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A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: Five Tips for Enjoying an American Holiday

The Fourth of July

As a working mom, summer is my favorite time of year. We have three holidays at work during the summer. Indeed, the summer is started with Memorial Day and ended with Labor Day and the Fourth of July punctuates the fun! The other thing about living in an area where the winters are harsh like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (my adopted home town) or Rochester, New York (where I grew up) is that nearly every weekend is an American holiday! 

We're only a week past the Fourth of July and I am already thinking about Labor Day. Along the way, we're having a HUGE family picnic. Since working moms are short on time, I thought that I'd share a post about how to enjoy an American holiday. You can use this piece as a road map when you want to celebrate and you're short on time. Feel free to use it to plan your own personal holidays as well!

  How to Enjoy an American Holiday

1.       Know what you're celebrating. Other than "Flag Day", President's Day and "Arbor Day", it can be hard to remember what you're celebrating since the celebratory colors for multiple of the events tends to be "red, white and blue".

2.       Find a cute outfit. If you're a blogger like me, holidays equal photo opportunities. However, even if you're not, with Facebook and Twitter, the world may see your smiling face at the BBQ because your second cousin twice removed has a digital camera. You have a choice, you can shine or fail. Shining is so much cuter. I recommend you choose that one.

3.       Buy your food early. As I learned during the 4th of July weekend last week, Americans tend to be procrastinators. Most wait until the last minute to stock their refrigerators. Since waiting in line is a colossal waste of time, I recommend that you go to the store early. The good thing is, holidays are generally the same time each year so you can plan for them!

4.       Plan a menu and assign tasks. There is no sense in having two potato salads at a picnic. Invariably one will be better than the other and will be eaten. The other will be forlorn and you will send home the full container and have an awkward exchange with whoever bought it that goes something like, "Thanks! Now you have dinner for the week."  When you have one person bring a disk, people will tend to eat it, even if it's bad.

However, like my grandmother said, "You can't eat everybody's potato salad"…

5.       Decide where you're celebrating.  Some people like to go with the flow. I like to have a plan. I actually don't think it's fun to learn at 6:00PM that I'm expected to be at a dinner at 8:00PM and that they'd like for me to season the meat and I don't think that others do either. As I said above, you know the holiday is coming. So, make plans early. That way, everyone is prepare and can enjoy the fun!

Request: On behalf of working moms everywhere, don't get offended when we can't make two parties. When you're young and single party hopping is too much fun. When you have small children, party hopping is about as fun as getting a root canal without anesthesia...

Bonus Tip: Don't forget to have a signature drink. Nothing gets the fireworks popping like a signature drink for the event. (The drink can also be a distraction from any lackluster dishes you'd prefer to avoid.) It can even be non-alcoholic. It just has to be refreshing and creative! For a great lemonade recipe click here. For the record, I won't judge you if you decide to add a shot of vodka to the recipe. Indeed, adding the vodka with a slice of jalapeno would be an on trend choice. If you decide to try that, call me over for a drink. I love to taste test drinks. I'm cool like that! 

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