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​After My Divorce, Dinnertime Became Less About Food - My Two Tables

​After My Divorce, Dinnertime Became Less About Food - My Two Tables
From The Kitchn - September 15, 2017

The summer of 2003 was one filled with much anticipation for me. My then husband and I were building a house in the country, something we had talked about doing since we started dating, and I was in a constant stupor dreaming up all the recipes I would make in our new kitchen.

Walking through our shell of a house on the night it was framed was thrilling. I could imagine myself on warm summer evenings looking out the little window above the sink as I washed berries for a pie. The island would be where I would mince and chop, while the counter space next to the stove would hold glass jars of rice, oats, and flour. The book filled with countless family recipes would get covered in butter, sugar, tomato sauce, and herbs.

As the years passed and I gave birth to three children, all of the daydreams I had came true. I spent hours leaning over that island, planning meals and looking for inspiration. And sure, it lost a bit of its lusterI imagine this is the case for many parents who spend so many of their waking hours feeding other people and cleaning the kitchenbut I have always loved dinnertime, not just for the food, but for the bonding that comes with it.

When my husband and I got divorced, a lot of things changed, but the need to reconnect and sit and eat together never did. In fact, we needed it more than ever.

How Dinner Changed After My Divorce

In the first few weeks of his absence, dinner fell to the back burner so to speak, but it felt right. I let go of feeling like I had to have a home-cooked meal on the table every night, simply because I thought that's the kind of mother I would be.

I learned that it's okay to change your cooking habits just as it's okay to change your hair color. And I am glad I got that straight with myself. Guilt from your marriage ending can make you feel like you need to never make another mistake as a mother. But I am not making a mistakeI am adjusting.

Instead of meal planning, making a huge grocery list, and knocking it all out in one trip, my kids and I are taking it one day at a time. I shop more frequently and mostly grab things that are quick and easy like a rotisserie chicken and bag of salad or meat to throw on the grill with a few potatoes.

About three nights a week we have "Whatever Night," which consists of us all piling in the kitchen, heating up leftovers, or slapping together a sandwich. We always eat together, but sometimes we do it while leaning on the kitchen counter or sitting on the trampoline outside. My kids request this more often than anything else, and I kind of love it.

My New Rules of Dinner After Divorce

1. It's okay to change your cooking habits.

2. There's no right answer to getting dinner on the table.

3. Rotisserie chicken and a salad definitely counts as dinner.

4. Dinner does not have to be at the table.

5. Ice cream is always a good idea.

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