Sick of It

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My relatives come to me for the holidays. I have the biggest house,

can cook, and simply know how to accommodate company in ways the

boys never had to learn. I’m 55, my brothers are 63 and 65 and my

mom is 93. All they do is whine and complain about their ailments,

their moods, and each other. They squabble and make and break

alliances in a heartbeat. I think they love to squabble and complain

more than anything in the world. The happens at least twice a year,

rain or shine, happy holidays and events or even funerals. It’s been

going on for decades and I am simply:

Sick of It


Dear Sick of It:

When they whine, take them aside one at a time, and say I’ve had it.

It’s time to stop complaining. If you can’t be social and polite and have

a good time, then go take a nap or read a book or go off on your own

excursion. But we’re here for a family time and I’m too old and my

time is too valuable to put up with the nonsense you should have

outgrown decades ago. Either act like a grown up or I’ll put you at a

kiddies table.


The hard part about great speeches like this is learning to shut up

afterwards. They recipient of your wrath will either acquiesce relatively

quickly (hooray) or try and argue. If it’s shame and repentance, try to

take it seriously and say I’m counting on you to help. If you get

pushback, just say, I’ve said what I need to and walk off. At a

minimum you’ll have turned down the volume. If you get lucky the

chastening may last the weekend. Repeat as necessary every

subsequent gathering and they should get the message. And if they

don’t just say you’ve decided to take a break from hosting and plan a

getaway with congenial friends instead.