The stuff you find on the internet, boy. While I'm sure that it comes as no surprise to a lot of you, so this probably goes without saying, a lot of people are not exactly besties with their in-laws. In fact, a survey that was featured in Real Simple's article, "This Is How Often Parents-in-Law Should Visit, According to Married Couples" cited that (catch this) 47 percent of in-laws considered themselves to get along extremely well with their child's spouse while only 27 percent of couples agreed (see, there's already a breakdown in communication right there). What's even bigger than that is a whopping 70 percent of couples said that the in-law dynamic has played a major role when it comes to the stress and strain that they've experienced within their marriage (chile…CHILE).
Because this is something that I hear quite a bit whenever I'm listening to married folks share the points of frustration that they have with their own partner's family members and because I also know that the holiday season is typically the time when having up close and personal dealings with in-laws is almost unavoidable, I thought it might help to ask five husbands and five wives in my world (middle names only) to share with me some of the things about their in-laws that get under their skin, along with what their workaround is, so that their can truly be peace on earth and goodwill towards men — until the holidays are over.
Lenae. 36. Married 7 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: An Overbearing Mother-in-Law
"I know how cliché it sounds to have a controlling mother-in-law. Mine comes with a twist, though. We get along really well. Problem is, we're both big on special occasions and want things to go the way we envision them, and rarely do we have the same vision. Since Thanksgiving is a bigger deal to me and Christmas is a bigger deal to her, we try and get her to come for the first holiday."
"My husband spoke with her about four years ago about how she needs to act like a guest and not a host when she comes to visit, so I will discuss with her ahead of time about what she'd like to do and give her the floor on what we agree on. Whenever we're at her house for Christmas, she tries — emphasis on tries — to return the favor, so it generally works out for the good."
Milos. 40. Married 10 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: Traditional In-Laws When I'm Non-Traditional
"If you're single and reading this, hear me when I say that it's the little things that can destroy a marriage. I love my wife, but I really did underestimate how much traditions matter to her until after we got married. While I couldn't care less about any holiday, she's like on crack about them. All of them. So are her parents. They want to watch the Macy's Day Parade. They want to string popcorn on the tree. They want to watch holiday films for hours on end. I used to get irritated about it being on-10 in my house. Now, I just accept that it's only once a year, so long as they don't try and force me to do things that I don't want to do in my own house…what's a couple of Hallmark movies and a big ass tree gonna hurt?"
Jasmine. 29. Married 3 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: "Disrespectful" Grandparent In-Laws
"When you're the grandchild, having grandparents who spoil you is cute. When you're the parent who has to deprogram the mess that your in-laws made after being with you for a week, it's pretty frustrating. Take gifts, for instance. My husband and I don't like our kids having a ton of stuff. Meanwhile, our parents couldn't care less. His mom is super dismissive in this way, so what I've learned to do is just graciously accept what she sends but not give my kids everything at once. Sometimes, they don't receive some of her presents until after Valentine's Day — and I'm totally fine with that."
Osborne. 25. Married 1 Year.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: In-Laws Who Refuse to Leave Their Home
"I'm so glad you're going with middle names because when I tell you that no one represents what it means to wear out your welcome like my mother-in-law does? F — k. Because my wife lived at home until we got married and her mother is newly retired, she tries to see us, damn, it feels like every other month — and not for a long weekend either. This will actually be our second holiday [season] as a married couple and what I've requested of my wife is to let her mother know, ahead of time, that she is welcome to come for Christmas and stay through New Year's Eve but New Year's is our time."
"According to her, her mom is fine with it. I've kind've learned that when you set the boundaries on the front end, you don't get blindsided as much on the back. And what if she dismisses my request? Well, we'll have to talk about visits being shorter, moving forward. My wife agrees with this strategy. As long as you and your spouse are on the same page, everyone else will just have to…adjust."
Mercedes. 42. Married 8 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: Super Horny In-Laws
"Laugh if you want to, but that scene in Boomerang with the horny parents? I feel his pain. I should've known that when my mother-in-law got me a rainbow set of crotchless panties at my bridal shower that she was gonna be a problem but the only thing worse than you thinking that your parents can hear you having sex with your boo is you hearing your man's parents doing it. And no matter how many hints or sighs that I drop, they just think it's funny. It's not like two people who've been together for over 50 years still wanting each other is a bad thing, so my husband and I just invested in a firmer mattress and got them a 'Do Not Disturb' sign. Oh, and confined them to the guest bedroom only because I'll be damned if I walk into the bathroom…like I did a few years ago!"
Shino. 47. Married 12 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: Nosy Mother-in-Law
"I don't know if there is a nosier woman than my mother-in-law. She feels totally justified too. I think a part of it is because she controlled so much of her children's lives, even well past college, so she thinks that I am just another relative to run. One year, I actually left my phone out and open in the kitchen before turning in. I changed my wife's name in my contacts and we had phone sex for like an hour. The next morning, my mother-in-law was in the kitchen, telling my wife that I was cheating on her. You should've seen her face when we told her that it was us! She still butts her head in more than I would like her too but that definitely reeled her in."
Imala. 24. Married 2 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: Super Religious In-Laws
"Watch those Bible-thumping folks who think that they can pick and choose a Scripture to manipulate you. My in-laws are ministers and whenever I do something that they don't like, they come with that 'Honor your father and mother' stuff. Umm, I have parents. Anyway, what I've learned to do is remind them of the Scripture that talks about wearing out your welcome. It's Proverbs 25:17, if you're curious. I also talk to them about how the Bible also says that love is not rude [I Corinthians 13:5], so to try and be super preachy or to make people uncomfortable in their own home, that doesn't sound very 'Christ-like' to me. My father-in-law? I think he respects that I know how to apply the Word. My mother-in-law can't stand it, but she complies because the Bible also says to submit to your husband, and he agrees with the importance of choosing their battles when they are in our home. Checkmate."
Christian. 28. Married 4 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: Passive Aggressive Father-in-Law
"I don't think my father-in-law has ever known how to be direct. Everything comes in the form of a hint. 'I mean if you're going to get a ham instead of a turkey when that isn't traditional, go right ahead.' I'm more aggressive in my communication — you know, straight to the point. I don't feed into the nonsense. I used to try and pull stuff outta him, but I've learned that only enables the same behavior. These days, if he doesn't come direct, I act like he didn't say anything at all. I don't know how it affects him, he's passive-aggressive, remember? It definitely takes my stress levels down, though."
Krista. 32. Married 5 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: In-Laws Who Wear Out Their Welcome
"I wish I could say something different, but my hubby's family is loud and combative — not either or…both. And they like to come to our house because it's out of town for them and a lot of them don't like to travel much. How I survive it is they get a firm in and out date, a lot like a hotel. During the time when they are with us, they get treated like royalty but that is only for three days firm. If they want to stay longer than that, we will pay for an Airbnb for two days and beyond that, it's totally on them. No one can act like a victim when the boundaries are stated upfront."
Elenio. 33. Married 3 Years.
In-Law Pet Peeve/Trigger: Turn-Up Father-in-Law
"My father-in-law is buck wild. I mean, BUCK WILD. You can't contain him, so why even try? The first and last night of his stay, he's usually with us. The rest of the time, he's in a hotel (he pays) and we cover the cost of a rental car. We also give him a list of things to do, clubs and bars included. The reason it's best is because we've got kids and he sometimes comes in drunk — a fun drunk but still drunk — or with company and we don't need all of that…traffic. You would think he would take it personally, but he actually loves the freedom to be able to spend time with us and hang out in another city on his own terms. The in-law thing is about meeting in the middle. Do that and you're all good.'"
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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