Do you eat dinner together as a family every night? No? That's OK.
Lots of families don't have the time or ability to have the entire family sit down and eat dinner, and it is causing them guilt. This post by Abigail Carroll suggests that when it comes to dinner, "perhaps it's time to revisit the script we've inherited and its weighted norms."
And she is right. Carpools, varying schedules, too much homework and other factors are all at odds with the family meal. Lots of families just don't have the time to sit together and eat, and when they do, they have to deal with smartphones coming out at the dinner table.
I like the suggestions brought up by Bruce Feiler in his book The Secrets of Happy Families. He points out that it's not the meal that counts; it's the time together. So, find another time to have that talk that you wanted to have with your children: Maybe wake them a bit earlier so you can take 10 minutes together in the morning; or use the time that you are all in the car somewhere to chat; or carve out some weekend time together. Brunch anyone?
Can family dinners be a wonderful way to bond with your family? Yes. But sometimes, they're just about getting some food.