When you need some advice don’t ask twice… Ask Dr. Karen!
Dear Dr. Karen:
I have had it with my selfish, lazy, unappreciative family. They have become a pain in the ass. Every year my husband and I have Christmas dinner at our home and we generally pay for all the expenses. My parents, in-laws and his brother and family attend. I decorate the house, cook all the food and bake everybody’s favorite deserts. I enjoy the planning and preparation. I love being a hostess and making sure that everyone is having a good time but not at my expense.
When dinner is over, I wash the dishes, clean the kitchen and dining area and pick up after everyone. By the end of the evening I am exhausted and angry. I feel like no one including my husband appreciates all the work I put into making the day special. I don’t want much, just a simple thank you for the hospitality. It wouldn’t hurt for some of them to volunteer to clean up either.
My problem is I don’t know how or what to say to them without it becoming a battlefield. This is supposed to be a time of celebration and fun and not a day for fighting. I’m really starting to resent the lack of support I get in making this family gathering an enjoyable day.
~ Suffering in Silence
Dear Suffering in Silence:
People will only do as much as you allow them to. Each year seems to be a repeat of the previous years. If they haven’t thanked you in all these years, what makes you think they will this time? Stop looking for them to appreciate your efforts. You are not going to get it. Speaking of appreciation, why isn’t your husband saying something to his family on your behalf? Your parents are not exempt either. Everybody should be pitching in to help.
Until you stand up to your inconsiderate family nothing is going to change. You stated that you love the planning and preparation, decorating the house, cooking and baking, and playing hostess. You have taken it upon yourself to be in charge so your guests are only allowing you to do what you love. When you get tired of being resentful, angry and exhausted, you will find the choice words to express to them how you feel. Until then, you will continue to suffer in silence.
Until next week remember: “Never give advice unless you are asked for it”
***Disclaimer “The advice offered in this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. Dr. Karen January, the newspaper and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.” Due to the large number of letters received, there is no guarantee that your question will be published.
Dr. Karen R. January is an expert in youth development as well as male-female relationships. Her new book, ¨Lessons Mama Never Taught Me,¨ profiles 10 women and the mistakes they made in parenting, love and life. It can be purchased at Amazon.com. Please send your questions to Dr. Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.