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The joy of the weekly family meeting

It takes 15 minutes once a week to keep my family on track. With a little planning at the start of the week, life can be a lot smoother for everyone.

I heard once that the hardest part of being an adult is having to decide what is for dinner every single night. I'm not sure it's true, but I do know that it used to be a constant struggle in my home (and unless I was serving pizza, someone always complained!) On top of dinner plans, the general mental load of taking care of a family can be overwhelming! In any given week families have to remember lessons, homework, appointments, who is missing shoes, library books are due....the list goes on and on and on. I know in my life, it was enough to exhaust me before the week began, and even then, I often found I was juggling something at the last minute that had been forgotten.

I'd like to say that my decision to have a weekly family meeting was met with joy and celebration, but that would be terribly untrue. It took some eye rolling, and teasing, and a couple of iterations, but now that we are into it, we all appreciate the benefits of the weekly meeting. Everyone starts the week on the same page, appointments are clear, reminders set and the playing field is level. Everyone has a chance to contribute an idea to dinner. We even schedule clean up - we get a visual at the beginning of the week what the work is that we have to do, and how to fairly divide it.

I usually pull out our meeting guide on Sunday after dinner, while we are all still sitting around the table. Everyone gets their agendas, phone calendars, and the wall calendar and we focus on what is going on next week. Everyone gets to choose at least one meal, and has to agree to the day they are doing cleanup. The whole process takes us about 15 minutes.

During the pandemic, I also wanted to try to focus on positives, so we use this time to decide on our family moment of the week. I put that into a jar, and we will open it at the end of the year, as a reminder of our best family moments.

I hope this helps your family find the same sanity that mine did.


Hi!  I"m Cara Benvenuti, the "Doula in Chief" at Lakeshore Doula Services.  I am so thrilled to be following my heart and calling as a doula!  I spent 25 years of my life in finance at some of Canada's largest financial institutions in a variety of roles from advising people on their mutual fund portfolios, to supporting investment management firms.   My goal is to empower women and families to make good financial decisions, and be supported in the journey of new parenthood.

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