We Don't Always Eat Dinner As a Family and I Don't Feel Guilty About It.
My mornings (and usually my entire day) is spent primarily on my feet. I am a waitress, a short-order cook (I don't mind, really), a nurse, a referee, and many other things. So when it comes to meals, I am not usually able to enjoy my food unless I am standing up. This is because someone will undoubtedly need another "something": either a drink or a fork or a knife or a spoon, or the baby will want to nurse even if I have just nursed her within the last 2 minutes.
Seeing me sit down to eat automatically triggers my children's needs for "something". It never fails!
My 4-year-old has taken notice of this and has said a couple times recently, "Mommy, why don't you sit down and eat?" My response: "I would love to but I know that as soon as I sit down someone is going to need something."
"Please....?" she pleaded. I felt guilty, so I gave in. But what do you know...? As soon as I sat down, here comes my 17 month-old, toddling over with her cute little cloth diapered tush whimpering "eh, eh" and throwing her juicy thigh onto my leg to signal that she wanted to climb onto my lap. "See?" I said to my 4-year-old with a chuckle. "It was good while it lasted." So, I stood up, offered the 17-month-old a graham cracker and resumed eating while standing at our kitchen island which is only a few short feet away from our dining room table.
By the time dinner begins in the late afternoon I am tired from standing all day. But I know if I sit down, I won't be able to enjoy my meal without interruption. My husband knows and understands this and will remind me to go upstairs in order to keep the toddler from crying for me the entire meal. Usually "dinner time" is tentative and takes place within a 2-hour timeframe anyways, as our children all seem to want to eat at different times. Sometimes one child is hungry when dinner is being prepared, other times they're not hungry until a little while later. It's all relative. So, not only do I go upstairs to eat alone, uninterrupted, but I do it without feeling guilty. I give of myself 1000%+ all day long and I deserve to eat hot food, when it's prepared fresh (usually by me) and I deserve to eat without having to fetch items and condiments while nursing a baby and trying to feed myself simultaneously. I do my best to answer all 2484983797 questions throughout the day with patience and with grace, homeschool my oldest, run a business, respond to emails, schedule appointments, *try* to keep the house clean, unload and reload the dishwasher, in between preparing meals... and a sister is tired by the time the afternoon comes around.
I know this goes without saying, but you can be grateful and tired at the same time. You can feel overwhelmingly blessed and overwhelmingly tired or stressed as well. If you know me then you know that I am a huge fan of putting on my oxygen mask first. I can't die trying to serve everyone else except myself.
I love this. Sometimes I feel guilty when I don’t sit down and eat with my family every evening. I get it. Nursing baby, my toddler whining, Four kids with different needs, etc. I can totally relate. Thank you for writing this such a good read.