Side of turkey, hold the resentment

Thanksgiving 2014

A girlfriend sent an email this week detailing the reasons she no longer loves the holidays. And boy, did those reasons resonate. Namely, she feels like no matter how much she does, someone will be disappointed.  Someone will think she hasn’t done enough. She’ll end up having her turkey with a side of guilt and resentment.

And — this may also resonate for many of you — she described how she worries about each gift for their families and children, making sure they are just right and wrapped and ready and her husband is responsible solely for her. The division of labor during the holidays is often completely off kilter.

It makes me crazy to watch women migrate toward the kitchen after a big family meal, while the men* head to the couch. Like these are our normal, engrained transitory patterns.

Women: Kitchen! Men: Football.

I’m calling bullshit.

Ladies, put down that wine glass, wipe the mascara off from beneath your tired, beautiful eyes, raise your right hand and repeat after me:

“I love Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, it was all about the time off, the extra time under the covers to read, sitting in my grandma’s lap, eating pie and running around afterward with a belly so full I thought I was going to perpetually fall forward. This year, I’m taking that innocent, happiness back. I’m going to spend the extra time with friends and family. I’m going to ignore my phone and the dirty dishes and instead play. I’m going to ask for help. I’m going to accept compliments. I’m going to hit the snooze button. I’m going to take long walks and pour another glass of whatever is my fancy and feel zero guilt. I’m going to realize that come January 1, there will still be chores to do and calories to burn and there will likely be someone in my life who isn’t happy no matter what I did or didn’t do. But, I won’t have this holiday season again to spend with those I love.

As such, I will not beat myself up, compare myself to others, try to put on my “skinny pants” or worry about that one damn gray hair that will not go away no matter how many times I try to pluck it. I will pull out my fanciest stretchy pants, hug my family a little more and sit my own butt on the couch when I feel like it. I will not feel compelled to watch football just because it is on. I will not allow cell phones at my dinner table. I will create a line of happy soldiers to help with the dishes and trash and foot rubs.

Amen and Amen.”


*Dear men: this is my family to a Thanksgiving T. This may not be YOU. Please do not send me angry email. I love you.


7 Replies to “Side of turkey, hold the resentment”

  1. I second everything you just said! I came to the same conclusion years ago. We have now celebrated a very relaxed and joyful Thanksgiving with just my husband and daughter and myself. Home together, enjoying whatever good food I create and our usual ham not turkey feast. The day goes slow and easy like enjoying a good glass of wine or cup of coffee. We enjoy each other’s company and skip the drama and the stress. Could not be more thankful! Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving my friend. So glad we know each other and I am thankful for our friendship!

  2. Yes. After one or two years of meltdowns by me (because I was trying to do it all), my brother and father do help now. I intend to train my husband to do the same. I intend to break out games and relax and laugh. I intend to NOT exhaust myself to the point that tears are the only option. I intend to NOT try to do EVERYTHING.

  3. You know I hear you, doll. This year I’m thrilled to say that Thanksgiving the old fashioned way is back on at my folks’and I won’t kill anyone.

  4. Well said, Kelli! Years ago we started a tradition where men are the clean-up crew. The women get to sit, talk and relax after dinner. The guys are fast and it takes no time at all.

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