by Jenny Wells
I’m sure this problem of perfectionism does not affect all my readers, but statistically it applies to many of us. Perfectionism when planning a party is draining, indeed. Even without perfectionism, it still takes me four “days” (those are multiple children in the house days) to host an event in my home.
- One day to clean
- One day to cook/bake
- One day to host my tea event
- One day to clean-up and put everything away
Now a perfectionist, as I was in my former life before children, would clean the whole house. I make sure my front door/porch and the downstairs half-bath is clean. Don’t get me wrong, I still sweep up, wipe down, take the trash out, etc. But I only CLEAN the above mentioned.
A perfectionist would make all food from scratch, take hours preparing it, or spend more than they should with a caterer. As a reformed perfectionist, I delegate to my husband who enjoys being in the kitchen, and my best tea buddy who likes to bake. If I didn’t have them, I would pick one or two great foods already prepared and supplement with items that don’t require a long time in the kitchen.
Hosting USED to wipe me out mainly because of my perfectionism in the above two areas. Now I make sure I have time before my party to relax and I keep a focused but relaxed agenda for the actual event. No one wants to be driven by their hostess’ agenda of the way the event should go. I’ve worked hard to “let it go” and allow my guests to enjoy one another without a lot of interference. This has a lot to do with internal work on my part and experience. I also try really hard to have nothing I HAVE to do the last hour before my event except fill water glasses, light candles, remove things from the fridge, etc.
As for cleaning up, I DO recommend putting away all food, filling one’s dishwasher, and clearing tables as much as possible as soon as an event is over. DON’T SIT DOWN! But I give myself twenty-four hours to put everything away, like the things I store only for events like these.
How have you, reformed perfectionists, learned to manage hostess-stress? My area of weakness involves continuing to feed my family during those few days surrounding an event. My kitchen is already such a mess and I’m working to keep on top of it and kids want five meals a day. Any suggestions?