Family Mealtime Leads to Laughter

mommeal time

I'll admit it. We aren't a family that regularly eats together. So, no! That picture isn't of our family. I know. Not eating together? It's horrible! Statistics show it's not just a wise choice to share dinner as a family, but it's a necessary one, especially in this day and age. Organizations like Libby's, Campbell's, and Kraft have had major campaigns and even created iPad apps this past year alone to encourage families to get back to the table and enjoy dinner together.

Why Families Don't Eat Dinner Together

I can't speak to the challenges other families face. Why doesn't our family eat dinner together regularly? I want to say time. But, I know better. I believe the adage that we make time for the things most important to us. And the truth is that I find that I have more time to take dinners in to families dealing with sickness than I do to regularly make and eat dinner with my own family. Why is that and what does that say about my priorities? Do I care more about those families than I do my own? Of course not.

So the reasons we haven't made family dinner a common practice in our home? You name it. I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. I don't know what to make. It feels confining. I'm not that structured. I can't do it like my mom did. It makes a mess. I could come up with as many reasons as you have time for. The truth? I just haven't made it a priority.

Making Family Mealtimes a Priority

So this week, we did it. We turned over a new leaf. We had Sunday dinner together, just the four of us. We even put a table cloth on the table. I made the meal. Nothing fancy. Something simple. Chase set the table. And what was the result? Laughter. We have these Child Chat story starters from Cherish Bound. They are cards with questions on them that help spark conversation between you and your children. I asked a question and we took turns going around the table, answering them. About two cards in, we started laughing and it took an hour for us to finish our meal we were laughing so hard.

Then because we had so much fun, we repeated the experience last night. Troy said he would cook. The scent from the kitchen took me downstairs where I discovered yummy pasta with fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes. I scratched my head, trying to figure just when @troypattee had time to go gourmet on us. Then, I discovered he had made Bertolli's Mediterranean Style Rosemary Chicken, Linguine with Cherry Tomatoes and Spinach in a White Wine Sauce. The amazing part—and everything about this meal was nothing short of AMAZING—was that it went from frozen bag to gourmet meal in 10 minutes.

I can honestly say this week's dinners and the time we spent sharing them as a family have been one of my favorite memories of this entire summer. And I'm glad to be back on track with placing top priority on my family.

What are your favorite family mealtime memories? And how do you overcome the challenges eating together as a family poses?

Disclosure: @troypattee made the meal. Bertolli provided us with some coupons to help offset the cost. Viva Italia!
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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