“Would you like an egg? Mommy’s making one.” “No” she says. I call B.S.!
I don’t know how many times it took for me to learn, my children are liars! (not malicious ones, but liars nonetheless) What happened between the time I asked and the time I go to eat? “Can I have a bite?” she says. Liar! I knew it was coming. My husband said he was famous for doing that to his mom when he was little, so I’ll blame him. He said it always looked more appetizing on someone elses plate. Lesson learned, I now cook the extra egg she didn’t want. I just make sure I put it on my plate. #winning!
Getting between me and my food when I’m hungry is like stepping between a mama bear and her cub. Until kids that is. I used to be terrible at sharing food. At restaurants, I would order what I wanted and hated when groups would want to order a bunch of plates and share. Truth. I wanted to order a meal and eat it all! I didn’t expect a bite of anyone elses either, I just wanted what I ordered. However, as any parent knows, that shit doesn’t fly anymore, that was then, this is now!
Plan to give up at least half your meal because they’ll hate what you ordered/made for them once it arrives. It could be the wrong color, or it had “yucky sauce on it” or, my personal favorite, “I don’t want that anymore.” They change their mind. It’s the only constant.
Eating is a luxury. If you finish your entire meal without your children hounding you for a bite or needing something “right now”, having to take a trip to the potty or refereeing some toy-sharing crisis, you are my hero. Please share your secret. If you’re like the rest of us, you’re probably always a little hungry. As soon as the kids sense you’re about to eat, they sniff it out. Like they have an internal food detector that goes off.
And, forget it if you want your own ‘special treat’ that day. I used to ask my sister why she’d hide in the corner of her kitchen to have a snack. It all makes perfect sense now. She just wanted to eat something, anything, in peace, alone. She sacrificed sitting down at the table just to take a bite of joy! If nothing else, hiding just prevents one of those endless battles where you have to explain why they can’t have something, they don’t care, and now they’re crying or whining and ruining that ‘special treat’ moment for you!
So, here’s my advice. Have dinner as a family as often as you can. My oldest will say out loud every time it happens, “we’re eating all together as a family!” She loves it. And, in all sincerity, I do too. We make an effort and I understand, for most families, work and school schedules make it impossible all the time. So when you can, do it and leave your phone in the other room. (Don’t spend the entire time getting up to deliver their second helping before you’ve sat down for your first bite either!)
Secondly, make plans to have a meal with an adult. Your spouse, roommate, friend, family member, someone, whose company you enjoy. Someone who will let you finish a sentence. Someone who will let you eat your meal at a leisurely pace and doesn’t need anything from you. Meal times should be enjoyable, but often times they’re rushed or someone is tired. So, every now and then, treat yourself to some “me” time.
The best part? You don’t have to do the dishes!