Becoming Adept at Imperfect Hosting

I have wanted, for quite a long time, to be better as a hostess. I don’t mean a more prim apron, a better hors d’oeuvres spread, or a nice coat rack. I want to be calmer, more confident, and less likely to pull my hair out in the last few moments before people come into my home.

I see my home as a bit of a sanctuary – while I do my best to make it a comfortable place for Husband, I enjoy the fact that there are too many clothes on the floors and I wear leggings with baggy t-shirts as my main uniform while padding around barefoot. I choose to host parties and movie nights mostly because I want to see my friends, but if I had my way, we’d always do those things in other peoples’ homes. I just feel the civic need to contribute to the fun that the whole friend group has.

So this year, as part of my quick-at-recovering goal and my bravery goal, I want to make this whole process less arduous. Husband ends up a little bewildered when I’m shrill and stressed right before everyone arrives and I have to pivot to being happy and fun. It’s tough on him, since he wants to help me be happy but he really doesn’t get stressed about people coming over.

I think at the core of my nerves is the idea of someone finding me disgusting or childish, like if they saw that I had left dishes on the dining room table from last week or a sweatshirt just lying on the floor in the foyer they wouldn’t want to be friends with me any more. Realistically, there’s no reason why they’d feel differently about me for these things, but something about me needs the house to be pretty perfect, a blank canvas on which the party can be super-imposed. In reality, all homes have touches of quirks that help the guests have cool things to talk about, but when it’s my house, it stresses me out for some reason.

We’ve had two sets of folks over so far this year, one set for dinner and one for a game night, and I’m happy to report I held it together way better. I just thought about what the worst case scenario was, which was that they didn’t really like it and they chose to go home quickly. In both cases, everyone stayed for hours and hours, much longer than an obligation would have anyone stay, and I think they liked it. I do the same thing at my friends’ homes when I’m having a good time, and I’m trying to relax and realize that I can make a fun evening for my friends too.

8 Comments, RSS

  1. My Way Home Life January 25, 2018 @ 11:45 am

    I’m a little easier on myself than I used to be…I don’t think every get-together has to reflect Martha Stewart anymore! I try to do any housecleaning and cooking that I can ahead of time, and then I am much less stressed. And my family appreciates it too. 🙂 People enjoy fun games and conversation more than a perfectly presented tray of fussy appetizers–so I don’t worry about that sort of thing anymore.

  2. geezer94 January 25, 2018 @ 2:11 pm

    Whew … what bravery beyond the call ….

  3. sebland January 25, 2018 @ 2:16 pm

    I am eighty years old, have regular neighborhood parties, and can say truthfully I always stress out and scream at my husband right before the party. It just goes with the territory. Good on you for continuing to share your home with your friends despite the doubts and fears!

  4. koolaidmoms January 25, 2018 @ 3:05 pm

    I love this. I am that person running around screaming at my family for 2 days before anyone arrives. They hate me and I hate me.

  5. Laura Jinkins January 25, 2018 @ 5:10 pm

    Can I say I feel A LOT better now that I know I’m NOT THE ONLY ONE?

    I am an introvert in that I love my circle of people, but I’m not big on going into uncharted waters full of a lot of “sharks” (strangers). One of the things I have been working on the last few weeks is decluttering the house so that it’s possible to do a quick tidy before people come over. Maybe then I won’t be so shrill in the pre-party preparations. 😀

  6. StoriLines January 25, 2018 @ 7:02 pm

    Glad I’m not the only crazy one! My kids and husband usually think I’ve lost my mind before people come over and, they’re probably right. Awhile ago, my 12 year old tried to assure me that people would not be examining the inside of our microwave. O.k., so next time, I’ll try to let that go.

  7. HookandSewbyLiza January 26, 2018 @ 4:03 am

    I am there with you. I actually only have my mom and dad over. Christmas was the first time since I have been married to do an “event.” I was so nervous. Hubby and I promise to have more people over and I promised to try and relax… Now that his best friend lives closer we will be having him here more often… I am hoping to be able to relax more.
    I wish you luck. 🙂

  8. Ashley January 31, 2018 @ 12:25 pm

    I adore this. It was like reading my own thoughts! Especially about the dishes left out from the last week! I always say that my house is never cleaner than when people are coming over.

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