So many women I know are outgoing and sociable, and would love to have friends over more often. But the stress of menu planning, house cleaning and trying to be a gracious host can be daunting. Sometimes it seems like too much hassle, and we give up entertaining altogether.

I say yes, let’s do that, let’s give up entertaining, with its inherent feelings of not being good enough. When I think of “entertaining”, I immediately start thinking about deep-cleaning the house. Ugh. While a clean house is manna from heaven, oh yes it is, I don’t want to feel like I don’t deserve to have a few people over for brunch because the hardwood floors need a new coat of wax.

Checking in with friends, staying connected to people, is important to me. It centers me, and makes me feel like part of a community. I need to generate more of those welcoming, accepting vibes, and less of the everything-must-be-perfect vibes.

So I have been working on that. And I think I can strike a balance between unrealistically high ideals and unacceptable low reality.

Unmade bed = okay. Cat throwup on carpet = not okay. Fingerprints on bathroom mirror = okay. Rust rings in toilet = not okay. Dusty chandelier = okay. Stinky leotards on sofa = not okay.

I found an article about a lovely concept called In Praise of Scruffy Hospitality. It challenges us to embrace the simple pleasure of having friends come to share a meal. Dust bunnies be damned. While it can hard to let go of the deeply ingrained belief that our homes need to be “Pinterest-perfect” before we can have guests over, we need to try. Waiting for the day when everything is perfect stops us from sharing our lives with each other now.

So call up a few friends, invite them over this weekend. Focus on quality conversation and ignore the leaves gathering in the yard. Serve a simple meal of whatever is on hand. Maybe ask everyone to bring the leftovers in their fridge for an impromptu potluck. Got a slow-cooker? I can personally vouch for this Chicken Parmesan soup.

Whatever you serve, even if your order pizza, if you’re enjoying a meal with people you love, it will be a glorious feast.

Source articles can be found at The Kitchn and Mother Nature Network.

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