Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hospitality for the Energetically Challenged, Part 1 But the House is a Mess

I was just reviewing some of my posts and found this unfinished series.  I am going to pick it back up again and make some changes since it's been...almost 4 years! Boy, I am such a procrastinator. 

I am restarting a series called Hospitality for the Energetically Challenged. I thought it would be fun to look at ways to be hospitable and entertain even when you are embarrassed about the state of your home and you really don't have the energy to tackle the hole your living in.   

My husband relayed a conversation that he had had with a coworker who is a foreigner. He was saying it is very hard to get to know people here and the reason he believes this is that they, the locals, never reach out. I guess we were all on the same wave length. We agree that it is up to the people who live in an area to send out the welcome committee when someone new comes to town, church, work, etc. Woops! In this case, WE are the welcome committee.

We started to evaluate what we could do to reach out more, especially at work and at church. So when it came time for New Year’s resolutions we made a doozy. We made a resolution to invite someone each week to our house.  I am sorry to say that we haven't kept up with our resolution very well, although we have invited more people over than ever before. What we found out was that we were a bit embarrassed at the state of our home.


Yes, yes, I know! I am a SAHM. I should have the house clean at all times and have fresh cookies and lemonade ready to serve anytime anyone drops by. I should get my spring and fall cleaning done within one week each season, as well as keep our family on a rigid cleaning schedule so that anytime anyone comes to the door I will feel comfortable welcoming them in for refreshments.

Yeah, right! Honey, I ain't June Cleaver...not even close! I don’t even own a string of pearls or a pair of high heels.

My carpet always looks like a pig has rolled on it and that's because I have 3 little piggies and 1 really big one who walks on my floor with dirty shoes. There are always dirty dishes and dirty laundry to be dealt with. And, for goodness sakes, even with my awesome binder system, the desk and classroom table seem to never be clear of clutter. Let’s not talk about our yard, our stinking dog, or the pool that has laid unfilled out in the yard for almost a year! (We got rid of the carpet in the main room, do school at the kitchen table which presents a whole other problem, the dog still stinks but not as bad, and the pool did make it into the trash.)

Ok, I am digressing into a confession session instead of good advice and ideas on how to be hospitable. So here it is in a nut shell:

There is always going to be something that could be better about your home. Get the log out of your eye, the chip off of your shoulder, and as they say around here, the corn cob out of your butt and invite people anyway. (YUK, I know).

So finally, one day I just got sick of going home after church alone (alone being relative, of course the kids and the hubs were there). I wanted to have fellowship and socialize a little...or heck, maybe a lot. I don't get out much, you know? The weekends used to be our time for hanging out with extended family or our neighbors back in Washington. There was rarely a weekend when there wasn't some kind of gathering going on somewhere within our circle of friends and family. I really miss that.

I screwed up the courage and invited a family from church to go out to lunch. They had been coming sporadically to our church and finally had settled on another church nearby. However, that church didn’t have much of a children’s program and they really wanted their daughter to have friends and activities at church. When they had come back to visit one Sunday we invited them out to Arby’s of all places – not even a nice restaurant. Later, these people told me that they were so grateful that we had done that. They said it really made a huge difference in their eventual decision to stay at our church to know that they had friends. Since that first invite, we have invited them over quite a few times, either to go out or to eat at our house.

LAZY GIRL TIP #1: Go out and let a waitress do the hosting.

The first time I did it, I wore myself out cleaning the house, but eventually I relaxed and figured out that they were our friends now no matter what the house looked like. They just wanted what we wanted, some good friends to hang out with. These people became become our friends all because we reached out first. Will this happen every time? No. But even if it just happens once a year or even once in a life time, it is worth the potential rejection or judgment to make new friends.

LAZY GIRL TIP #2: Don't wear yourself out cleaning.  Do what you must then let the chips fall (or lay as it may be) where they may.

Do I still worry about the state of the house? Yes, but I have found how to minimalize my anxiety and will be sharing with that you over the next few posts. Part 2 of the series will deal with how to get the house presentable without causing divorce or scarring your children for life.


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