I have a strong value of living within the limits I’ve been given. Over the last couple years specifically, our resources of time and money have gotten more limited which pushes me into sticking to a schedule and a budget. This value however, sometimes clashes with my value of relationships. I enjoy having people over, spending time with them, and getting to know them better. People energize me and I especially enjoy it more now when I crave adult conversation at the end of a long day in preschool/toddler world. There are times when I feel like our limits on time and money are a roadblock to relationships and having people in our home. Sometimes it’s hard to take more time to plan and prepare for guests and it’s hard to share a meal with others when our own budget feels so tight. So here are the things that allow me to still entertain guests without spending a lot of time and money.
- Meal Planning – When I plan our meals for the week and I know we’re going to have people over, I can plan ahead for a meal that is feasible to prepare and share with others.
- Freezer Cooking – Regularly putting meals in my freezer is such a help to me. When those times do come when guests are coming unexpectedly or I want to invite someone over last minute, I just go to my freezer and see what’s there that would work.
- Planning a Weekly Schedule – Though there are times when we have guests unexpectedly, that is not the goal. I thrive off of a plan. I aim to spend time every week looking at the week ahead to see what’s coming my way. When I know guests are coming, I can rearrange the other events of my day to prepare. When I want to plan something with friends, I know what times are actually free for us to spend with others.
- Sharing Dessert instead of Dinner – Taking the pressure off myself to serve an elaborate delicious dinner helps me to be more willing to serve others. Dessert is more frugal to share and with the routine of our house, it helps for guests to spend a little time with the kids before we put them to bed. Then I bring out dessert for the adults and I can really have a focused conversation rather than serving my children the entire time we’re with them. (Remember, I have 4 children 5 and under. Meal times can be pretty chaotic and loud at times.)
- Do a Quick Clean of the Main Areas Only – It’s in my morning routine to wipe down a bathroom every morning and it’s in my evening routine to sweep and mop our downstairs, so if I stick to my plan, those things stay pretty clean. I can usually just make sure things are picked up downstairs and quickly dust if floors and bathrooms are already clean.
The main thing for me is I want to make it easy to be hospitable and serve others. These things help me be prepared logistically and practically, but I also need to adjust my perspective on serving others as well. After all, my house may not be super clean and the meal I serve may not be very elaborate, but I’m not aiming for my perfection, but building relationships, right? I want to serve and get to know others, not uphold some reputation I desire for myself. It’s just not about me.
Do you hesitate to have friends over because things aren’t perfect? What do you do to make it easy to be hospitable?