I was recently inspired by PC’s (President’s choice) campaign to get Canadian’s to eat together. I was one of the first respondents on their Instagram post when they did the launch. I couldn’t believe the amount of people who got mad. Yes mad. Not all people have the luxury of eating together. Not everyone can or has the time to sit down to eat. To me eating is a priority, a big one. I make the time, doesn’t everyone make the time if they have it? I’m not saying sitting down to a two-hour meal with courses and luxury conversation. I’m talking about families, sitting down to a meal. Or friends, getting re-acquainted. Strangers saying more than just hello.
A couple of years ago I read the most fabulous book French Kids Eat Everything by Karen LeBillion. This was my starting point for eating, for family eating. I was brought up like most typical kids, dinner is at 5:30 maybe 6. You sit, you eat, you clean and that is that. So this is how I brought up my kids; dinner is at 5:30, we sit, we eat, we clean and that is that. Until I read Karen’s book. You see, there was always someone missing at our table, my Husband. He works long and often late hours, he would come home and have to heat himself up dinner..or more often then not I would make him a different meal from what I was feeding the kids (and myself). If I really missed him, I would wait to eat and him and I would eat after the kids went to bed. Well after reading Karen’s book it really got the wheels in my head spinning! Why are we eating at 5:30 when only part of our family is home? If I move dinner to 7-7:30 then all parties will be here and accounted for.
Moving dinner to 7-7:30?! yes, we eat in our pj’s, normally after showers and homework. This makes complete sense to me! I was so worried that the kids were going to starve and so we had to eat early! well they don’t starve, plus by 7 they are super hungry and are willing to eat almost anything that I put down in front of their wee faces! Now 7ish works for my family. What time works for your family and house? is it 4pm? when the kids get off school, and before all activities start? is it 6?
This campaign really got me wondering about why we are eating alone and why aren’t we making meal times, important times? To me sitting together to eat isn’t just about dinner. Lord knows; as a mum of three, dinner sometimes just doesn’t happen! It just doesn’t, I’m tired, Hubs is travelling, the kids are being jerks and I really don’t want to sit with them. Whatever, it doesn’t always happen. However a meal to sit together is and is always most important to me. If they come home from school and I can judge right away this night is going down hill fast, then snack time is our meal. I’ll make tea, make everyone sit and we’ll enjoy each others company for thirty minutes.
Maybe I’m not realistic in my thinking. I know time is always of the essence. I know we’re over scheduled and over worked. However I really and truly believe, if we make the time to sit down and break bread…even for twenty short minutes. Changes will happen. If you live alone; invite a friend over, a family member you haven’t seen in a while or maybe that cute neighbour next door! When we sit down to eat, or just have a great cup of tea, we force ourselves to talk. To put down our devices and pay attention to someone else and something else.
When I sit down with my kids I lean all about things I would have never ever thought twice about! I make time to sit with my hubs in the morning and have a cup of coffee, a hot one…for a good 40 minutes! This maybe the only interaction we have all day, I want him to have my undivided attention…and I want his! I know this campaign may sound hokey to some, and maybe quite unattainable. However, when is the last time you sat down to truly enjoy a meal with those you love and care about…or maybe someone you see every day, but never say more than hello to.
It doesn’t have to be a big meal, or dinner. It can be breakfast, snack, coffee, a picnic or potluck! We are so bombarded each day with schedules and activities, check lists and to do lists, should dos and have to dos. When is the last time you came together, sat and broke bread to hear about how things are going in someone’s world? Try one night a week and work your way to two and up from there! Book it off in your calendar if you have to! Maybe start small, like a snack and work your way up to a potluck! However you do it, it’s time to start!