What is your meal time like at your house?  Calm and cool or pure chaos?

I am positive that it looks different for every family.  For some, it happens on a regular basis and for some, they are lucky if they sit together for meals at all.

We definitely fall somewhere in the middle.  I’ve always known that family meal time is important.  My family wasn’t perfect at sitting down together growing up, but I have good memories of the times we did.  I have a wonderful French grandmother who made meal time so much fun growing up.  She was exuberant and had such a love for food that it rubbed off on everyone enjoying a meal with her.  No one ever went hungry at her house.  In fact, you were so full you could hardly move

What is it that keeps us from sitting down together? ……busy with the kids, school, homework, sports, other activities and everyday life.  We are all guilty of it!

The struggles we face are trying to get everyone to sit down together at the same time.  Between sports and homework I have yet to find a time that sticks.  I think being flexible from day to day will help.  I also want to work on having my boys help set up the table and help with the clean up.  Some extra bonding time is always good right?

I am making a goal this year to be better at making meal time a priority.  I know how important it is and that’s a good enough reason for me!  I want my kids to remember the times we sit and talk together during the week and not being so busy that it never happened.

Currently, our family meal time is very simple and I mean simple.  The picture above was actually  me “trying” lol!  I put some rosemary sprigs from our bush outside in a vase and set the table a little nicer than usual.  The boys said, “Wow Mom, what’s the occasion?”  If I’m being honest, I’ve got no problem using paper products.  We actually use plastic cups from Costco on a regular basis.  This is what works for us.  I think we all need to be ok if things are not always perfect.  I want to focus more on the connections and conversations we have at the table than what type of placemats I have.

Some of the things that we do well are definitely having home cooked meals on a fairly regular basis.  Since I write a food blog, that one is pretty easy, there’s always food around  I also love the conversations we have at the table.  Aside from our daily conversations and discussions about school, as often as we remember, we like to ask the boys “What’s one thing you did today that helped someone or what’s one thing you can do tomorrow to help someone?”  This way, if the boys didn’t help anyone, they can think about what they can do the next day.

Dr. William Doherty, who I had the pleasure of meeting at Barilla, has studied the importance of family dinner time for years and brought up a good discussion that having the kids help clean up was very important.  I was happy to hear this!  He also brought up really good points that having regular family dinner helps your kids do better in school, improves behavior and provides a safe home feeling.  I am thrilled to be partnering with Barilla and Share The Table Family Project.  I love that Barilla promotes and supports families to share more meaningful meals together.  This is so important to my family as well.

I love that Barilla is helping support those in need with this program as well.  For every post using #ShareTheTable, Barilla will help provide the monetary equivalent of tem meals to Feeding America, up to one million meals!

This is exactly how our table looks.  Messy and happy, lol!  Our 18 month old loves to throw is food and make a giant mess.  We all sit together and get a good laugh watching Pax eat.

I am excited to make family meal time an even bigger priority this year.  I think letting go of having to do things perfect will be a good step for me.  As long as we are all together and enjoying our meal is good enough  We will also have “family clean up” time as Dr. William Doherty has recommended.  Yay!

What are your struggles with family meal time?  Do you have any successes to share with the rest of us?  Would love to hear it!

Be sure to help raise money for Feeding America by posting #ShareTheTable on your social media pages!

Share The Table

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post on behalf of Barilla, however, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Barilla or their products.