If you know me at all you know I do not like the holiday of Thanksgiving. I’m all good with being thankful (though I think that should be the rule every day). I just hate the hassle of this day. As a child, this holiday meant all the guys in our family would be sitting around watching football all day while the women worked their you-know-what-off preparing and cooking a meal that, after eaten in all of 20 minutes flat, the guys would then “work off” by yelling at the TV some more. And the women would be back in the kitchen hand-washing our family china that only made it out for use twice a year.
Yes, there was always the parade in the morning that my mom loved to watch winding its way through New York City, but we were in Florida, not watching the parade live, and it just didn’t hold the same thrill for me. And yes, the cousins would come over and it was always fun to see them (when we weren’t in the kitchen preparing the dinner). But I hated the cooking (still do). And I hated the actual food. I learned after a few years that the turkey tasted better with a little salad dressing to dip it in, but i never liked corn or green bean casserole, or cranberry, either. It’s just not my thing. The dessert part I loved. And I still do. I suppose, looking back, the best part of the day was the sharing the “what we are thankful for” part as we went around the table. And I suppose that is the point of the holiday. Now, if we could just find a way to get the guys to make the dinner and handle the dishes, I would be even more thankful each year.
If you get some down time this Thanksgiving, you may want to grab this book to read while you digest another slice of pumpkin pie. It has a great message for all of the moms all year-round.
The Better-than-Perfect Holiday
By Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple
Authors, Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood
Good Enough Is the New Perfect starts with seven words we unashamedly adore:
This is not a book about settling.
We love these words because they capture the spirit of the moms whose stories unfold throughout the book. These are women who are impressive by any standard. We’ve got the North American head of a global public relations firm, a forensic pediatrician who doubles as a toy inventor, an antiquities expert, a counter-terrorism specialist … and that’s just for starters. These women have successful careers and successful home lives — they’re happy with the balance they’ve created.
How do they do it? What’s the secret that allows these moms to find happiness at home and in their careers? It’s pretty simple: They’ve figured out when to pull out all the stops, and when good enough really is, well, good enough.
Hollee found herself thinking about these women last November as she was preparing her Thanksgiving feast. And it’s no surprise: Whether we’re talking about Thanksgiving, Passover, or Christmas, holidays are a time that tend to bring out our perfectionist streaks. After all, who wants to settle for a less-than-perfect holiday?
Anyway, last Thanksgiving Hollee went all out, and — trust us — Hollee’s “all out” is pretty over-the-top.
Case in point: She went for a special cooking lesson to learn how to prepare a properly brined turkey (and then called her cooking teacher four times for further clarification during her own dinner prep). She was at Kroger at 6 a.m. the day before the big meal — and then didn’t sit down for approximately 14 hours. She decked out the table with her grandmother’s china; her menu included all of the traditional dishes, but she didn’t take any shortcuts. She bought a masher (first time for everything!) and steamed and mashed her sweet potatoes. A can of cream of mushroom soup could not be found in her kitchen; she blanched and shocked those green beans for her casserole. Heck, she made a roux!
By contrast, Hollee gave almost no thought to Passover last April ; it fell right before the book launch, and she was swamped. So she let a friend host and let it go at that.
Becky handled Easter much the same way last year — she let everyone else do all the work, even though she had out-of-town guests the entire weekend.
But our point isn’t to tell you how much happier we are taking the Good Enough approach and cutting corners; nor is it to suggest that we’d all be better off taking turkey-brining classes. As far as we’re concerned, each of these holiday scenarios is perfect. Why? Each approach fit the situation, and each fit our own passions and talents.
Hollee didn’t go all out last Thanksgiving because she needed to impress her family or because she felt pressured or competitive.
She went all out because … she felt like it. She enjoyed doing it.
And that’s the biggest lesson we learned from the moms who inspired us to write our book. When you want to shoot for the summit, go for it. You just can’t do it all the time, in every area of your life.
Becky and Hollee’s new book, Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, is available at http://amzn.to/newperfect . They blog about parenting and work/life balance at http://TheNewPerfect.com.