Traditions old and new: Family meal time’s do they still exist?
We live in very busy times…
So catching up together where you can, for however long you can becomes imperative if we want to reconnect and know what’s happening in each other’s lives. With hobbies, afterschool activities and working late pulling us in all directions, the idealistic times for leisurely amounts of time, eating and chatting together have become a distant memory. This could even be viewed as an idealistic old fashioned tradition, which we view with rose tinted glasses.
We all know how important and empowering meal times are for developing conversation skills, communities, connections and understanding. Add in the basic need of knowing there is someone who will listen and the functional need to check in with each other, to ensure we are all okay and on the right path before problems become overwhelming, then we see how essential it really is.
So how do we rectify this? ..
Well we definitely do not want this precious meal time to be an added pressure and the holy grail of all eating together, just to prove we are good parents and a happy family. Stressful meal times are no good for anyone!
So what can we do?
Well I could tell you what I do and to be honest it has become a little bit of a habit…
I go to cafes and have toast and tea, chat, relax and put the world to rights, we use these fantastic community hubs; where catching up with your gorgeous Papa or brilliant Brother becomes a precious moment in time, where no one is under any pressure to cook, clean or entertain. There is time to talk!
We know that parents, children and families can sometimes be annoying or interfering; however the times when we say no to a quick catch up because we are too busy, will at some time in your life become non-existent. A little bit preachy I know but Parents do not live for ever and some pass on far too young. Families do not remain young and the time when you wished you had a little space will turn into everyday space; the opportunity for the conversations that we wish we had will never return.
In hindsight the things I would have asked my Mum are endless. However on the day before her unexpected death, I didn’t have time to chat and this will forever be this way. I accept it but I cannot go back and change it. So the reason I can therefore ‘treasure the smallest moments in life’ with my amazing, funny daughters and delightful grandchild, friends and family is because I have learnt. I don’t need too much time to do this, I just want to do it and cherish our ordinary everyday chats, for these are what creates everlasting connections, happiness and memories. We don’t get together for Sunday lunch because we are spread all over the place and have totally different routines and expectations. But Saturday brunch works for us ‘chunks of fruit bread toast’ or a Pret ‘chocolate chip cookie’ and coffee, or indeed a ‘Bills breakfast’. The point being (which I am sure you get) we do eat, chat, laugh, cry and problem solve together, we have built our family meal times and created our family tradition.
So do what works for you, do something that builds a conversation community, then you will get to know who needs an extra hug, who is having a tough week (this could be you), what there is to celebrate.
I guess the important message here is that you, your family and friends enjoy creating your own traditions and love the little moments in life that could so easily be missed.
Eat, chat, have fun and connect together!