Family Dinners

February 27, 2007 by Kailani  
Filed under family topics, my family

When we were growing up, eating dinner together as a family was a given. It didn’t matter where you were or what you were doing, you came home for dinner no matter what (unless prior arrangements had been made).

It’s a little different now.

With the cost of living so high and increased demands on our time, it’s sometimes difficult to get together and sit down for a home cooked meal. Some parents have to work extra hours or part-time jobs just to make ends meet.

Since we don’t have childcare, DH and I have to work on opposite days. I work 2 days a week, he works 5. Since we’re both flight attendants, when we’re gone, it’s for days at a time. This means that someone is always missing from the dinner table.

I didn’t think it was a problem until last night when Girlie Girl said something that made my heart sink.

“Mommy, why don’t we eat together as a family?”

I tried to explain to her that while we’re not always all together, she’s always with at least one parent. Our job is flexible enough to allow one of us to always be there for whatever activity she’d like to join. Not to mention school plays, help with homework, doing fun things after school, or just reading a book together. She always has one of us with her.

It’s not the way I imagined my family life to be but I hope one day she’ll understand that she really is very fortunate that we have so much time available to give her.

What’s your family’s dinner routine like?

  • In about a month, Janie of Colloquium is headed for an amazing experience. Check out where she’s going by clicking on her thumbnail.

About the author:
Kailani is the owner and founder of An Island Life. You'll find her sharing her daily life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii.


29 Responses to “Family Dinners”
  1. Michelle says:

    We don’t eat together as a family either. We’d like to, if there was anyway for us to afford it, we’d eat all our dinners together, but with me not working, my husband works quite a lot of overtime which is the bulk of his paycheck. He’ll come home early once or twice a week at best, but there’s always weekends.

  2. Wendy Ann Edwina D'Cunha e Pereira says:

    Yes it was like that with us as well. Luch could be anytime anywhere, as everbody was at different places at the time, given our differing schedules… but dinner was always together, unless there was a prior event or appointment. We still follow the routine now that I am married and with kids… unless my husband is away on work… But given that there is a fixed routine, also means that if it’s changed I still have to explain a lot to my kids. May 5 & 3 yr old cannot understand why dad has to go away even for a day. Ofcourse, it’s inconceivable if it were mom. I’ve been told that under no circumstance am I to be away from the even for a night!!!

  3. Carey says:

    Our family dinners are about the same as yours. My hubby works 2 jobs, which keeps him away most dinner nights. Friday and Sunday are the only two nights we are all together for dinner. On Saturdays, as long as everyone is home, we make it a point to have lunch together. No one is happy with this schedule, Id like him home every night for dinner, but its not possible at the moment, but we are working on it.

  4. verbalAffair says:

    This is probably the situation for the majority of families. It’s a bit sad, because the best conversations often occur during a good, long meal.

  5. Anne says:

    we always did eat as a family at the dinner table. Mom set the table food was put in dishes to pass around. Now while I have insisted we eat dinner at the table and as a family (hard when hubs works nights so more often than not its just me and the kids) but normally I just spoon food on the plates from the stove. Maybe I should change and do it the way mom did. lol

  6. BeachMama says:

    For many years we ate our dinners on the sofa while watching the news. Once J came along we started eating at the table again. I think it is great that we eat together almost every night. Hubby has school twice a week so he misses out there, but otherwise we are always sitting down as a family to eat. I think it is important for all of us.

  7. tiggerprr says:

    I’m a bit of a freak about dinner together. I think it’s because that was the only “family” type thing we actually did with any regularity when I was a kid. I detest when we can’t all sit down at the table together to have dinner. But, with Ken being on call 24/7 it’s sometimes not possible and Ashlyn and I end up just the two of us (in which case, you might find us at the local Chinese place, hehe). Usually though, unless he’s going to be crazy late, we’ll snack and wait for him to get home and have a late dinner.

  8. Lisa says:

    I don’t have kids yet, but my husband and I do eat dinner together every night. Our work schedules are pretty similar so we are lucky enough to be home around the same time, can cook dinner together, then enjoy it together. Our goal is to continue this routine when we add to our family. I hope it works out as planned.

  9. sauerkraut says:

    I am a person, not a spam script and I approve this message.

    We try to sit down to meals as often as possible. Not always doable due to varying schedules but we give it our best shot even if it means holding off on dinner and weekend meals by 30 minutes or so. We’ve even made it a habit to include the cat.

    But boy oh boy does she get cross when we do not feed her right away. Almost human in her facial expressions.

  10. Mary (Mert) says:

    It was like that in my family too as a kid… Now that John is working so much overtime, the kids are starving by the time he gets home sometimes, so I feed them. If I’m not ravenous, I wait until he gets home to eat. :D

  11. katkat says:

    We eat dinner together everynight.This has only happened in the last year.We were never home at the same time and I worked nights. It can be so hard. I feel were your coming from.

  12. Desert Songbird says:

    I’m kinda a stickler for family meals, and even though I’m a SAHM, it’s not always possible. I think it’s good that you pointed out to Girlie Girl that there’s always one of you home with her and Baby Bug; it may take her a while to understand the value of that, but eventually she will. When my husband used to travel for work, we used to set a place for him at the table anyway and then we’d call him during mealtime so that he could hear us and we felt like he was there. Then the kids would call him at bed time and give him a running account of their days so that he felt like he didn’t miss too much.

    We also used to gather for a meal we generally wouldn’t eat together (lunch on a weekend, for example), or we’d make special effort to go out to eat on the weekend, even if it was just IHOP or something like that.

    We all have to make concessions, but we can be creative in the ways we do it!

  13. Pamela says:

    If we eat out then we EAT TOGETHER!!!

  14. Holly Schwendiman says:

    There’s a lot of ways to spend quality time with your family. I’m very fortunate that we can and do eat dinner together with our kids and it’s more rare when we’re not all together than when we are. But I’m always amazed at how 5 minutes of concentrated playtime will provide my kids with many multiples of that time in satisfaction and security. I think anything and everything we do to show our families how much we love them builds security and success. And I think it’s easier to focus on the things we don’t, haven’t yet, or wish we’d do than give ourselves credit for all the good stuff we do do!!

    Holly’s Corner

  15. Twisted Cinderella says:

    We don’t always eat together, but I wish we did.

  16. Renee says:

    We’re pretty fortunate that we eat together as a family almost every night. There are a few nights, like tonight for example where we don’t eat together…but when that happens we turn it into a good thing. DD & I are going out “Girls Night Out!” And the even rarer times when I’m not home for dinner…it’s “Daddy/Daughter date night!”

    GG is probably bugging you about this because they’ve started pushing “Family time” in schools. I even saw one of those commercials about it. Normally kids wouldn’t think anything of it…this is just the way our family is.

  17. Debby says:

    I grew up that way too and I remember it all fondly…except when it was report card time! We pretty much always eat dinner together. Hubby has a meeting maybe twice a month, but otherwise we are pretty lucky that our schedules allow us to do that. It’s so important to do it whenever possible. At least one of you is always there. That will make a difference. GG will appreciate that when she’s older. The thing I hate is not being off on Saturdays. Since I have a bookstore we obviously have to be open and we are just too busy for me to take that day off. We always have Sundays together though and then Monday I have to myself to run errands and stuff.

  18. jenn says:

    I love your new theme. We try to eat together and most nights we have dinner at the same time. Are we always at the table together? no, we are usually scattered all over the place. I’m trying to get bites in while feeding katy, john is trying to get things done so he can help me clean up.

    GG will be grateful that one of you is always there. It’s amazing to me that you make it work so well.

  19. maria says:

    GARRR those commercials about the family table, they are making parents feel guilty. We rarely get the chance to all sit down together as well, but when my youngest says something about it I remind him instead of other things we are able to do as a family because his mom and dad work so hard.

  20. Mommy the Maid says:

    We try very hard to have family dinners, but Hubby usually doesn’t get home until 6:30 on a good day. SOmetimes I can dinner done and on the table by then, and those days are nice. But a lot of times he comes home late. I usually feed the girls and then when he gets home, he spends some time goofing off with them. Then, while he eats reheated dinner, I try to get the girls bathed, homework done, and ready for bed.

  21. sam says:

    I try my best to have us all sit down together every night for supper. Sometimes hubby works late and the girls’ little tummies cant wait though! :)

  22. Meg says:

    We have no dinner routine at all. Our kitchen table is usually buried under mounds of paperwork/homework/sewing. I realized the other night when Squeaks was acting up at a restaurant that we need to implement some sort of family dinner so that she can learn some table manners. Of course that means we have to learn table manner first….

  23. momto3cubs says:

    I think it’s wonderful how there is always a parent at home for your family.

    Not much of a dinner routine here. My boys eat non-stop, so I kind of gave up on making big meals. We often sit down to eat at the same time (the boys and I, not DH), but we are usually eating different things.

  24. Christine says:

    I really would like to have a time where we could all sit down to have dinner together. We had a similar schedule like yours, when I was working. My husband worked days, and I worked nights. So dinner was waiting for them, and I usually ate dinner at the restaurant. Then I would bring something home after work, and my husband and I would share it while we talked about our day. Now that I’m not working , you would think we would find time to sit down, now my husband is trying to start his own business and some days he’s gone. There are a couple days a week my daughter, my husband, and I will make dinner together, which I really like because cooking dinner takes longer than actually eating it. LOL!Like a ride at Disneyland you wait an hour, and it’s over in a minute.

  25. Sparky Duck says:

    TV trays in front of the TV. Though when I was a kid, it was family dinner at 6:15, at least during the week, with the TV on in the other room, but not watched unless an awesome game was on or something blew up. Friday and Saturday were hit and miss, with our sporting events and dads sporting events (he was a coach and then Athletic Director). But there was always Sunday dinner at the table.

  26. becca says:

    I love family dinners. Specially sunday nights. I love all the new looks on your blog.

  27. Stephanie says:

    We usually do eat dinner together.
    I think she will appreciate always having a parent there, even if it isn’t until she is an adult. these choices are not easy!

  28. skeet says:

    I worked two and sometimes three jobs almost all of the years when my son was young, and went to school at night for many of those years. Dinner together didn’t happen often, but we frequently made a special time of breakfast. On days that I got off of the night job early enough, I’d wake him a little early and we’d make pancackes or biscuits or some other creation, then sit down and spend some time enjoying our labors. Sunday dinners were almost always together,though, and the stuff of many happy memories.

    Visiting fromt he Carnival of Family Life!


See what others are saying about this post...
  1. Nintendo Wii Games says:

    What I’m Currently Up To…

    [...] Here’s a site I found today while I was bored at work: [...]…

We Appreciate Your Comments

Thank you for stopping by!
If you'd like an image next to your comment, you need a gravatar.

CommentLuv Enabled