Our Empty Dinner Table


I have a mom-fession to make. It is something that I do not talk about much in my mom circles. It is one of those taboo topics that can pit mom against mom. Or more realistically, I often feel like I have to defend this truth and that never feels good. The truth is, more often than not, on a regular weekday my family doesn’t gather together at the dinner table to share a meal.

Empty Dinner Table

As a kid, because of my mom’s work schedule, we didn’t have regular family mealtimes. I’d go to friend’s houses where the whole family gathered together at the end of the night to have dinner at the table and it would seem foreign to me. When I became a wife and a mother I fully expected to start the tradition of having family meals together at the table every night.

In my mind, I pictured us there talking, laughing, and each sharing about our days. And to be honest we have tried over the years to have dinners together at the table. But each time we end up back in our preferred spot…….the couch.

For our family, most dinner times do not look like TV sitcoms. We are not sitting around the table playing games or talking about the favorite parts of our days.

For our family, we are typically on the couch with TV trays watching Star Wars or the latest Marvel Movie. And on rare occasions, we are all eating in separate locations of the house.

Our kitchen table is mostly used for homework, crafting, and some weeks it is just a catch-all for all the mail and papers that need to be sorted. That means in addition to cooking I’m constantly having to move backpacks, and art projects in order for there to be room for anyone to sit at the table to eat. So rather than having to shuffle things around each night, it is just easier for us to navigate to the couch.

I used to think our empty dinner table made our family less than. Like we didn’t function correctly. What will happen when our kids our older, will they feel less like a family because I have failed them in some way. I felt like we were missing some sort of time to connect and bond.

I’ve come to realize that every family is different. They bond and connect in different ways. My kids love helping in the kitchen, and while we might not gather at the table for that meal. We do the talking and laughing in the kitchen cooking the meal.

Then once the meal is over my husband and I come together as a team to get baths done, bedtime reading, and piggyback rides to bed. We do the talking and laughing as we get ready for bed.

So while our empty dinner table may not be the preferred choice for your family, I have learned that it doesn’t mean that one choice is better than another. It just means that we have found what works for our family and I hope that you find a routine that works for yours!

These topics, like nightly routines, or bedtimes, relationships, and *gasp* sex, continue to feel taboo not because we aren’t supposed to talk about them, but because we don’t talk about them for fear of judgment.

What is your mom-fession? Something you have been holding onto because you felt like you wouldn’t meet someone’s expectations for your family, or you felt that you would incur harsh judgment for?

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Jennifer is a Coastal Bend Native, born and raised in Ingleside. She began contributing to the Corpus Christi Moms Blog in 2018 and stepped up as the Community Engagement Coordinator in 2019. She is happiest when she is crafting, writing, or doing anything artistic. She loves music, especially ANYTHING from the 90's, and is often seen dancing around the kitchen to Nsync while cooking dinner. She is married to Derik and has two kids, Connor and Keeley (pronounced Key-Lee). Jennifer still feels like a novice when it comes to parenting and enjoys letting other moms know they are not doing life alone. She also admits she watches copious amounts of Netflix, but balances that out by reading to and with her kiddos as much as possible each day.