What I Learned From My Kids Burping At The Dinner Table
Raising kids is tough. So is getting dinner on the table. So some days, when you know you’ve put your best effort into both and you sit down to eat, you just want to give yourself a pat on the back.
Until one of your kids lets out a loud unrestrained burp.
My defenses must have been low. Or maybe it was the Facebook post earlier in the day from a friend who seems to have the entire dinner table burping thing under control – which when your defenses are low equates to her having everything in life under control. At that moment, I became completely discouraged.
I began second guessing what I thought was important as a parent. The things I had been focusing on teaching our children, how to cook real food, compassion toward others and accountability had been clearly getting in the way of the teaching all the “normal” things, like refraining from the kitchen table burp, how to use a napkin properly and the basics of matching socks.
The downward spiral needed a hard stop. It was a burp right? I immediately plunged into my life philosophy of focus on the good and here’s what I learned.
I Am Not Their Only Teacher
There are things I am good at and things I am not. I am good at making homemade pasta. I am not good at accounting. I’m good at bringing people together for a common cause. I’m not good at matching my clothes – hence the matching sock issue.
I’m grateful everyone on earth has a list like that. I can teach my children my strengths confidently, my weakness less so. But so can our friends and family.
I suspect if one of our children decides to release an unrestrained burp at a friend’s house, they will get a little feedback that feels different than what comes from mom.
Love Them And Feed Them
A lifetime educator once told me his philosophy on raising thriving children was simply, “love them and feed them.”
In this crazy busy life of work, sports, homework, and dance class, getting food on the table and having everyone gather around it is nothing short of a triumph.
Some of the best memories I have as a child happened around our dinner table and although the world has changed, I’d love for our kids to have a taste of that.
I don’t win the battle everyday. But I win most days and that’s enough. For that brief moment, this family sits around our table to eat dinner. And I get to love them and feed them at the same time.
Not the prayer we said before dinner, but the overall concept that everything will be all right. That I don’t need to be perfect I just need to be willing and present. With just a little faith, the good things will stick and the bad things will become opportunities to learn.
Not every meal is a homerun. Not every food stays on the plate. Not every dish gets taken to the sink. But tomorrow’s dinner is another day and we will show up and try again.
A Side of Laughter
It is our home after all. It is a safe place to be you, to make mistakes, to let down your defenses and to still be accepted.
And sometimes an unrestrained burp from your 5-year-old princess is just what the table needs to burst into laugher after a long day. Consider it a conversation starter.
Although I am not going to start an after-school workshop on how to belch the alphabet, this downward spiral set me on a path to recognize what was right in our home and at our table. And no one needs to say excuse me for that.