I’m already three dips, two pie crusts, “green stuff” aka watergate salad that my in-laws love, and two turkey breasts into my Thanksgiving to-do list. I’ve got plenty more to do, but I’m trying to take it slow and just try to enjoy myself. Sometimes, especially around the holidays, I tend to get a little bit overwhelmed and I’m guessing a lot of you guys reading this feel the same way. So I’m trying to enjoy the moments in the kitchen and remember that it’s the family traditions that I love. Making recipes that I remember having growing up. Recreating recipes that my husband had with his family. I’m thankful to have an opportunity to be with family (although I miss the ones I’m not with)and create new memories and traditions.
I’m also trying to remember what I have to be thankful for. A lot of the times, we tend to focus on what we don’t have and we forget about everything that we do have. I woke up today. I have the medication I need to function. I have a roof over my head, plenty of food on the table. I have a car to get me to where I need to go, and so much more. I have family who I love more than anything and I’m just thankful for everything I do have. I tend to focus on the wrong things and I’m trying to be better about this. Practicing gratitude is something I need to work on.
Let’s Talk Turkey. Not Politics, God, Sex, and Relationships
I share random thoughts on my Instagram account and recently my list was about Thanksgiving. I always ask you guys to share your random thoughts and A LOT of messages I received were pretty much talking about how you hate the holidays because of a certain family member, etc. I also received a lot of messages about not really enjoying Turkey and well I get that! I also had messages from women about how they dread the holidays because of conversations about having children, their relationship status, and their bodies. I realized that this is a good time to talk about things we shouldn’t discuss at the dinner table.
I am not a doctor. I’m not a therapist, but I have been through “some stuff ” and I have real life experience of dealing with family members who are not aligned with your political or religious beliefs, ha. One of the most important things I can say to each and every one of you reading this is that there are certain conversations that are just best to NOT HAVE at the dinner table. I think a lot of us realize this, but you’d be surprised how many times I hear people bring up politics, relationships, family drama over turkey. NO. NO. NO.
Rule number one, we don’t talk politics at the dinner table. Unless you’re hoping for some major family drama. Not everyone is going to have the same political opinions as you (everyone should have their own beliefs no matter how much you disagree with them) and talking abortion, gun control, and healthcare is not the way to go for a wholesome family meal. So just keep the political talks quiet. What happens if it’s brought up? Either pour yourself a glass of wine and sit back and enjoy the show OR steer the conversation to another direction.
Navigating Infertility Around The Holidays
I say this a lot, but you never know what someone is going through. For example, someone messaged me that they were going home for Thanksgiving and they were dreading the conversations about her recent miscarriage. “I had an unexpected miscarriage and I just don’t want the I am so sorry conversation over and over again.” I had other messages about women struggling to go home for the holiday because it was so triggering for them to be around all of the kids. “I’m in the thick of infertility treatments right now and my last transfer didn’t work. Seeing all of those kids with their parents kills me because I so want that, but it’s not happening and I don’t know how to deal with that.”
As someone who has had experience with infertility, the holidays can be tricky. It’s a lot dealing with infertility or loss of a child, on your own. Throw in a whole family dinner to the mix and it can be pure hell. Most people have good intentions when they tell you that they’re sorry that you experienced a loss. It’s hard and not always the best timing, but they do mean well. Maybe nominate a family member to talk to people ahead of time and say that you just don’t want to discuss it. That way Aunt so and so doesn’t announce it across the dinner table.
One question I so wish people would stop asking is the dreaded “When are you going to make me a grandma?!?” or “When is Johnny going to be a big brother?!?” We don’t need to ask these questions. We really don’t. It might seem like a simple question, but it’s not at all. With more and more couples dealing with infertility, this is not a topic that belongs at the dinner table or in any conversation honestly.
Also, because this does seem to happen year after year for some, if the topic is brought up, remember that you are in control of how you handle the conversation. Some choose to be honest about it. “Well, I’m trying to make you a grandparent, but the old fashioned way didn’t work and the IVF we paid thousands for hasn’t been working and I’m really f’ing sad about it honestly.” “Johnny would probably love a brother, but it’s just not that simple.” “Adoption isn’t a choice for everyone.”
Or maybe if you are childfree by choice, “We do not want children and that’s ok. It’s not the life that we want for our relationship.”
Again, you never know the things people are going through who aren’t sharing every single detail of their life with everyone. PLEASE keep this in mind.
Oh, You Lost Weight…….
A conversation that you don’t want to have is the dreaded weight conversation. People gain and lose weight for a lot of reasons. Do we really need to talk about it?!? Weight loss/gain can be a result of mental issues, medical issues, infertility treatments, etc. It’s not just a simple answer nor does it need to be brought up. Again, I think people have good intentions BUT we don’t need to talk about it.
A lot of people feel really self conscious about their body. Let’s not make them feel worse. Compliment them on something other than their body. If it’s a situation where you don’t know what to talk about, try some of these options. “Have you read any good books lately?” “How’s school been? Are you still in the drama club?” “What’s been the best part of school this year?” ” WOW, I saw your tennis team won the playoffs. Congrats!” “What’s your secret for the macaroni and cheese I just ate?” “Did you see the Macy’s Day Parade? Who lip-synced the best this year?”
Yeah, I’m Still Single…..
You know what someone doesn’t want to talk about on Thanksgiving? Their relationship status. If someone is single, they’re well aware of it. Maybe they want to be, but maybe not. Dating is a real shit show nowadays (from what I hear) and people who have to go to family functions as a single person, are already in their own sort of hell. They don’t need to be sat at the kids table because they don’t have a plus-one with them. (Yes, this happens apparently)
Maybe someone just went through a horrible breakup and their first outing is this family meal. The last thing they want to do is talk about it. Maybe they’re separated but haven’t discussed it with anyone. Maybe they’re divorced and really struggling with their new reality. Talking about relationships is complicated not always something that someone wants to talk about. I’ve even received messages about how their partner isn’t welcome to their family dinners because their family doesn’t accept their relationship, which is a whole other issue. Bottom line, let’s skip the “Oh you’re still single, Angela??!?!”
Let’s Eat Turkey, Lots of Cheese, and Enjoy the Day
Bottom line, we all just want to have a good day and enjoy some good food. We don’t want to navigate uncomfortable conversations while trying to eat a piece of pie. Remember, it’s your holiday as well. Enjoy yourself and if you find that you’re in pure hell, remove yourself from the situation. Someone responded that they were taking audiobooks and books to their family thanksgiving and I honestly love that idea. Give me some pie, some canned cranberry sauce and a good book and I’m going to be more than ok.
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