My family always gathered around the table at the end of the day as I grew up, so I figured it would be a natural occurrence for me when I became a wife and a Mom.
So, I worked to make it happen. When Cub was a baby, I tried holding off his feeding until my husband came home. It was stressful at times, but I was determined to make it happen. As he got older, it became easier and eventually our little family of three ate together every night. It was still a bit of a challenge to hold Cub off until my husband came home, but we made it work.
Then, enter Naomi.
I still tried to get the four of us at the table when my husband came home, but oh my goodness, sometimes it was tough. And, recently, it's become a ridiculous aggravation. The kids eat lunch at 11:00, so attempting to hold off dinner until 6:30 (even with an afternoon snack, or a pre-dinner snack) became a daily battle. I would try to time dinner to the second my husband walked through the door, but what he walked into was a bit of chaos. Naomi was hungry and fussy, seeing as her bedtime is around 7:30. Cub would be cranky because Naomi was cranky. And, when they didn't like what was being served for dinner, the chaos became a war and my husband, fresh home from work, was smack-dab in the center of it. Tired and hungry kids greeting a tired and hungry husband made for one really aggravated and exhausted Mama.
So, with a huge load of guilt, I decided to let it go.
Last week, I started feeding the kids their own dinner (typically a version of what we're eating) at around 5:00 or 5:30. When my husband would come home, the kids would play and he and I would eat at the table together and talk about his day.
And, oh my goodness, it's been amazing.
The kids are happy. My husband is happy. And, on the weekends, eating together will be a give-in. But I've realized that, for us, at this time in our lives, pushing the event of eating together when my husband comes home from work creates more stress than is necessary. And, since my husband and I are able to eat much more quickly when it's just the two of us, it leaves more time for all of us to end up in the pool, spending the evening together and having fun. Oddly enough, the time is more quality now that we have separate dinners.
So, you can shame me. You can tell me I am deteriorating the fabric of America. One day I aim to accomplish the lofty goal of meals together--I mean, I believe it's hugely important, hence our emphasis on it during weekends and early weekday evenings. But, right now, with two toddlers, it's just a little tough to try it when my husband gets home late.
I guess this was just another example to myself of how I hold on tightly to something without realizing it's causing more harm than good. I'm so much for the principle of eating together that I wasn't realizing that it wasn't serving its primary purpose: Quality time. Now we've figured it out. For this season.
And that's all!
Have a lovely day!