What would the holidays be without traditions? The food. The family gatherings. The scrutiny of every single one of your life choices by the very people who shaped who you are today.
A better person than I would tell you to let it roll off your shoulders or have a calm discussion with the offending party explaining why you don’t want your three month old to drink a soda or why a baby doll is a great gift for a two year old regardless of gender. But this is your family! They should know you. And if they don’t, are you really going to change their minds while they’re up to their ears in eggnog? Probably not.
Now full disclosure I don’t recommend trolling anyone that you have a fraught relationship with. Save this for the nearest and dearest, the ones you have a great relationship with but they just can’t seem to keep their advice to themselves. When in doubt, text your bestie from the bathroom and bitch to her.
Without further ado here is my easy four step guide to low key trolling your family and surviving the holidays:
Step one: breathe.
The reason is twofold. One, all that oxygen is going to settle your limbic system and quiet that fight or flight response. Two, it’s going to give you time to think of a remark. And three (I guess it’s threefold) comedic timing! If you go into your response too quickly it’s going to look like an attack (and if you aren’t breathing it’s going to come out like one too.) We are not attacking, we’re bringing light to the situation like a sweary scented candle.
Step two: laugh.
Smile. Put a twinkle in your eye. You are not laughing at them, you’re laughing at YOU. You can’t make them feel that you’re joking at their expensive but at your own. That’s how satire works. By making it look like you’re mocking the thing you believe in, or making the offending party think that you are. Remember, we want to sit down and eat cheesecake with these people later. We’re not trying to throw a stick of dynamite into a straw house.
Step three: fire away.
It helps if you have responses prepared ahead of time. (Let’s be honest, families aren’t exactly creative when it comes to their knitpicking.) Like if your family thinks your breastfeeding is indecent, exclaim that lucky for them you brought enough receiving blankets for everyone to eat under! If they think you’re irresponsible for going back to work, a quick “Yeah (male who went back to work after becoming a dad), don’t you find it so difficult to leave your baby all day?” should suffice. Oh and about that kitchen you’re excited to give your son I saw the best response on twitter:
“Is food gay?” https://t.co/aqNo4Nv8JL— "Wholesome" Baby Billy Hawkins (@CeeHawk) December 13, 2019
Now I’m not definitely saying you should respond “that’s so gay” every time a male in your family eats but I mean… could be a new party game.
Step 4: shut the convo down.
Offer to get them a drink. A cookie. Feign a heart attack. Do what you’ve gotta do to make clear that your parenting and life choices are no longer up for discussion. This whole interaction should take less than ten seconds and if you laugh with good humour your family should be left laughing too, if only confusedly.
I know they say kill ’em with kindness but let’s squash ’em with humour shall we? Much more seasonal. And easy to pull off if everyone’s in the rum. I think this is where I remind you that your family loves you and just wants the best for you bla bla bla but let’s be real here: we’re all just trying to get in and get out with our relationships intact.