My special spaghetti sauce simmered on the stove throughout the entire day enabling the spices to marinade, and the amazing aroma to permeate our home. Earlier, freshly ground wheat flour was milled for the homemade French bread recipe my family continually salivates over, and the house’s smell was now a satisfying blend of both bakery and pizzeria. My big boys attempted to ravage the bread loaves fresh out of the oven, but my master defensive skills interrupted their plot.
“Just wait, the lasagna will be done in ten minute,” I instructed.
“We can’t wait that long,” was their cry.
I smiled, knowing that the longer the wait, the more appreciation they would possess when their taste buds enveloped their favorite meal.
They say a way to a man’s heart is his stomach. As a mother, I have found this to be true of my entire family, and therefore prioritizing meal time is important in many ways.
There’s a reason that we have been given our senses. By meeting the needs of my family through the five senses, it communicates love to them, so at dinner time, why not “speak” love through all of these? The sense of smell and taste are easily accomplished simply by serving a delicious meal, but light some candles, and you have provided a sense of ambiance that communicates peace, yet also takes care of the sense of sight. By playing relaxing music in the back ground while speaking encouraging words to your family members, you have checked off sound. End the meal with a great big hug, and the sense of touch rounds out all five.
Now, I admit. For this specific meal, I totally had an ulterior motive. Once the meal ended, ensuring their stomachs were content, and all family members at peace, I let them know how grateful I was for their appreciative attitudes, and team player mentality. (Yes, by now they know and suspect that something is up. Oh, I forgot, making sure they are rested also helps. I have found this tactic to be one of the best received.)
I began with something like, “I’m so glad that your schedules are free for once, and you are all home for dinner. It’s time to begin cleaning out the attic. Yes, tackling this decade long nightmare that has been put off way too long. It needs some attention and love, and we are all helping…tonight.”
At this point, sharing from experience, the cozy, family dinner mood will burst, but enjoy that wonderful memory while it lasts.
Having a slightly ulterior motive for serving an amazing meal is not why I prioritize family meal times, nor do the two always go hand in hand, but it definitely helps the family mood when you know that a big work night is ahead.
Hillshire Farm has come out with some new “Inner Voice” ad campaigns. They are kind of a fun line up of videos that show how sometimes we may do something wonderfully lovely for our family, but have that ulterior motive in the back of our mind. I’m sure everyone can relate is some small way. 🙂

Thanks to Hillshire Farm for sponsoring this post. Any ulterior Motives were completely my own.