Bringing Dinner Back Week #9 – Later is a land of make believe.

Jon AcuffWe’re already at week 9 of the dinner challenge! We only have a few more weeks until we wrap up this culinary crusade, this food fiesta, this meal mission as it were, if you’ll allow me a ridiculous amount of alliteration. This week, I was reminded of something that’s true of kids and spouses. What is it?

The land of later is a myth.

What we learned: Dinner is about now.

I had a job a few years ago where I had to work 60 hours a week. They never said that, that number was never written down on a piece of paper, but being a workaholic was part of the culture. And I jumped in with both feet.

In addition to working from 6AM-6PM most days, I also had a long commute. I drove 25 miles each way in Atlanta, which translated into 10 hours of commuting each week. So for 70 hours each week, my wife and kids didn’t see me. Why?

I think there were a lot of things at play during that season of my life. I was immature. I was making really bad decisions. I thought that’s just what dads did. And, I believed in “later.”

I thought that if I worked hard now, if I sacrificed life right now, later, my wife and kids would have better lives. We’d be able to buy nicer things, live in a better house, take better vacations, etc. Right now, I’d never be home or spend time with my family or pour into them, but later, would be better.

Here’s the thing though, kids don’t believe in later.

They only understand right now. Their little heads and hearts can’t understand why you’re ignoring them right now in the pursuit of a better later.

I’ve never heard a 13 year-old say, “My dad wasn’t around for the first ten years of my life, but I have a really nice Xbox now. I have a ton of games. Sooo it all worked out.”

I’ve never heard that because kids don’t believe in the land of later. They need you right now, present and active and involved in their lives. The same principle applies to spouses. I’ve never heard a husband say, “My wife and I have become strangers because we’re both so busy, but our car has heated seats. It’s a pretty good trade off if you ask me.”

Kids and spouses need you right now. Does that mean you won’t work hard? Not at all. You might have three jobs and hustle on freelance projects and work like a farmer. I love hard work, just make sure you’re not doing it as a way to chase later. Later doesn’t exist. Now is where it’s at. And dinner together is a great place to find a whole lot of now.

Our favorite E-Mealz meal of the week.

We’re doing the Publix Meal Plan right now. And we’ve really loved it. This week we went back to one of our favorites from a previous week. (That’s part of the fun to me of E-Mealz, finding new favorites.) I heart the turkey feta burgers with sautéed zucchini. Those burgers continue to be magical.

Our dinner record for the week.

We went 4 for 7 this week. We’re in the process of moving to a new house and that has thrown our meals for a loop. I write these posts as a reminder for me of why dinner is so important because sometimes it’s not easy to find time for it.

How about you?

How many nights this week did you eat dinner with your family? Did you beat me?

What was your favorite E-Mealz meal?

What’s something you can do right now to let your spouse or kids know they are important to you?



5 thoughts on “Bringing Dinner Back Week #9 – Later is a land of make believe.

  1. Jodi

    7 for 7 eating with my husband. We have one child who is 3 months old. Two of those dinners he was awake and sat with us at the table.

    We’re on the any store plan for two (we don’t have a Publix or Aldi and the closest Super Walmart is scary). My favorite meal is a tie between the chicken pot pie and the tater tot casserole. Yum!

  2. Lisa

    Don’t ask. Between sickness and a high schooler in Phantom of the Opera dealing with crazy practices the last 3 weeks, it’s been ugly. Cereal has been served more than once I’m ashamed to admit.

  3. John

    I come from South Africa, and this “dinner challenge” seems odd to me. Dinner is much more a part of our culture it seems, as everyone I know has dinner together with their family around a table, practically evey night. And it’s great :D

  4. Felicity

    My husband has taken on this Emealz project and it has been a gift to our family. We do the Weight Watchers meal for six. Our favorite so far has been a grilled ham sandwich with onions, honey, mustard, and horseradish. We also loved the bacon pizza and italian burgers.

    I love this idea about later not existing for kids. So true.

  5. Dee

    We have gone 6 for 7 this weak, ordering pizza one crazy night. Love that we are all sitting at the table together enjoying our conversations along with family time together. Added bonus is the money we r able to save!

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