Thursday, February 10, 2011

Making Martha Mad

 Here’s the scene: noise levels elevated beyond what is safe for human ears; various kinds of bombs exploding all around; communication between Lieutenants being shouted to be heard above the din; orders of cease and desist being commanded repeatedly to insubordinate soldiers; food rations being stuffed into pockets and ears.  Is this an intense war scene?  Indeed.  
Welcome to family dinner time.
Dinner is sacred and special to our family.  It is NOT something that would make Martha Stewart proud.  We don’t use embroidered napkins or fancy place cards; and we don’t eat a five course gourmet meal.  I’m quite sure if Martha were to sit in on one of our family dinners, she would shake her head and frown.  Although I do think our meals are better than prison food...!

Dinner IS a time when we come together as a family.  It’s a time we share about our day and usually a “happy” and “sad” (a high and low) is shared by each person.  It’s a time when we sit down and attempt to learn some table manners while enjoying a meal prepared with love (and hopefully no added spit up).  It’s a way my hubby and I put our foot down (usually in something squishy we regret) and say, “No matter how busy our lives are or will become, we WILL HAVE FAMILY DINNER…doggonit all.”  And that is that.
I’m not usually awed by stats and numbers (math was never my favorite school subject), but the stats on family dinner are pretty impressive.  Here are some of them:

* The average parent spends only 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. (A.C. Nielsen Co.)

* Family dinners are more important than play, story time and other family events in the development of vocabulary of younger children. (Harvard Research, 1996)

* Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004)

* Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders. (University of Minnesota, 2004)

* Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to say they get mainly A’s and B’s in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners a week. (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University)

So whether it’s steak and lobster or sloppy joes, ring the dinner bell and round up all your little cowboys and cowgirls to the table for something meaningful…noise, mess and all!  And don’t worry about making Martha mad, she might look even cuter with some spaghetti stuck to her face.

My sweetie loves to vlog (and is great at it!) and has a channel on You Tube of our family.  If you want to experience our dinnertime “war zone”, check out this vid:


  1. Great post. Loved those statistics. I find that my picky kids actually eat when they sit at the table as opposed to eating in any other place and especially with mom's watchful eye around. Good encouragement! ~Jessica

  2. So true, Jessica! I agree too that the "mother's watchful eye" helps with consumption of anything "green", lol!


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