Why pizza night matters

“Meaning hides in repetition: we do this every day or every week because it matters. We are connected by this thing we do together. We matter to one another. In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the blow-out trip to Disneyland but the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime, Saturday morning pancakes.”

Kim John Payne: Simplicity Parenting

We are slowly weaving pizza night into our little family rhythm. The moment felt right a few months ago to bring our sourdough starter into being and maintain it twice daily (something there just wasn’t space for sooner). Now we use it to bake bread (so my IBS-inflicted tummy is happy) and pizza, plus the discarded starter makes a mean gluten free pancake! And gives our muffins a bit more oomph.

The thing with sourdough is that everything takes time. It practically demands that we slow down. I really respect that about it. With both processes spanning two days, it’s taking time to incorporate the weekly bread and pizza making into our rhythm. It was the same with the starter maintenance – I remember wondering if we’d ever get used to the morning and evening dumping ritual but we’re (kind of…) there.

And the same will happen with the bread and pizza. I can feel something shifting in the fabric of our family life as a result. As we slowly incorporate this ancient ritual into our lives, we are somehow inviting in more space, or perhaps space for what’s more important. Because really what’s more important than slowing right down, being present and spending time connecting with the people we love?

I started writing this post on Saturday morning. It’s now Tuesday I’m looking back on a weekend of dough-saster. He he. It’s an excellent reminder that even with the best intentions, if we don’t listen to our needs we’re unlikely to end up with an outcome we desire. The problems began with getting a total of only eight hours sleep on Thursday and Friday nights when my chronic fatigue had already been triggered.

So come Friday night I was bit or a wreck but still dragged myself off the sofa to make the pizza dough. On Saturday morning I started the bread dough thinking wouldn’t it be great to try a new square sourdough recipe so it’s easier for the kids to eat? (you can practically hear my intuition screaming “are you mad?!?”) I went swiftly on to a cupboard declutter while the kids were safely at the park. It wasn’t until nearly pizza-o’clock that I realised I’d skipped two major steps in the pizza-making process and the dough would be nowhere near ready. Noodle night, anyone?

The problems didn’t stop there. The next day we woke to no electricity and a fridge full of dough that was slowly warming and no working oven to cook it in. We were also heading to a 4 year old’s birthday party that afternoon (which, incidentally, is why we decided to do pizza on the Saturday even though it meant exhausted-me attempting to make dough on Friday night…)

Soooooo we arrived back from the party tired and hungry but with power! I went into pizza making mode with my keen 4 year old and one by one the horrendously sticky dough balls were transformed into delicious pizza. Honestly, it wasn’t the blissful connected meal we’d hoped for. Far from it! There were several points where we could and maybe should have called it a day and had a merry meal of frozen waffles and veggie sausages instead.

I was definitely not living from a place of intuition which is something I’ve been working on this week and seen amazing benefits already. I had powered on through rather than making space for calm and clarity. My priorities had gone a bit squiffy along the way so although the intention was good, the journey getting there was certainly not.

So we live and learn. And our journey towards a more simple, joyful and connected way of living continues. We’ll endeavor to bring pizza night into our family rhythm, with the intention of slowing right down, being present and spending time as a family. If it begins to look different to this we will try to let go, holding our collective wellbeing at the core. We’ll try to be more conscious and plan a bit better. I’ll try to remember to take time for myself to pause and reflect. We’ll try to find balance. We’ll try. That’s all we can do at the end of the day – do our best with what we have and to be grateful.

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