May 21, 2011

Hospitality. It ain't my thing.

There were many great things about being a favorite of my grandma.  (Sniff.  Good times...)  She did my laundry until I insisted on doing it myself at age 17.  She cooked all the meals.  (Her cooking is awesome, y'all.  I wish she still cooked.)  She did all the housework except that I kept my own room clean. (OCD, remember?)  She and my super wonderful honorable gentle kind pretty-much-perfect-in-every-way grandpa drove me everywhere, so I didn't have to get a job to buy my own car. 

(Dang, I guess I pretty much bummed off my grandparents until college.  Suddenly I feel a little less cool...)

Anyhoo, I was totally spoiled and totally unaware of that fact.  It was GREAT.  But being my grandparents' late-in-life chance at a parenting do-over also made me kind of -- lazy.  I didn't offer to mow the lawn for them, carry in the groceries, or clear the table after dinner.  The first time I attempted to cook a meal, it was for my high school boyfriend.  (I beat two french toast prototypes to death thinking they had to be smashed down to cook all the way through.)  I don't think I ever cleaned the bathroom in my college dorm.  And when I got married, I resented the (unfair!) expectation of my husband that I cook dinner every night.  My thinking at the time went something like this:

So what that I don't have a job and he does.  He'd have a job even if he wasn't married to me, so he's not doing any MORE work than he would have done if he'd stayed single.  But cooking dinner every night is more work for me because if I was single, I would be eating Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch cereal for dinner every night.  

Yeah, I was great wife early on.

Now I cook all the time, and I enjoy it.  I no longer resent the fact that people need meals on a regular basis and I'm the obvious one to prepare them, since I'm a stay-at-home mom.  I actually experience satisfaction in providing for my family in this way.

Though I've overcome my domestic laziness, I am still developmentally delayed in the hospitality department.  I didn't realize that it's polite and customary to offer to help clean up when one is invited to someone else's home for a meal until about 5 years ago.  I just figured my sparkling presence was enough.  I also figured that since I don't want people helping me clean up after dinner (because they are my guests and guests should just sit there and bask in my sparkling presence, and because I don't like working in a crowded kitchen), that other people feel the same.

The caveat is, I've never been big on inviting people over.  My obsessive need for orderliness and a chaos-free environment has kept me from hosting dinner parties, weekend get-togethers, and neighborhood BBQs.  So while I comfort myself with the fact that I don't expect my guests to help clean up, I completely ignore the fact that I rarely have guests over in the first place.  (Twisted logic.  It's a gift.)

So it is with great pride that I tell you that I hosted my first luncheon/party/tea thing today.  And it was great!  I called it the End of the School Year Party, and I invited several of my mom friends.  We had fruit and muffins, hummus and cheese and crackers, and chicken salad sandwiches with cucumber.  I felt relaxed and really enjoyed myself.  I'm grateful that our new house is nice to entertain in.

And I'm perfectly okay with the dirty dishes that are sitting in the sink as I type.


  1. You're a domestic diva! Love your post - have had some of the same thoughts!

  2. Thank you, Kerri! I think you're right about the diva part! LOL!

  3. I think I am also a little lacking in the hospitality area. I always offer to help, but maybe a bit insincerely.

    Your get together looks great--I may need to get out of my anti-social streak one of these days. :)

  4. I could have written most of this one. I'm beginning to wonder if we're related.