There are homes you visit that seem straight from a magazine. The lighting is set just right to create the appropriate mood, scented candles are flickering behind stained glass votives, fresh flowers adorn the matching dining table set while fresh baked cheesecake is being pulled out of the oven by the lady of the house who is having no trouble keeping the conversation flowing.
In contrast, what you might experience at my house is something like this: the candles are stashed securely out of reach from the kids, the curtains are hanging slightly askew, you step over (or kick) toys on your way from the door to the kitchen where I am standing peering into the fridge in a panic wondering what to feed you on your visit. If, by malchance, you need to use the washroom, you may have to use the cheap, plain unscented bar soap - simply because the kids have a crazy annoying habit of playing "melt the soap in the sink while Mommy isn't looking".
I don't lead a magazine life.
I could chalk it up to just having a non-hospitality kind of personality...and that's okay. We're not all meant to be Martha Stewarts. It's true, too. When I shop with a girlfriend, I stand clueless in the home decor aisles and then make a beeline to the clearance shelf in the book or stationary aisle. Pretty paper and historical novels are more my thing. However, as much as it isn't my natural tendency to be Susie Q housewife, I must be honest with myself. I lack organizational skills. Peering into the fridge in a panic is not caused by lack of hospitality skills - it's caused by a mix of lazy and not-think-aheadedness.
I made that last word up. Another of my talents, along with picking out cute stationary.
Anyway, I've decided to be more proactive in my hostess skills. It won't be a big change. I think I'll start with baking some cookies and stashing them in the freezer where the kids and husband won't find them. At a moment's notice, I could just pull them out, warm them in the oven, and serve them. I might pick up some fun teas, too. Perhaps I'll invest in a couple pretty serving trays. I'd like to stay on top of my visible housework, maybe doing my dishes right away instead of all at once. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but like I said, these things don't come naturally to me.
Heck, I might even vaccuum under the sofa cushions.