No, I’m not saying you should have a formal dinner party every month. I’m just saying it’s way too easy to let yourself get out of the habit of having people over, and become uncomfortable with it. Fly Lady calls this CHAOS – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. It’s so easy when your kids are young and messy, when you have pets, when your life is busy (and whose isn’t?) to let this happen.
I hadn’t had a get-together at my house (other than Thanksgiving and Christmas) since Aaron’s high school graduation, and I was in full CHAOS mode. I had lots of good excuses, with my chronic pain and my unpredictable rescue dog topping the list. But when it turned out it was my turn to host the Book Club I’d just joined (they rotate alphabetically) the same week my husband turned fifty I decided it was time. I planned easy menus, put my fourteen-year-old to work helping me, and hired someone to come clean for me.
Why should you bother? Here’s why:
- More frequent gatherings bring extended family members closer. Michael’s eldest brother and his wife made a three-hour trip for his surprise party, and it meant so much to him that they were here. When you’re only seeing people at weddings and funerals it’s not enough.
- Getting to know friends of friends, spouses of friends, etc is a lot of fun. Michael, Tony, and Paul get together for Old Guy Band Day every couple of weeks, but this was the first time all three wives have spent time together. I knew Angel, but I’d never met Denise, and had a great time talking to her.
- It’s good for your pets. I was very worried about Boss, both for the Book Club meeting and the party. But he did beautifully. Two other dogs came along as guests, so we had quite a herd running through the house 😉
- It forces you to clean house. Or to hire someone. Either way your house gets clean.
- Ditto yardwork. Although that didn’t happen at our house since the party was a surprise. If I’d insisted Michael mow and trim it would have been a dead giveaway.
- It’s an opportunity to bring out your pretty serving pieces. You know, the ones that you bought or were given and usually just sit in a cabinet because they’re too big, or “too good” to use every day even though you really love them.
- You can try out some of those recipes, flower arrangements, or whatever that you’ve pinned. I tried a new recipe for the Boston Butt I cooked and got a lot of compliments.
- Leftovers. Unless you’re much better at estimating the amount of food you’ll need you will have leftovers and not have to cook for at least a couple of days 🙂 I way overestimated on the cupcakes and ended up meeting Dianna at the park and providing snacks for all the kids playing there that day.
- It’s a huge confidence booster. Knowing I can plan and execute a party, even though it was a small, casual event and I had a lot of help, feels great! And who doesn’t need a little confidence booster now and then?
- It creates memories. Especially if you have kids, parties are important. Those are the things they will remember years from now, so teach them that entertaining is fun, not a chore.