You need to host a party! And then share this post with your friends, and make them host parties too!
We live in a culture that is busier and stretched more thinly than ever. Consequently, we need to have all the more real, off line connections with our friends. It is challenging to make it happen. You’re tired. You’re poor. You’re yearning to breathe free. (see what I did there?) You can’t possibly have a party.
I’m here to tell you that you can, and you should. You need time with adults. You need to eat. You need to be re-energized. Having a party will accomplish all of these things.
Choose the guests
Choose people you genuinely love to be around. It’s not going to re-energize you if you’re forced to make small talk with your son’s room mom who only wants to talk to about her cat’s bowels. Choose people who don’t care if you give them paper plates or fine china. (By the way, if you have fine china and kids, just know that you have radical super powers.) Choose people who have kids who also pee their pants or scream like they’re being filleted when in all actuality their brother won’t let them see the iPad. These people understand. These are your people.
The Food Dilemma
Have it be a potluck. You’re tired and poor, remember? You don’t have the energy or the money to be throwing it down into other people’s stomachs. You make a big pot of spaghetti and tell them to bring salad and garlic bread. Do a baked potato bar and have everyone bring toppings. Have a taco bar- cook a bunch of Holst beef in your crockpot. Tell guests to bring their favorite toppings. Do a chili party, where everyone brings their favorite kind. Have something cheap and easy for dessert. Like pudding. Or bananas.
The Problem of Cleaning: SOLVED
Tidy up. But just a little. I know you’re tired, but you at least need to clear a path to the bathroom. Grab that Amazon box the nice man delivered this afternoon, or a laundry basket and throw in all the things. All of them. Yes, even the pen lid and those tiny beads, that stray dress up shoe and all those socks. Don’t worry about where they all go. Now stash the box in the laundry room or the closet. Maybe have the kids sweep a little or wipe off the jelly from the table.
Move it outdoors!
Better even than tidying up is having your party outside. You can have it in your backyard or the driveway. If you have a deck or a patio, that’s wonderful. Utilize that! If it’s going to be chilly, remind people to bring a coat because they can’t come in the house. You can let people in to only use the restroom, and if you get them drunk first, they won’t even notice that you don’t clean.
I love having patio parties. We usually grill hot dogs and burgers and have people bring a dish to pass. I don’t even tell them what to bring. It works out.
Delight in the imperfections
If you feel uncomfortable inviting people over because it won’t be perfect, you need to find better people. Honestly, people are excited to be invited to someone else’s home. They. Don’t. Care.
The kids are so loud that the neighbors a quarter mile away can hear them, but it’s ok. Someone almost always gets hurt. They’re kids. That’s what they do.
I almost always forget to get out silverware, to make drinks, or some other semi-important detail. It doesn’t matter. Be ok with imperfection. Our friends like it because it isn’t over planned; it isn’t fancy. They feel at home and comfortable. It’s just a chance to get together and be with adults. It’s an opportunity for the dads to participate and our offspring to play with their friends too. The kids tornado around like Tasmanian devils and sleep extra well that night. Our friends stay until their children start tantruming because it’s so much past their bedtimes.
It’s never perfect. It’s not ever Pinterest-y. It’s barely even planned. Yet it’s always pleasurable.
What stops you from having people over? Let me know in the comments.