One of the oft-cited cardinal rules of having a strong family is eating together as a family. I agree with this in theory. I do think a lack of regular and meaningful family time is a significant problem in our culture. In our case, because we work from home and homeschool, we have the opportunity to basically eat three meals a day together, seven days a week. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it?
However, there’s also reality.
At one point, David and I realized that we would all be a lot happier if we dumped the idea of eating breakfast as a family. David and I want to get up and get on with our day. We want to eat breakfast shortly after we get up.
Caroline gets up later, likes a slow morning, and is not ready to eat as soon as she wakes up. She can be up for a couple of hours before she wants to eat breakfast. (I totally don’t relate to this!)
So David and I would delay our breakfast to accommodate Caroline so we could eat together. We had to prod her to get her to breakfast and it often made for a less than happy morning for all of us.
Now David and I eat when we are ready which is earlier than we were trying to eat as a family. Caroline has her breakfast a couple of hours after we do.
Because Caroline eats her breakfast later, she eats her lunch later. So David and I eat lunch without her, too. Caroline eats breakfast on her own (which she prefers). Usually one of us helps her get her lunch (if she wants assistance) and hangs out with her while she eats.
Part of me feels funny about this, but it’s what works for our family.
We do eat supper together as a family and that is a non-negotiable.
The plus side is that David and I get two meals together when we have time just for us. Honestly, this is something we’ve missed since having Caroline.
I’m a big believer in doing what works for your family. For example, we ditched morning homeschooling and switched to afternoon homeschooling. That has worked well for us. Getting rid of meal expectations at breakfast and lunch has totally changed our family for the better as well.