Staking My Claim On Dinner
"I like to go to my house to eat dinner"
Working from home can sometimes be deceptively luxurious. You might think you'll have time to start dinner or run a load of laundry, or vacuum a room - and occasionally that might be true - but most often you don't. Dinner prep is usually just as rushed for me as it is for any other working parent. And then you hear through various channels that family dinners are so important! You must have dinner together! Your family will fall apart if they don't eat dinner together!!! (Well, maybe that just feels like what "they" are saying.)
I know. I know! Or at least I thought I knew.
Despite a decent attempt, dinner was a battle to be won, not an event to be enjoyed. We cooked according to the Meal Plan, we passed out plates on the kitchen island, we figured out what Bunny might be willing to eat, we prayed, we shoveled the dinner in our mouths while Beads begged for cereal and Bunny threw her food to the dog. Shoot me now.
Recently, however, we've decided to take back our family on a number of levels. Yes, work will always be crazy. Yes, my husband will often be on the road. But life will only get crazier from here with Beads starting kindergarten and soccer, and Bunny not really all that far behind.
We started with a dinner makeover. First, we moved from the kitchen island to the rarely-used dining room table. I pulled the high chair out of the garage (its home since Beads outgrew it over 3 years ago) and set it up next to the table. Beads was assigned the responsibility of choosing the place mats and laying them out each night and also setting the table with the plates and utensils I set out for her. We put the food in actual serving dishes rather than dishing up straight from the stove. We have napkins. Beads even filled up water glasses for each of us of her own accord.
She and Bunny are learning how to sit properly at the table. They've learned to wait while their dad serves each family member their food. We talk about our favorite thing that happened that day. We laugh. We sit closer together. We have inside jokes.
Sometimes Beads asks for cereal. Bunny still throws some food to the dog. But we knew it was worth it when Beads came home from preschool about a week after we started the new routine and I found the above worksheet in her back pack. They were supposed to draw pictures of their favorite day time activity and their favorite night time activity. Hers?
Day: I try to look for rainbows when it's raining
Night: I like to go to my house to eat dinner.
I think I get it now.