Vent here safely about Thanksgiving

Or Hanukkah or Black Friday or whatever you need to vent about. Same rules as usual: No vent too big or small. Everyone’s pain is valid and doesn’t diminish anyone else’s. No Misery Poker. If you have any extra energy to give support to another commenter, please do.

Vent anonymously if you want to by putting in fake info.

Be gentle with yourself.

22 thoughts on “Vent here safely about Thanksgiving”

  1. I’m sitting here sadly realizing that the only reason I’m going to Thanksgiving at my brother’s is because my dad is 91 and I don’t know how many more holidays we’ll have together. My family completely rejects the idea I could do Thanksgiving at my place, even though my living room kitchen provides pretty much the same space as my brother’s den kitchen, which is pretty much where everyone is the full day (but your place is so small! But we don’t sit in the five bedrooms, people!). Besides I have a better TV for football, which is what we do. My sil is a control freak, so my help in the kitchen is unwelcome. This time I’m just bringing Godiva chocolate in a surrender. But I’m the one who inherited my pro cook grandma’s cooking gene, so it’s hard to eat Stove Top stuffing without feeling wistful. Back when I was the black sheep I would host a dozen or more holiday orphans (kids from my choir who couldn’t afford to go home, had no home to go to, were too gay or too something to be welcome home) for holiday meals in my then studio apt. Great food, great love. I want those again. When my father passes (and he’s required to live to be 100, I’m not giving him up just to have a decent Thanksgiving) I’m going out and rounding up people who need good Thanksgivings and having them with them. Tonight, I’m just hoping my sil manages not to be racist tomorrow. Or if she is that for just this once I shut up and don’t even roll my eyes. It just hit me. I still feel like the black sheep. I’m just sitting in the pen with the other sheep.

  2. I am working on accepting the fact that the reason my husband and I will take separate cars for the one-hour drive to Thanksgiving at his fathers’ house is because his father is an alcoholic, (but no one actually says that), and it is unpredictable how much he’ll drink and how I will react to that. Side effect is that I don’t get to have good mostly alone time conversation with my husband, (our kid falls deep asleep on the way home usually at least), which I really enjoy AND, for some reason, this means our kid will drive with me both ways. I’m not sure why that is, but that is what it’ll be.

    On a related side note, what is the deal with eating a huge Thanksgiving meal in the middle of the afternoon (we always say 2pm but then it winds up being 3pm). I don’t think this is just my husband’s family as I remember this growing up, too. Now that I’m a parent, I really don’t get it! My kid has a great sense of when full and when not. He won’t eat much at 2 or 3pm, (especially since there are many appetizers, too), and then he is quite understandably hungry at 5 or 6pm when he usually eats dinner and that frustrates some relatives.

    The good news for us is that we don’t have any obligations this weekend for once and we got the free turkey from the supermarket. Plan is to make what we want for ourselves on Sunday to be ready at actual, usual dinner time, make just two or three sides we enjoy and that are actually healthy and delicious and enjoy leftovers for a while.

  3. So I am squarely in the middle of a ten day stretch hosting my inlaws from out of town. They are super helpful with the offspring but generally high maintence and I get wrung out trying to keep up with everything. My FIL is lovely and constantly tries to help me but in a way that makes me feel like he thinks I’m incapable so I get exhausted trying to stay one step ahead of his "help." And then yesterday I backed into his rental in the driveway – gah!

    Today I’m happily cooking for 18. That part is wonderful. But I’ve been spread so thin over the last 2 weeks that I feel like I can’t enjoy it. Plus I have two funerals to attend this weekend. Heart is full and sad at the same time.

  4. I’m just so exhausted from fractured sleep due to a teething toddler. I’m cooking for 6 today, 15 on Friday (a leftover-eating party for those who couldn’t be here today, inlaws), and pre-kids, I usually love hosting & doing much of the cooking. But it’s hard to love doing anything today with insufficient, fractured sleep… I just want to go back to bed, not get moving on a huge production of a meal…

  5. I’m just tired of doing it all. Husband refuses to do anything about his depression and I’ve reached my limit. Dishes, laundry, shopping, planning, everything. It’s like being a single parent. His parents are coming in (today) and I will try to bite my tongue.

    I love these holidays and he hates them and it breaks my heart to see our children exposed to that.

  6. It’s always hard at the holidays, being thousands of miles away from my family. Even harder now with my boys getting older, knowing how much fun it would be to spend Thanksgiving with aunties and cousins. Instead, I’m sitting in a dreary foreign land, not eating my favourite festive foods and failing to make a decent birthday cake for my youngest. Even though I can bake pretty much anything. But I’m run down, coming out the other side of the flu which my husband found very inconvenient. So, it’s a "nothing’s going my way day" instead of happy, family together day. And no pumpkin pie to wallow in. Bum.

  7. I just can’t deal with it this year. We’re not even American, we’re expats, but somehow we became part of another family’s Thanksgiving celebration each year and it’s been fine until now – I enjoy the tradition. But this year it’s different. It’s the "last one," because my mother had decided to move back to our home country and leave the rest of us here. Thinking about the holiday season right now just feels like… being confronted by everything that has happened to our family. We used to have big family Christmases with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, but now we live on the other side of the world and that rarely happens. We used to have a close-knit immediate family, but after we moved here, my parents divorced and now we (children) have to negotiate all that drama. And now it feels like my mother is checking out, too, and I just can’t deal with it. I’ve been grieving for the future I thought I had with her, of her being a grandma for my kids, being able to come and stay with us, me being able to care for her as she got older, but now she’ll be thousands of miles away. She’ll see us and know her grandchildren through a computer screen. I know this is the reality for many families, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be like for me, and it’s breaking my heart. And now I have to go to this dinner and put on a brave face and try to forget about the fact that it’s the last one or that she’s not devastating me by choosing to do this. On top of that, I’m in the middle of writing my dissertation, which is overwhelming and frightening and lonely, and I’m on the job market and it’s not going well. I would rather stay home and hide in my bed all day than have to go and make small-talk and act like everything is fine. I’ve burst into tears twice already this morning, so it’s not looking good.

  8. I hate my husband. Although from the outside he appears to be a supportive husband and attentive parent, he really is a controlling man who causes me tons of anxiety. I hate the holidays because of him.

  9. I hate that we are at my in laws for Thanksgiving. So much un-acknowledged dysfunction in my husband’s family: smothering Mother completely and inappropriately enmeshed in her adult daughters life, totally checked out father incapable of meaningful interaction with anyone, my husband running around trying to take care of everyone and be cheery and his sister, who is 27, but acts like a depressed, helpless 12 year old. No one talks about any of it– all interaction is strictly superficial and banal. His parents, and i am not exaggerating, isolate themselves completely and do not have any friends– their daughter, who lives at home, is their only emotional connection. The daughter goes out maybe 4 times a year with 1 or 2 college friends and otherwise sits at home with her parents. I feel like an outsider alien here and my hsuband is so busy tending to his emotionally stunted family, his authentic self is walled off the whole time we are here, so i feel even more out of it and lonely. AND my in laws are not American, so they are clueless about doing Thanksgiving right and they never ask or let me help even though I am a great cook and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. His mother made a huge brunch this morning and later tonight we are having a completely take out Thanksgiving dinner: precooked turkey and sides from the grocery store. To me, this doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving. And I feel like a mean asshole for saying all this, because it seems petty on a day that’s supposed to be set aside for gratitude.

  10. So my ex came to pick up our son, in the middle of my Thanksgiving brunch (brunch because he was taking our son to TX and I wanted him to at least be able to celebrate a little with me and his friends), an hour and a half early. Meaning my son had to leave in the middle of things, before he ate anything, and with tears in his eyes.
    I dissolved soon after he left.

  11. I’m doing ok today, but wanted to send some support out there. Just to let you all know there’s someone reading this. Hang in there, everyone. Holidays are hard.

  12. I would have griped about the fact that the guests we’re having for Thanksgiving day are my ungracious, difficult in-laws, and not my birth family (who, for all their flaws, are pleasant guests). But then we had a last-minute addition of a friend’s two kids. Her husband is in the ICU, and they don’t allow children in the ICU, so we’re taking the kids. This could have meant whiny, difficult children, but instead we have kids who are enthusiastic and appreciative of the food we’re cooking, who are letting us know how much they’re looking forward to tasting what we’ve cooked, and who are alternating between entertaining each other and helping with small tasks.

    I try so hard not to judge the in-laws, who are… not like that. And it’s even harder when I’m missing being with my family, because I then struggle to stop comparing the in-laws unfavorably. And I remind myself of all of the problems in my family, except that the last time I was near them, I discovered to my surprise that my siblings (who were between 8 and 15 when I left home) have grown up to be really decent people. So there’s that side of things. Really missing them, and none of us can afford cross-country plane tickets for visits.

  13. I’m in love with someone else and every minute with my husband is a lie. Agreeing to staying together until death you part makes no sense if either of you is unhappy. Here I remain, stuck in misery, to keep my family together for the children’s sake.

  14. Hugs to everyone. Losing it, that is just so sad and I’m sorry you and your kids won’t have the Mom/Grandma relationship you wanted. 🙁

  15. Ugh. We came down with lice today, in my five year old. We left relatives first thing this morning to avoid infecting others. I’m exhausted, not sure I got all the lice, and had really wanted to look forward to a rare weekday at home tomorrow with my girls. Instead I’m looking at countless more loads of wash and more hair combing. Oh, and I’m 30 weeks pregnant.

  16. My brother and SIL are visiting and it has been so awesome! My kids adore them and they are helpful guests. However, they leave tomorrow and my little one is going to be crushed. My mom flew in today and while she is great with the kids, she is already working my nerves. And she isn’t leaving until Monday. I mean she just laid down on the couch in the den for a snooze while we were all relaxing and watching tv. Gah! There is another couch in the living room. I know this is petty but there it is

  17. Since nobody has vented about Black Friday, I will take the bait. I hate non-internet shopping and I hate Black Friday! And I hate how my female in-laws always want to go and so it’s either that or be trapped watching football with the male in-laws! And now it is creeping into Thursday, and nobody else seems to think this is an abomination. WTF!

    No complaints about Hannukah though– never had the opportunity to try it myself, but I hear great things.

  18. My in-laws are exhausting and dysfunctional and keep wanting to come to my house every time we have guests and pouting if they aren’t invited. Even when we make a point of hosting a nice gathering just for them, if we then also want to have a gathering with just our friends, they are offended that they are not also invited to that. At this point, I am so ready to be DONE with them for the foreseeable future, and to decide that for all I love hosting gatherings, I would rather travel to the other side of the country so that I can spend all of the holidays with my own family… or to convince my partner to move so that it becomes a moot issue.

  19. Thanksgiving was MIL’s birthday. Not such a big deal except she refused to come to us and neither of her sons had the time off to go to her. She apparently wanted to spend Thanksgiving alone because she refused all offers from her friends to come to their Thanksgiving dinners. And FIL has been acting like a hormonal teenage girl for 4 months not talking to her or my DH. On Thursday when we talked to her, he hadn’t called and she didn’t sound optimistic that he would. Additionally, he has his pay checks deposited to an account she’s not on and then transfers money to their joint account. But he hasn’t in the month of November (see above comment about acting like a hormonal preteen girl). Luckily she has money to cover expenses for the next few months, but we’re pretty sure this won’t end well. Of course, this whole thing worries my DH and he’s pissed off at this dad for his passive-aggressive nonsense.

  20. Not sure why I clicked on this post, except for as a European I am slightly in awe of the whole Thanksgiving festival, bear in mind this is due to my only experience of Thanksgiving being hosted by a load of very enthusiastic college students with no in laws to mess anything up. But reading your comments made me cry, I am thinking of you all and wishing you a better December.You are all so brave for daring to think and write this. Anianon, I hear you. As someone who works with kids I have to say that a lot of the time the kids know you are not happy. That you love your family so much is a testament to how good a parent you are but it is ok to consider your own happiness.
    Sorry Moxie hope it’s ok to comment like this. Feel free to delete if not

  21. BlueBirdMama makes me weep for my future…which will be exactly like what she described. The only reason Thanksgiving was great this year was because we didn’t have to deal with his unhappy family at all, which meant DH isn’t going around this week in a family-induced haze of guilt and depression.

    Goddamn I don’t want my kids to have to deal with this.

  22. I had to parent around his family. We framed out the rules before we went (yes you may stay up later, but only an hour later than usual, no camping out with your grandma every night, one night only) and G-Ma decided to try to fight us. But not like I do in my family, where you actually talk and get all information out there, but all passive agressive whisperings and crap. My SIL lets her mom do anything she wants with their daughter, I put some light restrictions on things and I’m a monster. UGH. they live in town and see G-ma every single day, for hours at a time, but wouldn’t let my kids spend one minute with g-ma without cousin there too.

    We’re home now and dealing with day two of grandparent hangover. 3 year old is potty trained and STILL has a terrible diaper-area rash from all the crap food she ate over there. grrr

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