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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

After a cross country move, my husband and I moved in with my Dad last fall. I no longer plan or cook most of the meals for my family! My Dad plans, shops, and cooks for all of us roughly 4 - 5x/week. It's amazing! My husband eats out most days at work and is actually pretty grumpy about grocery shopping, it's been hard moving on from the amazing grocery stores we loved back in Texas (HEB!). But we still shop for ourselves and I just buy what I want and eat what I want. Once a week my husband and I go out to eat and we do our own thing on most weekend days. My Mom is returning after a contract job out of the state and I'm low key nervous about her more demanding food preferences & that she'll maybe want to switch up tihs great formula! For fun, my Dad and I buy each other foods we know the other loves (Pop Tarts!) and geek out over food prices and new snacks/drinks we come across.

Just a perk of living in an intergenerational household that I did not expect.

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I want to move in with your Dad! (Not in a weird way just for dinner!) That sounds so so great.

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For a while my dad was renting our house from us while we lived overseas, and we'd come back for a month every summer to stay there with him. He and I are definitely the grocery shoppers and meal planners and dinner makers of the family and it's a lot of fun doing it together. And my daughter loves all the different ways Grandpa can cook a hot dog.

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I love that!

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Virginia, this quote "...the “end” is a non-picky child who eats all their vegetables—not because you pressured but because they learned to love them organically over time. This is like hoping intuitive eating will make you effortlessly thin. That’s just not going to be every kid." OH MY GOSH have you been stalking me for the last 17 or so years???

I realized I had some disordered eating, turned to intuitive eating, but at first it was very much through the Geneen Roth lens, and I was absolutely, completely sure that when I got intuitive eating "right," I would become thin. Effortlessly. Naturally. No, I did not.

Cut to several years later and I am a mom and I did the exact same thing with DOR. Not the thin thing, the thinking my child would be become a perfect eater who loved all foods, effortlessly! No, she did not.

Thankfully, I seem to be following the path many here and I am releasing so many expectations and obligations. This week when I grocery shopped I bought a bunch of frozen stuff because I am tired of being in charge and making all the choices and chopping vegetables. Last night for dinner my husband and I ate frozen spinach pizzas and my daughter had some cheese sticks and a maple flavored yogurt and a waffle and some mango. We're at the table together, we're all eating food, it's good enough.

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Oh I think there is a whole intuitive eating as diet to DOR as diet pipeline going on... you are not alone!! And yay for frozen food!

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Every night: “when they pop into my room right when I’m about to fall asleep and they suddenly want to talk about all of the things.”😂😂

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OMGGGG. Every. Night.

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So amazing Virginia, I wish I could make every parent I know read this. I spent so much time and energy early on focused on family dinner and the cost/benefit did not work out in my favor, which then worked out in no one's favor because I was so stressed about it and stressed parents don't transmit connection at the dinner table. At the time I recognize it was also working mom guilt, I was trying to pack in important "nutrients" of family time too.

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

We threw in the towel on family dinner when the pandemic hit.

Our young adult—and back then high school—daughter (who is autistic) might eat in the same room, at the table with headphones and a book or a show while I’m still cooking our dinner in the same room—or while my wife and I hit the couch to balance dishes on our laps. Initially I felt weird about this—but honestly, it works for all of us, and we have plenty of opportunities for long talks together at other times.

So, cheers to whatever works for people!

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

I love family dinner as a place to teach bodily autonomy! That clear goal can answer so many of the daily, nagging questions that come with this meal. 💡

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Thanks for writing about this. I grew up with family dinners every night and shaking that "should" has been difficult. Every few months I'll decide we're starting family dinners again and then they quickly fall apart. My 5 y/o is ready for dinner by 5:30, my husband is often not home from work yet or out running at that time and prefers eating later anyway. A lot of times my son eats "kid food" while I'm finishing up dinner for the adults, then I sit down and join him, husband may or may not too. I used to feel ashamed of this, but I'm realizing it's just what works for us. Sometimes my son watches TV or his tablet, sometimes we read or do table topics. The important thing is we're all getting fed, we do spend time together, and those special conversations still happen.

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

OMG - Just came here to say: YOU ARE MY PEOPLE!!!! Thank you so much for this! I read this at the perfect time on the perfect day when I'm feeling low (mood, energy, take your pick) and have the task of feeding five of us ahead of me with not a huge amount of options. This piece let me exhale and let go of my ever-present guilt. I thank you for that.

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Love this post. One of the things we've done over the years is make lunch time our family meal and somehow that has taken so much pressure off? Lunch seems to be less formal, there's less crankiness all around and it feels easier (weekends). Dinner on weeknights is a mess and everyone in my family has different eating habits/desires by the end of the day because their work/school schedules (I have a preschooler who eats lunch as 12 and a middle schooler who can't eat lunch until after 2pm) mean their breakfast/lunch is different and since everyone wants to eat when they feel like eating, we are currently just all over the place -- I'm lucky if I get to eat dinner with one other person. But we also find other ways to do things together, I have a 5 year old who loves to "help", whether it's washing dishes or mixing something, and an 11 yr old who will also help in the kitchen if we can watch an episode of whatever favourite thing she's into together. I think that still counts for something?

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It ABSOLUTELY still counts and I love this so much.

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

The dinnertime snack plate has been such a game changer in my house. My kids are much more likely to eat something if it's on a communal plate or bowl, and then I don't feel bad if they don't eat any of their "actual dinner." Ours usually consists of baby carrots and cucumbers with homemade ranch, berries, Babybel cheese and Ritz crackers.

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Yes!! I also often then use the remnants of the snack plate to start lunches for the next day...

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Similar to the snack plate, we bring out any berries or cut up veggies we have in the fridge. We also have a bowl of fruit on the dining room table at all times. This makes it easier to just cook whatever sounds good without having to worry about side dishes OR picky eaters. We also do "fend for yourself" night a couple times a month that just means everyone is in charge of figuring it out themselves and can eat in front of the tv or in their room. Our kids are 9 and 12, and they enjoy the autonomy.

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Love a "fend for yourself"night! We do that pretty much every Friday the kids are with me.

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Mar 5Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Love this so much. I have a neurodivergent child who is extremely picky, and is on meds that affect his appetite, so honestly, I just need him to eat anything. Both of mine are also super hyperactive, so dinner where they are sitting is stressful and ends in arguments so our therapist recommended splitting dinner up which is we are currently trying.

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Love that your therapist is helping you think flexibly like this!

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Mar 6Liked by Virginia Sole-Smith

Family dinner was such a terrible experience for me as a little kid growing up. I can remember more than one time of having to sit at the table long after everyone else had left, just because I hadn't eaten everything on my plate. When it would get close to bedtime, I would be allowed to get up and go to bed, but that uneaten food would be my breakfast (cold) the next morning. If I didn't/wouldn't eat it then, I got it at lunchtime. My dad would not be disobeyed. It got to the point where my mom got sick of waiting to clear the table and do dishes, so I ended up getting spanked instead. It wasn't that the food wasn't good, you know? The anxiety made me sick. I learned to eat really fast, even if I threw up later. I've had issues my entire life with food, probably because of this.

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Oh Roxy. Just catching up on comments here and seeing this — I am so sorry that happened to you. No kid deserves that. xoxo

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Thank you, Virginia ❤️

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I'm so sorry this happened to you.

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Thank you ❤️

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Our son was just turning 4 when we adopted him. He had experiencd much chaos in his young life. He was an extremely picky eater, and the pressure I felt to fix it was immense. So many people in our lives had many feelings about his eating habits and loved to share them. My son is now 22, living on his own and feeding himself. He still eats the same 10 things. He's fine. I cried reading these comments. I wish I could have just relaxed and realized he was fine; that it was okay.

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I concur:

-The study that purports to demonstrate a ridiculously powerful reduction in obesity is ridiculous and has plenty of procedural flaws.

-Little kids can't possibly be fed without beaucoup parental intervention and big kids forget about it.

-Family together meal time is an estimable institution if you're lucky.

But I have one further bugaboo to contribute:

There's only one thing you can do while eating and that's watch TV, and there's only one thing you can do while watching TV and that's eat. In Japan every family has the TV in the kitchen/dinning room. They're smart. ( I've written that the pediatric literature that says watching TV causes obesity is poopy.)

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Is pesto pasta still a hit, after all this time?

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It remains one kid's forever favorite. The other kid is hot and cold on it currently (is more mixed on pasta in general, how are you my child!!) but loves the chicken I usually make to go with it, so that plus brownies is our one ironclad "everybody likes this" dinner. I dream of the day we add a second such hit to the repertoire!

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