The Evening Family Meal Is The Most Important Time Of The Day
One of the things we do as a family most evenings is eat together, I personally feel its a bonding moment and something the kids will grow up to appreciate
When i was a kid I always remember the lack of sit down family meals, in fact I distinctly remember when I lived in Germany both myself and brother were dismissed to a hallway table to eat alone while both mum and stepdad ate in the living room. When permitted when a little older meals were always around the TV and nothing was spoken. to be fair to my mum this was at the command of a very over bearing step father/husband but still not a great time to be had. He was an ass and more (see here)
Now many many years later all grown up with my own family both myself and wife vowed never to repeat the mistakes of our parents. To this end one of the things that naturally happened was a family meal. It started as soon as Dylan was old enough to use the high chair and from then on in the evening we sit and have a meal at the table. Now we have both boys its a great time to talk and see whats going on. Mum would normally have the meal on the go when i get in around 5:30 and I set the table (although this is slowly becoming a chore for Dylan), Drinks are prepared and salt, pepper, mayo, ketchup etc are all supplied. Sometimes its a full chicken roast with stuffing, yorkies (yorkshire puddings) greens etc, other nights a simple pasta dish. what the case all from fresh ingredients. nearly zero pre-prepared meals (Tv dinners) and no processed meats. I simply do not believe that cooking a meal from fresh wholesome ingredients takes a huge amount of effort. We can cook a brilliant wholesome, good meal in 30-45 mins. it’s all in the planning.. mini rant over!
We take it in turns to go round the table and talk about our day, Liam tells tales of drawing and playing, Dylan on his adventures in his new school as a 1st year. Jodi on the daily life of being the house manager and lastly myself on the tales of office life. We converse, laugh, discuss and plan upcoming events, At the moment xmas days out are on the cards so we can decide what to do and where to go in between xmas and new year. There is a big missing item..the TV, Only thing we have is a radio on low ( if a all working as reception is crap)
There was a short time when I was working as a Customer Support Operations Manager for a energy supplier in Ireland that I was missing the meals, in fact by the time I got home my dinner was in the oven, I ate alone, kids were ready for bed and going to bed little after 20 mins from when I got in. It was crushing that I was missing this time and it really impacted on my work life balance. My role now allows me for the most part to be at home at a time that benefits this and was a primary factor in choosing the job i now have.
The evening meal to us as a family is so important, it allows us as a family no matter how busy we are to connect, see what each other is doing, what is affecting the boys, what’s going on in all our days and lives. It wont be too long before the kids start to move on, Dylan is nearly 13, (christ that came up quick), I do not want to regret not making the most of these times so in years to come my boys do not look back to a rubbish evening endured by us all but rather look back and enjoy the fact we were and hopefully still will be a close family that enjoys the evening family time.
If you want to get the family around the table below are a few simple steps to help.
- Plan meals as a family
- Everyone helps with the shopping
- Turn of mobiles, tablets and TV
- Start small – maybe two meals a week
Comments welcome, do you have this time to bond?