ARE FAMILIES LIVING PAST EACH OTHER?
I recall whilst growing up that dinner time was the one meal we all ate together around the dining room table.
My dad worked shifts, so it wasn’t always possible for him to be around at dinner time, but there was definitely always a parent at the table when it came to dinner.
Today, with so many households having both parents working or maybe the single parent running around all day and still trying their best to manage home life, is it still possible for everyone to eat dinner together on a regular basis?
If you’re a two-car family you probably have one parent arriving home earlier and getting the kids started with their homework or they sit in front of the TV and have dinner. Often, dinner is scheduled for 7 pm or earlier but is it always possible to lock this time down considering the rushed lives we live, after-hour activities we pursue and very often, work deadlines that need to be met at short notice. I recently heard on the radio that we’re spending more time at the office than we ever did a few years back. Isn’t that scary?
I find, that with some effort we are able to, at the very least, have breakfast and lunch together on weekends. However, during the week, I love my sleep too much and remain in bed until the very last minute, so our mornings are all about firstly ensuring that school and work lunches are prepped, then it’s breakfast for J before he is off to the shower and ready to leave for school. By the time D comes back from school drop-off I am ready to leave for work. The next time we see each other will be at dinner time, which is the one meal we really try to eat together. This, of course, is our routine during the week and over the weekends we tend to eat all our meals together.
It’s during these meals together that we get to chat and catch up. We get to find out about the highlights of each other’s days. What we enjoyed the most about our day and what could have been better.
The truth is that time together does require effort from both parents and as a family unit. As our son nears his teens, even though it’s still a few years away, we believe that it’s important that we instil the habit of spending time together through the sharing of meals at the very least. Failing that we will literally be living past each other at home in a few years time and I don’t want that for us. It just opens up doors I don’t really want to be opened.
HOW WE TRY AND STAY CONNECTED AS A FAMILY
Although in the week it does get a little hectic, and time together can be a challenge, we do our best to sit in the lounge every night to catch up with each other’s day but it’s over the weekend that we strive to spend as much time together as we can, without being in each other’s personal space too much. We also do our best to spend time outdoors doing things all three of us enjoy and thereby really have fun together as a family.
Do you tell your family you love them? I didn’t grow up in an environment that used the words “I love you” or “Love you” but somehow we all knew that we were loved. Darren, on the other hand, comes from a family that often used the words “I love you“. It was a little weird for me initially, but I’ve since embraced it. More especially knowing how short life is. Now we don’t part from each other without letting the other person know that they are loved.
Disagreements are part and parcel of any family. So we do our best to say “Sorry” when we are wrong or we’ve unintentionally upset the other person. We don’t always forgive and forget easily but we work through the issue as quickly as possible.
My language of love is how I connect with my boys and family at large, through food. I love the kitchen. I love cooking or baking for my boys. Of late, I have noticed that they enjoy helping me out in the kitchen too. Baking is the best!
Sadly, it’s much easier for us all to live past each other these days and before you know it, we could all be strangers merely sharing a roof. It is therefore up to us as parents to make every effort to stay connected with each other as an integrated family unit.
By living such rushed lives nowadays, if we don’t fully immerse ourselves into making a difference to our family life, we could wake up one day to find that we’ve wasted years and drifted apart from each other instead of growing closer.
So to summarise how we nurture and care for our family unit, we love unconditionally, say ‘sorry‘ as often as it takes and make time for one another as far as practically possible.