By BIANCA CARTER
I grew up in a family that ate meals together most days of the week, but for sure we ate together every Sunday for dinner. It was a family tradition that both sides of my family maintained for generations. My mom’s family ate Sunday lunch, and my dad’s Sunday dinner, which considering how many siblings my dad had, was no easy feat.
Eating with the family has always been the advice that family experts have given.
I never realised the importance of family mealtime until I had my family and in turn wanted to pass on the same tradition. Truthfully, it’s not as easy as it seems. It takes a real commitment to continue the trend and I take my hat off to those families that actually manage to pull it off on a weekly basis.
I don’t have the ability to say that I have done a good job at keeping this family tradition over the last few years. My schedule is super busy and I’m always exhausted. I don’t know about you, but I’m just not the slave-over-the-oven-for-hours type of girl. I love my crock pot and meals that I can whip together in 30 minutes or less.
The family dynamic has certainly changed these days with both parents working just as long and hard as the next. This shift might have played a role in the way we spend time with our kids. There’s no point in beating ourselves up about it though. We have enough on our plates and enough to worry about, and we don’t need to add to our internal feelings of failure any more than we already do. But there is a solution to this meal time dilemma. What about instead of making “family mealtime” a specific time, we just made it special whenever we could fit it in our schedule. In my family, I make breakfast on the weekends.
French toast, eggs, bacon, pancakes, yogurt and granola with fresh fruit are some of our family weekend breakfast favourites. Mornings seem to be easier for me on the weekends. I have more time to enjoy the process before I hit the road for whatever extracurricular activities my kids are signed up for.
Having a designated time of my choosing that works with my schedule and busy life allows me to still have that connection with my family. Mealtimes allow us to talk and find out about what happened the week before and talk about the things we’re excited about for the coming week.
Have your coffee and relax and enjoy the food and most importantly, the conversation and the company. Family meal time shouldn’t be forced or stressful. It should be enjoyable and about family.
I encourage you to find a time that works for your family at least once a week or more if you can. Start a new tradition of your own, in whatever way you can. No need to put limits on yourself, just do your thing and make it great.
Love and hugs!
• Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counsellor (CLC), founder of Bun in the Oven, and weekend radio personality on Y98 radio. For more information, email her at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow BITO on Facebook at babybunintheoven, and check out the BITO Blog every Monday and Thursday at http://babybunintheoven.com.