I believe in moments. I think I find happiness in moments that overflow to helping me feel happy in life in general. Conversely, when I experience bleak moments, all of life can lose colour.
Currently in our schedule, Wednesday is a day that has the potential for lots of fractious moments that can combine to it feeling like a rotten day. We have extra things to remember in the morning, two different after school activities, and we arrive home in the dark, hungry (and usually grumpy) right at dinner time.
Parents, you know what those nighst look like. Everyone collapses into the house with book bags falling every which way, and instruments, dance or sport bags plop right underfoot. Homework still needs to be done, lunchboxes unpacked and repacked, and dinner sorted, while school papers are deposited on the kitchen benchtops, all amidst a chorus of "I'm hungry!"
I worked out that a slow cooker dinner really saves my skin on Wednesday, but now I've discovered another thing to change the dynamic from meltdown to a better kind of moment.
I set the table.
It is such a small thing, but it makes a big difference for me. After dumping my purse and keys, I walk through the dining room to the kitchen. The aromas from the slow cooker fill the house and the kids yell "what's for dinner? It smells amazing!" (It doesn't matter what it is. When you're tired and hungry, the fragrant promise of food is enough.)
I lay out cloth napkins. In our house the dinner table has three levels of fanciness for a "regular" meal. We always use the same dishes and silverware, but there might be disposable napkins (nothing special), cloth napkins (a little special), or a tablecloth and coordinating cloth napkins (getting pretty special). I put out my favorite Australian op shop glasses, and include something fresh or flowery on the table. These are coleus cuttings I was propagating on a sunny windowsill, so I just grabbed them for the table.
I find it also helps if I put any condiments or components of the dinner on the table that can sit at room temperature. As little prep as necessary is the point. Even though I set the table, and I made the dinner earlier in the day, it still feels special to me to come around the corner to see a welcome table, with dinner hot and ready. We plop down, light some candles, and share some moments. With full bellies, and connected hearts, the rest of the evening goes more smoothly.
Do you have any strategies for turning something you dread into something you savor? I've been amazed at how differently I feel about Wednesdays, and as we all know, when Mama is happy, everyone else feels better too!