Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Every Day Is Family Day

In case it’s not on your calendar, (it definitely wasn’t on mine) Monday, September 25th is Family Day. It’s a day when we’re supposed to eat dinner together with our families. Supposedly, TV Land, the cable television channel, will go “dark” between 5 and 6 pm that day in support of our efforts and not tempt us with “Leave It to Beaver” reruns or something else more compelling than mealtime conversation with our kids.

It’s an intriguing idea and this is apparently the 5th year that it’s been done. I’m all for eating dinner together and the resulting benefits, although in a household of teenagers, here’s a typical dinner conversation:

“How was school?”
“Good.”
“How was practice?”
“Good.”
“Anything new?”
“Nope.”
“Something bothering you? You seem quiet.”
“OH MY GOD, MOM……!”

So you can see why I’m not necessarily putting up the Family Day garland in our house. We do try to eat together, but that’s not always possible, thanks to field hockey, music lessons, rehearsals and various meetings at school. And therein lies the problem, or the question: If one network shuts down for an hour, will anyone notice? Probably not, because nobody will be home.

Television isn’t the one thing that’s keeping today’s families from eating dinner together. I’d even hazard a guess that if somebody turns on TV Land Monday night and sees a dark screen, their first thought won’t be sharing a meal, but rather: “Dang, the cable’s out again.”

If Family Day is to be a reality and not a dream, then the lives of today’s typical family will have to come to a screeching halt. Sports programs will have to suspend practice and play, but then when else can the working dads and moms coach the kids? Rehearsals will have to be cancelled, but there’s never enough time to practice for an upcoming performance. Lessons will have to be missed, which will probably thrill the kids because they haven’t had the time or the motivation to practice. And meetings – PTO and PTA and School Board and Athletic Committee and Scouts and Auction Committee and every group that meets under the fluorescent lights will have to NOT MEET. It’s an absurd idea that sounds blissfully tempting if your weeks are blanketed with overlapping schedules and pickup points and carpools and commitments.

For so long, we’ve been told to raise well-rounded kids and to encourage them to try different things. And so we, and they, did…apparently all at once. We’re the victims of our own ambitions for ourselves and our children. I have no solution, nor am I preaching that we should stay home and play Yahtzee instead of watching our kids play volleyball. I think it’s great that kids participate in sports and play music and get involved in lots of extra-curricular activities. We’re doing a pretty good job juggling here in our house, but I can’t help but wonder how single parents, dual-working parents, and parents of large families handle the challenge. My hat is off to all of you – you rock!

I think every day is Family Day and although it’s nice that someone’s trying to make it an official event, I think it’s OK if we all celebrate it in our own little way. I’d rather not add anything to the list of things we parents should feel guilty about. So if you see us driving around while eating fast food, at least we’re eating together and you’ll know that we’re having our own “moving” tribute to Family Day. Hey, it’s the least we could do.

29 Comments:

At 9:12 AM , Blogger chrysalis said...

My mother raised my sister and I alone and mostly in the car shuttling from school to lessons to grandparents. Family day was usually at the drive thru.

Hi from M's.

 
At 9:45 AM , Blogger utenzi said...

Growing up, we only had one car, and that was a good thing. Less long-distance activities for the kids and since there were many other one-car families back then you had to car pool and that made for stronger ties to the neighbors thus stronger communities.

Do I blame suburbia and two-car families for the imminent destruction of Western Civilization? In a word, yes. LOL

Hey, Karen. Sorry to get so serious! Michele sent me around to see you and read your thoughts on Family Day.

 
At 11:17 AM , Anonymous cyndy said...

Ohhh I don't have human children so I will have to re-do Family Day at my house a little differently with the furkids.
Here via Michele

 
At 11:36 AM , Blogger srp said...

I raised one as a single parent. I thank the inventor of the microwave every day as it enabled us to eat together at the table most days.

You're right about the teenage thing...and it doesn't get much better when they hit 20. I imagine my folks would say it isn't any better at 50 either.

We still on occasion play scrabble or, like this summer, get away (just Nyssa and I) for a couple of weeks to a place where we can visit museums, leisurely study art or flowers or do photography together.

And the hugs. Spontaneous hugs all round make for Family Day everyday.

 
At 11:36 AM , Blogger srp said...

I raised one as a single parent. I thank the inventor of the microwave every day as it enabled us to eat together at the table most days.

You're right about the teenage thing...and it doesn't get much better when they hit 20. I imagine my folks would say it isn't any better at 50 either.

We still on occasion play scrabble or, like this summer, get away (just Nyssa and I) for a couple of weeks to a place where we can visit museums, leisurely study art or flowers or do photography together.

And the hugs. Spontaneous hugs all round make for Family Day everyday.

 
At 3:02 PM , Blogger Shephard said...

So.. you won't be celebrating Second Cousin's day either, I take it? lol

Great post. Everyday/Family Day. Nicely put. As a child whose parents never gave him lessons or took him to events, I saw bravo to you for encouraging well-rounded kids.

Here from Michele's. :)
~S

 
At 3:42 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

it matters that you keep talking though, even if you feel like there is no point. your daughter would think it odd if you just stopped asking about things. then SHE would be suspicious.

 
At 5:39 PM , Blogger KaraMia said...

I hear ya, i'm lucky when we eat in the same room..lol

 
At 5:56 PM , Blogger barbie2be said...

yeah, if i can tear my best friends son away from the TV and whatever pokemon episode he is watching on monday, i'll be sure to ask him how his day was. because first grade is oh so challenging. ;)

visiting from michele's.

 
At 6:56 AM , Blogger kenju said...

An excellent post, Karen and you said a mouthful here:

"We’re the victims of our own ambitions for ourselves and our children."

When my three were in school, even though they were all active in many extra-curricular activities, rare was the day we did not all have dinner together - without TV blaring. It can be done, and it should be, as often as possible.

Michele sent me.

 
At 7:05 AM , Blogger mar said...

Oh, I loved your typical dinner conversation, it isn't any different at our home, lol! Yes, we should celebrate Family Day everyday, with tiny bits... I try to enjoy the minutes we are together now before Mr18 eventually leaves home and we will have to find some time in his busy schedule to have a meal together...

 
At 8:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didnt know the 25th was an official family day but Im glad you told me. :)

Ari

 
At 11:16 AM , Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Here from Michele's.

You know, getting our daughter to tell my wife and I about her day is tough, too, and she's only 4!

"How was school?"
"Good."
"What did you do?"
"I forgot."

She forgot?! She says that every day, fer cryin' out loud.

 
At 11:20 AM , Blogger tiff said...

we hopped off the overscheduling bus last year and haven't bought tokens yet to get back on. It's lovely. Yes, it may be that our kids will miss out on some stuff, but they have school and us and the Y and us and the dogs and us and the gamecube and us, so all in all they're pretty entertained. I was too weak to keep up the racing around! :>
Here from Michele's!

 
At 4:01 PM , Blogger kenju said...

I was here at 7 am, Karen, and now Michele has sent me back to ask if you had a good day?

 
At 4:04 PM , Anonymous Nienke said...

Good luck for family day! Maybe you can make a rule just for that day of no monosylabic answers!

Here from Michele's.

 
At 5:11 PM , Blogger Paige said...

Thanks for the warning. Oh I mean information. My teenagers will be thrilled. And yes I agree with Nienke-monosylabic answers.
Happy Friday Here by way of Michele's

 
At 5:11 PM , Blogger Paige said...

Thanks for the warning. Oh I mean information. My teenagers will be thrilled. And yes I agree with Nienke-monosylabic answers.
Happy Friday Here by way of Michele's

 
At 10:03 PM , Anonymous surcie said...

How did I not hear about Family Day? (We actually eat all every meal together, for the most part. But I know things'll be different once my boy is in school, etc.)

Come to think of it, I was out of the loop on national "Talk Like A Pirate Day," too. It was last Tuesday. Arrrg!

 
At 1:02 AM , Blogger Tracie said...

I could handle a "moving family day".

I heard a little blurb about this on tv today, but didn't know that TV Land was shutting down for an hour. Interesting.

 
At 7:12 AM , Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

'Family Day' is a great idea; it would never happen here in England, though.

Michele sent me here.

 
At 7:13 AM , Blogger craziequeen said...

How about parks, pools, museums etc having half price entry for families on Family Day? Now, there's a thought...

Hi Karen from the UK, Michele sent me.

cq

 
At 1:22 PM , Blogger David said...

im almost through rasing three, the youngest is 15. its family, and friends, ans school and church day- al scrunched together. Love your blog. michele etc

 
At 2:25 PM , Blogger Moogie said...

I've got two..11 and 8, and they keep me hopping that is for sure. Between dance lessons, and chorus..working, kids homework..you name it, we keep busy. We try to eat together as much as possible but it's almsot, at least right now, like we do it in shifts. It does slow down when school is not in session so we do alot better then. Great post!

Here via Michele!

 
At 4:29 PM , Blogger mar said...

Michele sent me again your way. I guess it worked this way when I first met you. It's been such a fun year of blogging! happy saturday!

 
At 4:36 PM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I read about this TV Land thingy on another blog and they said that though they aren't going to be showing any "ptograming" they are going to put up pictures of family life..(I guess)..for that hour...so, it won't be a dark screen...And I'm sure TV Land is afraid of exactly what you said...people will think the cable is out!
I think you make some very good points about children being "over" scheduled---my word. Too many activities and none of them are particularly family oriented unless it is a spectator activity...
I don't know the answer either but it does seem like there is less and less "family" on top of more and more "activities". PLUS, the divorce rate and re-marriage rate is way off the scale...so that's confusing to kids, too...Who is "the Family"..you know?

Well....I have no answers either Karen....I just know it is very very hard and you all deserve BIG Bouquets!!
Parenting...the hardest job on the planet.

 
At 7:27 PM , Blogger Wordnerd said...

Excellent points, Karen. I think each family has to "do" Family Day the best way they can. I know that forcing my family into observing FAmily Day might end up feeling a little, well, forced.

Here from Michele's!

 
At 10:42 PM , Blogger deputyswife said...

Right now, evening meals together around here is an every day occurence. I am trying to enjoy it because I know soon it will all change. Once the kids get into all of their "stuff". Right now I get to yell "Who threw the biscuit at the baby? WHO?"

Michele sent me...

 
At 10:45 PM , Blogger scrappintwinmom said...

Great points Karen. We all want our kids to be active...I read a quote recently that stated that families who had "family" dinnertime were less likely to drink, do drugs, etc. My kids are still little, so every night is family night! here via michele.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home