MOM-enomics with Booth Parker, CPA

Life is so busy. What's the true cost of rushing through dinner every week? Booth shares her experience and advice regarding intentional dinner time with your family, talking about the benefits, and ways to make it easy to do.

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  • (00:00) - Family Dinner is Not Disposable
  • (00:14) - Introduction
  • (01:54) - Paper Plates and Regular Plates
  • (03:46) - Inspired by French Mealtime
  • (05:52) - Benefits of Intentional Family Dinners
  • (08:21) - Meal Planning Helps!
  • (10:56) - Doing The Dishes
  • (12:26) - I Don't Actually Hate Paper Plates
  • (13:14) - Outro: Benefits of Intentional Dinnertime
  • (14:51) - What's Next for MOM-enomics?

This podcast is produced by Rooster High Productions.

Creators & Guests

Booth Parker, CPA
Financial guru by day; domestic diva by night and sharing it all in between.

What is MOM-enomics with Booth Parker, CPA?

Real moms. Real mom financial issues. Real moms in business. Real stories. I am Booth Parker. A CPA, wife, and mom that loves all things home and family. In this podcast, I talk all things money for moms, families, and small business. From tips to ideas to info you just need to know, I break it down so moms can apply it to their own families and businesses!

S2E14 - Family Dinner is not Disposable



So today on the podcast, I am going to change things up a little bit from the usual very specific financial topics.

So as you know, if you've been listening for a while, I generally do very specific financial topics related to families and moms and women and all of those kind of things. But today I'm going to change that topic a little bit because there's a lot more to, family economics and mom omics than just financial things. So we are going to talk about a little bit different topic today, and it's one that has been, near and dear to my heart since my son was born. He's now 17. and it's one of these [00:01:00] topics that could be a little sensitive to some people, and I'm not approaching it, in a way to make anyone feel like they're doing anything wrong or anything like that. I truly, truly, approach it from a place of, I. I understand where, where you are as a mom. And it's, it's one of those things that we try really hard in raising these humans, these little bitty humans into being, creating good adults out of them.

And there's a lot we, we get wrong and there's a lot we get right. And this is one of the topics I feel like as I look at my 17-year-old. Son that we, we got, right. That my husband and I got right when we really prioritized this, one topic, for our family when he was young. So I'm gonna kind of jump right into this topic.

Paper Plates and Regular Plates

The reason it, it came about, for me to want to talk about is I saw [00:02:00] another mom friend of mine, she's a little younger than me, she's a mom of toddler boys, she had put a, a post on Facebook and she was trying to get a gauge for how many of her friends were using paper plates to serve dinner every night rather than regular dishes.

And at first I thought this was. I don't know, maybe kind of odd to post about, but then I realized that that actually is kind of a trend right now, especially with younger moms and moms of toddlers and younger children. And so I was reading the comments on her post and it was very, very heavily skewed to the way that.

these moms were using paper plates and were not using regular dishes, and as you can imagine, their reasoning was, it's less cleanup. They don't have to do the dishes after dinner and, and those kind of things. Of course the financial part of my brain was like, in the end, you're actually gonna spend more money on paper plates than dishes.

But [00:03:00] that really is not the point of the conversation we're having today. And I'm sure some would, jump on the trash and environmental piece, and I'm not going down that rabbit hole either. So what I want to talk about is family dinner time and how important it is.

So I looked up a few statistics, and according to Anne Fishel with the Family Dinner Project, only about 30% of families sit down together for dinner nightly. And that's not a very high amount. And a lot of families, I feel like they're missing out on all of the benefits of sitting down together as a family.

Inspired by French Mealtime

So you may be wondering why in the world the, the paper plates have anything to do with this. And I'm actually reading a book right now. It's geared towards how the French approach, food and mealtime and everything. And [00:04:00] they really look at it as a time to savor and to, you know, unplug.

Don't have the TV on, no phones, have conversation, all of these kind of things. And American society, we are always in. Such a rush, and it's the hurry up. It's the instant gratification. So we just wanna hurry up and eat dinner and throw those plates in the trash and, and be done with it instead of actually savoring the meal and enjoying the time with our families.

I know that schedules are crazy, especially when your kids start playing sports, and that every night is probably not gonna happen. But as long as prioritizing few nights a week at least, and really sitting down and using the real plates, maybe even use cloth napkins and make it a nice dinner experience.

If you're [00:05:00] using paper plates, it's probably because you're doing takeout or things like that, and after you've made a meal for your family, you want to sit down and enjoy it on the nice plates with silverware and all of those things. And even if you're getting takeout or something like that, just putting it on the nice dishes and really intentionally sitting down together to have a meal is a great way to keep your family connected.

Believe it or not, in these same surveys, 80% of teenagers say they prefer to eat dinner with their families. So I know that those teenagers, especially those hormones get going and they get those attitudes, and you might be surprised by that statistic, but it really is a good time for them to unwind and talk to their parents.

Benefits of Intentional Family Dinners

The other good thing about the family dinner time is it does help instill good eating habits [00:06:00] in your children. So children who grow up eating a family dinner together, they are much less likely to be obese and they are much more likely to eat more fruits and veggies and have, mo more, food diversity of things they like, things they've tried, things like that.

And there is a direct correlation with. Family dinners sitting down together and good grades in school.

And of course there's a lot of mental health and emotional type benefits as well. When children are able to have really connected time and communicate, they're less likely to have anxiety and emotional issues and things like that. They're less likely to get involved in drugs. There's tons of statistics out there showing the direct correlation of just how important that family time together at the dinner table is.

Roughly 70% of American meals are now eaten outside the home, [00:07:00] and that's a really staggering number to me. And so if you can at least prioritize several nights a week of family dinners around the table together. Homecooked meal preferably. Even if you don't have the time to make a really nice home cooked meal and you do get takeout. Still sit down together as a family and enjoy it, and not just eat it on the run. One thing that I have noticed as a mom of a teenager is that a lot of teenagers these days, they don't, they don't even know how to like set a dinner table. And in fact, as we've started looking at colleges, colleges are having to teach some of these life skills, I guess as they're called. To these youth because they do not know how to properly sit down at a dinner table and have a meal.

They don't know which fork to use, things like that, and so sitting around together and teaching these things to your kids as you have a meal when they're [00:08:00] younger, then they grow up knowing these things. I am. Pretty darn surprised at the number of kids who, they will go to someone's house for dinner and that they don't know to offer to even take their plates to the sink when they're, when they're finished eating, because they're not used to actually sitting down and eating on dishes.

Meal Planning Helps!

Unless this is the first time you've ever listened to me or read a blog of mine or anything like that, you know that I'm really passionate about cooking and meal planning and all of those kind of things. And I know not everyone shares my love of cooking, but that's where we, you know, we're at work all day. We come home, we want to connect, and we connected over cooking together. It was a lot of fun. Once our son was born and we were both working outside, the home evenings were definitely more overwhelming. So we needed to get that family time in, [00:09:00] bath time, bedtime, all of those things.

And so that was when I really started meal planning and prepping. Because my husband got home from work earlier than me, and so if I had prepped some casserole and things like that on Sunday afternoon, he could put 'em in the oven. When I got home, we were able to sit down and have dinner together, having dinner together was something as a, as a couple that we decided when our son was born that we were going to really prioritize sitting down and having dinner together every night. And I know, like I said, you can't do it every single night because of sports and other things, but. If it becomes your habit, your normal habit for when you are home or when things aren't crazy with sports schedules and stuff like that, then it really, really becomes a way of life for you and your children and your connection time.

Because we prioritize sitting down and having dinner together. [00:10:00] Our son was there with us. We would eat early when he was young. we actually still eat early now. We could probably, be just fine with the senior special at like four o'clock in the afternoon these days. But, um. We, we ate early so that our son could eat with us.

And I tried not to cook different things for him, but he was a picky eater when he was, when he was younger. So there were some, some tweaks I had to make along the way so that he actually got a good nutritious meal and mom and dad didn't have to eat chicken nuggets all the time. But if you feel that you need to cook two separate things just to get your children to eat, sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and do it right.

So that's where the meal planning and prepping can also help because you have those other things ready and it makes getting dinner prepared and on the table happen a lot quicker.

Doing The Dishes

The dishes. I don't love to do [00:11:00] dishes either. I don't really know anybody that loves to do dishes. It's really not an exciting and fun thing to do, although it is nice when the kitchen's all clean.

But here's the thing. We took the opportunity to make the dishes a chore for my son, starting in preschool. So he couldn't do everything at that age, but he was capable of carrying the plates to the sink, rinsing them, and putting them in the dishwasher. And at 17 that habit: we finish dinner, he gets up, he picks up everyone's plates, he walks to the sink, rinses them, puts them in the dishwasher.

So no, I didn't make him scrub slow cookers and all of that kind of stuff when he was little, but he learned the habit of clearing the dinner table and doing the dishes and that was his chore. So it's a great time if. You say you don't wanna do the dishes, so you do the paper plates, [00:12:00] use the real plates and let it be a time for your children to start helping around the house.

They really, really get excited to help. I know my son did, he loved to be a little helper. They're more apt to want to be a helper when they're little. So if you go ahead and kind of get that habit in 'em when they're little, then you will have a dishwasher up until they go to college. That can work out in your favor.

I Don't Actually Hate Paper Plates

So the point of this, episode was not to bash paper plates by any means. Trust me, we have paper plates. They're in the drawer right there under the microwave. They're used to heat things up. If my son's here on a Saturday afternoon and cooks a microwave pizza, it's going on a paper plate. So I get it.

They are used. so the actual use of paper plates is, is not in itself a bad thing. What I really wanted to drive home was the importance of family mealtime and the value that it, that it has and [00:13:00] how important it is to prioritize some time on your calendar, at least a, you know, several nights a week, and have this connection time where you sit down with your family and you have a nice meal and.

Outro: Benefits of Intentional Dinnertime

You use the real dishes and you teach your children some chores and let them start helping. It really can be a wonderful experience and it really sets you up for the habit of enjoying dinner together as a lifestyle for your family.

In this day and age, when we eat so much on the go, on the run, drive throughs, wrappers, all in the backseat of the car, all of that kind of stuff, we really need to kind of go back to the basics sometimes and put family time first. And I know it's hard, especially, maybe you're a single mom or a single dad and it's really hard for you to [00:14:00] get everything done when you don't have help.

And I, I do. I I get it. I have friends who have had those same struggles. But once you find a, like a little method that works for you or certain days of the week and you just, you go ahead and you block them out. If there's no sports on Wednesday evenings, then that's, that's always gonna be a family. call it a date night, family date night, family dinner night.

And it helps you prioritize your schedule and know that you're getting the family time you need and that you want to spend with your spouse and your children, and maybe even invite the neighbors or some of your, your kids' friends every now and then and let them see what a great experience it is, having these family dinner times together.

What's Next for MOM-enomics?

So next week I am kind of, brainstorming a little topic in my head. I haven't decided if I'm gonna do next week's episode on this [00:15:00] or not, but I'm having fun kind of stepping out of my financial comfort zone where I know all these little. Dorky detailed financial things and really kind of talking more about my experience as a mom.

Life is really changing as my son is starting to look at colleges and all these kind of things, and I've just done a lot of reflection back, motherhood and things on personally as a mom and a woman and things like that. Stay tuned for some more episodes on topics other than just financial things affecting families.