Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
My boyfriend's mother is a Martha Stewart devotee. She tries to be perfect like Martha, and expects everyone else to follow suit. My boyfriend has grown up in her hypercritical environment, and is used to her. However, she keeps hinting about coming over for dinner. I am petrified because I know I won't measure up, so I keep procrastinating with excuses. Is there any foolproof method to having the perfect casual dinner party?
Striving for excellence is one thing; but perfectionism is quite another. Perfectionism is not healthy; it is unrealistic and unattainable. Your boyfriend's mother is probably not a happy person, and those around her are not either.
The perfect dinner party is neither what you serve nor how you decorate. The perfect dinner party consists of the company you keep. If someone criticizes your dinner, preparation, decorations, table settings, etc., they have their priorities in the wrong place.
Martha Stewart is not perfect. Her way is not the only way. She represents one way of doing many activities. It would be impossible to be the expert in all areas, cooking, baking, decorating, crafts, gardening, cleaning, furniture refinishing, sewing, and more. Remember, Martha Stewart has many assistants researching, planning, preparing, testing, and organizing much of the work.
Perfectionism, it's not a good thing.