Family Dinners

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Family

By: Amy Forstadt

Once upon a time, a long time ago, my kid went to bed promptly at 7:30. I would then whip up something delicious (yet easy!) and John and I would have a quiet dinner together, usually by 8, often in front of the TV (shut up). In this magical time, my child was just an itty bitty baby and/or beginning toddler, and had no concept of us all eating together. Or fighting bedtime, for that matter.

But now, a few measly years later, bedtime has slipped to 8, 8:15, sometimes even 8:30. Blame it on my kid’s advanced age (three), daylight savings time, mom’s laziness urge to spend more time with him, what have you, but the quiet, adult dinners in front of the tube are coming to an end. No way am I eating dinner at nine at night. What are we, French? Also, I’ve started to wonder if maybe we should begin those do-it-or-your-kid-will-end-up-in-juvie family dinners that society is always pressuring me about. It sounds like a great idea, in theory, but thinking about the mechanics of it is actually a little mind-boggling. I’ve got lots of issues and questions, so I’m depending on you, my loyal readers (hi mom) to help me solve them. If you’ve got any suggestions for any of my issues, or anything I haven’t brought up yet, please don’t hesitate. Be bossy. Tell me what to do. I like it that way!

1. Timing.8:30 just feels too late for Benjie to go to bed. I’d like it to be closer to eight. But I don’t get home from work with him until about 6:30. So that means I’d have to get dinner on the table at seven, so whatever I make would have to only take half an hour. And it leaves me no time to change clothes, check e-mail, or even sit down for a second.

2. Food. Maybe Benjie can live on a diet of fish sticks/hot dogs/pita bread pizzas, but John and I can’t. Okay, John could, but I can’t. And I’m not sure how I’m going to make one healthy, delicious family dinner in 30 minutes, much less two. But that means I’m going to need a whole stable full of new recipes, ones both kids and adults can enjoy. A whole stable full!

3. Pissiness. Is coming home from work and rushing around to make dinner with no time to decompress going to turn me into a cranky beotch? This is a definite possibility. Family dinners don’t seem so worth it if your mom is tearing her hair out.

How do people do it? Get a healthy and nutritious dinner on the table that’s good for the whole family without wielding a carving knife (or garlic press for gentler souls) at anyone who gets in their way? If any of you out there are doing it, even sometimes, please share your wisdom with me. Dinner is only a few hours away.