Fair warning: I’m annoyed. And frustrated. And tired.
Like so many other things, family dinners are (ridiculously, in my opinion) a controversial topic among many mothers. And you thought the eating judgment ended after the breast feeding vs. formula age passed…
Most of the time, my family of four does not eat dinner as a family. In fact, almost never. With work schedules (which are pretty damned important, you know, for PROVIDING that food), most nights the girls are in bed by the time my husband and I eat dinner.
They are ready to eat HOURS before he gets home from work and placating them with a snack and forcing them to stay awake much longer than they should be just to make sure we sit around a table and force family togetherness is… not happening here.
I have read the research. I’ve read that children who eat meals with their parents are less likely to have food issues, less likely to be overweight, more likely to do well in school, more likely to be open with their parents.
And there are people (many people) who say they make family dinners work because it’s important to them. Well, I want all of those things for my girls, too. I want healthy relationships with food for them. I want open communication with us. I want them to succeed in school and in life.
But, at ages 21 months and three and a half, I’m not sacrificing their sleep over it. Or my sanity. Or the ability to pay my mortgage. Family dinners will happen for us at some point, but not now. Probably not for a long while. We find other ways to connect with our girls, to communicate with them, to listen to them. We make crafts. We bake. We cook. We read and make up stories. We make forts and play games and watch movies. We snuggle at bedtime and make obstacle courses in the dining room. We go on adventures and we spend time with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends.
I guess what I’m saying is that WHAT happens is much more important to me than WHERE.