Major dilemma! “I have my mother in law and her female friend coming to visit for the holidays,” writes patina21. “They are staying for two weeks. …
“We have a three-bedroom house, a 2-year-old and a new 4-month-old baby. I only have one guest room. I have a futon in our game room, but the game room doesn’t have the privacy of a door. I am lost at how to be hospitable for two weeks?”
Patina21, did you actually say ‘two weeks?’ ”
Let’s review. You have a toddler. And an infant. And one guest room…and multiple houseguests?
By the time this visit ends, you are going to feel as if you lived through the Siege of Troy.
Never mind, let’s skip the blame game and fix this—before the guests arrive.
Step One: Sit down with your husband and figure out —realistically—how much time you would like the guests to stay. You will want them there on the actual holiday you are celebrating, of course, and perhaps for a night or two before or after.
Note: While making these calculations, consider whether your children sleep through the night; how many times you have to get up in the middle of a typical night; how many times you got up last night; how tired you feel right now; whether your guests are the sort who will pitch in and entertain your children while you cook; whether the thought of baking holiday cookies this year fills you with excitement or the hopeless despair that accompanies sleep deprivation, and how well you can handle the idea of having no privacy in your own home.
Step Two: Have your husband call your mother in law before she arrives – today would be a good time – and state the terms clearly, so no one will have unrealistic expectations. He can tell his mother, “We are so glad you are coming, it means a lot to have family here. As you know, however, this is a killer year for us – a once-in-a-lifetime exhausting marathon of a year. We are excited to host you for TWO NIGHTS [or however long you have pre-decided] and are confident we can hold it together that long, even given our household’s current level of chaos, to make sure we all enjoy this holiday season.”
Your mother in law, having had babies of her own, should understand completely. If she doesn’t, your husband can urge her to be a good sport: “It’s just like that year when we were little, and you wanted to tear out your hair over the holidays because …”
Step Three: After taking control of the situation, you will feel marvelously lighthearted. Suddenly you will find yourself looking forward to the upcoming visit, instead of dreading it, and you may even think of it as a cozy, family adventure. Tell your 2-year-old you’re having a family sleepover party—doesn’t that sound like fun?—and that he should try to be quiet in the early mornings so the guest on an air mattress in the middle of the game room can sleep in. (Ha ha.)
Step Four: Take lots of photos. Years from now, you will look at them and see that everyone was smiling.
(image via Realsimple.com)