I admit it. Last year I wasn't very good at having people over for dinner, barbecues, game nights, etc. My house saw lots and lots of playdates for the kids, but hardly any adult social time. Not that I was ever the big social host, but 2008 was one of the worst in recent memory. I'm feeling bad about that and it's my goal to make a much better effort this year and in the years to follow. It's a bit of a life changer, really.
For me, it's not just about marking dates on the calendar - it's much more complicated than that. I didn't grow up in a very social family, to say the least. It was mainly just me and my single working mom (ditto for my latchkey kid husband), who came from a family who rarely entertained throughout her own childhood. Most of my later childhood evenings I made my own dinner of pot pies or creamed chipped beef on toast, while my mom was either working or out on a date. I'm not bitter - it's just how it was. For some people, inviting people over for dinner is second nature. For me, well, not so much. But, I'm thinking that I'm not the only one who's not like Martha Stewart hosting an elaborate themed get together every weekend? We all get busy and tired, but I can't help but think 'what is my hang up'?
Is it my semi-perfectionist side, thinking the house has to be spotless and the menu memorable and delicious? Is it a fear of being judged? Maybe the husbands won't click? The conversation flat? They'll run away laughing and make fun of and criticize the evening all the way home? Their lives are so busy that I'd be intruding on their precious time? You think that's crazy but trust me I've thought of these things. Only, most of my friends would be happy to be invited and be totally fine with pizza and beer or wine. Dust bunnies under the table? Psst...their laundry is piled on the couch! But, my insecurities are silly because I've yet to see a fellow friend's home in perfect order and I never mind or judge them because I'm so thrilled to be invited over and I am far more interested in the conversation than anything else.
So, what does it take for change? My friend and sex-column writer Andrea (that I have on my list to have over for dinner) would simply say "just do it" and you will reap the benefits. Maybe it is simply a case of gaining confidence and getting to the point where it becomes more common than not? I'm a decent cook and our home is comfortable and my friends are wonderful and humble, so I've really got to get past this. I love the expression that you really don't know someone until you've been in their home. I totally believe that being with friends, especially in your own home, makes life extremely rich and blessed. That's a good thing and I want more of it. Stay tuned...