Thursday, January 1, 2009

Let me entertain you

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...


  1. It's tough to stop listening to old tapes in our head, and I admire you for recognizing them and wanting to move forward. Your house is full of love and joy, you are a wonderful cook, and you and Jason are fun people, so party away and allow your friends to bring their happy spirits into your warm and lovely home! xoxoxox Mom

  2. I feel the same way! I don't know where the fear of having people over and the semi-perectionism started, but I am with you on changing that for this new year! That being said, would you like to come over for lunch this week?

  3. that's so funny, or not. i have a list of menus, along with a list of invitees for each, that i've carried in my day-planner since 2002. it's just that, no matter how i enjoy the preparation and the evening itself, there are fears, expectations and anxieties attached. like it or not, those fantasy parties become the quiet, relaxing nights at home resting up for the next work-week or catching up on chores that badly needed doing. and now instead or just being my momentum that needs to be right, it's the husband's as well so that's doubly tricky. in any case, all that to say I HEAR YA!