A Mom's Recipe For The Perfect Thanksgiving

by Kathy Radigan
Originally Published: 

Thanksgiving is upon us and everyone I know is putting the finishing touches on their menus for the big holiday dinner. Recipes for the perfect turkey, the perfect gravy, and the perfect pumpkin pie are being discussed at the market, the gym, and PTA meetings.

But, nowhere have I seen a recipe for something far more important than the turkey and all the trimmings. What mothers really need this holiday is a recipe for getting the most important element ready: The children.

After celebrating 15 years of holidays being a mother to three children, I would like to share my secret three-step recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving…

Starter: Kinder Souffle (or Getting Le Children Ready)

Prep time 1 to 2 hours


Three children (preferably your own) A place to go to for Thanksgiving Dress clothes Major amount of patience Prescription drugs (optional)

Just like your average souffle, Kinder Souffle needs to be prepared very carefully. If this part of your Thanksgiving goes wrong, the whole day can be off course.

Actual time to get ready: Varies by child, mood, and what’s on TV.

This recipe calls for ever gently starting to mention that it is time to get dressed to go to your relatives house for dinner. It’s important to start slowly and gently. If you can sing and dance, it helps to get the little dears’ attention. This is not mandatory, but it does help.

Lay out the dress clothes for the children. Argue with tween or teen explaining why a t-shirt and jeans are not appropriate attire for a holiday dinner. If you feel like this is going to ruin the whole day, you may want to give in to the jeans and t-shirt, but that is really a matter of taste.

Once you have introduced children to clothes and have done all you can to get said clothes on children you are ready for the doing of the hair and finding and putting on shoes.

Take a deep breath.

This may be a good time to avail yourself of the optional ingredient of prescription medication.

Main Course: Roast mommy with a side of wilted nerves

Prep time: Varies greatly but expect to be helping your children while everyone is enjoying their meal. Developing a taste for cold stuffing and sweet potatoes is extremely helpful.

*This course is also known as getting everyone set up so that we can sit down for a whole second to enjoy the lovely meal that has taken hours to prepare and weeks to plan.

This is the main course, the event that everyone has been waiting for all year. Go slowly. Proceed with caution.

Remember some “flavors” do better if they are seated strategically away from any family heirlooms or a relative that could be “allergic” to them.

Once all your ingredients are set up, feel free to make up your own plate of food. Please keep in mind that your enjoyment of this meal is really dependent on your ability to set up your main ingredients, otherwise known as your children.

Dessert and Coffee: (Or, The Course I Never Get To Eat With My Family)

*I must stress that if the first two steps of this recipe do not go well you may not even get to this point in the evening.

* If your children are very young or even babies, there is an extremely good chance that by the time you feed your baby and get your younger one settled everyone may be done with their dessert and coffee.

Keep in mind that even if your infant or toddler routinely takes a nap at the same time you are planning to have your Thanksgiving meal, all bets are off during the holidays.

Once you finally get to sit down and enjoy whatever remains of your meal or dessert, take a minute and breathe. Take it all in.

This is the part of my recipe that I’m going to really focus on this year.

In the past, I have gotten so stressed out trying to have the perfect Thanksgiving that I have not taken the time to really enjoy all that I have in my life. It’s so easy for me to take for granted the family I have with my husband and the family I was born into.

My sisters and I are now not only old enough to sit at the grown up table, we are the grown ups. We are no longer the children running around my grandparents’ house and having fun with our cousins.

It is now our children who are running around the house making noise and enjoying themselves. My parents, once the peacekeepers, are now more than content to be the indulgent grandparents to their seven grandchildren.

This year I will do everything I can to ensure that my recipe for a lovely Thanksgiving is followed.

Then I will sit back and enjoy my Thanksgiving knowing that the beauty in this day, and my life, is not the recipe I plan for but the one that I ultimately get.

Related post: 9 Things Moms Are Not Thankful For

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