I read a great quote from Miriam Weinstein, author of The Surprising Power of Family Meals.
She says "Supper is about nourishment of all kinds". This includes emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual nourishment.
Wow, no pressure!
I know that in our busy lives finding time to sit down and eat together can be super challenging.
When the children are little there are a million things we have to do for them so sitting for 20+ minutes seems like an age.
When our kids get older they often have after-school activities so getting everyone together is a logistical nightmare.
Then there is us! We have so many competing demands on our time and energy. Getting the food into the house, prepping and serving is enough of a battle, never mind then sitting down and just being and eating.
I was all of those parents at one point or another and then decided to turn it around. Actually it was on the urging of my boys rather than it coming from me.
My boys loved family meals and wanted to have them more regularly so my husband and I made a promise we would try and do this as often as possible.
In order to do this I had to have a huge mindset shift:
1. Family meals in the evening were going to be a priority and therefore scheduled in like any other important activity.
2. It was not acceptable to miss dinner unless there was a compelling reason (this was for the parents).
3. Dinner was not "a waste of valuable doing time" but a place to connect, to relax, to clear the mind of worries and "to-dos". It was to be a rare 20 minutes in which we all sat together and chatted and relaxed.
This happened slowly as we focused on all the things that make dinner work. eg. I would ensure everything was on the table and so I could sit and not have to jump up every 5.
Now our family meal is the anchor-point in the day and something that we all look forward to. Is it always all of us? No. Is it always idyllic? No (fighting kids anyone). But it's something that has become part of our family culture.
So often it's also a place of laughter as being relaxed (even with manic activity happening before and after) leads us to see the funny side of life and each other. It's also a place of robust debates (teenager anyone ..).
If you are not managing family meals and would love to know how to do this - even with fussy eaters in the house - please get in touch https://www.theconfidenteater.com/contact.html
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.