My friend has seriously pissed me off this time. Let’s call her Lizzie. We were very close growing up but only recently reconnected as adults and are getting to know each other again. She’s really keen on getting to know my husband and daughter and for me to meet her boyfriend. So I text her Friday, asking how she and her partner would feel about coming over one Sunday for afternoon tea, fancy sandwiches and cake etc, with a view to issuing a more concrete invitation if she liked the idea. Lizzie replied “fine, Jake [not his real name either] is happy with that although this may change. We’ll be over this Sunday at 3 unless he changes his mind.” Two days’ notice wasn’t ideal, especially as I was away on the Saturday and I have to factor in a toddler, but ok. What pissed me off was Lizzie’s attitude: even though it was my house she got to set the date and time and worse, she was basically implying that if Jake decided he couldn’t be bothered to come to the tea I’d prepared for him, they’d just drop me at even shorter notice. I felt as if I were being used as something to entertain them if he couldn’t find something better to do.
Well, that put me in a bit of a crappy situation, since it meant I had to prepare to host an event that may or not even actually happen. I can forgive Lizzie for not understanding how hard it is to get the house cleaned up and plan stuff with a toddler on the loose (she has no children herself) but I’m surprised she thinks it’s ok to make anyone prepare an afternoon tea for her and her boyfriend (who I’ve never even met) then change her mind at the last minute because he can’t be bothered.
This morning I got up early (I was supposed to lie in late for the first time in weeks), cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom, vacuumed all the floors, mopped all uncarpeted floors, went to the really expensive local shop because I didn’t have time to get to the supermarket, spent £15 on fancy sandwich fillings, came back and made some scones, all while looking after a toddler. Only to receive a text message from Lizzie saying Jake had a late night so they’d be round at 5, not 3, and they wouldn’t want anything to eat. Since the clocks went back here last night so Jake had an extra hour to lie in, I can’t imagine how late his night must have been that 3pm was too early to visit someone less than half an hour away, but whatever, that’s not for me to judge. It would have been nice to know this before I spent £15 on food and an hour baking, too. But 5pm is not convenient. My daughter will wake from her nap just before 3. Two hours is ample time for her to mess up all the cleaning I’ve done, plus I need to give her dinner around 5 and then she needs a bath and she needs to be in bed by 7. She’ll be too upset to eat if random people arrive at dinnertime. So I asked my husband if he wouldn’t mind taking over her dinner, bath and bedtime routine, and his response? “No, I won’t be here. I’m going out.” When did he plan this? When he heard my friend was coming over. Until then, he was just going to chill out at home. But as soon as I need support, he’s out the door leaving me to host a stranger and someone I’m only just getting to know as an adult, keep them entertained and supplied with drinks, supervise our daughter simultaneously, prepare her evening meal, feed her, bathe her and anything else she needs. All by myself.
I am actually pretty angry with myself, come to think of it. I could at any point have said no to Lizzie. I only agreed because I haven’t seen her in ages and feel guilty. I feel the same sort of obligation I feel for family gatherings.
As for my husband, well he isn’t obliged to stick around when i invite people but I wish he’d tell me when I originally mention to him that they’re coming. After all, 50% of our childcare duties are supposed to be his!