They say that family dinners around the table are very important. I completely agree. Mostly because it’s character building. It’s very important to learn how to feed people that do not want to be fed, while attempting to have meaningful conversation. It’s kind of like highschool math…it’s unclear HOW this is going to help you in your future, but it will.
I guess It teaches patience. At least I’m assuming that’s what it does, it hasn’t worked on me yet, but we are all awaiting this gift with eager expectation.
Here are the 6 laws of dinnertime with children:
1. Someone will always fall out of their chair. It’s science. There is a 98% chance that this will happen to one particular child (who shall remain nameless) multiple times every single night for the rest of your life.
2. Someone will be moved to tears (not the happy kind) over your meal of choice. The more work you put in, the more they will hate it. You will insist they eat it anyway, and let them know how it makes you feel when they act like your dinner is the worst thing that’s ever happened to them.
This will result in weeping and gagging while they choke out, “Thanks for dinner mom”. This will make you feel so much better.
3. It will lead to very interesting conversation. For example your oldest son might tell you how funny it is to tell his teachers he’s going to the bar to have a beer after school.
4. You will forget who likes what. Wait I thought you were the kid that liked avocado?? Doesn’t matter what you chose, you will be wrong.
5. Someone will ask for more of something before you’ve even dished yourself up. You will be the only one that doesn’t eat dinner while it’s hot, and you are also the only one who even likes dinner. What are the odds??
6. The after dinner wreckage will be as though a hurricane of food blew through your home. You won’t even be sure HOW the crumbs made it all the way to the couch…but they did.
Dinnertime is the ultimate character building experience. I think that if someone is looking for enlightenment they should look no further than my dining room. Come one, come all, find out what your made of. Think you’re a basically “good” person? Let’s see what making a lasagna and watching people cry over it before “accidentally” smashing it into the carpet does for you.
I think Jesus wants to call you to the next level of holiness.
If you are raising kids who you want to have fond dinnertime memories (but mostly it’s the worst), then you are my people and here are my survival tips:
I make what I want for dinner anyway. There is going to be weeping no matter what. Breakfast and lunch are usually kid-friendly, but dinner is the sliver of humanity I cling to. They can take my dignity, but they cannot take my fish tacos. We will eat adult people food for dinner and I will not make multiple meals. Aintnoonegottimeforthat. Whether it’s stir-fry, curry, or soup, I don’t keep the veggies separate, I mix it all together, and I don’t do substitutes.
We don’t force feed, but we also don’t do snacks after dinner and the kids know that.
If you are looking to remove the drama from dinnertime, this is not a quick fix, however I will say that it has gotten better with time. Two of my kids are currently obsessed with siracha (??) which is both confusing and wonderful.
We are traveling in Thailand right now and doing this at home has made them so much more adaptable. We ate from street vendors last night and every single one of my kids tried all the things and enjoyed them. Except the littlest who kept crying because she just wanted french fries (she is three, thank you for understanding).
I have zero hope that she will ever like vegetables, but I warrior on.
We will take all our miracles as they come.