Let me paint a picture of an afternoon ‘round at my place. I work from home three or four days a week. My colleagues are five, three and ten months old. By the time 4:30pm rolls around, without fail each and every day I’m blindsided. “I swear it was only 2:30?!” Nope, once again some sneaky little time thief has made their way into my house and stolen come crucial ‘get myself together’ time.
By mid-afternoon, my house looks like a bomb has hit it. Most days I’m convinced that if a burglar broke in, they’d take one look around and assume someone had already ransacked the joint. There’s cushions everywhere from intense cubby building, each and every toy my children own have been thrown around the house and the washing that I intended on folding has now found its way onto the floor.
For some reason my kids like to have dinner every day (so needy!) and so I take off my ‘writer’ hat and throw on the ‘chef’ one.
It's important that kids have a set routine when it comes to meal time. Image: iStock.
There was a time when I enjoyed cooking. It was a time when I had hours to perfect my bolognese, an entire afternoon to bake and decorate cupcakes for a friend. But cooking these days is different. I’m stressed and I’m rushed. I know the hungry eyes will start looking up at me and the “What’s for dinner tonight, mum” questions will start.
By the time the meal actually hits the table, I’m usually over it in all senses of the word. I’m tired, cranky and am watching the clock creep towards bed time. My son also happens to be going through a particularly fussy stage so no matter what I serve up, I can almost guarantee there will be an issue. “I said I didn’t like anything green”, “I don’t like squishy food”, “This looks like cat food”. It’s tiring to say the least.
The thing is though that dinner time in our house is special. Like most young families we are busy but the time between finishing work and lights out is special. It’s our time. We sit around the table and catch up. Even though my kids are with me during the day I don’t really have the time to connect with them the way I can at dinner time. There are no competing priorities, no pressing deadlines.
"I don’t really have the time to connect with them the way I can at dinner time". Image: iStock.