Family dinner is just not happening at our house these days. Blame after-school activities, homework, cranky kids, tired parents, laziness...I don't know, its probably a combination of all of those and more. I get the benefits of a family dinner---where you sit and nourish your body and soul and reconnect after a long day apart, with thoughtful conversation and curiosity and listening---in an ideal world. In the real world? There is a lot of yelling. And whining. Saying food is yucky. Asking for treats. Getting up from the table. Throwing forks at brothers. You know what doesn't help me connect with my children at the end of a long day apart? Any of those things.
So here, for your reading pleasure, is a play by play of my family dinner shame.
Monday: G takes B to social skills class; I pick up L and bring him home by 5:30. We both are hungry when we get home and eat loads of cheese & crackers & fruit and carrot sticks. L is full and that's his dinner. I make some Annie's shells and cheese for B and add in peas and some chopped up grilled chicken breast which he devours after arriving home at 6:45 wailing "I'm HANGRY" over and over until I set the bowl in front of him. I'm waiting for our Plated meal box to arrive, but by 6:30 it still hasn't been delivered and I have no plan for adult dinner. G hunts around the freezer and decides we can have samosas and frozen TJ Indian meals. We make the samosas and eat them around 7:30 and realize we have eaten 2 servings each and are full.
Tuesday: eat snacks/pizza/candy at Halloween party
Wednesday: We all get home around 6. L is starving and asks for cheese & crackers and fruits which I give him, and then he eats half and says his belly hurts. I eat the rest. During this time B is happily counting & making lists of his Halloween candy. Make a Plated meal for G and I, but have to stop halfway through when a potential new dogwalker stops by at 7. I finish our meal and we eat at 7:30. While I'm talking to the dogwalker, G takes L upstairs for his reading practice. Somewhere in there, B has eaten the leftover mac & cheese/peas/chicken and gets back to his list-making. L gets hungry again and eats strips of chicken and fruit while I'm making lunches & B is having his bath. I give him carrots but he refuses them.
You know what didn't happen during any of those eating experiences? Yelling. Whining. Yucky/gross/disgusting. (throwing things at brothers and getting up from table will never ever not happen in my house, I'm convinced). I would like to get back on track with all of us eating the same thing together...someday. But I just...can't. We will always have cheese, crackers, mac n cheese, frozen peas, fruit, carrot sticks and frozen TJs meals on hand, and we will all be adequately nourished. We will get our connection outside of the dinner table.