Ah, the week before Thanksgiving. How do you copyedit when you really should be cleaning the house for family who is arriving imminently? How can you concentrate when your partner is on the phone with his best friend arguing about the militarization of the police force? Your dog wants to go out. And yet, those deadlines keep piling up.
There is only one answer. Draw clear lines. Here are some sample statements, requests, and/or demands to help you draw those desperately needed boundaries:
1. Not now, honey, I have work to do.
I don’t care what your partner wants you to do, you have to finish your work first. First editing, then the revolution.
2. [Family Member], do you mind dusting the dining room/basting the turkey/walking the dog? I have some work to do.
Delegating is your friend. Your family should be willing to lift a hand or two to help you get everything accomplished. Send them out to buy more booze, if nothing else.
3. I’d be happy to do that at 1:00.
Map out your week and follow the schedule as if your sanity depends it, which it does. Schedule enough time to do your work, juggle family demands, and go shopping. Promise people concrete help at certain times, be there and help, and go back to work.
4. Would you like something to eat?
The first time I ever hosted Thanksgiving, I learned that almost any problem could be solved by offering cookies or booze; sometimes both. (If neither work, you might want to consider 911.) Have some easy food and booze on hand to placate the masses.
And as an extra bonus, because I love you with all my rusty, cranky heart, here is the best guide to cooking Thanksgiving I have ever read.