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It’s 6:48 pm. Headlights pull into the driveway…

Shoot! I thought. I totally forgot to call and confirm if they were actually coming.

 I take a look around.

The dining room table has the remnants of a craft project and approximately 329 various Christmas decor items that I finally took down but hadn’t made it into their storage boxes yet.

There are baby and dog toys strewn haphazardly across the living room floor.

My daughter is cruising around in her walker wearing a stained jumper and sporting the remnants of a red face from the scream fest she just finished having.

The sink is full of dishes from preparing the meal that I haven’t gotten into the dishwasher yet.

The shirt I’m wearing is covered in flour and has a hole in the sleeve.

I take a deep breath, dust the flour off my hands, and ask my husband to shove the disaster on the table down far enough to make room for two more.

Did I forget to mention that the car pulling in contained my in-laws?

Has your anxiety kicked into overdrive for me, yet?

There was a time I would have panicked at this scenario. I mean full-blown breakdown, worst case scenarios running through my head, the world is coming to an end, whoa is me seriously panicked.

 This time I was calm, cool, collected, and generally free of anxiety.

What’s the secret?

A few years ago a friend of mine decided to try out something she had read about on the internet. It goes by many different names- A Crappy Dinner Party, Messy Hosting, S#&%@# Suppers, etc.

No matter the name, there are four general “rules” for hosting a Crappy Dinner Party…

1- You must NOT do any extra cleaning.

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No. Seriously. That mad super-stressed superwoman you turn into when cleaning for dinner guests? Say buh-bye to her.

It’s not allowed.

Now, before you jump me in a dark alley somewhere, I’m not saying to feed people out of a kitchen that has cockroaches crawling out of the oven, but let the kids be kids, let the husband be the husband, and let life happen as it does.

Cuz, guess what? I’ve got a secret for you- life happens at your friends’ houses, too!

2- NO changing allowed.

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No primping…

No prepping…

No fancy clothes…

If you would wear what you have on to eat dinner with your kids, then that is what you wear to eat dinner with your friends.

3- NO Stressful Menu.

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So many times we all try to impress our guests with something new or complicated or fancy or requiring a special trip to the grocery store.

How about just making some spaghetti and garlic bread?

Or throw some pulled pork in a crockpot?

Or how about a heavenly giant pot of macaroni and cheese? (Cuz #cheeseislife and don’t you forget it!)

Seriously, they’re foods we all love. Why stress over something you don’t have to?

4- NO Hostess Gifts.

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Remove the stress of the “What the heck do I bring?” and last-minute stops for a bottle of wine from your guests.

Tell them to bring themselves, an appetite, and low expectations. Who wouldn’t want to hear that?

I won’t lie. It took several tries to stop stressing and just learn to roll with it.

I even still on occasion have to silently repeat to myself “Life happens in their houses, too.”

It has become a life-changing thing to allow myself to see my friends without the stress that normally accompanies such gatherings.

As a new momma, how many times did you think to yourself that you could just use some adult company, but then look around and eliminate that as a possibility because it was too much work and too stressful?

Well, these dinners are the real-life version of rolling back the Facebook-perfect life we try to portray.

So let real life be real life and stop putting off making memories and spending precious time with your friends because you don’t have the energy to pull off “having company over”.

Maybe having people over is exactly what you need to recharge and fill up your cup.

So, what happened when my in-laws showed up?

How bad did that scenario go?

It was AWESOME!

Seriously. I mean it!

My husband managed to move everything to one end of our gigantic table.

My mother-in-law loved on the baby to get her out from under my feet while I finished getting dinner ready.

We had good food, good conversation, enjoyed one another’s company, and made memories.

Then, after I put Ms. Shelby to bed (or, at least attempted to- this was the night of the Mom Fail Blues), my in-laws lingered long enough to enjoy a slice of pie & cup of coffee so I could have some child-free adult conversation. (They seriously rock, by the way).

We all survived and made memories that wouldn’t have been made had I waited for a picture perfect house to invite them into.

And the best part is that they left me that night with a full-cup and a fully charged battery- and little did I know how desperately I was going to need it…

Now it’s your turn. Take the Crappy Dinner Party Challenge- then come back and let us know how it went in the comments!