Around our house, there are a few things you will hear at every meal:

  • Sit down
  • Scoot your chair in
  • Lean over your plate
  • Use your fork
  • Use your napkin
  • Would you just eat?

And that’s just the stuff that Mike and I say numerous times during each meal (mostly to Ty). That doesn’t count the, “I don’t like this” and other forms of whining that is emitted from the 10 and 7-year-old children at our table.

But outside of that, there are two ways that mealtime can go in our house. The first is when Mike or I have thought ahead, planned accordingly, prepared dinner, and put it on the table so we can sit down as a family to eat. This is obviously the preferred method to mealtime. And for the most part, particularly since we started using E-mealz, when we are all home this is how our family works.

But sometimes, as was the case last night, it doesn’t work that way. I made one of the E-mealz menus that I knew only Ty and I would like, Mike had leftovers from Bandana’s Barbeque the night before, and Anne wandered around until finally settling on a grilled cheese sandwich. Then, Mike and I sat on the couch to eat at two different times, Ty sat, occasionally, at the table to work on his meal (which he had to be reminded to do about two dozen times because he kept getting up to walk around and see what everyone else was doing), and Anne eventually brought her sandwich to the table, too. We all finished our food, the table got cleaned up (eventually) and we moved back to the living room together.

This is what I noticed last night. As a result of our “haphazard” mealtime, our evening followed the same pattern. We continued to be frustrated with Ty who couldn’t sit still, Anne and Ty kept messing with one another, Mike and I were both on the couch, but not really “together.”

In contrast, when we all sit down to dinner together, at the table, our evenings tend to be calmer, more relaxed, and we are more likely to play a game as a family, or watch a movie as a family or spend quality time together in some way.

Now, I know it is not always feasible to sit down together, but when I am making sure that it happens, life is sure easier and family time is more enjoyable. And in order to make sure that it happens, I need to be proactive and plan ahead. And in order to plan ahead, it sure is nice having my meals planned and grocery shopping done accordingly (which is why I like E-mealz so much.)

Guess what? I have today’s meal all planned and ready to go so we can sit down at the table together. I’m looking forward to a much nicer evening tonight.

What mealtime madness happens in your house?