No matter what your emotional state post-holiday, whether it’s post-dramatic stress or afterglow, you might be reliving this Thanksgiving or those of holidays past—I am.
After spending the day cooking an animal-free Thanksgiving (which was requested by my five-year-old and included fun things he could help do), my son told me at dinner that I was the “worstest [sic.] mommy in the world.” I’ll admit that I will not be writing any parenting tomes in the near future and that I have my mean-mommy moments; but after what was a pretty great day, which included lots of cuddling and playing, this was a blow.
Yes, I know he’s five; he may not have known what he was saying, and he apologized. I tend to think that there is a part of him that truly believes this. This isn’t just my fear that A. has Stewie Griffin-esque fantasies of knocking me off; this is me knowing that I could always be a better mom. I could be more patient; I could spend more time playing; I could…I could…do more.
Like most parents, I just do my best and strive to do better. So why does this incident worry me? Because I have seen the future if this viewpoint doesn’t change.
The first Thanksgiving I cooked was for my extended family—mom, stepdad, and step-brother with his wife and son. During dinner, aforementioned brother decided to lay into my stepfather about his parenting. Granted, their situation is VERY different. I don’t remember what he said but I remember how he ambushed my step-father during this holiday of gratitude. And that’s how I felt—ambushed.
Yes, my feelings were hurt and my ego was bruised. However, this incident drives home the importance to be more patient and to work harder to diminish my mean mommy moments. Ultimately, the holidays are meant to love and appreciate our families. We shouldn’t have to recover from them like a bad bar crawl.
I’m looking forward to a busy holiday where planning — other than what I am going to eat and when I am going to walk — is the name of the game. Thanksgiving is the ultimate list holiday: travel plans with packing lists (for some, not us), menus, shopping lists, to-do lists and timelines.
Today, tomorrow’s to-do timeline will be set. The entire day will be spent cooking because that’s how I like it; prepping and cooking beforehand when there is only the three of us seems a bit over the top. I’m looking forward to our vegetarian feast (The turkeys from “Free Birds” would love us.) and having A. serve as the sous chef. (He’s a whiz at removing kale from the stems!)
While the rest of the world is scurrying to destinations, I’m happy to be home carrying out my to-do list with my family.
Thanksgiving in my house was always a strange day. G. would cook this huge dinner—an enormous turkey, two types of stuffing, enough sides to choke a horse and at least two types of pies—for three people. My mom and I never ate too much. I usually ended up sick afterward and she was thinking about bed because she had (and has) to wake up early for Black Friday.
My mom doesn’t shop; she’s one of the many people who works in retail. She always has. Growing up, I worked in the stores she managed but I was always spared on Black Friday. To this day, I avoid malls or any other store like the plague the day after Thanksgiving. I know first hand the chaos and I prefer a simpler life, one that doesn’t involve fighting crowds, stalking people for their parking space and standing in long lines.
But for all of you bargain shoppers out there, here’s another way you can prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year, compliments of University of Utah marketing professors. Arul Mishra and Himanshu Mishra have found that the types of food we eat, such as turkey, make us behave less impulsively. In other words, if you’re looking to spend less this holiday season, eat a good Thanksgiving meal.
I’m not sure that I buy this. For years, the stores that my mom has worked at have beat out the prior Black Friday. And Americans aren’t getting any thinner. The husband and wife’s research was based on surveys administered after Thanksgiving dinner. There could be a good 8 hours before you see a cash register after you inhale all the turkey and trimmings. However, now that the time between dinner and your favorite stores opening is diminished greatly (I know of some places that are opening at 10 PM on Thanksgiving) maybe the gluttony of the holiday meal will mean restraining the credit card. (And well, there is also the economy.) We will have to see.
Whether you decide to shop until you drop or do anything else (there’s a kickball game in Palm Springs that I would like to attend), enjoy Black Friday. It’s a holiday tradition that is truly unique.
Thank you Trader Joe’s clerks for reminding me that I should probably think about shopping for Thanksgiving. Better yet, I should cook a whole turkey and bring it to them—two single men who don’t have anyone cooking for them this year. They’re right (about the shopping). I need to decide exactly what I am going to make. So far, there will be three and a half (me, M, Cy and Baby A).
Last year I was a food television addict. I watched everyone to figure out what I should cook. I decided on a turkey breast rolled with a corn bread/cherry stuffing compliments of Martha Stewart and assorted steamed vegetables and sweet potato casserole (The one with the marshmallows is M.’s favorite. However, I do a recipe that has meringue from an old Cooking Light magazine.) It was a good dinner that was relatively easy. I imagine this year to be the same.
The countdown to the biggest day of gratitude of the year, Thanksgiving, begins today. And I am throwing down the gauntlet. I challenge you to be thankful for something each day until Turkey Day. Here’s why:
People who are grateful are more content and hopeful, according to Robert Emmons, PhD, professor of psychology at University of California at Davis and author of Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
Thankful people recover faster from illness.
Gracious people handle chronic stress better.
So for the next seven days blog, tweet, write or tell others why you’re thankful. (You can leave comments here all week). Consider it a warm up for the big day.