My husband and I made one New Year's Resolution for 2014 together: to have friends over for dinner more regularly. Whenever we do, we love it, and the kids have a blast. However, it has always seemed like a lot of effort to coordinate, to clean ("clean" underestimates the amount of prep our house needs to be able to be opened to the public), and it's just so much easier not to do it. Plus, we're introverts. Now, it's not like we are hermits or anything (although I don't really know what a normal social life with a family is), but we both agreed that having people over more would be good for our whole family. I'd estimate that last year we probably had people maybe 4 or 5 times, but we are aiming to host dinner once a month.
As of April, we've had four families over - including neighbors, good friends we don't get to see enough of, friends we haven't seen since grad school, and new friends from church. We are loving it. We've relaxed some of that need-to-have-a-perfect-house compulsion when entertaining - and no one has run out screaming yet. (Still have some degree of compulsion, I won't lie, but it's definitely less severe that it was. Think: overall order with occasional pockets of entropy. We have a butcher cart in the kitchen that is so hopelessly disordered from top to bottom, we joke about pushing that whole thing out the front door one day in joyful riddance, imagining it dropping off the porch stairs and going straight into the garbage truck. Well, half-joke. At least I'm only half-joking. We also still have zebra streamers up from a wild-animal-themed birthday party many moons ago that will stay up until they degrade on their own. I personally enjoy the added festivity, and will enjoy it until I can't stand it anymore.)
And the kids. They run around screaming like lunatics, chasing each other in pure joy, even with children they are meeting for the first time. (Don't you miss that?)
It has been surprisingly effortless to invite people, and we're always talking about who we're going to have over next. So far so good. Reward to effort ratio remains favorable, and no sight of inertia setting in...yet. Having the house look presentable for longer than the 1 hour after it is cleaned every two weeks (sometimes the house destabilizes in 20 minutes thanks to 3 very talented children) has the added benefit of keeping me in a better mood. And, if we skip a month or two or three...no pressure. We'll take it as long as the motivation lasts.