The family table
Last week we talked about the Fair Play approach to dividing the family workload.
Now that that’s settled (wink), let’s shift gears to the family table.
Are we talking about furniture?… No.
We’ve all heard about the value of family sitting down to eat dinner together on a nightly basis, but how important is it really?
Here’s what the research has to say
According to the article How to Have Better Family Meals by Tara Parker-Pope…
“Decades of research have shown that children who regularly eat dinner with their families at home do better on a number of health measures. When kids eat with their parents, they are more likely to have:
- More fruits and vegetables and drink less soda.
- Lower rates of obesity as both children and adults.
- Higher self-esteem and a more positive outlook.
- Lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, school behavioral problems and depression.
- Better body image and fewer eating disorders.
- Better grades, higher reading scores and better vocabulary.”
Be honest, how often does your family sit down at the same table, at the same time to eat the same meal?
It’s a loaded question
If you have littles, you might feed them ‘kid food’ then make ‘adult food’ after they go to bed.
As they get older, dinner time becomes a dance of who is willing to dabble in adventurous eating, i.e., putting sauce on those plain noodles. This phase is typically accompanied by tears.
I’ve arrived at the teen phase. Just this week my son was at a friend’s house and texted me that he wouldn’t be home for dinner. Sure, I could have told him no, but frankly, I’m grateful he’s socializing in person and didn’t see the need to fight him on it.
So, where does that leave us?
The family table – aka, the kitchen table, the dining table, the dinner table – is really more of a metaphor nowadays. Is it not?
Once upon a time, sitting around the dinner table was an opportunity to check in, rehash the day, tell stories, and laugh together. You’ve all seen Leave it to Beaver, right? (RIP, Wally!)
In the modern era, “dinner time,” particularly on a weeknight during the school year, is quite possibly the least opportune time for any such quality togetherness.
If not then, when?
The magic word is togetherness. And that’s where the magic ends. There’s no secret sauce to ‘when’ or ‘how’ for that matter.
The question becomes: when does it make sense for you?
And I’d add a second question to that… What does togetherness look like for your family?
Maybe you get down to business with a regularly scheduled family meeting. Maybe you connect over a board game on Saturday night. Maybe it’s Sunday breakfast or brunch. Ooh, I love a good brunch!
Maybe you make use of being physically buckled in place and connect on long family drives.
There’s no wrong way foster togetherness with your family so give yourself grace and do it however and whenever you can.
Don’t just take it from us…
We have a couple of great resources for you on today’s topic.
Be sure to check out How to Have Better Family Meals by Tara Parker-Pope.
As noted above, the article taps into some of the research behind the importance of family dinner and offers different approaches to get your family together over a meal – any meal – without the guilt and pressure of having to do it every night at 6pm around the family table.
We also found a fantastic podcast episode that debunks some of the research and leans into the importance of finding positive and meaningful points of connection with your family – with or without food. It’s aptly called How important is family dinner?
👩🏽💻 The Grace Lab
Join us on Fridays, at 2pm ET in The Grace Lab on Zoom for our weekly community call.
We start every call with a podcast chat. Where the conversation goes from there is dictated by the group. The hour flies by and we all head into our weekend with a little more grace.
Listen to the episode on tap for the week found here, then join us on Zoom! The episode is also the first one on the playlist below…
🎧 The Podcast Playlist for Busy Moms
Click on the image below to listen to this week’s podcast playlist. Remember to 💚 it to save it to your Spotify library so you can chip away at it all week while you sip your coffee, drive, walk, exercise, organize, fold laundry, cook, clean, etc.!
🐝 BIZI: An Online Community for Busy Moms
Question of the week: What’s your version of the family table? How does your family connect?
Post your response here in our online community (and/or check out what other moms are posting!)
And lastly, because we don’t only talk ‘business’ in our community…
Here is what I’m currently watching (binging) and here is what I’m currently reading (listening to). And here is a list of Indian-themed gems Amanda is enjoying on Netflix this week.
What are you in to these days?
At Grace in the Race, our mission is to help moms do what they can with the time, energy and resources they have; all while believing that’s enough.