Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

One Sticky Kitchen Table

The moment I found out that we were expecting our firstborn, my mind was a flurry of plans. Cribs, swaddles, bottles, strollers and adorable teeny tiny onesies filled my brain. Now I’m realizing that pretty much all of family life centers around one piece of furniture. One sticky, dirty, cluttered piece of furniture: my kitchen table.

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I did not always feel this way. In fact, it’s just recently that I intentionally changed my thinking about my sticky kitchen table. I was frustrated with the amount of time I spent in the kitchen cleaning and cooking and scrubbing that darn table only to finally sit down myself and have my elbow land in a glob of peanut butter and honey from a sandwich.  In fact, ironically, as I’m writing this my husband just sat down to the table and exclaimed, “what did I just sit in that’s cold and wet?”

When we moved into our home, my husband had the genius idea to ask some design-savvy friends to help us build our kitchen table. We knew we wanted a farmhouse table with the kid-friendly benches and we also knew we didn’t want to spend a couple thousand on something that sees so much wear and tear, so we decided to build one. When we first got it, I was constantly cleaning it and micromanaging it. Luckily for us, the awesome friends that helped build the table were also seasoned parents with two boys of their own. They steered us in the direction of wood choices and finishes that would hide the inevitable dings and scratches and watermarks that happen with kids. Now I look at my table and see the character in it. When you look closely you’ll see teeth marks on the benches from teething toddlers and permanent marker marks from my overenthusiastic preschooler.

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the kitchen table is the heartbeat of the home. It’s where work bags get hoisted after long days at work, where school bags and 20 million arts and crafts get carelessly tossed en route to the pantry, and where dozens of water bottles, sippy cups, and coffee mugs sit every day. The only time it’s ever clean is the 5 milliseconds it’s cleared after mealtimes for the deep scrubbing {and honestly that doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should}.

It’s where life happens. I’m sure you’ve all heard the studies about the importance of sitting down and having mealtimes together as a family, and I wholeheartedly believe those studies. As hectic as it can be to clear off the table for breakfast or dinner, it’s always so life-giving to be around that table with my husband and the little humans we created together, watching them complain about whatever is on their plates and then slowly, slowly, (OH. SO. SLOWLY.) eat. It’s life-giving to listen to their little perspectives on what is occurring in their lives and why can Curious George go to outer space and we can’t? It’s life-giving to catch your significant other’s eye during the chaos of it all and smile that this is your life.  The dog is underneath the table frantically licking up all the table droppings (and there are SO many with little kids) and you’re simultaneously thankful for the built-in canine vacuum cleaner and annoyed at all the waste.

The kitchen table is where my husband and I sit down together on Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee and catch up with what’s going on at work and things we’re excited about and plan out vacations or home renovations or weekly schedules. It’s where my toddler climbs into my lap and points to the refrigerator requesting his 20,000th snack of the day.  It’s never clean, never tidy, and you know those delightful Pinterest perfect homes with the healthy fruit bowl in the center of the table that doubles as trendy decor and a convenient snack? It’s never like that. I tried that once and the result was a bowl of apples that all had teeny tiny teeth marks in them.

My kitchen table won’t be featured in a Better Homes and Garden magazine ever, but it’s where we gather with friends for dinner or where the kids from our life group gather around with pizza-laden faces. It also doubles as a pretty cool place to build a fort, when you throw a few blankets over the top and move the snack plates to the floor (the dog is clearly a big fan of this game).  Instead of looking at it and rolling my eyes with disgust that I have to wipe it down again, I’m going to focus on all the memories that get made around the table and maybe, for a brief millisecond, be thankful instead of frustrated.  As long as I’m cleaning up something easy like milk and not peanut butter and honey, of course.

When’s your favorite time to gather around the table with your family?

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