“Yeah. We don’t really have dinner at my house.” Gleek said into the phone. I’d been aware that she was talking to a friend, but hadn’t really been listening to her conversation. But that phrase jumped out at me and latched onto all my parenting guilt.
“I mean, mom makes food and calls us to eat it, but half the time, by time I get there the food is cold.” as Gleek said this, she turned and saw that I was listening. “It’s my own fault,” she rushed to say. “My mom calls me like 3-4 times. She’s a good mom.”
I thought about her words as Gleek continued to converse with her friend. I thought about the family meals we do have. Yes they’re more rare than the other kind, but they exist. I also thought of the other ways in which Howard and I deliberately draw our family together, creating bonding experiences. Yet I feel guilty about the lack of regular mealtimes. I worry about the fact that so much of what we eat is quick-fix food instead of planned and cooked from raw ingredients. This is one of the casualties of Howard and I both being stretched thin to cover all the jobs we have to do. And I’m not just talking about the jobs relating to our income. We’ve had a heavier load of mental health management in the past few months. That takes a toll.
I don’t foresee a grand improvement in our eating habits in the next three weeks. Howard and I are buried in pre-Kickstarter tasks. Then we’ll be buried in Kickstarter management. But next week the construction will be done on the previously unfinished basement room which will now be a bedroom. In three weeks Kiki will come home and I’ll have my live in business assistant again. Only a week or two beyond that and the school year will begin winding up. Some of the things that have been eating my energy will go on hiatus. Better meal planning can fit into the created space. I know it can because it has done so before and it will again.
Some months we eat too much frozen pizza. Other months we plan and cook meals in advance. In both cases we’re balancing needs against available time, energy, and finances. No matter I feel about our eating habits, I can be glad that I have a daughter who is socially aware enough to see that I’m listening and to give me a verbal vote of confidence.
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