Dinnertime, in general, is a fairly stressful weeknight situation. Whether you go to an office, work from home, are a stay-at-home parent, or are a burnt-out college student, the question What's for dinner often feels like a chore than a pleasant train of thought. However, for families raising toddlers and young children, dinnertime is an absolute trainwreck, even on a good night. So why is it that we try to brush over the hardship so often?
That's where Bunmi Laditan, author of Honest Toddler and Toddlers Are A**holes, and the soon-to-be-released Confessions of a Domestic Failure, stands on dinnertime. Laditan champions honesty above all, and her books are a refreshing and gracious take on the reality of raising children. When you become a parent, you don't automatically morph into a version of yourself that doesn't lack humor and sarcasm, and Laditan fully embraces that.
So when Laditan took to Facebook to pen an extremely relatable post on why dinnertime with young children is a complete farce, almost every parent who read it was nodding their heads in unison. To read it all, see below.
The full text reads,
Alright guys, I'm gonna get real with you for a second. I haven't gotten real with you in awhile, y'all know I've been going through things and trying to get right with God and stop swearing but I need to speak on something. Dinner time. Dinner time is some ultimate bullshit and I'm TIRED of it.
I'm not running for public office, but if I were, my entire platform would be that all children under 10 be fed exclusively Ensure until they learn to cook for themselves whichever happens first. I'd also introduce the idea of sleep-away preschool for three-year-olds because there is no one who spends time around that particular demographic who doesn't lose a piece of their precious minds because three-year-olds do.not.give.a.single.f&@$.
I'm tired of dinner. It is absolutely insane that every night, mothers and fathers are forced to waste their life force trying to convince their seed to CONTINUE LIVING via the ingestion of essential nutrients. You don't see baby koalas and buffalo rejecting their bamboo and savanna grass do you? You don't see little toddler alligators talking about, "Mama, this gazelle is too stringy. It's hot. Mama the blood is hot. It's hot, mama. Can you blow on it even though I too am capable of blowing?" You don't hear baby seagulls asking how many more bites of sewer garbage they have to eat until they can go shit on a sunbather.
No. It's just human children.
I'm sick of it. I'm sick of cooking food 1/3 or 2/3 or 0/3 of them like and watching them look at their plates of pan-seared chicken thighs with roasted potatoes and baby corn like it's a pile of duck tongues served with on a bed of infant baby fingers garnished with dirty toenail clippings, backwash and leprosy. It's not poison, kids, it's called FOOD welcome to life.
"Just wait them out, then." GENIUS. I'll just sit at the table with one sobbing kid while the other two fend for themselves (i.e. fight to the death). Or better yet, I'll just put the meal away until they're hungry and keep re-serving it to them like this is some kind of internment camp or KGB training exercise meant to break their wills so that I can rebuild them into robotic super spies. I don't hate my kids. I hate dinner time.
"I never had this problem." GOOD. Then go sit in the corner with your anomaly while the rest of us brainstorm. First rule of parenting: If you don't relate to a struggle, shut the (I love God) up. Just shut it right up. My kids sleep well, but you don't see me talking about it to parents at the park with the shaky hands and bloodshot eyes that scream, "I know what 2AM looks like," do you?
"Just send them to bed without eating." Hilarious. I like sleeping. It agrees with me.
We as parents need to come together. Rather than feeding our children individually in our own homes, we need to nourish them at giant picnic tables in the street sitting side by side, too distracted by each other's presence to realize they're eating.
Screw traffic- every night at 6PM, we set up the collapsible tables and do it orphanage-style: handing out sandwiches and apple slices and then hosing down the kids with dish soap (bath time) and calling it a night. Success.
We can't live like this anymore. We need a solution. What do you say? You in?
Laditan makes more than a few excellent point in this dinnertime tirade, one that centers around the fact that dinnertime is just a nightmare and to gloss it over as anything but is absolutely mad.
Especially after a long day, corralling the family around the table for one more meal can seem impossible most days and it usually is. Laditan's solution on community dinnertime might be one answer to that problem.
By providing children a sensory-filled experience, they probably wouldn't focus on the negatives of trying new things, especially if those around them are doing the same.
So what do you think, would you give Laditan's dinnertime suggestion a try?