Have a Meltdown Free Thanksgiving…for Mama and the Kids!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and that’s saying a lot because I really love holidays. Like every single one there is. With the exception of the Fourth of July, since having kids, I have absolutely adored the celebrations and family time that come with them. The only problem is, in this house? Holidays sometimes don’t like us back.

Holidays can bring up a lot of rough feelings and memories across the board. I mentioned the other day on Instagram that I tend to prepare myself for the worst. Even just having kids can throw your days for a loop-after all, children are not robots and things don’t always go as planned.


Thanksgiving has an extra layer of toughness on it though, because of my own personal history with an eating disorder. While I’ve been doing well for over five years now, my struggle is not helped by a day of overeating-it can turn into bingeing for me and that’s just one step away from relapse. An intentional step, yes, and one I haven’t made in quite a few years, but it’s still a factor for Turkey day. And, complete authenticity here? I’ve been struggling a lot with body image and self love this past few weeks. So I’m aware that I’m already vulnerable. I’ve been sort of worried about what Thursday will bring.

And I wouldn’t be shocked if there are other moms out there who are feeling a bit apprehensive as we approach a day saturated in food, craziness, and relatives. (In my family’s defense, we have a great time with them!). I know a lot of moms out there struggle with body image postpartum and I hope this can help you too! I have a few tips and tricks to get out the door and through your suppers without a meltdown-from the kids or the mommy!


Plan outfits ahead.

That includes you too mama! I find that planning outfits ahead of time really helps us get ready for the day, even when the day starts later. While our family isn’t big on a super fancy kind of holiday, we also appreciate the family pictures to not have someone in sweat pants and a stained t-shirt. My kids are mostly old enough to pick out their own outfits, but I like to do an inventory before I tell them they can wear what they picked out—especially the teenager who won’t change out of a sweatshirt and the little man who enjoys stripes on camo on polka dots.

I also really love to pick out and wear my holiday outfit for a few hours before we go to dinner. This makes me aware of how it fits after awhile and if I’ll be comfortable doing all the mom things I have to do(like nursing and crawling around on the ground). A pro tip? If you’re dealing with negative self image, find something about yourself you really love and accentuate it! For me, it’s my hair…it’s always been my hair. I love to do my hair fancy for parties.


Have your go to bag ready!

Guys, for a long time I had a go bag ready for labor and delivery. Labor is still possibly the most time I had to pack a bag!! Every other day since then I’ve needed a bag ready to go and rarely are they.

For Thanksgiving, I decided it was better to bring only one bag and put everything we need into that single bag than have a mama bag and a diaper bag. This bag includes diapers, wipes, an extra outfit for Bear, Mama’s phone charger, the nice camera, and a few extra other small things. If we were going somewhere there wasn’t a bunch of toys, it would include some of those too!


Know how you’re going to entertain the kids.

From arrival until departure, there’s a lot of resting on Thanksgiving. That’s what I love so much about it! But for the kids it’s kind of too much sitting and not enough doing. We thankfully have dinner at my parents, where there are already a bunch of toys, and we will be bringing winter things this year for playing outside in our MOUNDS of snow! Coloring pages that are themed are also great.

Go over the schedule with your kids ahead of time.

Let me tell you a little story about how important routine is to my little Monkey. We had a two hour delay Monday because of the snow. We had tears, we had screams, we had full on meltdowns. Structure is so important to most children. To avoid similar meltdowns on Thanksgiving we try so hard to explain what each step in our day will look like and how we will go through the day. Obviously schedules don’t always work out exactly as planned, but knowing what’s going on ahead of time can help immensely.


(Princess on the other hand was all smiles about the snow delay!)

Have a huge breakfast that morning…and snacks if you need them!

I know for me, in preparation for the meal I would usually think of skipping breakfast to make up for the amount I’m going to eat at dinner time. This isn’t the right idea nor is it really logical considering te breast feeding factor. You need to eat breakfast that morning.

We like to do a larger breakfast with everyone a little bit later than our usual morning meal so our kids(okay, mostly so mama) don’t get hangry. If you’re traveling, I suggest a few snacks on hand to give to the kiddos or yourself!

Remember, this is just one day.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years…whatever one you’re talking about, they are just another day. If they are terrible, you always have tomorrow. You can celebrate thankfulness with your kids and spouse daily, you can eat turkey any other night. This is one little blip on your radar. I know how much it stinks for your holiday to end with screaming and sobbing, from your or your kids, but tomorrow the sun will rise. And it will be a whole new day.

To my brothers and sisters dealing with eating disorders, to my mamas and daddies dealing with attachment issues, to those who are alone for the holiday-you are all in my prayers as tomorrow happens! I am thankful for your strength.


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