|The abuelos with their nietos.|
Having fifteen years of Mexican in-law experience, and after enduring countless overextended visits, I pretty much consider myself an expert on this subject. Below you will find my very best tips.
1. Before the visit, find a safe space. Fill it with the very good chocolate and a good book or podcast, then escape as needed. (Shhh….my safe space is my walk-in closet. My suegra "mother-in-law" rarely finds me because she doesn't do stairs and if I close the door I can't hear her yelling for me.)
Note: I am typing this post from my safe space.
2. Just accept that conversation throughout the visit will be broken down accordingly:
- what to cook tonight/tomorrow/next week
- a meal consumed five years ago
- how much everyone ate and who is fat and who is too thin (there is no middle ground!)
- what foods need more salt and jalapeño
- speculation concerning what part of the cow we just ate
And the classic interaction at the FamiliaGuzman dinner table:
Abuela puts more food on your plate.
"No mas, por favor."
….ignores and continues to pile food on your plate.
10% Juan Gabriel's death
10% Which Juan Gabriel song should be played at each person's funeral
3. Have a mantra. Repeat it frequently when you are annoyed/embarrassed/angry.
My current mantra is #onemoreweek
Abuela airs out her granny underwear in your tiny, urban yard? #onemoreweek
Trip #4 to the grocery store today to find a random Mexican spice that was forgotten on trips #1, #2 and #3? #onemoreweek
Abuela insists on dressing your tween and teenage boys? #onemoreweek
Abuelos take your kids to McDonalds while you are cooking their dinner? #onemoreweek
4. Make sure you know what telenovelas your suegra is currently watching, their start times and channels, before the visit. This will save a lot of frantic channel surfing with multiple remotes that you rarely use anyway, while an angry abuela looks on.
Note: Don't laugh at the ridiculous story lines. Especially at the same moment your suegra is crying.
5. On that note, plan to surrender your television to Telemundo and Univision for the duration of the visit.
6. Remind your husband at least once a day how much he owes you. But also give him a kiss each time your suegro "father-in-law" mocks him for doing "women's work." Which in his mind includes preparing any kind of food, taking care of the kids, washing something with water and soap.
7. Keep your cool when your suegra arrives and unpacks a suitcase full of her own pots and pans and chorizo. This time she brought her own bath towels as well. Because we don't use bath towels? #onemoreweek
8. It's ok to throw your kids under the bus. They will survive the visit. Your sanity may not.
[Asher walks into the door from school.]
Abuela: "Why are his pants so wrinkled?"
Me: "No sé. They were ironed before he left." (False: the only time I iron is when someone dies.)
Abuela: "Mijo, what you do to your pants? Keep them nice!"
Oh, but don't forget there is a heavenly reward awaiting your suffering …….
Stacks and stacks of mind-blowing enchiladas, flautas, sopas, rice, beans. Fresh guacamole. Homemade horchata. All at your dinner table. All of the time.
Buena suerte y que Dios te bendiga!