The morning after Halloween, my daughter, Charlotte, 10, said “now we have Thanksgiving to look forward to.”
That positive thinking on her part causes stressful thinking on my part.
My husband, Scott, and I host Thanksgiving dinner for extended family and friends. This year, we will have nine people plus ourselves gathering for turkey and all the side dishes. Everyone is bringing at least one dish to help.
However, the cleaning and preparation is causing me to start to feel sick in my stomach long before I overeat on the meal.
I truly wish I could keep a cleaning schedule. Long before a husband and kids, it was easy to clean weekly. I had a one bedroom apartment, so every Thursday evening it would take two hours at the most to keep my home clean.
Now, I am lucky if I can find two hours to just vacuum my middle-class four-bedroom home. I do not take on any writing assignments the week of Thanksgiving, just so I can clean the downstairs of my home and the outside area.I sometimes work so hard, I lose weight and gain a pain in my back and legs.
I can enlist the help of my children the day before because they will be out of school. However I struggle with being one of those parents who takes advantage of their kids’ day off from school to make them work all day. I anticipate the complaints and plan to answer “would you rather be in school?” I know they would not.
So to create a balance of helping mom and still enjoying their day off I will give them a few chores to help out such as cleaning the bathrooms (and checking them right before company comes on T-day) and perhaps one other chore. Then tell them to stay out of my way, or their chore list will get longer. If the weather is decent, that threat has proven to work well.
I am also struggling with keeping my holiday spirit from turning sour while moving the dust rag. I am forced to remind myself of why I offer to host this event each year. I think of the memories I am building for my children, their cousins and uncles as well as my husband.
I should also remind myself that I am building memories for me. I need to remember the gathering with people we love, eating the great turkey my husband always cooks and forget the chores of the day before.