Many parents give up on entertaining adults when their kids are still at home. My articles, “Once kids enter the picture, can parents still entertain?” in today’s Washington Post Local Living section gives some tips on how to have successful dinners, parties and informal gatherings with an adult focus without leaving out the kids.
Here’s some snippets that didn’t make it into that piece.
On why parents give up entertaining.
“There are many reasons parents give up on entertaining. A very common one I have encountered is that not all your guests have children or are comfortable with children being in adult spaces. Or from a different perspective, parents often feel that the event must be all-inclusive and haven’t figured out how to compartmentalize or blend adult entertainment with the kids present,” said Anitra Durand Allen with Experience Bliss Coaching.
“I think the stress of being interrupted and not being able to truly enjoy conversation and adult time with friends leads to many parents thinking they can’t entertain while the kids are still at home. … But, we often forget that it’s really about spending time and connecting with people we care about versus a perfect home or a gourmet meal. Don’t underestimate a surface clean and straightening up of your house paired with food ordered from your favorite restaurant or a stack of delivery pizzas – it’s about having time together versus everything being perfect,” encouraged Jamie O’Donnell with Jamie O’ & Co.
On how to overcome fear to entertain.
“Parents know that it’s likely someone will have a meltdown, the house won’t be as clean as they’d like, or they’ll be too stressed and short on time to cook a nice meal. To overcome it, I think parents need to then match those realizations with their expectations and planning. I am an advocate for keeping things simple while entertaining. You can pull together a memorable experience for guests with a few thoughtful touches while keeping everything else simple. … I think as long as parents adjust their host and hostessing style to reflect the current environment in their home they can successfully entertain at any stage of life,” said Tori Tait, founder of ThoughtfullySimple.com.
“Parenting competition exists, and keeping up with the Joneses isn’t just about a better house, car or lawn — it’s about better behaved children. Worried that their kids don’t have the goods to compete and win, they throw in the towel on entertaining to hedge against that type of competition. Overcoming this fear of not living up to community standards is about self-esteem as well as exposing yourself to the fact that other peoples’ homes and families may seem perfect, but aren’t,” said April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert.