Dinnertime can be lonely when you don’t have the traditional set up where both parents are home for dinner. That’s why I invited a couple of my dear friends to join me for dinner one night a week.
It’s blessedly informal. I often have laundry in various stages of folding in my living room. There are still random toys and pieces of mail on my kitchen table when they arrive. It’s a 50/50 chance I’m wearing any form of makeup.
Our kids are loud. They’re hungry. And they both charm and frustrate us in turn with their antics.
Our meals aren’t fancy. Often they’re haphazardly sorted out in text messages the night before or morning of. Who’s got a main? Who’s got salad? Wine, anyone?
But it’s about more than a meal. It’s about community and belonging to each other. It’s about sharing life in all its messiness.
One of my favorite things about those nights is seeing us all mothering together. Last night when my toddler was sitting in my lap grabbing messy handfuls of food from the bowl on the table in front of us, my mama friend grabbed a flannel cloth from my kitchen to help me wipe him up. Later, when her toddler daughter was spooning from a bowl at the table, it was my turn to swoop in with a cloth wipe to catch her drips.
I hope you have friends like this, who can come alongside you in motherhood. If you don’t, please reach out to another mother and invite her to dinner. Dare to leave the laundry in the living room. Be patient with your children’s interruptions. Don’t try to plan the perfect meal—use what you have in your cupboards. (Yes, even if it’s just mac 'n' cheese.)
Even if it’s loud. Even if it’s awkward at first. Even if you still don’t get to eat until the food is cold. Living in community can be messy, but you need it. And your kids do, too.