Works for Me Wednesday
Staying in the Kitchen
Our family has a crazy morning schedule, one of the results of sending children to multiple schools. When they were younger it was easy to fix one breakfast and sit down and eat together. Now it's a little more complicated. I never would have thought I'd turn into a restaurant chef, but I have - at least for breakfast - and yet it works for us. I figured someone else out there in blogland might appreciate knowing they're not alone.
I think it started several years ago when our middle school student didn't have to catch the bus until 8:30. The high school kids left the house at 5:30 AM, with a hot breakfast in their tummies. Although we got the younger kids up just before then for family prayer, I wasn't going to insist they actually eat at that hour. (Let's face it, they'd just be hungry again before they went to school!) They got to go back to sleep for a bit. And since I was already preparing breakfast more than once, it just became easier to give each child what they wanted. I decided that I wasn't going to force my daughter to eat something smothered in syrup when she preferred just a piece of fruit or glass of milk. So, this morning someone had pancakes, someone had pancakes and a smoothie, someone had a leftover piece of breakfast cake, and if Wayne had been home, he would have had cracked wheat cereal. (Some of the favorites on our "breakfast menu" include: granola, muffins, dutch babies, and cinnamon rolls - just click on the title and it'll take you to our recipe.)
After we'd been doing this multiple-breakfast thing for a while, I started feeling badly that our middle-schooler was eating all alone. However, I definitely didn't need to eat multiple breakfasts! The light-bulb went off** and that became time for me to just be in the kitchen - either washing dishes or preparing for dinner or just working on the crossword in the paper. We had some of the most interesting and delightful conversations, which in my view is the main reason for eating together. And even if we didn't really talk, knowing that we could was important. I try to use this same principle in the evening when someone's schedule doesn't allow them to be home for family dinner time. Rather than holing up in the computer room or vegging on the couch, I try to be in the kitchen with them. After all, there's always something to be done there!
So, that's what works for us. For more ideas, check out We are THAT Family.
Counsel to mothers from a prophet: "First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going--when they leave and return from school--when they leave and return from dates--when they bring friends home. Be there at the crossroads whether your children are six or sixteen. . . . Sixth, take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible. This is a challenge as the children get older and lives get busier. But happy conversation, sharing of the day's plans and activities, and special teaching moments occur at mealtime because mothers and fathers and children work at it." (Ezra Taft Benson - click on the name to see the whole talk with all ten suggestions)