My husband and I both grew up having family dinners. I remember growing up (more specifically in one of our duty stations in Maryland...dad was in the Navy) that we would have dinner around 4:30. Dad would get home, change out of his uniform, walk the dog, and Mom would have dinner on the table for all of us the moment he was back from taking the dog out. My husband remembers family dinner being important in his family, too. He is one of five children and he has some fun stories about them being together for dinner.
Having dinner as a family was never something we really discussed, it was just something we did once we had kids. Being newly married and both of us in grad school we spent many a dinner in front of the tv late at night before having our first born. Once our son was old enough to join us for dinner in his high chair, we moved to the dining room table (biggest eating area in our town house). When we moved, I was excited that we would have a kitchen area to eat in and also a separate dining area for when we have family over for formal dinners such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Family dinners give us a routine and give us an opportunity for us to catch up on each other's day. My husband always asks our son what he has done that day. Our son gets to share all of his exploits. The baby watches us from the other end of the table while getting food in her mouth...as well as her hair, her bib, her face, her legs, and any other once clean surface :) I start to unwind because my husband is home and we start the transition of him taking over the kids so that I have a break. It's so important to us and it's not a question if we will sit down for dinner...it's what time will Daddy be home to make sure dinner is on the table on time. (While my husband has a job with relatively steady hours, he is an attorney and sometimes he has to finish a last minute memo, or file charges, or simply, metro is late again.) The sooner I have dinner on the table, the more time my husband has to play with the kids after dinner and before bed.
If you read my last post, Deadlines Pass and Discombobulation Ensues, you know that I felt off all week. When my husband and I spoke about this he reminded me that we haven't down as a family in our own home for about a week. I ran through our week and he was right:
Sunday: Bonfire dinner with our best friends. Kids ran around and played while adults chatted and ate.
Monday: Kids and I at a birthday party while Hubby stayed late to work. He ate leftovers at home.
Tuesday: Hubby worked late, kids and I had leftovers and a light dinner, hubby ate in front of LOST
Wednesday: Swim classes. L. ate at grandparents' house, McD's for W., Hubby & I ate in shifts
Thursday: Ordered pizza for family. Kids ate with babysitter, I ate on the go before going to Totswap. Hubby ate when he got home.
Friday: Soup Supper at Church. We ate together, but different atmosphere and son played with new friends
Saturday: Celebrated our Goddaughter's birthday. Ate dinner with friends...as a family, but two families together with a total of 5 kids...not a lot of family bonding going on...just trying to keep it together. Though it was fun to catch up with our friends.
Sunday: Sit down dinner as a family, my parents joined us.
My husband said that we were off our routine. And it's usually at dinner time that he asks me what I have going on for the next day or for the week. I tell him. He usually doesn't remember, but it helps me to keep track of what's going on, and then when I tell him again later he sort of recalls hearing about it before. It's a system that works for us...not the best system, but it works...sort of.
Our week is not as busy as the last two weeks. Thank goodness! Though Thursday will be tricky between preschool, my daughter's check-up for an ear infection and the booster to her H1N1, my son's 15-minute singing concert for which my MIL will join us, lunch with Grandma (my MIL), my son's first T-ball practice. Too many things in one day, but they couldn't be helped. But fortunately the rest of the week is relatively low key.
I'm off to turn in the late paperwork to confirm my son's preschool placement for next year. Wish me luck! I hope I haven't lost my space!