Stop Hostess with the Mostess Pain Like a Ninja
Regardless of beliefs, this time of year sparks a season of gatherings, parties, and get-togethers. All of these tend to include a lot of cleaning (both before and after) and a whole lot of cooking! For those of us who tend to not be the cook or the host, it’s easy to forget the level of work that goes in and the physical strain it can have on someone with psoriatic arthritis. The mere act of stirring batter or bending down to get a heavy roasting pan out of a drawer can be brutal.
That said, we all know too well that those who love to host and cook LOVE to host and cook so convincing them it’s completely acceptable to go out to dinner or Heaven forbid have it catered can be the ember that sparks this year’s family showdown. So how do we find a way to help without insulting our loved ones or somehow managing to be unexpectedly in charge of the next big soiree?
Ways to help your hostess with PsA
All the offerings of bringing the most complicated dish won’t change the fact that we know our loved ones are still going to overdo it. The key is to find a way to help in a way that lets them stay in charge while, those of us who can, do literally the heavy lifting sometimes with them never being the wiser.
Offer to help prep the food
One of the easiest ways to do this is to start with the age-old, “You make the best mashed potatoes. I’d love to come over early, and have you teach me.” Who doesn’t love an ego boost on their hard-earned lack of lumps? Once you’re there you can easily jump in, in the spirit of learning the ropes and you can be sure to be the one to transfer the deliciousness from the giant pan to the serving bowl.
Bring over some additional cooking tools
Think they’ll be on to you because you don’t even attempt to make grilled cheese at home? Then why not offer to bring over some extra tools such as a high-speed hands-free electric mixer? Don’t say you’re doing this to, “help them.” Instead, why not say, “Hey, if I bring my mixer over we can knock this baking out in half the time!” It’s not a lie, it will absolutely speed up the process and with two bowls to lick clean, there won’t be any arguments.
Be ready to help carry items to the table
Once the cooking is underway, it’s easy to forget how hard it can be to get it all to the table. This is especially because they likely scoured the whole house the day before, spent hours shopping for the occasion and have been silently stressing over if everyone will get along. Why not pour a glass of wine and hang out with the host or hostess in the kitchen at the ready for when those timers start to ding? Keep the hot pads in your proximity so you can easily grab them and take out the roast before they can even attempt to bend down.
Stick around and help clean-up at the end of the night
The mere running the food back and forth is a job that brings huge value and is often neglected. The same goes for the clean-up. In our family, the tradition is whoever doesn’t cook cleans up. It’s a good, fair system and is another great way to jump in. Scrubbing pots and pans can be a huge undertaking, so claiming that responsibility early and pulling on some rubber gloves not only earns brownie points with the family, it will ease a lot of strain for your loved one.
Get creative with your hostess gift
Don’t forget the aftermath either. Quite often the ramifications of the day don’t kick in right away. Traditional host gifts are overrated, this is a stellar opportunity to get creative and do something that will show how much their efforts are appreciated and subtly show that you know how hard it was for them. Depending on their likes and how much you generally spend, you can come up with any number of post-party decompression options. If they have kids, you can insist on wanting to spend more time with the munchkins and take them for a fun day out leaving the parents for some quiet time to rejuvenate.
And no matter what, don’t forget to remind them that what it’s really all about is being together. So, who cares is the next dinner party is all carryout? Anyone who does needs to take a step back and realize they’ve missed the whole point. Quality time laughing, crying and celebrating wins over hours in the kitchen every time.