We’re all aware of the perfect family mealtime image. As parents, it’s practically ingrained in us that we should all sit down at the dining table, share a wholesome family meal and quietly discuss our day together. In reality, this couldn’t be any further from the truth for 99.9% of the entire population. We work long hours, we eat different meals and we do our best to discuss the important parts of our day, as-and-when we happen to be in the same room at the same time.
‘Mealtimes’ are typically a spaghetti-covered toddler at the table and one parent catching the debris, watching their own food go cold. My hubby usually arrives home at around 5.30-6pm most evenings (if he’s not working late or away), and on the days I work, I usually get in around 5.30-6pm. At this point, I’ve fed my son or he’s eaten at nursery. Sometimes I get the pleasure of eating toddler mush when he’s decided to fall asleep during the cooking time. Currently, my son is going through the, “what the hell is that meal you’ve spent 4 hours lovingly preparing, and where’s my chocolate?” phase. This involves throwing as many food groups on the floor as possible in an allotted time. It’s his favourite game.
So from Monday to Friday, mealtimes are a battleground. But my favourite and most precious time with the family is on a Sunday, where we all actually manage to sit down together for lunch. Food is typically thrown, (along with some tantrums), but it’s the closest we get to that perfect family image. Once a week is enough for us – and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Catering to the needs of your family, whether it be preparing a nice meal, sharing stories from your day or just offering a huge hug when it’s needed are the special times in your day-to-day life. So if it’s at 4pm, 6pm or the middle of the night, that one occasion of gastro-unity is always worth the hassle. We aren’t all perfect and life will always get in the way, but try to enjoy those precious moments of the day with your family, if you’re ever lucky enough to get them.