Guest Post by Soozy G. Miller
Something really cool happened a few nights ago at our house. My teenage son, who is about knee-deep in rebellion, asked for a family dinner.
I watched Aviva Goldfarb on the Today Show and with Katie Couric. I heard Aviva tell Katie about when her two teenage children, at home one night while both Aviva and her husband, Andrew, were out at dinner meetings (a rare occurrence), decided to make sure it was a sit-down dinner.
The kids sat down at the table, just the two of them, and had a family dinner. Aviva was very proud.
And I was very jealous.
I grew up with regular family dinners. Unless there was a special evening—Halloween, a school event, or one of us was sick—my father came home around 7 pm, my mom made dinner, and the four of us sat down around 7:30 pm at the kitchen table for dinner every night.
However, now that I’m a mom, it’s not easy for us to have a family dinner. (My kids actually call it sit-down dinner.) My son has team sports every night, and on away game nights, the team eats on the road and he doesn’t get home until 8 pm. One of my daughter’s weekly dance classes is at 6:15 pm.
Both my kids are in at multiple honors classes, which I’m very proud of, of course, but honors classes mean twice the homework. I’m a single mom and I work from home; my hours are all over the place and it’s not uncommon for me to get a phone call or email around 5 pm regarding a client that needs a rush job or a deadline that has suddenly moved. I do try to limit those situations, but sometimes it can’t be helped.
Friday and Saturday night dinners are not possible because usually one or both of my kids has a sleepover.
The best I have been able to muster lately is to have dinner ready and sometimes one of my kids has to bring homework to the table. We had been averaging about 1-2 family dinners per week. I want to do more—it’s a treat for me to sit down with my kids—but that’s just how it’s been going at our house lately.
And then a few nights ago, my son asked, “Can we do family dinners?”
I nearly fainted. “You want family dinners?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes, I like them,” he said.
“Okay,” I said, “But that means no computer, no homework at the table.”
“Okay,” he said, “How about Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays?”
“Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays it is!” I said.
So we’re going to try this. For my part, I won’t take phone calls and emails at dinner time those nights.
Thank you, Aviva Goldfarb, and The Six O’Clock Scramble, for promoting family dinners. Now I’m very proud, too.
In addition to being Aviva’s beloved sister-in-law, Soozy G. Miller is a writer, editor, and author of ADHD to Honor Roll: How I Cured My Child’s ADHD Without Drugs (And You Can, Too!)
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