Here is how is has gone for 40 years: I invite, plan menu, buy groceries for menu, clean house, set table, peel, marinate the meat for the grill, clean up prep mess, lead, take care of the granddaughters while doing this because they usually have stayed overnight. H is sitting in the garage smoking while I am doing this saying he is "mowing the lawn". People come to the door, he is still smoking until I am ready to call him to say the meat is ready to put on the grill. THEN he holds court making a very big production about how he needs me to get him the right tools, get the platters ready for him, help me bring the meat to the table. All with a little bit of frustration on his part because this is almost too much for him to handle. Then for the next week he is talking about how he grilled for everyone, what "we" all made and how he likes to grill out. Tomorrow we are having a very small family group over and I am planning how I can change this dynamic.
When I ask him to "take over" a portion of the preparation, he seems to get overwhelmed and fiesty (like I should not "tell" him what to do). Then, if he does start a creative food project in the kitchen, the mess he creates and the nervous tension he brings makes more work for me....which is why I just have done things myself in the kitchen mostly for all these years. He walks through the house with shoes on the rugs after being outside in the rain or in the greasy, oily, dirty garage. He does not notice. He is unaware of things, answering to no one, going about his singular way. Like a teenager in the house.
I would like to enjoy the people while they are here but it seems like I am the servant girl in the kitchen, cleaning and serving. When people leave, I am drained and resentful that H takes credit for what I do.
Anyone have a system or a way of navigating "when people come over for a meal"? It doesn't have to be fancy...it's my son's birthday...just extended family. I usually get take out...knowing that grilling makes a lot of work for me. Food delivery is not available here. And this time my other son suggested "let's just grill out a bunch of meat" and I impulsively agreed. Which means, for me, veggies or salad, drinks for kids and adults, dishes, cleanup. The day before having had 2 young granddaughters most of the day and overnight.
Some women seem to know how to make all this happen and enjoy it while doing it. How do you prepare and enjoy the time with people you have invited to come for an enjoyable time?