For Desperate Housewives’ Lynette Scavo, dinnertime with her family is usually a dramafest – if she can get her entire clan around the table to begin with. But for Felicity Huffman, it’s a ritual she finds “actually, truly, surprisingly fun.”
In her new blog for iVillage, Felicity confesses that she used to dread family dinnertimes; growing up, “they were something to be endured…the boring conversations, my mother overwhelmed and grumpy, my father just sitting there and not helping, my sisters always on some weird diet and not being able to eat the food. I found them depressing.”
But when she and husband William H. Macy started their family (their daughters Sophia and Georgia are 11 and 9 now) , he insisted that they give up their takeout-at-the-counter habits and start sitting down to proper meals every night.
It wasn’t easy at first. Like most parents of young children, they had to begin with short sit-downs and “unappetizing toddler food” like fish sticks. But gradually, the “Muffman” suppers developed into a beloved daily ritual.
“I found that over the years family dinners did give us what was promised: Rituals remind us of what is important and provide a sense of stability and continuity in our lives,” Felicity writes. “It gives our family a solid meeting ground each night; the structure does give a sense of safety and unity.”
Not to mention some unforgettable moments. It was at the dinner table that 2-year-old Georgia said her sister’s name for the first time. And “when our oldest was nine, she suddenly threw her arms in the air and shouted, ‘I can’t wait to grow boobs and start my period!’ Bill fell off his chair.”
Now the meals Felicity used to dread are her favorite part of the day. “I don’t know if it will keep my daughters off drugs, or give them the backbone to stand up to pushy boyfriends, or raise their test scores, but in shooting for a long-term benefit I have gained a short-term blessing,” she says. “At least four nights a week, my family sits down together, says a prayer of gratitude, and enjoys each other’s company.”
We’ll take a dinner invite at the Muffman’s any day.
How about you? Do you find time to sit down for family dinners?
[Photo: via Pacific Coast News]
Read more of Shana’s writing at Momsperiments.
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