No shirt, no shoes, no service. These rules apply at most restaurants, but the standards are lower at our family dinner table. Life with a preschooler and a baby can get messy, so our dress code is pretty lax. Paint-splattered shirts, pee-soaked pants, and mismatched socks can be set aside and tended to when dinner’s done.

We don’t care how our children are dressed for dinner because what matters to us is that we are gathered as a family. We use the time together to talk about our day, make plans for the future, and practice manners such as saying please and thank you and holding eating utensils with our fingers instead of our toes.

Concerns about clothing are secondary to our focus on family time at the table—which is probably why we didn’t realize our three-year-old was dining in the nude one night last week until we had already finished eating. Shocked but amused, my husband and I burst into laughter. Previous family dinners had been interrupted by pregnancy symptoms, labor pains, and crying babies. But an underpantsless preschooler was a first.

When we invited our kids to come to the table as they were, we assumed they would wear underwear. Our daughter accepted the invitation and took it to heart. She came to the table exactly as she was. As she gets older there will be time to teach her the finer points of fashion and hygiene. For now, it’s nothing a bleach wipe and a sense of humor can’t fix.

The staff at His Love welcomes you to “come as you are.” Many say it feels like family here.

If you’d like classes or mentoring to help develop your parenting skills, check out our Services.