It all started for us in college. Neither of us lived in a place where there was room for a table. Sitting in front of the TV was the only option and it was just an easy break from school. When we finally purchased our first house it had an eating area. We said we would quit eating in front of the TV and use the dining room….and we didn’t. Then we purchased a couch set that the center area has a cushion instead of a coffee table and we said “We won’t eat on the new couch, it’s too hard with the cushion, we don’t want to ruin it....” But, of course we didn’t quit eating in front of the TV. I picked up some trays at the store and we crowded all of our plates, glasses, silverware on them and ate in front of the TV. When we found out we were going to have Aiden, we said we would quit eating in front of the TV because it is a bad habit to teach him....and we didn't. Instead, we placed his high chair right next to us in front of the TV.
When we have visitors, we move the highchair back into the dining room and pretend we are a normal people and eat at our table. Our table for the last year and half has always served as a dumping ground for anything we don’t want Aiden to get a hold of. It honestly is embarrassing.
Last week, my husband finally said to me, “I think we need to just pick a date and we have to eat at the dining table from here on out.” I am not going to lie, I love eating in front of the TV. It’s a nice break for me, because as everyone knows with a toddler, watching TV is very hard to do with one around. When he is preoccupied with his dinner, I usually can watch one show.
The thing that is sick about most of this is, we don’t watch very much TV. We really don’t. We mainly just watch TV while eating dinner and some nights after Aiden goes to bed for an hour or so. People always ask me how I get so many projects done around the house, work and have time to blog and the honest answer is, we don’t watch very much TV. So the whole being bummed about moving to the dining room table really doesn’t make much sense.
Anyways, we made the move last week to the table and I can honestly say, I don’t miss the TV watching time. I noticed a few things last night while having dinner at the table.
1. It’s Easier- Balancing plates, milks, silverware, glasses, condiments on two tiny trays on our cushion ottoman was pretty uncomfortable. The last thing I wanted to do is have to upgrade to something like this:
Now I can bring all of that to the table and not really worry about it spilling all over my couch.
Prayer- We say our daily prayer for a meal each night and it is very fun to see how Aiden really gets excited to hear it. I think it’s because we are all saying it at the same time that he finds very interesting, but before he would just sit there and casually look at the TV while we say it.
(Gotta say I picked this photo because it reminds me of my Grandparent's house.)
My husband and I talk more- We have a pretty good marriage, I mean we talk all the time, but the silent meals are no longer. We like to talk about our day or what projects we need to get done around the house. It has just made meals more pleasant.
Birds & Butterflies- We have a large window right by our dining table and we now can watch the birds while we eat. Yesterday we saw two butterflies almost wrestling with each other mid-air. Now I know this sounds almost like watching TV, but the birds don’t stay very long and the butterflies are fast!
The only downside to eating at the dinner table has been the number of times I have had to wash my tablecloth. I guess we are not the cleanest eaters and I probably need to invest in a vinyl tablecloth, but I honestly haven't found a cute one.
I guess the moral of this post is, Eat At Your Table (and not coffee table), if you don’t already. With more than 33% of American eating in front of TV (and I think that number is low because I am sure many people, like us, like to pretend they don’t) I am glad to say that we are not one of them now. It’s been a very positive change for our family and really brought a special moment in our day to look forward to. I imagine as our kids get older, dinner time will become the most important time and the best way to make room in our busy schedule to connect with them.
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