The house, food and outfit don't have to be perfect. Having children has forced me to lighten up, something that makes entertaining a lot easier on my blood pressure. It used to be that I would stress about getting everything just right before a party, but now I just do the best I can and get things as close to awesome as possible given my time, money and energy. And then I just let go. If things get off schedule, or if I end up having to order pizza because I burned the entree? I've just learned to go with the flow and have fun anyways. Just last night, I had my book club over for wine and appetizers after my kids went to bed. As we laughed at a story one of my particularly funny friends was telling, she gestured broadly and splashed a Pinot Noir all over my light-colored couch. She looked horrified, and she (and the rest of my childless guests) held their breath waiting to see my reaction. I just laughed as I refilled her glass and headed off to grab a wet cloth. My couches are Scotch-Guarded, and I knew the stain would wipe right up. Plus, stains are just a part of my life now… which also makes getting ready for parties a lot easier. When you have kids, nobody expects a spotless house. (At least that's what I tell myself). My beautiful living room is decorated in Fisher Price from the knees down, and chances are good that something is going to have small fingerprints on it when you come to my house. And I'm totally okay with that. How To Avoid Holiday Exhaustion
Bedtimes aren't just for babies. Now that I have kids, my parties wrap up earlier. Sure, every once in awhile there's a late night where a good-looking Hispanic guy is dancing the salsa on my ottoman at 2 in the morning (not that my friend Julio did that this past April or anything), but those late nights are the exception and, generally speaking, I've learned how to have a great time and wrap it up by 11 so I can catch my beauty rest. Because as a mom, my new favorite part of entertaining is being able to think back on it fondly over a cup of coffee the next morning while still being able to tackle the new day with the energy my kids deserve—thus proving, I think, that at age 30, I really am older and wiser. And truly? This kind of entertaining is just wiser, kids or not.
How about you, readers? How has your party style evolved post-children?