“But I don’t want to eat that.”
Those are the words that will bring any mother to her knees. Fear not. You can win this! I have won it and I can give you my secret…
Ok, so I know that sounds harsh for some. And I do care…mostly. I also know that skipping dinner will not hurt my kids. They won’t enjoy it and there will be tears…but they’ll be fine. And they’ll probably eat a GREAT breakfast.
Ultimately, when I was a young mother, all I knew is that more than anything I wanted my sanity. And to get to that place, I needed to stick to a plan. And preparing separate meals for multiple kids is insane. Just getting dinner on the table AT ALL is a big enough challenge.
So make a plan and stick to it.
That’s it. It’s not rocket science. The hardest part is two-fold. 1. Getting over your guilt, and 2. making sure Dad is on the same page.
Ok, so let’s discuss the guilt issue first. I get it, really! Guilt is powerful. You’re absolutely convinced that they will remember this injustice for the rest of their lives. They will probably wake up weak and have lost all their sweet chubbiness. I promise you they won’t. And the tears! My God, they’re relentless! And it doesn’t help that you have THE CUTEST kid on the planet…and they have THE BIGGEST tears coming out of THE BIGGEST eyes. Those are the same attributes that save their little hineys when they smear dog food on the back of the dog. Or pick up the cat by the head. (Don’t ask me how I know about these things.) But please bear in mind that when they get REALLY hungry, they’ll eat what you give them. Ok, possibly not Brussel sprouts. That might take a miracle, so just don’t make Brussel sprouts until they go to college.
Now the other part: Dad (or maybe it’s you and Dad has this all figured out!). But this is really important. You have to have a plan in place before the guilt ensues. You both have to have the same end goal. And you need to have a vision for the future of your dinner table. I’ve watched so many families have absolutely miserable dinner time experiences because the kids are running the dinner table dynamics. The kids are a mess, and Mom and Dad are exhausted. Who needs that??
It’s up to you to set the boundaries for dinner. Do you want to be the family at the restaurant that other patrons move away from? Or do you want to be the family that has the lovely middle age couple (probably my husband and me:)) watching your beautiful family enjoy their time together… eating… smiling.
You can have that experience. We did. It was worth the time invested in the plan.