Thursday, September 19, 2013

Family Dinners: A Heartbreaking Demise

Here's a typical day for us:  

We wake up early and all three children go off to school
In the early afternoon, I pick up the girls and then we drive to pick up Henry from school
The three children eat a snack in the car
Josie changes into her soccer clothes in the backseat on our way to the pediatrician's office for Henry's allergy shots
Henry gets his allergy shots
We drop Josie off at soccer practice and I drive the other two kids home
Henry and Georgia do their homework
Georgia changes into her soccer uniform while I scramble to find a clean water bottle and her ball
Georgia (and her water bottle & ball) gets picked up by her soccer carpool
Henry gathers up his hockey bag and gets dropped off at his first hockey practice of the "day"
Josie gets picked up from her soccer practice and does her homework
Gordy gets home, changes his clothes and goes off to bring Henry to his second hockey practice
Josie and I eat a dinner
Georgia arrives home from soccer practice - it's dark out and way past dinner time
I force Georgia to eat something, even though she is too tired to be hungry
Josie goes to bed
Georgia finishes her homework and goes to bed
Henry gets home - starving - and eats dinner at 10pm
We all collapse.

The routine varies each day - sometimes Josie is being dropped off at hockey practice instead of soccer practice and sometimes it's my turn to drive Georgia's soccer carpool. On some days Henry takes the train home and only has one hockey practice.  There are tests to study for and projects to do.... but you get the picture.

Notice what's missing?  That's right - Family Dinner.  The one event that all parenting manuals say is the most important thing in the world for raising healthy, drug-free, socially-well-adjusted, happy children.

I'm sorry to say that my children are going to be unhealthy, social-misfitted, depressed adults, because we just don't have the time to sit down as a family every night, even though we desperately want to.

I apologise in advance if in 20 years, you see my adult children running around like untamed, drug-fueled wolves.  I tried my best.

We used to eat a Family Dinner every night.

Once the children were old enough to wait until Gordy got home from work in the evenings and were able to sit at the table without throwing food, I mean.

Even last year, when Henry was on two hockey teams and Georgia was on two soccer teams, we managed to eat together most nights.  The problem is that our kids are just that much older and practices start just that much later and all three have activities that are staggered enough that we are always either dropping off or picking up and there isn't one time where we are all in the same place at the same time.

Nowadays, meal times are more piecemeal and resemble healthy snacking rather than fine dining.

We make a lot of sandwiches and things that can easily be packed and eaten in the car.  I bought a crock pot and a panini maker, thinking that I would be able to at least have a hot meal for each child to consume.

But it's not really working.  No one has the time to sit and eat the hot meals that I've prepared.  If if doesn't fit into a lunch box that can be carried into the car, it's not going to work.

We do try to eat together on weekends - maybe that's enough to ward off the wolves?


Good-bye Family Dinners - I hope to see you at our house again some day.  


Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Oh I feel your pain. I have been a stickler about family dinners but it is getting harder and harder.

Martha said...

This seems to be one of many things we have in common.... the desire to have family dinner and children who refuse to eat it!

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