Frankly, the family dinner is the most challenging, frustrating part of my day. I don’t understand why everyone is all proactive about keeping the family together for dinner. Family dinners stress me out.
I’m talking about the regular, intimate, nuclear family dinners, the daily ones, not the extended-family-holiday dinners.
Is it me? Is it my family? Is it my parenting? Because frankly, I could do without the chaos, the noise, the mess. I could certainly do without the attitudes and the never-ending bickering, and the incessant complaining about the food I present.
Maybe the solution is for me to remove myself from the table. Eat someplace else where I can actually enjoy the home-cooked meal I made with ample thought, love and preparation. I could sit with my new magazine, or with the blackberry, and read while sipping wine and tasting the food I consume.
Instead, I have to listen to complaints about how they don’t like this or that. I have to hear how HE did this and SHE did that. I have to watch them get up and walk here, jump there, hang over something,, and twist and turn in their seats until something spills or drops on the floor.
This is not conducive to my digestion.
I have to endure interruptions when I attempt to ask how someone’s day was (and give up completely having any type of civilized conversation with DH. What’s the point? They’re completely self-absorbed in their own dramas and have no interest in what he, or I, have to say about OUR days).
Still, we eat at the table as a family most nights. Even on activity nights, even if DH is late, there are are least the kids and I that sit down at a properly set table and attempt to have a somewhat civilized meal together.
Every night I try and apply certain methods to keep this habit of having a family dinner.
Every night there is at least once child with an attitude problem of sorts.
Every night there’s at least one kid who complains about the food I make for them.
Every night there is excessive noise.
Every night I pour just a little more wine than I should.
One of the parents Ben had a playdate with not long ago mentioned that dinner is a fiasco at her house too. She gave examples that resonate with me. Partly, this makes me feel less like a loser. Partly, this makes me feel like there is something wrong with all of us parents….
Mostly I just want to have one pleasant meal with my family.