Something magical has been happening in my house. I’m not sure if it’s the food that is bringing us together, or if our family is bonding with the food.
As you all know my approach to food for my family has been changing rapidly. Our family schedule with three kids has always been a little rushed. Or maybe I just valued my alone time so much that I never put much thought into meal time. I would make and serve good food, but that’s where it would end.
Over the last few months I have really been putting emphasis on each meal and making each meal count. The table set nice, everyone sitting and eating together. No separate meals for kids and adults. Making the most out of all the time we sit at the table, we do it so often that each minute should be memorable. I know that this thinking isn’t always practical. However where my mindset has changed is that it doesn’t need to be practical to work. I wake up at 6, my kids follow shortly after that. We don’t leave for school until 8:30, I have time! I have moved dinner to 7-7:30 so that we can hopefully eat with Dad. No, these aren’t practical for everyone and I get that. The changes I have seen though make it all worth it.
I have the kids sitting for breakfast by 7. That way we have time to sit and talk, enjoy what we are eating and discuss whatever is on the kids brains. Normally breakfast takes between 30-45 minutes. We still have time for clean up and finding rogue socks before school. With dinner being served between 7 and 7:30; I make sure everything is done before we sit, showers, homework, chores and reading. That way when we do sit, there isn’t a rush. Also having dinner this late almost always ensures that extra curricular activities are done for the day.
Over the course of couple of months, I have noticed things that to me are quite remarkable. At breakfast, we talk. A lot of talking; we talk about the day ahead, we talk about problems, we talk about big world questions, we talk about food and we share many many laughs. Dinner time, we have a chance to eat with Dad. This is a big deal, we have spent many years eating without him. Or the kids would eat and hubs and I would eat later. Eating with Dad truthfully isn’t always fun, but he’s there and able to converse which is a big deal!
My kids are starting to open up. I feel the shell of quietness breaking apart. I can see questions starting to form and I can notice that they are taking time to think of things to chat about. They are bringing to the table ideas and thoughts. They are asking questions that take time for explanation. They are taking time to enjoy food and discuss what we are eating. It’s like a whole different world we’ve ventured into. It’s awesome.
Having three kids is hectic. Having a Husband with a crazy work schedule is manic. However when I sat down and thought about it, I realized that I was making a lot of excuses for the way we ate. I was using my busy schedule as a crutch for not working at something so very important. The truth is I use every minute I have in a day. I use it wisely and plan out my time. It’s amazing how much you can achieve in such a short time frame. A real food lunch, chopped and pack only takes me 20 minutes. Pancakes and setting a table, 20 minutes. A family breakfast with lively conversation 30-40 minutes. Really I’ve only used up about 2 hours in the morning. This give me 30 extra minutes, to do what I please. Finding those socks, tossing in a load of laundry, sweeping the floor, signing last-minute forms. Or just sitting enjoying a cup of coffee before hubs leaves.
I really can’t believe how much has changed in such a short period of time. I truly feel that the family that eats together is the family that bonds together. Now that we’ve come this far, I can only imagine it getting better from here.