How to Celebrate Thanksgiving

For the last ten years, I’ve hosted an elaborate Martha Stewart-style Thanksgiving feast. In typical Practical Mommy fashion, I had a checklist of things to accomplish to pull off the feat… (on T-day minus 3, I baked the corn bread so that on T-day minus 1, it was stale enough to make into stuffing!) But not this year. This year, the kids are with dad and by somewhat of a conscious choice, I have decided to spend most of the holiday weekend by myself. Whatever for?!! you may ask. Well, as part of my ongoing self-discovery I’ve come to realize that I have spent the majority of my life putting the needs of everyone else in front of my own. I think this is a common malady for women and mothers which is why I’ve chosen to share this revelation with you.

As I connect with more and more moms, I notice the pattern… the very thing that makes someone a good mommy (nurturing, giving, inner strength), is often times a liability for self-care. How many times have you tucked a little one (or a spouse) in bed with a fever and catered to their every need and yet did not think to do the same when you are feeling just as crappy!

This is especially true during the holiday season, when stress is high and agendas of different family members are not always aligned. Ever since I can remember, there has been little opportunity to ask myself how I would like to experience a holiday, and not feel guilty about it! When I was a little girl, it was… “What would make mommy and daddy happy? Or more aptly, “What can I do to make sure no one’s feelings are hurt?” and as an adult, “How can we celebrate so that my husband, in-laws, relatives, and kids can all enjoy this?” I’m not saying that considering other people’s feelings is inappropriate but it’s soooo much easier to dismiss or shelve your own feelings for “the greater good.”

A week ago, I got a not-so-gentle tap on the shoulder from the Universe in the form of a potentially life-threatening condition. It was my wake up call that the time for everyone else’s needs continually preempting my own is over. So I’m convinced that I was also given these blessed four days to do as I please! I get the opportunity for my pure choice! Maybe I’ll volunteer at Karen House, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Or maybe I’ll finally walk the labyrinth at The Mercy Center. I my choose to spend the whole weekend doing nothing productive (horror!) like… watching sappy movies and allowing myself to cry. I don’t know yet! The one thing I am NOT going to do, is make an elaborate, traditional thanksgiving meal. I don’t even like turkey! Instead, my grandmother’s famous spaghetti recipe is calling my name!

My message for every mom out there as the holidays descend upon us is to surely celebrate thanks-giving… BUT also spend some time thanks-receiving! Mommies, this week take an hour or three to do something JUST FOR YOU!