But as you start prepping for the evening, the voices that hinder hospitality start whispering (usually in first person, right?):
“My house isn’t as cute as her house.”
“My table/dining chairs/etc. are falling apart/looking shabby/not my style.”
“What was I thinking, trying out a new recipe tonight?!”
“How is everyone going to fit in this room?”
“My toddler is melting down. I can’t get anything done.”
“We barely know these people. This will totally be awkward.”
In such cases, I’d like to suggest repeating the following phrases to yourself as you go about your cooking, cleaning, and sprucing up.
Say them until you believe them. Or at least until other voices at least die down.
Self-Talk for a Happy Hostess
On Comparison: “My home isn’t perfect, but it’s full of love.”
On Dilapidated Furnishings: “If it’s functional, it’s fine.”
On Culinary Adventures: “Paella (or whatever) will be fun!”
(And if it totally bombs, that’s why there are side dishes. Or you can order pizza).
On Space Limitations: “Cozy promotes conversation.”
On Ill-Timed Baby Antics: “Prioritize, delegate, and don’t worry about what doesn’t get done.”
This might also be a good time for Daddy to take the kids for a walk, babies to have what we like to call “crib time,” or Julie Andrews to work her magic (my kids are big Sound of Music/Mary Poppins fans).
On Social Anxiety: “It might be awkward. But it can still be good.”
If some of these issues tend crop up more than others, you might take some action in the future—maybe you really do need to repair/replace your table or find a couple extra chairs.
Maybe it would be helpful to schedule dinner on the early side so the kids aren’t going (quite) so crazy. Maybe you’d like your home more if you did a few quick fixes to a room or two.
But the night you have company coming is not the time to worry about any of this.
Right now, you just need to trust that your home is fine, smile warmly, and welcome folks in.
What do you tell yourself just before guests come over? (Good, bad, or in-between)