I have a confession to make.
When my kids were little, I used to yell at them.
Especially on family day.
Why on family day? Well, I used to wonder about that too. It should have been an awesome day.
After all, I had my husband and all four of my kids in one place at one time, for the whole day. Perfect, right?
Except it wasn’t.
We’d wake up whenever everyone woke up, and meander about doing this or that in the morning. Not in any particular hurry. It was the weekend, after all.
We wouldn’t eat breakfast because we already planned to go out for brunch. The kids would all pile into the Suburban. They were already being snippy at each other. One of them might even be crying. And we hadn’t even left the driveway. The littlest one might be throwing a tantrum and refusing to put his seat belt on.
I can still see that vein on my husband’s neck starting to bulge.
Finally, I’d wrestle Unit #4 into his seat belt with bribes and threats. Then, we’d be on our way to the local restaurant and a late morning breakfast. Of course the rest of the city would also be at the restaurant for brunch because the food is pretty good. So we’d wait. And wait. And wait until we finally got seated.
Since there’s 6 of us, it’s an even longer wait.
Being good parents, we’d make the kids eat their eggs and meat first, and they’d wash it down with a tall glass of OJ. Then came the goodies. You know, the carb-loaded, sugar-coma inducing goodness: waffles.
After that, it was all over.
Any hope of a family, fun-filled, hug-fest were history. The kids would get worse, my patience would run out, and eventually my husband would explode. All of this was just on the way back home.
I’d spend the rest of the day in a semi-upset fog wondering why I didn’t enjoy the one day that we had absolutely set aside for family. It was awful.
The worst part is that it was so easily remedied once I figured it out. It literally changed everything and might even be the reason our kids still hang out with us today (even though they are all grown up now). Kidding. But not.
We changed two things:
- We fed everyone first thing in the morning. Not a big meal, just something light and nourishing.
- We shared that carb-loaded waffle as a family.
It was so drastic, I was startled.
My kids were cheerful, yummy and chatty to the restaurant, at the restaurant, and on the way back home. And you know what? So were we.
Family day was awesome after all.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Not only as a mom, but in life in general:
People are grumpy when they are hungry. And if they eat crappy food after being hungry for too long, they’re even worse. It doesn’t matter if they are kids or if they’re grown ups.
I’ve used that not only with my children, but with my grandchildren. Sure, there are other reasons people get grumpy, like not getting enough sleep (this is important in raising kids). But keeping this one simple point in can save a household a lot of grief.
So feed them before they get grumpy. And feed them well. And have a family day worth having.
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