A number of you mentioned how nice it was in the old days when neighbors would just knock on each other's door and get together, or send a child over to another family to see if they can play with their kids together. And wonder, why don't we do that anymore?
Kids have no such barriers. My son would go to a friend's house for the first time, and ask right away, "Can I go upstairs?" (One time he was told, actually the toys are downstairs. "O, then can I go downstairs?")
You know, one of the benefits of working on this app is that after talking to a hundred parents about their parenting challenges, I've truly realized how we're all in the same boat. I feel greater empathy for others and for my own struggle as a parent. I also feel less distance to others and more okay to ask and connect with other parents.
I was talking to another mom a couple of months ago who said, my husband always wants our house to be presentable before inviting people over, but it's challenging with two kids, so we rarely have people over. My husband has thankfully a lower bar on cleanliness but a high bar on quality of food and hosting. He'd often say our house is too small to host. I on the other hand, would have people over every weekend if possible. So we had to compromise.
So imagine my delight in finding about this idea of scruffy hospitality and crappy dinner party. Other parents have the same challenge! And found it's more important to be together than to have the house or hosting be perfect. :)
And because I was less inhibited about asking a family about eating out for dinner, they invited us over for dinner! I brushed off guilt about the Sunday before, cooking a ton of pasta and wondering if we should've invited a family over, and quickly accepted.
We were 20 minutes early to dinner and found our host isn't home yet. While walking back to our car in the Boston cold, we saw across the way another mom from my daughter's previous preschool, whom we haven't seen for months and only talked to maybe a dozen times. Still I just asked, could we just hang out with you for a bit before our hosts get home? She said, sure! I got to see her new baby, and we talked about kindergarten lottery. Perfect!
Our host came home and had a fun meal in mind. She accepted my offer to help cut some vegetables, and we had a wonderful family dinner together, first with the kids, then just adults talking. Our kids played great together and started talking about sleepovers. They also shared Twizzlers from the Halloween candy bucket while my husband expounded on the virtues of different kinds of Twizzler. It felt great to be together and we look forward to having them over too.
Seriously, why don't we all hang out more? Especially on the cold nights here. :)
My friend who hosted us mentioned her 5 year old told her right before falling asleep "Evie's daddy likes Twizzlers. We should get more for him, but not the machine cut kind."
Kids know best. :)