Ahhh, Saturday.

Saturdays in our house start out wonderfully. When Child #1 was born, Husband inadvertently created The Breakfast Club. (Not to be confused with the movie of the same name. No illegal substances that I know of, although I’d imagine there has been some eye rolling and attitude across the table over the years.) If you are old enough to walk, you are old enough to participate in Breakfast Club. So for the past 13 years, Husband and Offspring have headed out on Saturday mornings for their weekly meeting. Used to be, when we lived in Hoboken, that they walked around the corner to a coffee shop (hence the “you need to be able to walk” rule), but now they head out to a local diner where the waitresses make a big deal over them, ask them about their week, and generally talk with them like they were regulars a la Norm and Cliff from Cheers (again, without any substances stronger than orange juice and hash browns).

You’ll notice that nowhere in that paragraph am I mentioned. Sometimes I join the Club as a Special Guest, but more often than not I use the time to head to the gym or, less likely, sleep in. The times that I do go to Breakfast Club, the waitresses say things like, “I always wondered who their mother was,” or “So nice to SEE you!” I feel a bit like an interloper. The family has their ordering routine — one child always gets grilled cheese and fries (!) for example, and one orders decaf coffee. I have learned, in my limited appearances, to keep my mouth shut and go with the flow. (But really, fries?)

Way back a hundred years ago, I taught a parenting program called Redirecting Children’s Behavior. One of the lessons of the course was adapted from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits work: crediting and debiting emotional bank accounts. In a nutshell, we’ve all got these emotional bank accounts, and the people in our lives make credits and debits to the account. For parents, when we continually debit our children’s accounts, through impatience, nagging, yelling, and otherwise less-than-perfect parenting behavior, but fail to make any credits (together time, respectful conversations, allowing independence, etc), then we run the risk of “overdraft” and the resulting behavior from our children reflects this.

Why do I bring this up? Because Saturday’s Breakfast Clubs have been happening for more than a decade, and it is truly time well spent among the children and Husband. He makes major credits to their accounts during this hour at the diner, and they reciprocate for his account. The Offspring know to count on the weekly meeting (it is rarely canceled), and it sets the tone for their time together on the weekends. Are some meetings of the Club better than others? Of course. At times, the car ride to the diner is a cause of great conflict and unpleasantness (turns out one still can’t sit next to another without making the other crazy) and the Club comes home grumpier and testier than is optimal. But the net-net from all these Club meetings is that they have a relationship with their father — and he with them — that is their own:  pretty happy, and independent from me. Win win win!

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6 Responses to “Ahhh, Saturday.”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Happy SITS Saturday! (It’s still Saturday where I live anyway.) What a great post! How wonderful it is to read a post with such a positive message. It makes me so happy to read positive things – they are too few anymore in the world we’re living in. I totally agree with you. The more you spend quality time with your children, letting them just be themselves, the better it is for them in the long run. I’ve got three kids, a son nearly 14, and two daughters ages 6 and 9. We let them express themselves (always within reason, lol), and they have grown to be three loving, intelligent, happy kids. We spend all our time together (we home school), and I know that has made a big impact on who they are turning out to be. We are so fortunate and blessed to be able to be with our kids, and though at times we may get on each others nerves, I wouldn’t change a thing. Peace. :)

    Alyson says:

    Thanks for checking in! I just popped over to your site, and wow…I have so much to learn! Where to start: green, recycling, sustainability, blog saavy-ness, links, buttons….
    Thanks for your lovely comments — and I’m thankful I found your site too!

  2. superIRL Says:

    Once upon a time, it was at the Dunkin Donuts on the corner of that strip mall in Warren. Good times.

  3. pajamadays Says:

    Love this! It inspires me to figure out a way to make a breakfast club work(or maybe Friday night pizza?). My girls have had random “date” nights with dad, and yes, it makes a huge impact on their relationship and the whole attitude the rest of the week. Thank you for sharing such wonderful parenting advice.

  4. MAGS Says:

    Ahhh, yes, Breakfast Club. Had the great honor of attending one of these mornings. Everyone knew their place and what to order. I think I held up the waitress with my perusal of of the menu. Everyone patiently waited for the newbie but I distinctly heard an exhaled air of “finally!” eminating from the whole table. Good times indeed…how lucky for me to share in this great tradition. And the fries WERE good!

  5. Armand Godwin Says:

    If only more people would read about this..

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