A story from Oh, Thank Goodness, It's Not Just Me!

It was October, so it was time for me to start talking about having a Halloween party - something I have done for at least half a dozen years. I don't actually end up having a Halloween party; I just talk about having one. It has become a running joke around our house.

Entertaining and having friends over for dinner always seems like such a good idea but the truth is, I just never feel like I am good enough to actually do it.

I have ongoing chatter in my head that goes something like this: What are you going to make? Who are you going to invite? You don't have the time. You will say you are going to do this and then you won't get out of the office in time.

I have plenty of friends who seem to be able to manage both a successful career and entertaining frequently. They race home from work, whip up three course meals, and serve the perfect wine. They look calm, cool and collected when guests arrive. I am both impressed - and depressed - by this.

Recently, I wanted to be a thoughtful dinner guest at a friend's home so I decided to at least bring dessert. Although I had a jam-packed day at work, I didn't want to be a slacker, and figured I could handle making a cake. I did what I have done countless times - I decided to make a favorite family recipe, Raspberry Cream Cake.

Once I started to make the cake, I remembered why I don't do it very often - half of the ingredients can only be found in the state where the recipe came from! So I had to wing it and substitute ingredients. Then the mixer fell apart as I was using it and whipped cream went flying all over the kitchen. Then the cake burned while I was stuck on a conference call. When I finally got the cake into the fridge for the mandatory five hours of chilling prior to being served, I decided to rename it the Raspberry Curse Cake and vowed never to make it again.

When my husband and I arrived at the dinner party - crappy Curse Cake in hand, our gracious hostess was looking relaxed as she put together a simple salad. And there I was - frazzled, with raspberry juice still in my hair. As we sat down to dinner I asked her for the recipe for the delicious rice dish she was serving. She laughed and handed me her phone as she said, "Are you kidding me? I didn't have time to cook all of this - it's take-out!"

Oh, I have so much to learn from other women! I had been stressing out all day, trying to simultaneously work and bake a cake, juggling mixers and conference calls and cursing like a sailor - while my wise friend had been at work phoning in take-out!

The entire episode made me realize how much pressure women are under to be all and do all - almost all of it self-imposed! How much are we missing out on because of our insecurity and fear?

By the time you read this I will have invited friends over for margaritas and dinner at our place - paper plates, take-out food, and fun will be had by all!


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