Ah, The Late Stayer. Everyone's got one. When it comes to entertaining, Late Stayers can unwittingly inflict added dimensions of difficulty to dinner gatherings.
Momlogic's Vivian: Last week, the New York Times ran a fun essay in their Fashion & Style section about a couple with very different ideas on entertaining curfews -- the unspoken time when guests should be on their way.
The wife says her husband is all for having people over -- until 9 PM. "At that hour, he believes, people should clear out so he can do the dishes and still get to bed by 10. And if everyone, including the co-host (and here, he turns to look meaningfully at me), would follow that one simple guideline, he would be happy to entertain guests every week. Every night!"
But, alas, this harried hubby would sometimes like to avoid entertaining because he (and his more social co-host) fall prey to prolonging the dinner party experience with late guests who prefer to dine at a more leisurely pace -- a.k.a., The Late Stayers.
Ah, The Late Stayer. Everyone's got one. When it comes to entertaining, many peeps with young 'uns like myself (I'm talking school-age or under) fall into the hubby's camp because for us, Late Stayers can unwittingly inflict added dimensions of difficulty to dinner gatherings.
Don't get us wrong, we LOVE having you over. But oftentimes, the demands of the little people in our lives force us to put a pair of parentheses around our time together. If you insist on staying past our 9 PM curfew, here's a shortlist of what we parents would appreciate:
It's our pleasure to have you over and cook for you! But it's likely we've made this meal while breaking up fights, cleaning up errant LEGOs, and feeding the dog. If you see any indication (smoke seeping out of the oven, dog pee all over the floor) that we might be in the weeds, feel free to set the table or help yourself to the next round without waiting for us to ask. We won't mind. TRUST.
Kids still need to be fed, watered, bathed, and bedded promptly, especially on school nights, and thus our little party is subject to a half-hour intermission. Either grab the remote and veg patiently over the evening's vintage while we excuse ourselves for a good half hour, be a sport and chip in with a bedtime story, or kiss us all good night. We'll appreciate your limitations if you'll appreciate ours.
Get the Hint
It's 10 PM and mounds of dishes are still piled high in the sink. You might still be able to score a glorious 12 hours of shut-eye, but our kids don't give a flying flick if it's Sunday morning -- they're still mean enough to greet us with a pounce on the head before the sun. So when we mosey over to that pile of dishes, be a pal and see it as your cue to bid us adieu.
Most of all, please understand that dinner at our place won't always be like this. Give us a few years and we'll be more than ready to resume normal nocturnal social activities. Just let us catch up on a few years of lost sleep first.
Our friends came over for dinner this weekend -- at 5 PM sharp. The kids hung out and played, the adults drank wine and attempted to catch up while simultaneously fielding assorted requests and tiffs amongst those under legal age. And after dessert, our friends promptly gathered their own children and said goodnight. It was 8 PM. And it was ideal.
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel is Momlogic's East Coast Editor. She has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|