Monday, April 4, 2011

The Dinner Table.

It's hard for me to grasp the concept that some families never gather around the dinner table. Maybe it's the 1950's housewife in me, but my favorite time of the day is when we all come together to chat about our days over a warm supper, whether it be home-cooked or simple take out. Before Levi bounced into our lives, Husby and I rarely ate at the table. We would fill our plates in the kitchen and nestle together on the couch each night and that was "our time" to relax and unwind from our busy days. But now that we have a child and feel more like a "family" than just a "couple", the dinner table is very important to us.

I look back on my childhood with such fond memories of the dinner table - Dad walking through the door with his briefcase in his hand every evening at 6:05 and we gathered for supper immediately upon his arrival. We talked about what was going on at school and the town happenings. We thanked God for the food He blessed us with, we praised Mom on her preparation and we left the table happy and full each and every night. We all helped clear the table and then Mom and I washed dishes and scrubbed the kitchen clean. It was such a great nightly ritual that provided such stability and comfort in my life, now that I look back on it. I want the same for Levi.

Husby has always been so good to compliment my dishes and thank me for preparing it. Little Levi has taken note, I think, because when we gather around our dinner table, he always says, "Nummy- Nummy, Mommy!" after his first bite. It's just the most precious thing. He doesn't say it at restaurants, but if he knows that I made it, he always tells me it is "nummy". I remember going to certain friends houses growing up, sitting down to eat and everyone scarfing their food and not saying a word about the meal. It always made me feel sorry for the Mom. Now that I AM a Mom, I realize what work it is to keep up a house, a child, life's commitments and prepare a hot meal at the end of the day. It's exhausting at times, and I know that I appreciate the encouragement. No one wants to feel unnoticed or unappreciated for their efforts.

Clean up after meals at our house is a joint effort. Levi even helps load the dishwasher! (Please. No one spoil it by telling him that it is not really a fun thing. I like him to think it is. And so far, it's working.) Cleaning up is a breeze when everyone has a hand in it. My grandparents had a great thing going - he cooked every night and she went behind him cleaning up. How nice would that be? I would LOVE to just cook and Husby clean it all up! Haha! But I'm just thankful that I have his help at all.

Sitting around the table with Husby and my Weebie the other evening, I started reflecting on the dinner table and wondering what goes on at yours ....

Do you sit at the table to eat?
Do you pray before your meal?
Does your family compliment your food?
Who cleans up?

What is it like at your house?

43 comments:

  1. I'd really like to, but with the two of us we do a similar thing and unwind in front of the TV... I'd like less TV in our world though. I might try dinner around the table tonight to spice things up! :)

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  2. We always sit at the table to eat as a family. We did that while I was growing up too. And strangely enough my parents do not eat at the table now and eat in the living room. I am going to pass that onto my kids. They love to help clean up and I am so thankful for that and a hubby who helps clean as well! :) Erin

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  3. My hubby and I currently eat in front of the tv. We have an 8 wks old though, and I've been trying a few new things since I was 7 months pregnant.

    A few nights per week I make dinner and we eat at the table. Let's ease into it right?! I've not been so good at this the last month since my mom left from helping take care of the new baby, but I aim to get back to it.

    I usually don't get thanked. Or even really noticed for my efforts in the kitchen. I mentioned this to my hubby and he is trying to remember to say something, if he liked it or not. Or a simple thank you is enough. He is usually too busy watching tv or on the computer to notice the food in front of him, which brings me to a whole new point of how we need to get unplugged!

    My husbands chore is the kitchen. He doesn't always do it everyday (which is annoying)but I need to let him do it, and let him know I am grateful for it. I think I might try and see if we can both get the kitchen cleaned right after dinner like you do. With the both of us. It will only take a few minutes, and I'll have a clean kitchen for tomorrow.

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  4. We nearly always eat in the kitchen, away from the TV, which makes it so much easier to talk. Usually hubby needs some time to de-stress from work so my job is to listen as I prepare the meal. We ALWAYS give thanks for our food, usually at breakfast and lunch, too. I do the clearing up as I am at home all day, but I tend to do it the next morning so we can relax together in the evenings, it's lovely.

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  5. This is a very important ritual in our house. The dinner table is usually the only time we have together as a family (me, hubby, and our little 3 year old). My husband is busy studying for his second year med school boards.

    We make a point to sit together, pray (our daughter has the sweetest prayers), and talk about our day as well. If Ryan has time, he loves to help me cook and talk and hang out in the kitchen together. Regardless if he helps or not, each one of us makes a point to thank each other and compliment whatever they did to help with the meal.

    It is the best right now, our daughter is starting to help sit the table. So lots of encouragements and gratitude is going into making her feel special in helping right now. I feel so blessed that we are able to have our dinner table time.

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  6. Uh oh, busted! Most nights we don't eat together, but that's largely because Ezra goes to bed at 6:30ish, and most of the time my husband's still cooking dinner (for us). He always cooks (he loves it) and I generally always clean (whenever I'm not pregnant). If it's the odd day that I'm cooking, he cleans up for me.

    Once we push Ezra's bedtime back a little more we'll do more family meals. We do say grace before meals and hold E's hand, though.

    Good reminder to make a more concerted effort to eat at the dining table!

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  7. {It's just me and the hubby at our house.} We almost always sit at the table. I always cook and he almost always washes the pots/pans and puts the dishes in the dishwasher. We don't pray before we eat. And....he isn't much on complimenting, but he'll be honest if I ask him whether or not he liked something I made.

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  8. We set at the table together most nights. Some nights, the schedule doesn't permit it. we say grace and sometimes they thank me for making it (though hubby makes it sometimes) and thanks hubby for providing it...however being 10,8,6 sometimes they just want to complain about something or excitedly tell us (especially daddy) about their day.
    Hubby and I love that time as a family. We get annoyed with the phone ringing or doorbell ringing at that time...which we generally don't answer either.

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  9. We sit at the table to eat, pray before our meal and my sweet husband always compliments my food.
    And he cleans up. He's a keeper.

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  10. We rotate, since it's just my husband and I. I like to eat at the table a few nights a week, and then we snuggle on the couch together a few nights as well. I agree--the dinner table is a very important place in a family. Thanks for a great post!

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  11. Great question! When I first moved in with my now-husband life was pretty crazy stressful with work (both of us), wedding plan (me), and studying for a professional exam (him). We didn't get a lot of relaxation time together so we did make an effort to eat together every night at the table. When life got less busy and we were able to spend most nights together we did get lazy about it and eat in front of the tv most nights, which I'm pretty okay with because we're the type to chat all night anyways.

    I think when we have kids though we'll resume table time. My family never ate around the table but it's something I'd like to do for my own family.

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  12. About 2-3 times a week we sit at the table for dinner. My children are teens now and schedules are "whacked" to say the least. Usually my kids will clean up and yes, they will usually "thank me."
    I'd like to think I'm instilling "Good Values"/"memories" in them.

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  13. Rory loooves to help with the dishwasher too! I won't tell Levi if you don't tell her. ;)

    We eat together on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monday thru Thursday I am working in the evenings, so I make dinner before I go. My husband eats with Rory and feeds the baby. At first, I got really sad about not having family dinners every night like I did growing up. Now I have decided to be excited that my husband will get that one on one time with the kids each night. I hope that sitting down to dinner with their dad will give them a chance to have undivided Daddy time! A great thing, I think! (Plus it helps ease my mom guilt. :))

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  14. Our family is exactly like yours was!!! My mom cooked, and Dad cleaned up!
    Because of Andy's busy schedule, we eat when we can, sometimes really late, and not always at the table. I'd like to change this, though! He always compliments my food, which makes me feel good :)
    Andy puts the left overs away, and I clean up after myself as I cook!

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  15. We eat in front of the TV but that's usually because dinner is at 8 and that's when the shows we watch together are on. We don't always talk the whole time but it still give us a chance to hang out with one another. We also talk while I am preparing dinner. My husband does thank me for my efforts but clean up is usually left to me unless I ask him to load the dishwasher before I get home. I'm hoping with a new job that will put me home earlier, we'll start to eat around our table at night.

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  16. I agree--sitting down together can be such a sweet time!!!

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  17. My husband's a resident so I never know when he's getting home. So maybe half the time we eat together and half the time we don't. Sometimes we eat at the table and sometimes we eat at the couch. I'd like to get better about eating at the table though! I cook and clean and he compliments my cooking.

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  18. ALWAYS at the table...always praying! We are old souls, so to speak also :)

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  19. It's just my husband and I for now, so it varies from the table to the living room. I've been blessed with a husband who likes to cook...so which ever one of us does not cook does the cleaning. Works great for us.

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  20. WIth teenagers (16 and 19) it sure is hard to do, but we do make it a priority when schedules allow. Even when we can't sit together and eat, I make dinner at home most nights and they know a plate will be waiting for them. As kids get oleder and activities invade the schedule, it's important set a new "normal". So, while we may not eat TOGETHER every night anymore, they always can count on that one constant.

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  21. We do sit at the table to eat as a family. Schedules prevent it from happening EVERY day, but we do very regularly. On Mondays, sometimes Mark will help cook or do it all (because I get home later than usual), which is nice and usually makes for an interesting meal. (-: I am the regular cook because I LOVE it. We have a pretty good deal - I cook and Mark cleans up afterward. Karlie cooked once... she made mac and cheese... with hot dogs...and corn. It was very cute. (-: And we always pray before we eat! (-: We love family dinner nights!

    ~K

    ~Kathryn

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  22. Oh, and I always get showered with compliments about the food - from Karlie because she likes it but because she knows what it's like to not have that every night and so she is so genuinely grateful and loves it. And Mark because he is that sweet. Even if I totally bomb something, he acts like I could have won Iron Chef with it. (-:

    ~K

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  23. Right now I eat on the couch, but when I have a family I really want to make sure that we all sit down and eat dinner together. I think it's such a great tradition.

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  24. My husband and I used to eat in front of the TV together too before we had our daughter, now we eat at the table together for every single meal. Not only is it a good bonding time for us, but it's teaching our daughter good eating habits routines.

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  25. When I was growing up, it was an almost every day occurence. We always ate dinner together as family. For our little family of three, it's probably a once a week thing right now. With Todd working a lot, Sundays and maybe Saturdays are the only times we get to eat at the table as a whole family - I miss it and look forward to more of it soon!

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  26. When I was growing up we pretty much always ate at the dinner table. With the exception of when we were watching a movie as a family and gathered around the coffee table. Now, it's just my boyfriend and myself. We don't really eat at the table unless it's a special occasion or something like that. But we do agree that we will sit at the table when we have kids.

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  27. I LOVE FAMILIES!!! I'm very passionate about them. I believe that our society is really missing out with the big push on "individuality". There are no relationships in life that can compare to the security that comes from family, and I love creating that and passing it on to our children.

    I am a SAHM with 3 born children who are 5, 3, & 1. Around 5 pm, I get everyone together, and we tidy our house and set the table (and the children help!). When Daddy comes in we are ready to eat! We always sit at the table together as a family (unless it's a pizza and movie night), pray together, and then when we are done the children must say, "Thank you for b'fast/lunch/supper....May I be excused?" I have them take their dirty dishes to the dishwasher. My hubby can be a "choosey" eater. For example, I might have cooked chinese, but he wanted to have meat & potatoes. I graciously addressed this issue, and things are much better now. Husbands need "training", as much as the children, on being grateful for what has been prepared. If we can't talk to them about that, then how will we ever talk about bigger issues.

    Afterwards, I take care of the big stuff while he spends some time with the children. When he's home in the evening, he puts them to bed (while I finish up any chores from the day-laundry or whatever), which I SOOO appreciate. After spending all day with them, I'm done! Then after they are all in bed, I feel like I can just spend some quality time with him because my "loose ends are tied".

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  28. Growing up my family always, always ate at the table together. I love those memories. Most nights the hubs and I eat in the living room, chill and unwind from the day. But if we ever have a family I know we will be seated around the dinner table so they can have their own family memories.

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  29. We eat as a family at the table every single night, no TV! I grew up in a house where we ate on the couch in front of the TV and still not even all together as a family. I didn't think anything of it but it was sad really. I want my kids to have a good end of the day with the family dinner table. I usually cook, but hubby will make a quick meal every now and then. Hubby cleans up mostly, I carry plates to the kitchen and he rinses and loads the washer. Little Drewbug puts stuff back in the refrigerator. He loves his job.

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  30. When I was younger we did. Now my parents just talk about their business and my sister and I get bored. Havent had a family dinner in a while.

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  31. We eat at the table every night, whether I make dinner or we order in. Now that AJ is eating table food we sit and all eat at the same time, but before she started eating our food D and I would sit down and eat together each night after she went to bed. The best part of the deal is that I make dinner (I love to cook) and D always cleans up afterward! Yeah! I'm the luckiest girl alive!

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  32. We are an eat at the table family, for sure! And we say grace. I'm on the lookout for a new one though. Any suggestions?

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  33. When our kids were growing up, we ate at the table most of the time. We always began with prayer, and then filled our mouths with food and enjoyed talking about our day. When my dad moved close, he joined us for lunch and supper daily. When my dad was living with us, I'd ask him if he wanted to eat in his apartment and watch t.v. or eat with us. He'd always say, "Let's eat at the table ... like family." We still say that, and it brings tears to my eyes just to type it now. (How I wish he could join us at our table once again!)

    When my mom was sick, as I grew up, my dad always would clear the dishes and wash them or load the dishwasher. Curt saw him do that when we were dating and implemented that when we married. D watched his dad do that all his life, and now it gives me great pleasure to watch Curt and D work together after family dinners still today (when you guys eat here).

    So thankful your family is "eating like family" and carrying on such precious family traditions!

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  34. We sit at the table most nights. I cook about 4 nights a week. Sometimes it's hard to work and keep up with everything else, so weekday meals are usually simple. I also do the dishes afterward so I don't want a mess ;) Still I grew up eating with my family, and I feel sad for my friends who feed their kids one thing and then they eat something later on. I want my son to have fond memories of dinner. Want to hear something strange? My husband and I used to eat at the table even before our son came. Looking back I think that it was probably unusual but we still did it.

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  35. I have to add that we do pray and my husband is always complimentary of my cooking. Now if I could just get him to wash dishes . . .

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  36. I wish I could say we always sit around the table to eat. It is more like we might all sit around and eat with TV - I know I suck! Oh well we have a busy house and we try to grab family time together. I do enjoy dinner together and we do make a point to try to sit around the table together and eat and talk about school, their day etc. My husbands family ALWAYS did this and I think it just gets him sometimes and so we don't push the issue every night. We do a lot of stuff together and we utilize our time to really know what is happening in our day at other times. I would like to eat at the table more. I need to make it a priority!

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  37. We always ate at the table growing up and it was always a fun, social time. We sat at the table till well after we were all finished because of stories my sisters and I had about school or dad telling jokes. If we had supper in the living room, in front of the tv it was a special movie and pizza night. Today I enjoy meals at my parents and my extended family loves coming for supper because the dinner table is a fun time to chat. My fiance and I always eat at the table because I like to talk about our days. He grow up in a household that had dinner at the table but not much talking of any kind or showing appreciation so sometimes I need to ask if he likes the dish, that way I know what dishes he loves, likes and is okay with. He clears the table and loads the dishwasher mostly and I wash the pots and pans.

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  39. Hubby and I eat at the table most of the time...unless it's like a pizza and movie night. But yes, we always pray over our food. I usually do the cooking and the cleaning up, but I like it that way! You know what they say...if you want something done right :-)

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  40. When I was a kid, we usually sat at the table for dinner. But as we got older and busier, that happened less and less. Now as a busy wife, we hardly ever get dinner together, let alone time to eat at the table. But I hope that will change when Hubs is done with grad school and there's a kid involved.

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  41. We always talk about how we plan to make sitting at the table a habit when we have kids. Right now, we usually sit together on the couch. But we do pray together before meals. :)

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  42. My hubby and I are empty nesters now, but when our kids were home, dinner was our special time every day. I was fortunate to be a SAHM til my younger child started school, so I prepared meals and cleaned up as well. When they got old enough to help, they did...it was a game for us also! One thing we did EVERY night at the dinner table was to eat by only candlelight! The kids loved it, and now that they have fams of their own they are continuing the tradition. They are now 35 and 30, and still talk about how important that time was together as a family. Great question = enjoy reading the answers.

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  43. Funny...Brad and I are actually the opposite. When we were dating/first married we ate at the dining room table every single night. Ever since Zoe's arrival the dining room table has become the central baby center...and so we eat with pillows in our lap on the couch, but still together...most of the time. Sometimes we have to tag team who eats and who entertains the baby. However, the older that Zoe gets we're finding that we get to clear off the table more often and eat at the table together. We still haven't had a "full family" dinner altogether...but I think as soon as Zoe is eating normal food we'll be back in business.

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May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today! Thanks for the comment, friends! :)

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