Scary Mommy's Guide to Surviving the Holidays

BOOK: Scary Mommy's Guide to Surviving the Holidays
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ooling distant relatives into believing your children actually have decent table manners. Entertaining kids who refuse to actually
anything over an endless winter break. Battling overcrowded malls to purchase the “must-have” toys, which will provide approximately thirty minutes of joy. Wrapping gifts like it's your job and your only job. The fucking elf on the fucking shelf. Attempting to get through eight nights of nonstop gifts
turning your children into spoiled brats in the process. Capturing smiling faces for yearly holiday cards. Snowsuits and unzipped coats and a million lost mittens and gloves.

Welcome to the most
stressful time of the year!

Before children, the holiday season was a mixed bag. Sure, there was some stress around cooking an oversized bird and hitting the mall on Black Friday, but it was
compared to the holiday season with children. Getting through the holidays is no longer a matter of joy and celebration; it's survival of the fittest.

It is my hope that this book provides you not only with some much-needed laughs and yummy recipes that won't take all day to prepare, but with comfort in knowing that you're not the only mom counting down the days until the new year.

Join the club!

Here's to all of us coming out of the holiday season in one piece. God help us, every one.


cary Mommy has always represented the honest side of motherhood. We believe there is no shame in admitting parenting is far from easy and the gig is not always all it's cracked up to be.

Together, we struggle with feeding babies, not getting nearly enough sleep, and showering far less frequently than we'd like. We commiserate over sending kindergarteners to school in the fall and groan when the year comes to a screeching halt in the spring. We vent about our tweens' attitude problem, the smell of our sons' rooms, and our husbands' snoring. Motherhood is easier because we share it—the good, the bad, and the scary—with one another.

But for all the struggles we share, being able to provide the basics for our children shouldn't be one of them. Back in mid-November of 2011, I read several upsetting confessions on the Scary Mommy Confessional:

I can barely afford to feed my family. It's humiliating.

I am so broke I went to get a food box. They told me I make too much money and I just cried and cried. I have no food. I don't live extravagantly. I work at the welfare office. I can't even tell my family how bad it is.

Thanksgiving dinner? Ha. I can't even buy a loaf of bread.

My husband just lost his job. I have no idea how we are going to put food on the table.

As I began the preparations for my own Thanksgiving dinner, I couldn't shake the fact that moms—moms just like me—wouldn't be able to have celebrations of their own. Thanksgiving, a holiday that should be about nothing but love and gratitude, was anything but for these moms. On a whim, I turned to my community: If these women (or others who were struggling as well) could step up and ask for help, would the community join me in helping them?

Some quick research told me that the average Thanksgiving dinner costs fifty dollars. I offered to buy the first two people who needed help a grocery store gift card and hoped to match up anyone else I could. I thought
we'd be able to help a dozen or so families. Instead, I learned just how amazing the Scary Mommy community is: in four short days, we raised $18,000, buying dinner for almost four hundred families in need. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

The Thanksgiving Project is now part of Scary Mommy Nation, an official 501(c)(3) charity, and has helped over four thousand families celebrate a holiday they otherwise couldn't have. Every year, it continues to inspire me more and more.

Thanksgiving is never going to be perfect; the turkey will be overcooked, someone will forget to add sugar to the cranberry sauce, or the pie will fall on the floor moments before serving. But, like the low moments in motherhood, those things are quickly forgotten as we remember what really matters: our children, and our great love for them. Because that's what the holiday is all about.

Thank you for supporting the Thanksgiving Project through your purchase of this book. Learn more or donate to a family in need at


  I wear my maternity pants every Thanksgiving so I can eat all the food I want without worrying about the button digging into my stomach. My kid is six years old.

  Every year, I pretend I have to hunt at multiple stores to find a turkey while my husband watches the kids, when in actuality I'm drinking coffee by myself at Starbucks.

  I am an environmentalist who gives it all up for Thanksgiving. There's no way I'm washing all of those plates. Paper plates for everyone!

  I bring store-bought pies to my family Thanksgiving and claim they're homemade. I've never been busted.

  One year I faked the flu so I could get out of cooking Thanksgiving and sent the kids to their grandparents'. It was the best night I've ever had.

  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday . . . until it actually arrives. Then? I hate it.

  While I tell people at Thanksgiving that I'm thankful for my family, I really want to say I'm thankful for the wine.

  I once went to Thanksgiving high as a kite and my parents didn't notice. But I am pretty sure that the turkey was giving me the eye.

  I invited some new friends over for Thanksgiving dinner without thinking about the fact that I don't know how to cook. Bought the whole thing from Boston Market and played it off as my own cooking.

  I once told my eighty-four-year-old grandma that my husband had to work and my kid was sick so we could go and have Thanksgiving with friends.

  When I was younger I thought that the whisk was Mom's hair curler and I couldn't understand why we would ever use it to make mashed potatoes.

  I dropped the cooked turkey on the floor—the not-very-clean floor—and served it anyway.

  I take all of my MIL's labels off of gifts and say they're from Santa.

  I'm a conservative Jew . . . and I've always longed for a Christmas tree.

  Instead of carving a turkey, I dream of carving my mother-in-law's neck.

  I finally have Thanksgiving off for the first time in five years. But instead of telling anyone, I'm spending the day in bed and showing up to family dinner at 4:00 p.m. BEST THANKSGIVING EVER!

  One of the things I'm most grateful for this Thanksgiving is that I can afford biweekly electrolysis treatments to my chin.



by Jill Smokler

otherhood, as wondrous and fulfilling as it may be, is an utterly thankless job.

When else is it considered acceptable to be hollered for when someone needs an ass wiping, and not get so much as a thank-you for a job well done?

Just last week, I had to turn around immediately after school dropoff, drive back home to find Lily's cleats, and return to school just to deliver them to her. Did I get so much as a thank- you? No, I got attitude for forgetting her socks.

Back when I brought my laundry to the wash and dry in college, I certainly mustered up a smile and a thank-you as it was presented to me all clean and folded in my plastic laundry basket (those were the days). My children, however, seem to think the clothes magically end up clean and organized in their drawers while they sleep. If only.

Dinner is met with eyerolls rather than appreciation and, God forbid, I not have their favorite cereal stocked in the pantry. But when I
have it stocked, ninety-nine percent of the time, do you think I get so much as a “thanks!”? No. I do not.

Obviously, I do these things because I love my children and taking care of them—asses and all—is what I signed up for. But every once in a while, a sincere “thank you for everything you do, Mom” would be nice.

That's why, once I became a mother, Thanksgiving took the cake as my favorite holiday. A day to really reflect on all that I'm grateful for, and even better, a day to be lavished in gratitude myself. None of the Hallmark cheesiness of Mother's Day and no messy breakfasts in bed to clean up after. Just one day a year to truly be thankful for my three biggest blessings, and to be celebrated by them, as well. Sign me up!

Except it never seems to happen like that.

“What are you thankful for?” I asked the kids a few years back, desperately fishing for compliments when they weren't flowing as I'd hoped.

“Poop,” Evan enthusiastically responded. Poop? Ooookay, strike one. Luckily I have three kids.

“Eating ice cream,” Ben followed up with. Ice cream? None for you today, punk.

“Ummmmm . . .” Lily was thoughtful.
was what I'd been waiting for. She was my new favorite, perhaps for life.

“Daddy,” she finally pronounced.


Daddy, who was napping on the couch and hadn't or wouldn't lift a finger to prepare the delicious dinner you're about to in
hale? DADDY? Daddy didn't carry you and birth you and sure as hell isn't sporting stretch marks because of you.
And ice cream? And poop?! Who the hell raised these children and did they come with a return policy?

“That's nice,” I mustered up. “What about me?”

Of course
, you,” she responded.

Well, okay. Of course me.

After Daddy, poop and ice cream.

That's motherhood for you.

BOOK: Scary Mommy's Guide to Surviving the Holidays
8.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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