We’ve turned a corner since the new year. Perhaps it’s partly my perception; a new year has begun and things must be different, right? Spring is on it’s way or something. But I’ve really noticed change. Good change. The kids and I are more than adjusting to being at home so much and not having the rhythm of school five days a week. I rarely need to help them find ‘something to do’. They’re better at it. And there’s lots of good play and that happens easily. There are many sibling fights; I doubt that will disappear, but they are short lived and the eldest three are playing a lot more altogether. Joseph is growing up and becoming more of a playmate for the elder two, so he’s not left out so much. We are finding rhythms to our day that work well, such as reading together, house jobs and even quiet rest times, and the kids are more a part of jobs around the home and preparing meals.
I am making much more fuss over our evening meal and really enjoying it. One of the kids will help me cook or chop salad while another sets and decorates the table. They enjoy picking out a jug of flowers or craft they’ve made and a candle, which we always light to remind us that “Jesus is the Light of the world”.
I’m trying to have most of the tidying up done before Matt gets home…over Christmas, we moved a lot of the toys into bedrooms so it makes this easier! It’s a calmer, nicer space for Matt to come home to and then, after dinner we can relax a bit more and let the meal linger (for Matt and I anyway, the kids see little point in sitting around the table once their food is finished!). I often go out for a quick ‘blast’…walk/run as soon as Matt’s home and then quickly shower and change into comfy clothes or PJs for dinner. I enjoy it so much more after a bit of exercise and a shower, knowing there are no more jobs to be done. It’s time to relax.
We’ve freshened up the family menu a bit, just to bring a bit of change, but are still working on a three week meal planner. I find it wonderfully helpful to have it planned out. There’s nothing very ‘domestic goddess’ on there, just family favourites that are quick and easy to cook…spaghetti meatballs, casseroles, fish cakes, curry and rice.
I enjoy making the simple meals more special just by using pretty dishes, making tasty side salads and using our favourite cups and napkins. And a glass of wine is a welcome symbol that our evening has begun.
I’ve enjoyed thinking this through a bit more. I want our evening meal together to be special and a place of connection….it’s a work in progress but it’s now one of my favourite times of day. It used to be like feeding time at the Zoo..chaotic, loud and frustrating because it wasn’t the atmosphere I wanted. Remembering that it’s me who sets the tone and models this mealtime to them…inviting them to join in making it special..is all helping to change it for the better.