I’ve had many friends tell me that it seems as if each member of the family eats dinner apart. One grabs takeout, the other eats at a friend’s home, one in front of the TV, etc. Dinner time can be one of the most enjoyable times of the day or one of the most hectic. As a working mother I cherish every minute I have with my husband and three girls but for some reason, dinner used to be a crazy time in my household. It seemed more like a race then a relaxing meal and a nice moment for us all to share. One night after putting my girls to bed I shrunk down into my chair, exhausted, and I thought about how quickly my girls were growing up. I then realized that I hadn’t been taking advantage of opportunities to really bond with my girls as well as my husband, and the main opportunity was dinner time!
So many of us forget about one of the activities that can really bring a family together which is having a sit down meal together. Working mothers especially have a difficult time with this because most evenings a call to the pizza joint or a trip for Chinese takeout is just what the Dr. ordered. The Dr. also seemed to prescribe that it must be eaten in front of the TV.
After having my, well what in my mind was a, revelation, I did something about it. My family and I started having dinner together. I found that taking time on Sunday afternoon to plan healthy and delicious meals for my family proved to be a very relaxing time for me. I would plan out the next four or five meals and go out and pick up the ingredients. I would buy nine chicken breasts instead of five so I could cut up the leftovers for a quick frittata the next evening. I would make a big batch of chili that we would enjoy one night and use to make chili dogs the next. I found that the more we ate dinner together at the table the more relaxing our evenings became. I even noticed that I started saving money and that we were eating much healthier than we had been before.
I understand that it is much easier for me to get my girls to have dinner with us as they are still very young (2, 4, and 6) but I urge you to strive to have a couple of family dinners a week and to turn the TV off during meals. It made a big difference in my family which is why I’m sharing the positive effects I’ve noticed that can be achieved by slowing down for a minute to share a meal with your loved ones.
It’s taking advantage of the little moments in life that will produce the biggest payoff. Something as simple as a meal can bring your family close together especially as most of us spend a majority of the day apart.