In our flip-flopped family of a stay at home dad and a breadwinner wife who works days, overnights and weekends, we try to make evenings sacred and prioritize dinner time where we all sit down (or at least the kids attempt to sit down), say grace, and share a meal together talking about our day. "
Recently on a night when we had an evening event, my husband picked up fast food on the way for the kids. When I later asked my 7 year old what she had for dinner, she replied, "We didn't have dinner." "Then what did Daddy feed you?" I asked. "We just had tacos Mommy, but we didn't have dinner. Dinner is when we all sit down together, not Taco Bell."
I was touched. With all the guilt that I feel going to work all odd hours and not being the stay at home mom that I expected to be, this warmed my heart that my child already has memories of dinners shared with the family where we all sit down together.
Hoping that sentiment was shared by my son, I asked him recently what he liked best about going to Nana’s (who is a great cook, and routinely does special things with my kids although she lives 5 hours away). He said his favorite thing about Nana’s house, even over Christmas (!), is “having everyone together and eating meat!” (This coming from a 12 year old boy who loves new Legos at Christmas as much as life itself.)
Both my husband and I grew up in families where our mothers stayed at home and made a warm dinner for us every night. Although our family structure differs considerably from this model, we have tried to give our children the stability and security of a nightly dinner together to reconnect, bedtime routines that involve reading stories, and tuck in times that are some of my most precious times. I am glad that my children see the value in this time together, too.