Friday, September 10, 2010

Conflicting Dinner Schedules

I like to plan my meals each week on my calendar.  With everyone's schedules in front of me I then map out what time we'll have dinner each night and plan each meal according to how much time I'll have to make it and how many people will be home.  When Dave is gone I make things that he hates but I like.  When there is a birthday or special occasion I plan my meals to match. And so on and so forth.

Yesterday as I sat down to make my menu plan for the upcoming week I was hard pressed to find a time when we were all going to be home for a weekday meal. Monday at 7:30 pm we will all be home. If we want to eat together next Friday we'll have to wait until 10:30 or two of us can eat together at 5:30.

We have always been a sit together for dinner kind of family.  Many studies over the years have stressed the importance of family meals as bonding time.  "The family that eats together stays together". But as the kids get older and involved in more activities of their own this is getting harder and harder. If I was really determined to have dinner together there are only a few options. 


 It might be possible to take dinner to the pool deck next Tuesday.  Afton could hop out of the pool and join us at the bleachers.  Dave would wander past to grab a bite between assigning sets to the rest of the team. After wolfing down their meals the boys would slip on their speedos and dive into waterpolo practice. That might work.


An option for next Wednesday's schedule is a 3:30 dinner with 5 of us.  Instead of having an after school snack we could have dinner.  The kids always walk in starving anyways, now they can walk in from a long day of school to a yummy hot meal.  We'll have 30 minutes to talk about their day and everything that happened before we go our separate ways. Inevitably they will get hungry later so I would save their usual after school snack items to be eaten then, either when they get home from activities, between activities or wherever/whenever they get hungry.


My last option is to just give in: make meals, serve them to whomever shows up whenever they can make it. It seems that I will have to do this at least once or twice a week.  It is very unfortunate and has three very bad consequences.  (1) I will be spending more time in the kitchen with separate preps and clean ups. (2) The family won't be able to sit and enjoy one another's company. (3) Some family members won't be home to eat until very, very late.


Tonight is a night when two family members won't be home until late and two others won't be home until very, very late.  Dave works until 5ish and then works the football game tonight. Cora and I will have dinner with him around 5:30. Afton swims from 3-4 and has soccer from 5-6:30.  Kirkham has waterpolo practice from 4:30-7. They'll get dinner when they get home around 7:15pm.  Heath left at 6 am and won't be home until after 10pm. After school he has swim workout and waterpolo practice.  Straight from that he will be getting a ride with the band over to the stadium to play in the pep band for tonight's football game.  When he told me his plans I asked "when are you going to have dinner?"  He sheepishly looked at me and asked "could you bring something over to me when you drop off Kirkham?"


Of course I will.

1 comment:

  1. ohhhh... your kids are all grown up! Sounds VERY busy. I understand, but for different reasons. Devin is the one that is gone from us at night. Yes, the rest of us are at home eating together, but without Dad. So, I try to serve dinner right after they get home. Some days are better than others. Whether or not we actually eat dinner after school, that is the only time Devin gets to see the boys, so we are usually hanging out together, snack, or dinner... whatever it might be.

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