4. Relax: This is supposed to be fun.
Just remember that the family dinner is supposed to be rewarding for you, your partner and your kids. The process counts, not just the “goal” of getting the food on the table. Some nights I have to try HARD to enjoy the process. So much is going on before dinner; sometimes the homework, hunger, and overall crankiness get the better of us.
I try this: I take a deep breath to relax and ask for help as calmly as I can. I remind myself that the world is not going to end if dinner is 10-15 minutes later than I had hoped. I regroup and wait for reinforcements. For me, that's waiting until my husband gets home to help. For you, it might be that, or it might be waiting until the youngest is in bed, or the oldest/most responsible kid is finished with homework and can really start helping. More tips for stress-busting here and here.
Try to be less focused on when dinner actually gets on the table and pat yourself on the back for aiming to get the family together for a meal. Let go of whatever guilt you might feel about the meal or how it got to the table. Enjoy that moment when all of the craziness subsides and you all come together at the table. Ahhh....
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