You may remember a post last month where I talked about maybe giving up Entertaining as one of my “E” focuses for this year. I have done some more thinking about that and am really grateful for the feedback I got.
I’m going to keep with this focus for the year, and just continue to reframe my perspective on it. This seemed to be, in one form or another, what most of the reactions were encouraging me to do and it makes a lot of sense.
One of the comments on my blog post mentioned that part of entertaining is knowing your audience. What may be much needed and craved planned activity for one group may feel like awkward over-planning to another. And, being a “Monica” in my group of friends, I immediately thought of this FRIENDS episode (start about a minute into the video) where over focusing on the details (and perfection) makes Monica’s party seem miserable.
I’ve had a lot of opportunities in the month since writing that blog post about not entertaining that continue to embrace the ideas I talked about, but have made me realize that what needs to change isn’t whether or not I blog about entertaining, but my perspective on what entertaining is. Maybe it just means opening up your schedule and your heart when you can with what you have. For me this past month it’s meant saying no to a lot of things in order to have the margin to say yes when out of town friends are only in for a day or two and talking about struggles and dreams together. It’s meant ignoring the messy back patio and just enjoying coffee together as little ones ran around the backyard. It’s meant shrugging my shoulders when kids get sick and I have to cancel and doing my best to try again in a timely fashion. Sometimes it’s meant suggesting we throw out the need for anyone to host and to just meet up at a park so our kids are the ones entertained. But above all it’s meant once again confronting that little voice inside that says “not good enough.”
The greatest triumph of this was inviting my MOPS group over for a game night. It was something I did before my daughter was born and people really enjoyed. Someone asked about me having one again this year but I kept putting it off because my house has seemed really small and crowded ever since there are four of us living in it instead of three. It seems hard to entertain at our place unless the backyard is an option for where to have people. “Not good enough. not big enough. not put together enough” was the mantra that kept me from offering an invite over and over and over again. Until It wasn’t and I just sucked it up and sent the email inviting people. And I can’t tell you how glad I was to have done that. I was pretty open about the evening being sponsored by Trader Joe’s for easy snacks I didn’t have to worry about ahead fo time and even though they weren’t homemade they were still really delicious and easy to eat with one hand while holding cards in the other. We laughed so hard we cried (thank you Kinderperfect!) and my face and my abs hurt the next morning. I can’t believe I might have thrown away memories like that just because I didn’t feel ready to be a perfect hostess with a perfectly plated appetizer buffet (not that I don’t enjoy a good themed event because I LOVE cute displays and themed food but the reality is- I can’t do that very often given my current time and money resources.)
So… I’ll keep doing what I can with what I have and I’ll keep struggling against the monster of perfectionism and that little voice that says “not enough” and hopefully I’ll keep finding moments to enjoy smiles and honest conversation and just… more connection.
I hope maybe being this open about “entertaining” and how I’m still struggling with my perspective on it might encourage others to just open their doors and invite people in as well, no perfection needed! Do you have a favorite simple way to offer entertainment/hospitality?