Anonymous Mom: My Racist In-Laws Get A Gag Order From Me Every Thanksgiving

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Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

My husband is from a small town in the South. I’ve always known that his family was a little less liberal than mine. Alright, they can be downright bigots. But before I had kids, I just did my best to ignore their ignorance and not bring up politics. Like, not at all. I would hear them use racist slurs or tell homophobic jokes and I would leave the room. I wouldn’t yell at them or tell them what assholes they were. But I made it clear that I wasn’t happy with that kind of language.

My whole approach changed when I had kids. Suddenly, I realized that my daughter was going to be around these people for hours or even days at a time. I could not bear to think about her learning that type of hatred from her own family members. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if I heard my precious little girl utter some of the vile things that can come out of their mouths. I knew that I couldn’t change their minds, but I certainly wasn’t going to let them poison the minds of my children.

We always spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. Since we spend Christmas with mine, it was the fair way to distribute the big days. My parents would never even dream of uttering a bigoted phrase or an off-color joke. And not just because of good manners. They wouldn’t dream of it because they realize how incredibly wrong it is to judge people based on their race, sexual orientation, or religion.

Thanksgiving, because it was normally the longest amount of time we spent with my husband’s family, began to have a new tradition. Beginning that very first year, when my daughter wasn’t even old enough to understand what anyone was saying, I started my tradition of giving “the talk” to my husband’s family. “The talk” involves all the things that they are not allowed to say in front of my children. 

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