Robert & Roberta Adair

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I used to love “planned spontaneity” in hosting. I liked to make more food than we needed, hoping that there would be one to ten people we could invite over for dinner. I liked to have brownies or something in the freezer so I could say, “hey, I don’t have much, but come over for tea and whatever I have in the freezer!” I liked to have the house semi-picked up (I’ve never been able to have it be spotless, but it was usually presentable) in the event that someone would drop by.

And then we had J. It got a little more difficult when he started to crawl…and now that he’s so into throwing, golly. Havoc. Havoc, I say. Legos, train pieces, books, blocks, balls, pieces and pieces galore. And that’s not even to mention, despite vacuuming several times a week, the pieces of oatmeal and rice and food that get everywhere (despite having a sheet under his chair. Seriously. Where does it come from? Maybe R and I have developed weird eating habits or something).

Add to this another kid – a less than 3 month old who is big into being held and eye contact. While nursing, I occasionally look around the room and think, “Jeepers, how did this place get so trashed. I need to have people over more often so it looks better.”

Before kids, if I knew more than a day in advance that people were coming over, it would be less fun for me. It was less spontaneous and it meant I felt more pressure. I’m not an avid cook or awesome cleaner, so I liked the lightness of low expectations when people came over without a lot of anticipation. And I liked the adrenaline rush of making it happen.

And yet, from 3 recent memories, I’m not sure if this is still the case:

1) Curry night: I saw 3 families at a craft fair. I assumed the mums were going to be tired after all of their preparation for the fair, so I invited them and their families over for curry rice (11 people + us. I didn’t think much of it. We used to handle that many people frequently). I went to the store to get stuff, came home (which was royally trashed but I knew it could be picked up in a few minutes), and started cooking. But I didn’t factor in the whole nursing and fussy thing. One family showed up 30 minutes early, and they saw the look of panic in my eyes and chaos in the room behind me and said, “Uhhh…how about we come back in a few?” I literally turned them away because my house was trashed. Lame. (We had a fun evening, but the 2 hours of frantic prepping wasn’t as fun.)

– J’s birthday party: The weather report called for rain on the day we were hoping to have a picnic in the park with some friends for J’s birthday. It was cloudy…and then it started to sprinkle. Maybe we still could’ve had it outside, but I’m glad we didn’t try. Thank goodness R’s mom and dad were here as we had 50 minutes to pick up, put away beds, take down doors to make the rooms bigger, move furniture, vacuum, and (R’s idea) fill a room with balloons. About half of that time I was nursing. …I think the adventure of a sudden change of plans would’ve been really invigorating pre-kids. Now, not so invigorating.

– After the marriage course ended two weeks ago, we knew that J needed a nap. As it was so late, we thought it would be easier just to do it in the car. R suggested we go to Costco. I asked about picking up pizza and inviting my friend and her family to have dinner together. She said that they’d meet us there, and I was a bit relieved not to do frantic cleaning again. Shortly before we checked out, the hub asked R if it was okay to fry steaks at our house. …ah, so they were thinking of eating at our place! We drove home quickly, and I nursed while R picked up like a crazy man before they walked in our front door 5 minutes later. It wound up being a really fun 2 hours (including birthday cake for their son) – but, again, it was hard for me to relax as I kept seeing things to do to make the room more comfortable/clean.

Before, some of my favorite moments were the unplanned ones – game nights, tea with a friend, food adventures figuring out what we can make with what we have in the house… But now B wants to be held. J destroys my attempts to pick up/clean. While nursing, I think of everything I didn’t do (“I still need to fill the hot water pot for tea, bring out mugs, put the tea/coffee out, take down the laundry, get the bowls ready, wash the rice, make a salad, vacuum the little pieces of food…”). And I sit feeling like house is out of control.

[and i occasionally fixate on the bliss of people who have clothes dryers and dish washers thinking that having those would at least hide the piles of laundry and dishes.]

All that to say, I think I like spontaneity as long as I still feel in control. I either need to be okay with the mess, figure out systems so it’s not a mess, or just do planned in advance stuff. Hmm.

Originally posted on Adair Update... http://bit.ly/28K8n0G

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