This weekend we hosted 14 of my daughter’s nearest and dearest college friends at our lake house for the Fourth of July. The wine and beer flowed, and it seemed there was a constant need to grocery shop, eat, and do dishes.
You might expect a mom to get a little cranky with all the noise and cooking and cleaning involved. But I was on my best behavior (with the exception of a small tantrum I directed at my husband in the presence of one of the friends).
Ordinarily, I tend to be a bit short-tempered on a weekend trip. Between the traveling on clogged highways and the tasks of opening up the house and getting supplies, I can get out of sorts. But this weekend, I was determined to show my guests a good time.
It’s funny how your attitude shifts when you have people outside your immediate family in the mix. One of the reasons for this may be the fun of tasks shared. Guests usually offer to help, and my daughter’s friends were no exception. So we chatted and bantered as we prepared salads, cooked, and washed dishes.
Another reason for being on your best behavior with company is that your actions, words, and attitudes are being seen through new or different eyes. There is a natural tendency to hide flaws such as a bad temper or general grouchiness. I wanted to appear relaxed, happy, warm, and generous, so those were the qualities I projected during the weekend.
The happy result was that my good manners and good will spilled over to my family members, especially my younger children. It seems that acting the part may actually make a person feel different inside.
I’m not perfect and won’t always be the soul of peace and warmth in my day to day interactions with my family. But this past weekend made me realize that I can cultivate those traits I want others to see in me and make them more a part of who I truly am.