Today marks my first blog post exploring the Family Meal, unquestionably a part of Family Wellness, a topic about which I think a lot these days. As I attempt to integrate the Family Meal into our daily routine, I will share with you my insights (because I do plan to have some, okay, well maybe at least one), trials, triumphs and tribulations. Â Surprisingly there is a lot of reputable research on the Family Meal so I will also attempt to share some of that information with you.
I started thinking about Family Meal because lately I find myself throwing food at my son in his high chair (okay, not literally throwing) sometimes before my husband is even home from work. Then once the little bugger is down for the night or playing quietly before he goes down for the night, my husband and I scramble to throw something together for our dinner.
Not working for me.
Not the end of the day I pictured (see an actual picture of my family to the left!) in my vision of family life (although not much is as I pictured in my vision of family life).
So, as I attempt to integrate the Family Meal into our daily routine, I am finding it difficult to change our behavior. I imagine that many of you can relate to these feelings so alas here we are. See I am certain that the Family Meal, although challenging to make happen, doesn’t have to be impossible.
So our first assignment is to think about why Family Meals are so important, or as Nancy Gibbs, the author of a June 2006 TIME article put it, magical?
Why do I hold the Family Meal so dear?
I realize, only now as an adult, how incredibly amazing my childhood was to have a family meal on most nights, and, subsequently, I realize how amazing my mother was for having the ability/talent to make it happen.
And I miss it. And my mother inspires me.
Aside from all the research about the positive impacts on adolescent development, yada, yada, yada, I decided to come up with a list of why my heart and mind desires so much to have the Family Meal be a part of our daily routine:
- LAUGHTER: Inevitably one of us kids would always fall backwards in our chair after my mother repeatedly told us not to tip, which, although dangerous, always gave us a good laugh
- LEARNING: I cooked with my mom, or I watched her cook
- LOOSE DEFINITION OF A MEAL: Sometimes when we didn’t have time for a full on well-balanced home cooked meal, we ordered pizza or subs. That counted as a family meal because we ate together.
- CATCH UP and BALANCE: Gave us a chance to catch up at the end of a school day, after our extracurricular activities was something I always looked forward to but never really thought about the true meaning and impact
- SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS: Calling out my brother at the end of every meal when heâ€™d excuse himself to go to the bathroom and somehow not return in time to help clean up
So I challenge you to think about the reasons why a Family Meal might be a good addition to your familyâ€™s day.Â My reasons, at least to start, are very personal. There are other reasons, though, that are far too heavy to get into right now. So think about it, the first step to making the Family Meal happen.
By the way tonightâ€™s Family Meal was not graceful or efficient but we did it.Â What was on our plate? Steak, creamy mashed potatoes and sautÃ©ed garlic spinach. My one year old ate â€œCarrots Sticksâ€ (a recipe I tried this week and after two attempts was successful. I will share with you all in a follow up post), watermelon and milk.Â Not the most well rounded meal but, as you all know, weâ€™re still exploring with the little guy, my texture eater. He will get “there”, I am sure of it.