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The ‘N’ Word


Before I met The Daver, I loved the holidays. When I say loved, I mean LOVED, the kind of love that implies that I would be happiest in my life if I could stay home, make babies with Christmas, hump the leg of Easter every night, and make sweet (yet spooky!) love to Halloween. It was a time of year that I revered: from the sparkling lights to the tacky blow-up house decorations, I loved it all. In my mind, they could have played Christmas music 24 by 7 by 365 and I would have said nothing aside from “CRANK THAT PUPPY TO 11!”

And while I use my chance meeting of The Daver as a marker for When Good Holidays Go Bad, it’s not really his fault (somewhere, perhaps on a train, he is sitting in shock, mouth agape that I would NOT blame him for something). But with the addition of The Daver meant a whole extra set of people with a whole extra set of restrictions as to when and where holidays could be celebrated.

That coupled with the aging of Ben in addition to the extra set of restrictions that celebrating with Nat’s family implied, meant that the holidays had gone from being something that I just showed up with gifts and cookies for into a carefully orchestrated several weeks in which every spare nanosecond was accounted for.

Our holiday schedule went something like this: drive three hours into Wisconsin for breakfast at precisely 9 AM at specific diner where we all had to eat pancakes and sausage (it IS Wisconsin, arguably the sausage capitol of the world. Or something.), sit for exactly and hour and fifteen minutes with 2 bathroom breaks. Then loop through the upper peninsula of Michigan to climb the warthog infested mountain of snow in order to secure the holy grail of rare beer for XX family member. Stop for gas and bathroom break on way to Arizona to drop of package for other family member who’d forgotten to mail it. At 11 PM, on the way home, finally have lunch at an oasis McDonald’s.

We came back from that first holiday, The Holiday Of The Ghost Of Our Future, and I wept openly for several hours while Dave chewed his nails and paced the floors. We were both just tapped out and exhausted, and as for Ben, he was so overwrought and inconsolable that this ickle expenditure undid about 3 months worth of previous therapy.

And after a lengthy, exhausted discussion we came to two realizations:

1) We did it to ourselves when we stopped saying The ‘N’ Word when asked to participate in holiday this or that.

2) We would not do this again to ourselves or our family. Rather than saying “Yes” to the question of if we COULD do something, we’d decide it based upon the idea that we SHOULD.

So, in an effort to cut ourselves neatly out of any possible inheritance, we stopped agreeing to do everything we were asked to do for the holidays. COULD we do something? Probably. But SHOULD we? Not at all.

The Daver and I have put on our thinking caps and tried just about every combination of Possible Holiday Merriment that would allow us even the slightest hint of joy during a time of year that is supposedly all about joy, and each and every year, we break down and weep openly (okay, this is a SLIGHT exaggeration). It’s just not possible to Do It All and still enjoy the holidays that I once treasured.

And the kicker of the whole thing is this: we run ragged to appease everyone for a good reason. They all just want to see us and spend time with us. ALL AT ONCE. While this is completely admirable (I mean who wouldn’t want to spend time with us? WE’RE FULL OF AWESOME.), it’s also completely unfair this particular year.

So I put my foot down and used the dreaded ‘N’ word yet again. Rather than celebrate Christmas 5 different times (for poor Ben this would now be 7 times, and not a soul is divorced here), I said no.

The kicker for the whole situation is this: while I know that this is The Right Thing To Do For My Family, I still feel guilty about not being able to do it all. I gave myself a pass on all of the normal holiday shit that I love to do (read: cookies and cards and fancy wrapping paper) and am not doing because I’m barely functioning anymore. And yet, using the ‘N’ word this time, is making me feel just terrible.

Like I’ve used the “I have my period” card twice in a month to get out of swimming class.

I guess I don’t get it. Why does doing the right thing for my family make me feel so bad?

How do you guys manage the holidays with all of the assorted obligations–and guilt, let’s not forget guilt–that come as naturally with it as Bing Crosby? Is it something that you just suck up and deal with (thereby making you unhappy) for the sake of pleasing other people? Or have you used the ‘N’ word and decided that the holidays being about family means YOU too?

58 Comments to

“The ‘N’ Word”

  1. On December 16th, 2008 at 12:51 pm kalakly Says:

    I guess we used the ‘N’ word one too many times with the hub’s family cuz now we don’t even talk to them anymore. (Insert sobs for dramatic purposes) Although I have to say, I realy have enjoyed the switch from “Where should we go for the holidays?” to “So, your family again, right?” You bethca!

    Plus, the added bonus of less presents to waste money…oops I mean spend money on.
    It’s all good.

  2. On December 16th, 2008 at 12:57 pm rebekah Says:

    I’m married to a really good No-guy. He’ll say no even when he doesn’t want to, just because he likes being in control. It’s made it REALLY easy for me to be married to a bastard like that, because I can always blame him. His ability to refuse to do ANYTHING that he doesn’t want to MORE than he wants to stay home and do…nothing (really, he just tinkers around, yet refuses to do anything else – even on days like ‘smas), wait, where was I? Oh, that ability of his has given me ample room to really think about what ~I~ want to do. I’m often enthusiastic just because that’s my nature. And now, I have to make “Yes” happen. Seriously, it’s been a major life changer.

    Also I live 1200 miles away from my family and Jamie isn’t really speaking to his. That helps too.

    Also, also, you are a zillion years pregnant. Nobody should expect ANYTHING from you except gentle moaning in tune with Jingle Bells if it must be.

    Alsox3: FIRST!

  3. On December 16th, 2008 at 12:58 pm rebekah Says:

    Crap. 2nd.

  4. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:13 pm Jenn Says:

    Our families aren’t quite so spread out so it’s not nearly as big of a deal for us. We do two Christmases every year, one with Kent’s family BEFORE Christmas and with my family ON Christmas. But people come to us so again, it’s not such a big deal. In your situation I would definitely tell everyone to suck it.
    The way I see it: You have a family of your own now and your only obligation is to them (and yourself). You should be allowed to do what will make it a fun and happy time for you guys. No kid wants to spend their day traipsing all over creation. (And no parent wants to spend Christmas driving, stopping, stuffing kids in and out of car seats while listening to them whine that they are hungry and have to pee.) They want to get up, open their gifts and then play with them.
    Don’t feel guilty about your decision. I think it was definitely the right one. xoxo

  5. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:13 pm abandoning eden Says:

    My parents are Jewish and have pretty much stopped talking to me, which makes holiday’s a lot easier- we just spend Thanksgiving in Joliet Illinois with his extended family (who meet up there very year for Thanksgiving) and then spend Christmas in Indiana with his parents and sister (and sisters dog).

    Although, speaking of holidays, I still have no idea what we’re getting for his dad or his sister or his sister’s dog….at least I have a gift for him, and an idea for a gift for his mom (we’re getting professional photos of us taken and giving them to her in a nice frame, since she keeps complaining about not having any picture of us) (of course we’re not actually doing that till we get to Indiana next week, cause doing things in advance is against our way of life).

  6. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:22 pm guilty noodles Says:

    I don’t feel guilty because I had a shitty childhood and my in-laws hate me. No obligations there.

    As a result, our children are spoiled rotten and we spend the xmas brunch in Chinatown with my very good friend who lives three blocks away. There’s nothing like a little dim sum and shopping for chinese porn on xmas day.

  7. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:24 pm Kyddryn Says:

    It’s long, but you DID ask!

    Before my son was born, I would schlep myself to three or four different places on Christmas – a holiday I don’t even celebrate!! Bird’s first year, T and I hauled ourselves, the kid, and nine-thousand pieces of gear around to the families. T was working nights, and this was one of the rare days he could sleep in…and I had to wake him at seven just so we could get our little show on the road, because no one would come to us!

    After that, I put my foot down. I celebrate Yule, quietly, with a few friends. No phone calls, no children, no stress…just one day in the middle of the chaos that is calm, easy, and all about fellowship…and it’s non-negotiable.

    Christmas Eve belongs to T’s family – we go to his Mum’s house and hang out, eat, talk, do the gift thing, and come home. No more than four hours in the house, since she has pets that shed copiously and she smokes indoors (it’s her house, she has the right, but I have the right to remove my child before his lips turn blue because he can’t breathe because he has asthma and a cigarette allergy) and often isn’t mindful that he’s near her while she’s exhaling smoke with draconic regularity.

    On the way home, we drive through a light show that’s moderately well known around here (Lanier Nights of Lights) which has surprisingly light traffic on Christmas Eve.

    I make the cinnamon rolls to bake in the morning, everyone goes to bed, and then Santa invades.

    Christmas morning, I bake cinnamon rolls, make coffee, and we do stockings, gifts, and have a nice, quiet time – no packing the kid up fifteen minutes after he opened a new toy and telling him he can’t play with it until tomorrow because we have to go to someone’s house. Nope. Anyone is welcome to come around if they want, but we aren’t going anywhere.

    Until the afternoon, when I leave. That’s right – I leave. I don’t cook dinner or anything – I go to a friend’s house where we spend hours eating and playing games. We laugh so hard, we nearly pee, stay up late, and have a fine old time. T and Bird hang at our house playing with their new toys. No one has to go anywhere they don’t want to or stop having fun because it’s time to go visit the next person who won’t leave their home for love or money.

    I am selfish like that, though.

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  8. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:24 pm RhoRho Says:

    This is crazy – I was about to write my post today, contemplating whether to write what’s on my mind: the muther-effing holidays. But decided to blog-hop. I wanted to bitch and moan about having all of our family within 20 miles each way – I mean all of em – and how we have to pack up the kids and all the shit and drive both ways on xmas morn. Every year, possibly forever, if I don’t get us outta here. And then I was gonna ask everyone else what they do for the dreaded xmas ( i too used to adore it and now I simply close my eyes and wish it would go away). BUT, the thing is, I’m not eleven months pregnant like you, so maybe I should just suck it up. We didn’t run off every Xmas day when I was little; they came to us. Why should my kids have to leave all their new shit and go to Gma’s every single year? YOU, you should stay your pregnant ass put.

  9. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:27 pm RhoRho Says:

    BTW, S & S: you have the right idea.

  10. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:28 pm RhoRho Says:

    I meant Kyddryn, Shade & Sweetwarer lady!

  11. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:28 pm Ms. Moon Says:

    As anyone knows who reads my blog, Christmas is a very, very difficult and treacherous time for me. Not so much because of different family obligations but because of childhood stuff. It is a time of depression and bitterness for me.
    And yet, being the matriarch of the family (my mother gave that position up as soon as I learned to pop a turkey in the oven) I am expected and have always done it all. The cleaning, the cooking, the shopping, the wrapping. Everything. And I have always hated it but have tried so hard to make it a time of pleasure for everyone else.
    This year, I am not worrying. I am doing what I want and the rest can go to hell. I had even planned to be away at Christmas, but I do love my children so and want to be with them.
    It’s going to be low-key and I refuse (or so I say) to feel guilty about not doing a Martha Stewart thing.
    It’s hard though. Too many expectations and too much pressure.
    I say to you- you are carrying the DNA of the family and as such, you are required to do nothing but protect it. Which means- low stress and taking care of yourself.
    Don’t do it.

  12. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:35 pm Gail Says:

    Becky, darling, just be a bitch like me and nobody will want to see you anyway. I don’t have these issues.

  13. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:52 pm Heather P. Says:

    Well, I’m like Gail, nobody wants to see me either! 😉
    Since I haven’t spoken to my dad’s family in ten years, I don’t have to worry about cowtowing to them.
    My mom lives with us, and she lost her aunt to a drunk driver on Christmas Eve, so we just don’t get into the celebratory crap that much. We used to when I was younger-I guess we tried to put on our happy faces, but you know-we are just too damn tired at this point.

  14. On December 16th, 2008 at 1:55 pm Ginger Magnolia Says:

    Over the years, if we lived close enough to Texas, we were expected at all the different family functions. Last year (our first year here), the boys and I were expected at my step-father’s parents’ house. This was not enjoyable for the boys, as they couldn’t play their new Wii all day since we had to ride 2 1/2 hours each way in the car and then spend the day with the old folks. I decided this year that the three of us will not be going along. We are gonna stay home and play Rock Band and be our own family!

  15. On December 16th, 2008 at 2:08 pm Kristine Says:

    We generally spend 1 day with my family and a few days with Clint’s maternal extended family (we have to drive further to get there.) We occasionally add Clint’s father’s extended family – but only if we actually are available. And we have smaller more casual meet ups with a few friends. And we try to wake up at home on Christmas morning.

    So basically, we commit to 2 each year and fit the others in if we can, but make no apologies if we can’t. It’s just the way it is. Unfortunately this became easier as the older generation died. I only have 1 living grandparent, and Clinton only has 1 set of living grandparents.

  16. On December 16th, 2008 at 2:31 pm Stacey Says:

    We make plans early in the year for Christmas. Like in July we talk about it. We, meaning my family. DH’s parents are deceased and we saw his siblings last month for the first time in 4 years. So between my parents, my brother’s family & mine we work out who is going where when. We’ve decided as a group that ‘the holidays’ are what we are celebrating and they start the week before Thanksgiving and extend to Jan 6th. Any visit to anybody during that time period counts as ‘spending the holidays together’. Which gives us a lot of flexibility

  17. On December 16th, 2008 at 3:14 pm Don Mills Diva Says:

    I’m getting increasingly used to using the N word when it comes to all manner of obligations – it’s very freeing!

  18. On December 16th, 2008 at 3:16 pm heather Says:

    Hell, we ARE the N-word if you ask the husband’s family. We’ve always flexed it as needed, but it’s become a mandatory response the past two years. It’s just too much, and who wants a miserable Christmas? Sometimes, you just call it.

  19. On December 16th, 2008 at 3:26 pm heather Says:

    No one in my family is speaking to each other, so we always have to have two separate gatherings. Luckily my sister lives in another state, or we’d have to do three. Years ago, we always had to visit my daughter’s relatives as well, and that’s when we started using the “N” word. None of them get along either, as evidenced by her grandparents being divorced. Now I leave her dad’s family up to her dad, and as a result, she doesn’t see any of them. I just couldn’t do it any more. Now, we visit my family BEFORE Christmas day, then my daughter goes to her dad’s house in the evening, and MJ and I have a nice realaxing Christmas pizza for dinner. I love it.

  20. On December 16th, 2008 at 3:32 pm Emily R Says:

    I have almost completely opted out, which is easier for me because I’m Jewish. But, for T-giving and Passover, I try to be very cautious about agreeing to travel.

  21. On December 16th, 2008 at 3:53 pm The Mommy Says:

    OH, geez! This is a tricky one. BUT, like alot of others have mentioned you’re VERY pregnant and should be able to say no if you feel like. Whenever you feel like it. Our holidays were much easier when my MIL lived with us. My husband’s only normal sister who lives close would come to visit sometime during the holiday (she’s a nurse and usually works at least one holiday) and we just carted my MIL along with us to my parents’ on Christmas Eve. Everyone comes to our place on Christmas Day. I sometimes fantasize about telling them not to, but I would have too much guilt. My kids are the only small ones in the family at this point and really, Christmas is all about the kids. As long as people come to us, I guess I’m OK with it. We just keep hoping that one of my siblings gets married and has kids. SOON!!! PLEASE!!

  22. On December 16th, 2008 at 5:02 pm Miss Grace Says:

    What about, wait for it….MAYBE!

  23. On December 16th, 2008 at 6:49 pm deb Says:

    Well for me once I decide what I am or an not going to do, that’s it. I don’t stray from that plan and I do not under any circumstances feel guilty for it. It’s not even something I have to brace myself for. I just know that I did what I had to and that’s that.
    I hope you can come to terms with whatever decisions you made. Don’t feel guilty for them Becky, in this situation, it’s a wasted emotion.

  24. On December 16th, 2008 at 7:00 pm giggleblue Says:

    every year, we go on vacation, preferably out of the country. last year, we went on a cruise – this year, we are going to NYC.

    try a spot that you have absolutely no family.

  25. On December 16th, 2008 at 7:27 pm Stefanie Says:

    you know what I love? That so many of your readers are not speaking to their families. Just like ME. Jon’s family is on the east coast and we can’t go see them because…um…THREE KIDS. So that leaves this coast and no obligations. The N word is a great word in your case. Go for it.

    I love you!

  26. On December 16th, 2008 at 7:38 pm LilSass Says:

    Since Sassy Mama Says posted about this the other day, I will literally cut and paste the comment I left for her. Here are my thoughts:

    LilSass Life Lesson numero 427:

    Abandon the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary. Open your mouth, scrub your tongue, drink some bleach and don’t ever utter that word again. Grab your husband’s drill, turn it on and place it at the base of your skull. The part that listens to bullshit ‘shoulds’ in life will leak out and you’ll live through the procedure. I promise.

    I do absolutely NOTHING people think I should (shocking, I know). I have absolutely no desire to live life the way others deem “appropriate”. This doesn’t mean I waltz around and act a fool. I just don’t buy into people’s ridiculous societal expectations.

    A close cousin to the word ‘should’ is our beloved friend guilt. And since I abandoned that one in 2003, ‘should’ also went the way of the western warrior.

    (I have no idea what a western warrior is but it sounded nice, right?)


    I am absolutely positively 1000% serious when I tell you that I feel ZERO guilt in my life and do NOT listen to “shoulds”. If I feel like I HAVE to do something, I generally don’t enjoy it. And I am not in the business of being miserable or trying to please others at the risk of my own happiness. This does not make me selfish. It simply means I live a very, very authentic life. I do stuff because I want to and don’t pay attention to all the other crap. Once you succumb to “shoulds”, doesn’t it invalidate all the other actions in your life? At what point do things/events/actions become separated between things you really, really wanted to do and all the things you just kinda did for other people?

    By choosing to live authentically, my words have more meaning, my thoughts are conscientious and my actions mean a whole hell of a lot.

    The blanket of freedom under which I live is intoxicating.

  27. On December 16th, 2008 at 8:38 pm Daddy Files Says:

    I don’t know what to tell you. This is the current dilemma MJ and I are in.

    She wants to hole up at home with just her, me and Will. I, on the other hand, don’t mind driving all over creation on Christmas. I love seeing family and I don’t mind traveling all day. So because we couldn’t agree, we (sort of) compromised.

    We’re seeing her dad and her dad’s girlfriend, as well as my extended family, on Christmas Eve. Then We’re spending Christmas morning together, then we’re going to her parents house because her brother is visiting from out of town. Then I’m leaving with Will to go see my side of the family while she stays with hers.

    It’s not ideal, but it is what it is.

  28. On December 16th, 2008 at 8:43 pm a Says:

    We tried the multi-visit holidays, but my husband was so f’ing cranky (as was I) by the time we were done that we wanted to kill each other. Now, I just stay home, and while my mom is all kinds of upset, she lives 300 miles away and can only complain for as long as I’m on the phone. We end up at my in-laws’ because they’re close. I don’t know what we’ll do this year, since it will be the first one where my daughter actually participates in the festivities.

    I’m not a huge fan of holidays anyway, but I don’t want my daughter to have the same view, so I’ll have to get an attitude adjustment.

    The N word is fantastic. Keep using it and lose the word guilt from your vocabulary!

  29. On December 16th, 2008 at 9:14 pm Kristen Says:

    We now do what works for us, along with a side of guilt. Both of our parents are now divorced and hubby’s dad is now divorced twice. So lots of obligations, but my hubby is very practical and refuses to be railroaded by parental guilt. So it is good. After many tear-filled holidays, it is now all good.

  30. On December 16th, 2008 at 10:49 pm kate Says:

    i called my mom twice today and cried for an hour each time. like disgusting runny nosed girl crying. now i think my mom and dad are coming to california for christmas instead of me sending my kids to colorado early, then hauling my wreck of a self to colorado after them with a bazillion presents, then hauling myself home then having to go back out a week later for the little people.

    that was confusing. just call your mom and cry, she’ll come to you, make the turkey and pies and babysit the kids while you go to the gym to look at your gym husband. that’s how it worked for me anyway.

    i have a really nice mom.

  31. On December 16th, 2008 at 11:00 pm mandy Says:

    We visited a new church last week and one thing stuck out to me. The pastor was talking about this very thing, we overload ourselves with so many obligations that we forget to savor the moment and appreciate what it is we celebrate. So true, for us too. We HAVE to go to Matt’s parents, who are divorced, so that makes two obligations, now we have to spend the night(since we moved), have to be there CHRISTMAS morning at a certain time(to accomodate everyone), which jips any other family of time with us, like my own parents, so who gets the short end of the stick? We do. Our kids are overstimulated, cranky and awful before all is said and done and what have we done it for? My thought is to spend the time at home, with our own immediate family and schedule visits for a less stressful time. But that won’t happen. So, I say-if you are in agreement as a couple to use that fabulous “N” word, that is fantastic! Be in agreement and enjoy what that is like (some of us aren’t so lucky!) and don’t feel guilty. Bake your cookies (and send me some-with chocolate chips please) and sing your carols and relax as best you can, as a family. Visit the rest of the folks later!

  32. On December 17th, 2008 at 1:08 am excavator Says:

    The threat to the nay-sayer about “No” is what it “means”. It means you are choosing your own comfort over that of whoever it is that wants something from you. And only selfish, self-centered, reprehensible people deny others in favor of themselves. It’s a social agreement that was in the koolaid we drank before we knew we were drinking koolaid.

    No matter how ‘good’ our reasons it still comes down to the ‘either me, or you’ choice. Some people are more comfortable choosing ‘me’ than ‘you’–such as the people who insist that you should choose THEM. Why don’t *they* have qualms about insisting that they get their way? You have qualms because you’re a decent person who doesn’t want to hurt anybody.

    What did your families do when you were children? Did they tear all over creation trying to please everybody? Of course, your parents had a very different parenting experience to have children 10 years apart.

    I know what you mean when you say what you SHOULD do vs what you COULD do–you’re talking about what you & the Daver know in your hearts is the best for you and your family.

    I hope the icky feeling leaves you and that you get the enjoy the holiday like you used to, and like you deserve.

  33. On December 17th, 2008 at 2:10 am Sarah Says:

    Yeeeeah… I handled what little about it annoyed me by hauling my ass 950 miles away from mine, while remaining a safe 600 odd miles from his, and BLESS HIS SOUL he will not hesitate to tell his family to pack sand for little to no reason. This is why I love him. He will also tell MY family to pack sand for little to no reason. This is why I decided to just move away so I wouldn’t have to deal with telling them no, because he’s in a mood! And get tears and cross-eyed looks for 3 months. And no one in my family ever actually expects anyone to travel for more than 2-3 hours, so I’m rock solid there. His family, while relatively close now, has serious issues… his mother turns 6 hour drives (6 hours WITH small children, 4 without) into 3 day, 2 night epic sagas, and the first and last time they made that drive to see our new home, they (they being her co-dependent hero husband and all 13 of her twisted personalities) stayed 4 hours, had an alcohol induced psychotic episode and left without a word while I gave the kids a bath. Leaving me to explain to said kids why their grandparents had disappeared in the night. Special.

    Anyway… I do not feel guilt NOW.. now I feel deep seated relief that actually making that trip is so absurd no one asks me to do it. NO ONE should ask YOU to make a trip off the sofa, let alone out of the house. I felt guilt when I was close by, so I recommend moving!! But for the love of God, bring a decent babysitter with you when you go.

  34. On December 17th, 2008 at 5:38 am Badass Geek Says:

    My Christmas is going to be just as fucked up as it has been. To put it in simple terms, I’m seeing my in-laws every weekend this month.

    I’ll be packing a flask o’ rum, for sure.

    Oh, and I’m totally pumped to be comment number 34, which is WAY more of an honor than being comment number 1.

  35. On December 17th, 2008 at 5:49 am SCY Says:

    You know what Becks? Sometimes a well timed No is just what the doctor orders…. and if you like me are compelled to feel guilty squash that feeling with Vodka immediately – oh crap! You’re pregnant and can’t drink vodka – email me and I’ll drink your share 😉

    Seriously though, sometimes you have to just put you and your family first. There’s no harm nor foul in doing that.


  36. On December 17th, 2008 at 8:46 am kbrients Says:

    Thanksgiving we travel… Christmas Eve & Morning we are at home… cause Santa comes of course! Then the weekend after christmas we are traveling again…

  37. On December 17th, 2008 at 8:55 am Marie Says:

    We said no at Thanksgiving and holy hell did it rock! We celebrated with family the weekend after.

    I gave you an award, super-star

  38. On December 17th, 2008 at 9:25 am Ames Says:

    First of all, I apologize for having “fallen off the planet” in recent months. The bed rest blues really got to me, then NICU with the wee one for three weeks, and now…the lovely joys of breastfeeding and being up all night have taken over my life, but I’m slowly creeping back into my old routine.

    Anyway…we said the “N” word for the holidays this year as well. I will not drag two children all over creation for the holidays (especially not one who is a preemie and still on an apnea monitor part time). We are flat broke and so people are getting homemade gifts (or none at all – my brothers and sisters have agreed that we will only do gifts for the kids this year). Heck, we even skipped getting a tree this year or decorating the house (the neighbors have lights up, isn’t that good enough?) I told people that we’ll be at home and if they’d like to see us they can stop by as long as they call ahead of time and that they must not be sick (not even sniffles) to step foot in my door – I will not risk my baby getting sick when he is still battling lung issues.

    Honestly, I think you are doing the right thing and I don’t think you should feel guilty about it at all.

  39. On December 17th, 2008 at 9:32 am Nity Says:

    Totally loved these comments. We switch off – Thanksgiving with one family, Christmas with another. It makes life easier and less questionable. This year we’re doing double duty with my family to get on the same schedule with his sister (she also married on an every other year and we’re on opposite years so we never see them). It’s going to be hard for his family. Also his family is more relaxing to be around, my family is problematic.

    We can’t wait till we can dictate people coming to us.


  40. On December 17th, 2008 at 10:11 am Kate Says:

    I can see that there will be insanity on our future. We ‘re just going to have to switch off from year to year to be fair, I guess. It’s funny how no one gives a shit where you go for Christmas until you have kids.

  41. On December 17th, 2008 at 10:15 am chris Says:

    I have not guilt whatsoever. I just say no or say yes and come up with a plausible excuse for not showing up… 😉

  42. On December 17th, 2008 at 11:39 am Coco Says:

    This is why I live hundreds of miles from my family. Yay for long-distance holidays!

    Anyway. Even IF they were close by, and there have been instances despite my best efforts, I’ve always told my family (and friends) that Christmas is for me and my little family to enjoy. Christmas Day, we don’t even get out of our PJ’s. I don’t want to travel, I don’t want to do breakfast one place and dinner another, I don’t care if Great Aunt Gertie has never seen the baby and feels like we’re selfish snobs who don’t value family time and have no sense of duty.

    I’ve said “You’re more than welcome to come over any time, or we can arrange to get together another day, but we just like to be home for Christmas.” Say it lovingly, with a smile, and grit those teeth until they shut up. They always do.

  43. On December 17th, 2008 at 12:48 pm Nity Says:

    Every time I read your comment I smile real big. You crack me up. Thanks for that!!!

  44. On December 17th, 2008 at 1:19 pm Slick Says:

    My wife’s parents live in Texas and all my family lives close by so we just meet them on Christmas day.

    It’s pretty simple for us….

    With my first marriage though, we encountered situations like you guys do every year…..glad I got out of that! Alive….

  45. On December 17th, 2008 at 1:26 pm Sara Says:

    Living across the country and being poor has it’s advantages. No, we really CANNOT come to Christmas in Indiana.

    And since we’ll be an OCEAN away next year, WOO HOO!!!

    I have yet to have a perfect Christmas since being married. And my husband feels terrible about it. He just can’t fix it, no matter how hard he tries. (Our anniversary is on the 27th, and the last 3 of those we’ve been traveling, or separated.)

  46. On December 17th, 2008 at 3:12 pm TSM Says:

    I feel your pain. However, I was blessed enough to marry a man in retail.

    Therefore, no holidays away from home, because not only will he have to work the day before and the day after, but hates making long drives to and from on the same day. He says it feels like he doesn’t get a day off.

    So, I either go alone, or don’t go.

    Usually I don’t go 🙂

  47. On December 17th, 2008 at 5:59 pm Jen Says:

    This is the first year we are using the N word. Normally, we drive all over Ohio visiting our families. This year? N*! N*! N*! They have open invitations to come visit us, but we are going to two celebrations and we are sitting on our asses the rest of the time. And even then, we are booked every Saturday in December and January, and many of the Sundays.

    Joy! Merriment! Blah.

  48. On December 17th, 2008 at 7:37 pm Lola Says:

    Since my mother-in-law died, it’s just dealing with my family, which is simple this year since I refused to do Christmas year because I do Thanksgiving and every other holiday.

    This year I’ve had to say no to parties that we usually attend and the dreaded Christmas cards, because my son’s birthday as well as four other birthdays and school “productions” have made me a miserable bitch. The N-word is my favorite word in the book! I’m not even feeling the G-word at all.

  49. On December 17th, 2008 at 8:57 pm RhoRho Says:

    Look at all these comments! good ta know i’m not alone.

  50. On December 17th, 2008 at 10:47 pm Eva Says:

    I don’t have a problem saying no. We haven’t had the opportunity to say no that much, anyway. I helps we have hardly any family in the US. I host Thanksgiving but there’s not many of us, so no biggie. When we move to Sweden, and we live in my parents-in-law’s house (they’re moving), if our house stays, like it is now for my in-laws, the locus of family events, now THAT will stress me right the fuck out, since I’ll have to do all the hosting in a whole different culture with different food, etc.

    A friend was telling me how she has a no-stress holiday rule and so they don’t do cards. That struck me, because for me, cards are not hard at all. They’re even a little fun! But I absolutely don’t think people should make themselves miserable. You do what’s best for you.

    I say that now. Just wait till I am up till 3 AM cleaning and making Swedish meatballs for some Swedish holiday I don’t understand.

  51. On December 17th, 2008 at 11:22 pm KT Says:

    here’s an N word. Not. Do NOT NOT NOT feel guiltly.

  52. On December 18th, 2008 at 3:32 am Jessi Louise Says:

    I guess we’ve been sort of exempt from this, because we normally don’t live near family and we never take long road trips for the holidays. I wouldn’t even attempt that. My in-laws are Jehovah’s Witnesses and don’t celebrate Christmas, so that takes them out of the equation.
    If I have time, I do some Christmas cards, but keep it simple (like this year I only sent out 15). The most stressful part for me is making sure I have presents ready to go by the time Christmas arrives and mailing presents to family on time.

  53. On December 18th, 2008 at 5:09 am SCY Says:

    You’ve been awarded. Check it out when you got time.


  54. On December 18th, 2008 at 10:51 am melanie Says:

    When we started having kids, my DH and I created a rule….our kids would have x-mas morning every YEAR in their own home… Santa would not have to hunt us down (and we would not have to fuss with those particular logistics ourself)……… this is important because my DH’s family lives 6 hours away. Right now my kids are little 3 1/2 and 6 months old, but it was important for me to establish some ground rules for x-mas early on. We do x-mas eve with my Mom’s side of the family, and after we do our family thing here at home we go to my Mom’s house for the day….. right now my SON LOVES that, he could care less about leaving home because he loves Granny and Papa, and cousins etc….he would probably like us to go there sooner! When we get to an age where this is not the most fun ever, I suspect my Mom & Dad will start doing what her Mom started doing when we the grandkids got older, and that was make the rounds on x-mas day…… Grandma always came to our house first, and my mom would have breakfast that we ate on china, and had our OJ in crystal glasses…….. we felt so important and grown up (even though we were still in our PJ’s! We were able to show off all our new stuff to Grandma and she would stay a few hours and then on to her next child and their family.

    We always spend 4-5 days around Christmas with my hubby’s family…either before or after (this year its the week after x-mas)… its kind of nice to spread it out a bit, and this year is especially nice since we have the weekend after christmas to recharge before heading north on the following Monday.

  55. On December 18th, 2008 at 10:52 am Beth Says:

    My husband Bill and me take turns saying the “N” word which helps a little. Oh, and a good stall static we sometimes use is “we’ll see…..”. Good luck and enjoy your holidays!

  56. On December 18th, 2008 at 3:54 pm mumma boo Says:

    Oh the stories I could tell about holidays with the family. However, we’re all back on speaking terms, so if I did, it might start another war. Anyway, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are all ours. We’ll travel on Thanksgiving (yeah, like I want to do all that cooking), and they can come to us the weekend after Christmas. If they don’t like, phooey on them. Stay put, lady. Relax and enjoy your boys, your baby belly, and all the encased meats and hot wings you can handle.

  57. On December 18th, 2008 at 4:56 pm Chibi Jeebs Says:

    Chebbar has preemptively labelled the holiday season the “Christmas Clusterf*ck.” My mom is very easy going, especially when she sees the crap Dad is pulling, so Christmas at her house is Boxing Day. Dad still has the mentality he did when we were 8 years old with “you at HER house last year for Christmas day, so this year it’s MY turn!!!” *heavy eye rolling* And now I have Chebbar’s family to take into consideration.

    This year, it looks like Christmas Eve is OURS. We’ll go to Dad & Step-Troll’s for Christmas morning, then continue on to Chebbar’s grandmother’s house in the afternoon. We’ll come back into town later Christmas evening and head to Mom & Pop’s, where we’ll spend the night, to celebrate “Christmas” on Boxing Day.

    Oh, and just for shits and giggles, Chebbar made a dentist appointment (at his out-of-town dentist) for 11am on the 27th. *dies*

  58. On December 20th, 2008 at 4:48 pm A Soldier's Girl Says:

    Ahhhhh…this is the one great thing about not having kids. For some reason, our families don’t make a big deal of it when we don’t come for holidays. But, I can totally understand why you have to use the “n” word….with all of that driving around the holidays can’t be enjoyable or relaxing!

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