loud at the absurdity of the pettiness of their bickering. In other words, I did not allow their attitudes to affect mine. Your guests will cue off of your behavior and if you are frazzled, angry, flustered, they will pick up on that. You take the lead in setting the tone of your home and do not allow others to overrule that.
As hostess, you can direct these two women to take their contentiousness to a back bedroom, work it out there and come back when all is rosy between them. There is nothing wrong with informing two warring guests that they are not allowed to ruin everyone else’s enjoyment of the holiday while they pursue their selfish needs to fight with each other. You can also plan ahead to catch the squabble in its infancy and direct one or both women to do a task which actually separates them…..anything to distract them for a moment. I’m like Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, minus the cursing, and direct the women helping me to do specific tasks like a commander of the kitchen army.
Lastly, I would strongly recommend you readjust your expectations for a perfect holiday of happiness, family harmony and glittering party perfection. You are setting yourself up for a major disappointment if your mother and sister cannot set aside their selfishness for a few hours.