Do you know the one thing that will ruin your holiday faster than anything else? It’s not overcooking the turkey, heated political debates, or cranberry sauce on the carpet. The one thing that ruins holiday dinners is EXPECTATIONS. When you have visions of cinnamon scented candlelight over peaceful conversations with joyful children lingering over delicious cuisine, beautifully presented, it’s a recipe for disaster.
The reality is, Thanksgiving is not a holiday for most Moms. It’s everything we normally do: clean, cook, wash dishes, manage children, but with more people around to watch and football on the TV. So how do we lower our expectations without feeling like a negative pessimist?
Keep it real, and have fun with the worst case scenario. Before the holiday begins, get together with your family or friends and make a list of all the crazy shit that could possibly go down during a simple holiday dinner.
My moms going to subtly hint that I should lose weight.
I’ll become a frenetically crazy cleaning machine two hours before people arrive and my children and husband will hide from me.
Uncle John will show up early spouting the latest Fox News reports about “He who shall not be named”.
Aunt Jen brings appetizers but shows up late saying she got the wrong time, directions, or somehow makes it my fault.
The favorite football team loses and everyone’s in a funk.
My Dad asks my husband how much money he’s saving for retirement….again.
Grandma drinks too much and starts telling me that I’m over-parenting my kids….again.
I’ll be upset that I’m doing all the work, don’t get to relax, and I’ll take it out on my family.
My mother-in-law will tell me that I’m doing it wrong. Bonus points for every “it”.
Whatever you can think might happen, write down all your predictions and see how many things you get right. Compare notes with other families to see who had the worst holiday dinner, then take that Mom out to celebrate her win.
Holidays are like the world series of motherhood. They aren’t designed to be restful and relaxing for YOU. This is game time, expect the worst, hope for the best, and get to work. The closer you align your expectations with your reality, the more fun you will have.
If you have changed your holiday tradition to make it more fun for YOU, let me know! If it just feels like hard work, then claim the next day as “Mom gets to do whatever Mom wants day” and celebrate your holiday victory. If you take a day to yourself to play and relax, share it on my Facebook page so we can take inspiration from each other.