10 Tips You May Need To Survive It.
FIVE kids. 14 year old boy, 8 year old boy, 6 year old girl, 5 year old twins.
Husband who has a gluten allergy.
Stay at . Have fun. Have a few glasses of your choice of beverage so that you can focus on that…… in fact… that is my own reward. home mom.
My teenage son is pretty active. He is out playing basketball at his friends house, or going to the movies, or skateboarding…. I give him a lot of autonomy so he is always out and about.
My girls all have dance. One on Tuesday’s, the others on Thursdays.
My husband and I play dodgeball on Wednesdays.
My other son has hockey on Fridays.
Having a big family means juggling a lot of schedules around. It also means most of the times we seem to miss either. My mom often made us dinners and fed the little ones, and everyone else kinda ate whenever.
My husband was often home late from work, and I was always on some crazy diet.
One day, my husband suggested we have more “family” dinners.
My husband. Thought. Of. This.
He was right. We were all getting lost in the shuffle of busy lives. His family ALWAYS had the traditional family dinners.
My family- hardly ever because my dad worked the afternoon shift, and my mom worked full time late hours.
Ok…. I thought to myself. We could set a time and begin with certain days to have “family” dinners.
Every Sunday, Monday and Fridays at 530. Everyone knew this. No matter what… We would make it.
I would plan a nice meal, make a dessert, and have someone set the table.
We would meet. Eat. Clear the table. Have dessert.
We would talk, share ideas, laugh, love and be merry.
******Ummm not quite.**********
It was a fight.
All the hard work into planning, making sure it was on time, making a dessert, setting, clearing, getting everyone to the table, having a peaceful meal, getting anyone to set the table….
I would call for dinner and they would straggle in… some finished dinner before others would even get there.
She doesn’t want to sit there…
She’s touching me.
Chew with your mouth closed.
This is gross.
His feet smells.
It was an endless.. misery…. for me.
And it went on….
My teenage son hated being interrogated at the table.
My 8 year old tried to monopolize every conversation.
My 6 year old listened to every conversation and forgot to put food in her mouth.
My twins would scream “mommy… mommy”…
My dog would gain so much weight eating the mess on the floor.
I always asked the kids how their day went as soon as they got home. Then my husband would ask at the dinner table… *eyes roll* ten little eyes…. rolling….
Goodness gracious, forgive us parents, for inquiring.
My twins wanted to sit by mommy, but not by teenager… my 7 year old wanted to sit by daddy, not the 6 year old…. it was like a jigsaw puzzle.
The teenager was annoyed by everything.
The 6 year overly sensitive girl would cry when someone cut her off or looked at her wrong….
Or at least stop catering to everyone’s needs.
I felt like the waitress/referee.
Soon after a few weeks the novelty died off.
Which was somewhat refreshing.
The kids would ask for it…
“When are we eating as a ‘family?'”.
My heart melted.
After all the chaos. After all the misery…. they appreciated it after all.
“Are you making dessert?” Of course…is that the only reason why you want to sit as a family??
Making family meal time a memory and a cherished event…. without much struggle….
10 Tip to Get Through it
1. Plan the meals. On those days plan a meal that everyone enjoyed. So there would be one less struggle about eating the food.
2. Have each person take turns setting the table. A calender with their names on certain days.. like a chore. So they learn to appreciate the work going into it.
3. Have different conversation starters. Make dinner conversations interesting.
4. Have rules about eating etiquette and speaking in turn.
5. Try different seating arrangements.
6. Rule that once parents sit to eat- we are not getting up again.
7. Clear your plate, and return to your seat until everyone is finished.
8. Despite all the bickering and commotion, we tried to stay on task. We tried to make dinners enjoyable… ok.. bribery with dessert helped.
9. Have different themes. My children loved “Taco Night”.
10. Have fun. Have a few glasses of your choice of beverage so that you can focus on that…… in fact… that is my own reward.