Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Family Meal . . . and other great pieces of fiction

ME~C'mon guys, dinner's ready.

RANDOM CHILDREN WHO CALL ME MOM~What are we having? YUCK! She touched me/breathed on me/broke my toy/hit me/kicked me/won't share! WYATT NO! Why do we always have chicken/beef/venison? Why can't we have hot dogs/peanut butter/pizza? I HATE this. How many bites do I have to eat to have a snack?

I love to cook. I love to try new recipes or just mess around in the kitchen until I find something I like. We have all read the studies and know that kids who eat at the family dinner table do better at everything from preschool entrance exams to nursing home longevity. Our church culture puts extra pressure on us to not only produce a healthy meal (well, at least one with meat and 3 sides with Velveeta in them!) but also have family devotions. These little nuggets of time where we impart great spiritual truths to our offspring. What "they" fail to mention is that these wonderful benefits of the family dinner come at the cost of a big fat ulcer for Mommy. Is a 2 1/2 year old even capable of sitting for more than 5 minutes? Well, mine is not. Everyone has an answer for how to get through dinner time with 3 small kids and I am not a fan of any of their easy answers. I am trying to let go of the guilt and embrace the idea that a 20 minute family dinner complete with devotions and pot roast with three sides is just a fantasy. Life is all about survival with small kids and I need to start letting go of the Pottery Barn catalog image of motherhood. We have all these "should do" ideas about how to plan every moment of our kids' lives. If I don't force Wyatt to sit and eat dinner, then he will do drugs in his teen years. If I don't force Greta to try 5 bites of everything, then she will grow up to be a person who only eat chicken nuggets. Wow. Once I put that in writing it looks really stupid. So today I vow to give myself permission to suspend the traditional family meal time until a later date. How much later? How 'bout college?


Nancy, Cinderella, Hey You, Whatever. said...

So I'm thinkin' you leave the little ankle-bitin' curtain-climbin' cuties with their father for a few hours and meet me for dinner. As long as it a) doesn't include processed/pressed chicken b) doesn't involve screaming, sticky, little people or c) doesn't require I read the menu off the wall, I'm in. You pick the place and I'll pick up the check.

Haven't seen you in forever!

P.S. Just got back from Marco. Two tidbits I suspect you're already aware of but will enlighten you of anyway: 1) G-G makes a mean Manhattan-whew! 2.) You have multiple children, G-G's wall suggests a happy and starlingly young family of 3. Seriously, send the woman a Christmas card to frame, a snapshot, photo shop the rest of 'em in....somethin'!

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Secondad said...

Having been there and done all that, I'd like to offer you my sympathies, but I'm too busy eating my chicken nuggets.