There used to be a time when I hated hosting.
Throwing a party at my house meant I would have to actually make my house look presentable, make food, and have either too few or too many people show up. I liked being in my cave and being social only when necessary before running back to my hole.
Now that I have a toddler, it’s very different. Because I am currently a stay-at-home mother, I crave social interaction. I need to talk with someone other than the 2-year-old and Princess Sofia. I look forward to finding a reason to have a face-to-face chat with you.
But here’s the twist: I hate visiting your house.
Don’t get me wrong: your food is delicious, your house is beautiful and I love how your attire matches the whole Mad Men theme, but I don’t have a good time. This is because my toddler is the fun sucker of the Buzzkillingtons.
I don’t expect you to be a “child friendly” person, nor do I want you to be. It’s your house and your party. I appreciate your consideration in inviting me plus the toddler. We want to be the perfect guests; however, this means nothing to my tiny beast, who will make Hurricane Katrina look like a simple T-storm in your beautifully furnished home.
The moment she walks in, she knows your house is new ground where she can test her limits anew. Like Columbus, she must explore, discover and claim that all is her domain. She wants to climb on all your furniture (with shoes on), grab whatever isn’t bolted to the floor, and god help us if you have some poor house pet to be chased. All while holding a cup of red, staining Kool-aid.
I have a choice: I can either not care and enjoy talking and drinking with my gal pals. Or I can spend my entire evening chasing my child down and making WWE look like a televised thumb war. I try and bring toys and even let the TV babysit her (gasp!), but in the end, she knows those are old tricks and not as enjoyable as throwing your grandmother’s China down the stairs.
Then there’s your food. No matter what you offer her to eat, fruit trays, veggie platter or even chicken nuggets, she won’t eat it. You could be a cross breed of Giada and Rachel Ray with your cooking skills, but my child will think all you offer is poison and spit it out onto your ornate rug.
So even when we say good night and tell you your food was delicious, I know I have to make a detour to Mickey D’s and order a second dinner to go.
When the party really starts at 8, my child reminds me why she goes to bed at 7:30. Like a personal alarm, she wails at everything not to her liking, and after she has her third tantrum falling on top of your poor cat, I know I have no choice but to throw in the towel and say “this was lovely but we have to get going.”
In the end, I did not have a good time. I didn’t get to relax, I barely sat down before my child tried to eat your bathroom potpourri, and I didn’t even get to hear the story of how you met George Clooney at the grocery store.
No, my friend, we won’t be doing this again anytime soon.
When I ask you to come over to my place, it isn’t because I hated your house. Believe me, I enjoy going into a home that doesn’t have the smell of stale urine and sour milk. I do it because of my child.
At our house, she knows her established boundaries. She can roam around and I don’t have to worry about her trying to drink someone’s Windex under the sink. My sofas have stains on the stains, and I’ve already said my farewells to a clean carpet. I can win the battle of her eating dinner since all my tricks and trades are stocked in our Costco-sized fridge.
Most of all, when it’s bedtime and my Cinderella is turning into a pumpkin, I can simply put her down and continue our evening affair. We can actually talk and enjoy the night.
To have peace and a decent conversation is worth hosting these days. I don’t mind cooking, cleaning (or trying to), and dealing with guests. If it means being able to not worry about my Tasmanian Devil and focus on you, I’ll take it. So tell me, is Clooney better-looking near the produce aisle?