Some really useful Christmas advice

And it doesn’t have to be about Christmas either. From a Dorthy Dix reply to a common question, which means even more to me now that I am the parent and I have children who might be wondering about these same things:

As a mature adult, there are those rare, important moments when you are asked to show up, and pretend. You are asked to play an elaborate game of make-believe, for the sake of someone from another planet who nonetheless is a good person and made more than a few sacrifices on your behalf.

Now, if you were physically abused by your mother, or if she said things like, “See, son, I knew you’d never amount to shit”? That would be different. If you were gay and she rejected that and refused to accept your partner as part of your life? If she actively and aggressively fought against what you stand for? That would be one thing. Does her refusal to accept and acknowledge exactly who you are and how you choose to live hurt you to your soul? I’m not hearing that, but if that’s the case, then, sure. Do your own thing, knowing that the pain of playing along with her charade would ruin your entire vacation.

But if you can simply step back and accept that you’re two different people, with different quirks and beliefs and stubborn notions, if you can swallow her ridiculous rules and tolerate her tribe’s idiotic lectures without feeling like your psyche is being violated and injured, if you can grasp that she wants a SYMBOLIC CHILD of hers to be there for the whole routine, for every prayer and invocation and celebratory breakfast and chaotic present-unwrapping, to demonstrate that she is loved and appreciated as a mother by at least one of her kids, then you should rise to the occasion and give your mother what she wants.

You should do it because your mother isn’t battling you over your choices, day after day. She’s not telling you, day after day, that you’re doing it wrong. She wants you to get married and have kids, which makes her exactly like 99% of the mothers out there. Her wanting that doesn’t make her particularly awful. If parenting brought her immense happiness, she naturally wants the same thing for you, as repetitive and closed minded as that might be.

Your mother doesn’t fight with you all the time. Her primary battleground is Christmas. She wants this one thing from you. She wants it to an irrational extent. It makes her weepy and enraged. She wants you and your partner there, pretending that you fit right in. She wants you to pretend that you are a good Christian son. She knows that you aren’t, but for 48 to 72 hours she wants you to pretend that you are.

Now, some people will tell you, “It’s enough that you go and make an appearance.” But that isn’t the same thing. She wants you to stay under her roof, for emotional reasons. Do you know how it must feel, to be cooking and cleaning for your husband’s kids and grandkids, when only one of your kids will even hang out at all, and he’s only around for a few hours before he disappears? I’m not trying to give you shit, I’m just trying to make you see how lonely this holiday spectacular actually feels for her. You say you’re grateful that she gets her postcard Christmas. But she doesn’t really get that. It’s only a postcard Christmas if her own kids are there, trust me.

Personally, I think you should give your mother exactly what she wants. Arrive on the night of the 23rd and stay until the evening of the 25th, then flee to a hotel room. I would push to stay in the same room as your partner, but I wouldn’t make a stink about it if she refuses.

If other people really matter to you, then show them that you really mean it. Read the whole thing since there is no one I can think of for whom this isn’t excellent advice, and you might hopefully find out a few things before it’s too late.

From Five Feet of Fury.

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23 Responses to Some really useful Christmas advice

  1. cohenite

    Fuck ‘em. I got on really well with my parents and my son is a great bloke. His mother is a pain in the arse though. Is that what this is about?

  2. Alfonso

    Half the country has an IQ less than a barely functioning 100.
    They can’t help it. Be kind.

  3. john malpas

    If it needs all this explanation – you are just goiung through the motions. It should be instinctive.

  4. Tardell G

    WTF is this crap? Is it about being gay?

  5. stackja

    Both my parents were saints. I cannot complain.

  6. Alfonso

    Oh…it’s a TW empathy gay thing?

    Then get fucked.

  7. Jo Smyth

    If only …………life was that simple

  8. candy

    “Work hard and be good to your mother” is always sound advice.

    Happy Christmas to you Mr Kates, and thank you so much for most interesting posts you put up on a variety of subjects. cheers, candy.

  9. Rabz

    His mother is a pain in the arse though. Is that what this is about?

    Kathy Shaidle has a very low opinion of the general usefulness of women.

    Given she’s a woman, I’m willing to agree with her pronouncements on this subject.

    She also has an unhealthy obsession with the Clash, particularly the Simonon.

    I’ve been a fan of her blog (and most of her views) for over a decade.

    However, a warning – like the Derbyshire, she is extremely confronting to those who don’t truly believe in the absolute primacy of Western peoples.

  10. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From Tardell G at 8:16 pm:

    “WTF is this crap? Is it about being gay?”

    and from Alfonso at 8:25 pm:

    “Oh…it’s a TW empathy gay thing?

    Then get fucked.”

    I don’t know what “TW” or “CIS” means but I think you both may have got it right – I see in the linked article:

    “To top it off, I’m a CIS straight dude and my partner is a female bi queer with an ex-wife”

    that the single issue, ostentatious, self absorbed poofs (or some variant on that astonishingly unhealthy practice) now want the title deeds to Christmas as well.

    They are tedious. I wish they would go away, slink off into the undergrowth or something, take their chances in the wild, made to live without their mirrors and microphones.

  11. .

    Any parent who invites their kid home but won’t have their partner (bar utter leeches, perverts or thugs) is fucking lucky they turn up at all.

  12. hzhousewife

    Excellent ! Thank you for sharing.

  13. .

    Here’s the final caveat. I’m happy to visit her around the Time of Christ’s Mass. I’ve seen her every year since I was in college for the Holidays. I just have zero interest in the Events. The Big Meal, the Prayer, the 400 people in the house, all of them with little Jesus Spawn running around. In years past, I’ve even stayed the night. But since I’ve been in this wonderful relationship, I’ve wanted Christmas to be our thing, as a grownup adult couple. As such, we do not want to stay the night at her house (remember, the Good Lord requires us unmarried thirtysomethings to sleep in separate bedrooms for the duration). We’d have no cuddles for Christmas on her turf.

    He’s a whigning atheist and she’s a prude with concerns about washing bed linen.

    I’d probably flip out and reject my roots if my family became nuuty born agains.

  14. .

    PS

    I have a patrelineally related family that are pentecostals. They are “special” people. I imagine born agains are at least as overbearing.

  15. wreckage

    just have zero interest in the Events. The Big Meal, the Prayer, the 400 people in the house, all of them with little Jesus Spawn running around. In years past, I’ve even stayed the night. But since I’ve been in this wonderful relationship, I’ve wanted Christmas to be our thing, as a grownup adult couple. As such, we do not want to stay the night at her house (remember, the Good Lord requires us unmarried thirtysomethings to sleep in separate bedrooms for the duration).

    Whining arsehole. Man up and stop being an entitled little git. It’s your mother, for fuck’s sake.

    Bloody hell. SEPARATE BEDS? THE HORROR! First world problems, dickhead. Seriously, get over it now, because it will be a damn sight easier than trying to get over it when the poor old chook dies.

  16. wreckage

    little Jesus Spawn running around. In years past, I’ve even stayed the night. But since I’ve been in this wonderful relationship, I’ve wanted Christmas to be our thing, as a grownup adult couple.

    You’re not even close. Try growing up first.

  17. .

    Bloody hell. SEPARATE BEDS? THE HORROR! First world problems, dickhead. Seriously, get over it now, because it will be a damn sight easier than trying to get over it when the poor old chook dies.

    Good call.

    Again you are right: adults generally don’t need to point out their adultivity – and they can make their own decisions.

  18. Jazza

    I agree with the sentiments expressed,that the old Mum might not be around forever,and at Christmas surely she deserves some love from her only son,who would be building his own memories of times with her for later on—- but I cannot but feel what life has taught me so often intervenes.
    It is that we love our children,but once they leave the nest of the family home,we are a part of their lives only at their request.
    I feel the mother should make some accommodation to make the son’s partner welcomed,for the son’s sake and as a gift of love to him.Then maybe he will not feel so against sharing twenty four hours out of the whole sum of the years’ hours with HER!

  19. wreckage

    She should. But she’s not excluding the partner, only insisting that the rules of her own propriety be adhered to under her roof. If you’re dealing cross-culturally, and clearly he is, you have to be able to respect the other culture.

  20. Grey Old Dufus

    If you’re dealing cross-culturally, and clearly he is, you have to be able to respect the other culture.

    Why? Why must you “respect the other culture”?

  21. Ellen of Tasmania

    Christmas. The coal-face of multiculturalism.

  22. wreckage

    I knew someone would ask. I am not talking about some modern BS notion of respect. I am not saying you have to make obeisance or believe that anyone’s ideas are as worthy as your own. Of course, you are right about everything at all times, and everyone else is stupid.

    However, you do not cause your host (or parents for that matter) shame or loss of face in person or in their home. What I am referring to here is a very narrow definition of respect, as in “Show some damn respect!”

    Simple good manners. Do not shame your host. If you can’t agree to that bit of basic good manners and decency, one that holds across every culture, then there’s not much point me talking to you.

  23. struth

    My male brain turn off half way through the second paragraph, so I started again.
    Same thing happened.
    And again.
    Then I noticed a fly on the wall.
    Then I started again.
    And so on.
    I’m sorry teacher, the dog ate that one.

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