Are You a Crazy Hostess?

The simple way to live is to pace yourself so you can accomplish a lot in life and not get derailed through burnout. -Joyce Meyer

I’m really not a crazy hostess. I’m not out of control in my scheduling of dinner dates and inviting people over. But at one time, I wasn’t as balanced as I am now.

I had to learn, like any newlywed, the limits of going overboard versus finding a balance in entertaining, and one that worked well for both myself and my husband. It takes work to figure that out. And I had to learn to listen to my husband.

Now I ask ahead of time what my husband has going on. We discuss it together who we want to invite over. We think it through …

I’d say some of this comes with age. Maybe it’s wisdom, because I don’t don’t want to burn myself or my husband or my family out. Now I cherish the quiet times where it’s just our family. Kids are coming home from college. Sometimes there are extra kids around the table, sometimes not.

The time where it’s just us — is a gift.

Wisdom is realistic.

Wise people acknowledge their limitations and avoid trying to be super human … each of us can and will burn out if we don’t use wisdom in our scheduling and the commitments we make, Joyce says.

I believe that so much of our entertaining styles come from our personalities. But that aside, I’d really love to engage with my readers and ask a few questions about entertaining, especially with the holidays ahead.

Do you do it because you feel you have to?
Do you enjoy entertaining?
Do you work together as a couple (if you are married) to plan ahead and make it work for your family?
Do you engage your spouse in who to invite over?

Feel free to share. I’d love to take your answers and expound upon them in more posts.

   

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12 Responses to “Are You a Crazy Hostess?”

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    Darla — November 6, 2012 @ 7:06 am

    Great questions Sandy.

    Do you do it because you feel you have to? No. At one point I did. We actually “opted out” of Thanksgiving with the family – grown married daughters now go to their inlaws and we potluck with a group of friends in the mountains. It was always a problem for the daughters as to who’s family to spend which holiday with. We get Christmas :-)

    Do you enjoy entertaining? Yes. I enjoy small groups more than large ones tho. I like the more intimate setting, the easier inclusive feeling of conversations, etc.

    Do you work together as a couple (if you are married) to plan ahead and make it work for your family? Definitely. DH is is great cook and so we share menu planning and cooking.

    Do you engage your spouse in who to invite over? Yes. However I am lucky, DH loves company even more than I do so he is all for inviting people – even for an informal last minute kind of meal.

    Darla

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    Kim — November 6, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    I am not a crazy hostess, thank goodness.

    Do you do it because you feel you have to? Honestly, sometimes I do. When family members can’t host a party due to space restrictions, etc., I may volunteer to host the party at my house.

    Do you enjoy entertaining? Yes, I love entertaining! That said, I am a perfectionist, which I am trying to tame thanks to you!

    Do you work together as a couple (if you are married) to plan ahead and make it work for your family? Yes, and I am lucky because my husband is willing to pitch in and help with anything I need him to do.

    Do you engage your spouse in who to invite over? Absolutely! My husband gets along with everyone, so he has never said no to my guest lists- so far!

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    Heather @ Heather's Dish — November 6, 2012 @ 7:34 am

    oh sandy.

    the second i read the title my brain was screaming, “YES!!!” i absolutely do love entertaining, but i get so caught up in cleaning the house and making everything look perfect that it can get a little stressful. i really should include Nate more – he wants to be part of it!

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    Theresa — November 6, 2012 @ 7:40 am

    What thought-provoking questions!

    Honestly, I find myself with two totally different entertaining personalities. There are some things I host because I feel I have to, or because they are extremely important to my husband and I want to host those because he enjoys them, but given the choice I wouldn’t. His family dynamics are complicated due to divorce and the beginnings of mental illness, so when we are in a position to host large groups of his family, I’d really rather back out and have smaller groups that are more manageable. That doesn’t happen because it’s not a possible reality right now.

    Other times, I enjoy hosting. I tend to be a “small group” hostess by default, preferring only one or two couples at a time and when the planning comes together to facilitate that, I find I’m much more at ease and enjoy the experience much more. I always default to this “vision” of entertaining as well, so I do enjoy it in the abstract and am currently trying to work on embracing the larger groups as well. It’s a challenge every time, but I would like to think I’ve made progress.

    We do work together as a couple a little, but this year is the first year we’re really going to have to make it work for us as a family, since our first child is due in a couple of weeks. Perhaps just as importantly, we decided NOT to entertain a lot this holiday season because we’ll be finding our rhythm as a family. We made a joint decision to limit visits to long weekends, people have to travel to us, and that we’re going to spend the actual days of Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve/Day by ourselves, to make our own traditions and celebrations. People are coming down in the interim or after and we’ll do smaller celebrations at that point. I feel like this is the first time we’ve really had to make decisions for us as a family regarding entertaining or being entertained, and I’m pleased at how we resolved conflicts and came to a compromise.

    We always discuss inviting people over as a couple as well, unless it’s an impromptu “Hey, Friend A, why don’t you come over for coffee this morning, since your husband is out of town.” We definitely have our own friends, but they all know us as a couple, if that makes sense.

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    Diane — November 6, 2012 @ 10:20 am

    Do you do it because you feel you have to? No. But then, I don’t host family get-togethers (it’s always extended family and my place has always been a bit small for 20+ people). I enjoy having people over, for both fancy sit-down things and casual pick up dinners with friends.

    Do you enjoy entertaining? Yes, even more so now that I do it more often (practice makes…less stress).

    Neither of the last two questions directly apply, as I’m single. But I do have a few strategies to help make things a bit easier. Cook ahead and reheat, if possible, for at least part of the meal (main dish if feasible). Have something yummy out in the living room for guests to start in on right away. Assign a good friend/couple to be drinks masters and conversation carriers if I need to spend a few minutes in the the kitchen (ask them ahead of time). Make a participatory dessert – have everyone help peel apples after dinner for an apple crisp or something else simple.

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    KIRSTIN — November 6, 2012 @ 11:26 am

    Great questions Sandy…I’m including them with my answer because I’m so tired today I don’t think I can remember what they all are…lol
    Do you do it because you feel you have to? I DEFINITELY HAVE COME TO REALIZE OVER THE YEARS THAT I DON’T NEED TO “FEEL” THE NEED TO ENTERTAIN OR SIMPLY HAVE PEOPLE OVER BECAUSE I SHOULD OR IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO OR BECAUSE OTHERS ARE DOING IT. WE ACTUALLY TENDED TO HAVE PEOPLE OVER MORE OFTEN WHEN OUR CHILDREN WERE YOUNGER. I KNOW IT SOUNDS STRANGE, BUT WE WERE HOME MORE, OUR FRIENDS WERE MORE AVAILABLE, OUR KIDS WEREN’T INVOLVED IN SO MANY ACTIVITIES AND THERE WAS JUST MORE TIME. I’VE LEARNED THAT I HAVE TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR FAMILY AND THE SEASON OF LIFE WE ARE IN AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT. MY MOTHER IN LAW IS WONDERFUL AT HOSTING AND ENTERTAINING OFTEN ON A WEEKLY BASIS. AND SHE DOES IT IN HER OWN SPECIAL WAY. I’M JUST NOT QUITE THERE YET. WE WILL ENTERTAIN PEOPLE EVERY NOW AND THEN, BUT NOT ON A REGULAR BASIS.

    Do you enjoy entertaining? I TOTALLY ENJOY ENTERTAINING AND HOSTING PEOPLE, THOUGH I WOULD DEFINITELY SAY I AM A CASUAL HOSTESS. I AM THINKING THAT THERE IS NOT A SINGLE FORMAL BONE IN MY BODY. THAT’S OKAY!

    Do you work together as a couple (if you are married) to plan ahead and make it work for your family?
    Do you engage your spouse in who to invite over?WE ALWAYS WORK TOGETHER AT WHO TO INVITE AND ALMOST ALWAYS HAVE TO PLAN AHEAD BECAUSE OF THE FAMILY SCHEDULE. WE DON’T TAKE TOO MUCH TIME TO PLAN…MAINLY JUST WHAT WE WANT TO EAT. LIKE I SAID…WE’RE VERY CASUAL (C:

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    Richella at Imparting Grace — November 6, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

    We DO enjoy entertaining, both large and small groups. One of the things that works best for us is when we work together on the food. I’m good at appetizers and baked goods; Jack’s good at main dishes. Our best dinner parties are the ones in which we each use those skills and combine for the total package.

    One thing I need to be LESS crazy about is cleaning before entertaining. I get caught in cleaning stuff that doesn’t matter and that leads to be too tired to enjoy my guests as much as I should. Do you write about the essentials to clean before having guests (and what doesn’t matter)? Is that in your book? I’m struggling to remember.

    • Sandy replied: — November 7th, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

      Hi, friend. I have written about the “need to clean” but maybe need to again. I love how you and Jack divide up the courses. Brilliant!

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    Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D — November 6, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

    Wow, your post is well timed.
    My husband and I just had friends over last week. We did discuss who to invite – we weighed who would most lily be available, who knew each other and who didn’t and most of all – who liked board games. lol We sat together and rattled off names. Called and messaged some. Then waited before inviting more. We have a small home, and some of the invitees were whole families.

    We ended up starting small. Two people, unacquainted, and us. And, we think they enjoyed themselves. I made note of those who said they were really interested and asked for a rain-check. We’re hoping to do it again soon.

    One thing I learned is that it’s about people. Period. Some unforeseen events meant that our house was far from where I would have liked it. And, plans of having some quick yet tasty appetizers quickly went by the wayside. It was chips, salsa, popcorn, and leftover Halloween candy. Not exactly memorable – at least night in a good way. But, life happens.

    It was some well-needed community. Lots of laughs, and even a few eyerolls :)
    ~ Dana
    CookingAtCafeD

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    Wanda @ My Sweet Zepol — November 7, 2012 @ 7:52 am

    I’m not a crazy hostess. When it comes to entertaining, we both (my husband and I), do talk about the menu together and who is attending. We also divide shores amongst us and include the girls as much as they can handle. We have two little girls, they are 10 and 6 yrs old.
    Our most “stressful” challenge might be when we want to include his parents and his sister with my sister (we all live in Florida, while the rest of the family is scattered around the USA). For some reason it doesn’t happen organically.
    Enjoyed reading your post and I also believe that fun hosting (entertaining) is one of those things you learn with the years (experience). On our first dinner we enjoyed it, because we were wise and divided the job.

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    JulieD — November 9, 2012 @ 9:08 am

    To be honest, I really want to enjoy entertaining but I never do. It’s highly stressful for me as I want to everything to be super perfect and I don’t get to enjoy whomever is coming over. Your posts though do motivate me to change and figure out what’s more important and I don’t have to be super human. Thank you!

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