Your Guests Are Not My Guests

by admin on March 15, 2013

My brother is getting married this summer and my mother is already thinking of how she can host as many out of town guests as she can so they don’t have the additional cost of staying in a hotel. I happen to have a spare room and she has just assumed that I’d be willing to have extended family stay with me over the wedding weekend.

I live in a small, one full-bath town home, with my husband and two young children (1 and 3 years old). I simply don’t want the extra stress of hosting, feeding and entertaining people I literally haven’t seen in years. I explained to my mother that every wedding I’ve attended as an adult I’ve stayed at a hotel and this cost was factored in the decision of whether to attend the wedding or not. My mother thinks I’m being selfish and unreasonable to not want to help family out. Am I being selfish? Am I obliged to open my home to out of town guests? 0218-13

Your mother has no authority to issue invitations to guests to stay in your home.   If you do open your home to guests, it is at your discretion and whom you wish to invite to stay.    For one night, I think you can handle one overnight guest, perhaps a single cousin you haven’t seen in a while but do you have to?  No.

{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol March 15, 2013 at 6:26 am

If you had a relative you wouldn’t mind catching up with, then I would, in your place, reach out to that person and say ‘hey, I don’t have much room, but you’re welcome to stay with me if you don’t want to pay for a hotel.’ but otherwise, you are in the right to say no. ESPECIALLY with two small children in the house. Odds are you don’t get much sleep to begin with!

This reminded me of a friend of mine’s wedding. She invited me to stay with her – I was a bridesmaid – in her small house. It was me, her parents, her sister and her sister’s children, and several cousins. There were air mattresses everywhere. Her family, while lovely, warm, and wonderful people, were very talkative, and tended to chat well into the night. I was 4 months pregnant, so I was kind of tired anyway, and by the end of the weekend I was exhausted! I still giggle to myself about it now, years later.

Point being, I guess, I would imagine many of the guests would not enjoy being squashed into a small house. I think the best thing would be to make sure your brother gets a group rate at a inexpensive hotel, and let your MOM deal with those who would rather crash on someone else’s floor.

Reply

Marie March 15, 2013 at 7:05 am

This reminds of my own mother in a way. She will occasionally ‘assume’ things that are, in her perspective, very normal, but she forgets that I might have another outlook on things.

As for the guests: your mother has no right to tell you to host those guests. It is your home, your life and your time and money. Not only is it yours, you also have a husband and two children that are impacted. It might be hard because it is your mother, but I think it would be best to stand your ground and politely decline. Should your brother or the bride to be ask you, also politely tell them you are not able to host people because you have two kids and you cannot also take care of a house-guest. This will not be very easy, and I wish you all the best in keeping a polite spine. You did a great job so far, I am sure you will keep it up.

Reply

clairedelune March 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

I agree with the admin that with a spare room, the LW could open her home for a night or two in an emergency–but a wedding isn’t an emergency. The part that sounds the warning bells for me is that they’re already four people (including 2 very small children) sharing one bathroom. Would a guest even WANT to jockey for shower time with that many people?

Reply

another Laura March 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

My MIL’s house is over 100 years old, and only has one bathroom. Currently there are 5 people living there, when our family of 4 comes to visit, we are willing to pay for lodging a half hour away just to avoid 9 people sharing a bathroom at night and in the morning. It’s bad enough during the day when showering, tooth brushing, etc aren’t issues.
We have done it, it is liveable, but not always pleasant.

Reply

clairedelune March 15, 2013 at 6:57 pm

YIKES. I feel sorry for the 9th person to take a shower on those occasions when you’ve had to stay there…I can feel how ice-cold that water must be!

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Growing up, there were six in my family, and there were years where we had only one bathroom. Yes, it’s a pain in the neck, but it can be done, if everyone is considerate, you keep a schedule, and people take their proper turns. Also, water conservation and the fine art of sponge-baths are excellent things to learn in such a situation.

I have learned that if you have no more hot water, a sponge bath is much less painful than a cold shower.

Also, washing your hair in rain-water is great and you can even do it outside, and keep the bathroom free, but don’t use an old pickle-barrel to collect the rain water. Just sayin’.

Reply

Yvaine March 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm

No way I’d want to have only a sponge bath before getting dressed up in formal clothes, though. I’d want to do some serious primping and for that I’d want space and time.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Yeah. That’s why we had the schedule split – we kids took our showers the night before, and then Mom and Dad did theirs the morning of.

When there are 6 people and one bathroom, with the only toilet, sink and shower all in the same room, you have to give up a lot of what you want.

Reply

June First March 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I can only imagine trying to get ready for a wedding with little kids very urgently needing to use the potty. Hotel would be the better alternative for me!

Reply

BeachMum March 15, 2013 at 8:52 am

Ah, your mother must be related to my SIL. Last week she called to see if we were going out of town on a specific weekend. When I said no (when will I learn to ask why? before I answer those types of questions), she said she was planning on coming here for business, but would stay with us for a few days to visit us and her dad. When I said that the guest house was taken that weekend, she said she’d be happy to stay in one of my children’s rooms. Um, I don’t remember inviting you.

DH is going to call her and let her know that she’s not welcome that weekend.

Just keep answering, “That won’t work.” and “I just can’t have people stay with me.” over and over again. I find that repeating a non-answer works well with assumptive people.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Have you ever tried, “We plan to have the flu that weekend”?

It’s obviously a lie, but how can they argue with it?

Reply

Lo March 15, 2013 at 8:52 am

I don’t think anyone should ever be bullied into hosting duties. Aside from that, with your children being so young I can definitely see how having a guest would be put too much strain on you.

If your mother is so concerned about it, she can always front the bill for the hotel for someone who wants to attend but can’t afford it.

I understand that they’re your family but there’s a line to be drawn. I’d open my tiny appartment to a family member in need if they had nowhere to go for the night but not for a planned event like a wedding.

Reply

Pat in Toulouse March 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

You don’t have the obligation to host, but I think it would be a nice thing to do. Maybe you could catch up with a relative you haven’t seen in years and get to know them a bit better. You can make your own rules for your guests, you can tell them where they will sleep, at what times the bathroom will be free for them to use. Your house, your rules. That reminds me of an anecdote: When I got married, we had 16 people in the house the night before the wedding, sleeping on mattresses all over the place, and we only one had one shower. I wrote up a schedule the previous day and taped it to the bathroom door. Between 6 and 10 am, each person had 15 minutes to shower. Couples had half an hour. (There were sinks with mirrors in two other rooms, one could brush one’s teeth or apply make-up elsewhere.) My French friends and relatives laughed and made fun of me. My German friends and relatives went upstairs and wrote their names on the schedule. The French ones were not happy when they had to get up early to shower… :)

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Brilliant plan.

And I’m not surprised about the Germans. I lived in Germany, and made friends with many of the people there. Practicality is part of the culture.

I can’t speak to the French culture. I’ve only visited France once, and I was a child. But I do know how much practicality was emphasized among my German friends.

Reply

Jay March 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

Your kids will love having someone new stay with you for a day or two.. really. As long as it’s someone you know (somewhat) and like. The single cousin thing is perfect. And you’ll have someone to entertain the kids for a bit.

Reply

Bint March 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

For goodness’ sake, this isn’t about her kids. The OP does not want guests staying. Given it’s her house, her money and HER stress if she gave in, I think we should respect her decision rather than trying to cajole her into hosting people against her will.

Reply

MonkeysMommy March 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Well said Bint!

Reply

Katy March 15, 2013 at 9:47 pm

I have two young children, one 4, one 1 1/2, and occasionally my sister (their aunt) comes to stay the weekend. While we love having her, and the kids are excited (especially the four year old), having someone they don’t know come visit can be somewhat traumatic. I assumed they’d be okay with my best friend from college visiting for a weekend. The little one hid for an hour and couldn’t be coaxed out, and the older one was very shy and had to sleep in our room (the first time EVER). Don’t take for granted that kids will enjoy company.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Very true. It will be stressful, and the children may react with eager excitement or nervousness. You just don’t know.

OP has the right to choose for herself, and not give in to her mother’s demands. IF she chooses to invite someone, then that’s great! If not, that’s fine, too.

Reply

WildIrishRose March 15, 2013 at 10:38 am

Years ago, long before DH and I had kids, my husband’s college roommate and his wife invited themselves (with their toddler) to stay with us for Memorial Day weekend. Despite the fact that we had already made plans, we didn’t say no, and so they came to visit. They were rude and obnoxious the whole time. They made it abundantly clear that they didn’t want our cat anywhere near their son. They complained when I suggested we cook hot dogs on the grill. Former roommate made a point of reminding me that when WE had visited THEM, WE got STEAK. I made a point of reminding him, “Yeah, but WE were INVITED.”

Hold your ground, OP. Don’t let your mother dictate who will stay with you. If you feel comfortable with a house guest or two, that’s one thing, but if you let your mother decide that for you, all it’s going to do is cause resentment and hard feelings, which I promise you won’t make her any happier.

Reply

Lo March 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm

The bit about the cat is nervy as all get out!

I have two cats but I go to great lengths to make my home for comfortable for guests who are allergic to cats but can manage a visit. We bathe the cats, vacuum the whole place, and get rid of as much dander as possible. Those who have bad allergies usually choose not to visit. Which is fine. People who come over know exactly what they are getting into. We gently discourage our very friendly cats from crawling or jumping on them and would happily put them in the other room for a short visit.

But to come over uninvited and demand my cats be kept away from their kid? No way. My cat’s comfort is more important than yours at that point. I’m not a kid person but I would never go to someone’s house and demanding they kid their kid away from me. How could they think to demand that of you??

Reply

Library Diva March 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I agree, Lo. If you’re visiting for coffee or something, it’s reasonable to expect your host to keep the cat away from you if that’s what you want (personally, I’m always bitterly disappointed when I encounter a cat who’s shy. I love cats!) But if you’re staying for an entire weekend, at some point you’ve got to put up with it. There’s a limit as to how much you can expect your host to turn things upside down for your comfort, and Rose didn’t even say that the kid was allergic — they just didn’t want the cat and the kid to mingle. Ridiculous.

Reply

Bint March 15, 2013 at 11:57 am

“Am I being selfish? Am I obliged to open my home to out of town guests?”

No and no. Blame the kids. And in all honesty, not many people want to stay for a wedding in a house with a 1 and 3 year old unless they have children of their own, in which case you don’t have room anyway.

I love putting people up but not everyone does. If you don’t want to, don’t. You’re the one who has to deal with them when there, not your mother!

Reply

Bint March 15, 2013 at 11:57 am

I mean, blame the kids for not letting people stay. It’s not fair on them etc That might work better on your mother!

Reply

Kai March 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm

The problem is that giving any reason gives people a point on which they can argue. See above posters on ‘the kids will love it’.
When asked for a favour, you are never obligated to give a reason for a ‘no’.

Reply

Bint March 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

Oh, I know. But if it’s her mother then just saying ‘no’ is probably far more hassle than the emotional tactic of ‘it will impact on YOUR grandchildren’. Underhanded but possibly effective.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Unless Grandma decides that her grandchildren are not being properly taught to SHARE, and this will be a good teaching opportunity.

Sometimes it’s best to just say, “No, mother. I am not going to do that. I’m a grown woman and make my own decisions, now.” No reasons given mean nothing for her to argue about. And “Because I said so,” is as valid a reason to give to your mother as it is to give to your kids.

InNM March 15, 2013 at 11:59 am

I have an aunt who is like that with other people’s possessions. I’m of the belief that people like that become stuck in their ways because the rest of us don’t break them of this habit the first time it occurs. My aunt was very generous… with other people’s possessions, until the day she was giving my and my mother’s handbags to some friends of hers. She had the misfortune of having me at home (we all lived with my grandmother at the time) and I recognized some of the items I had put in storage with a big sign saying “DO NOT GIVE AWAY – H and T’s handbags”. I behaved badly, I’ll admit (I was also under 10) and confronted her in front of her guests, screaming at her if she was blind or just selfish. The kicker: in her generosity, nothing she gave away previously belonged to her.
My mother, who had long resigned herself to this behavior, told me that I was in the wrong, but my aunt never donated any other family member’s possessions than her own ever since.

Reply

bloo March 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Out of the mouths of babes…awesome InNM! :)

Reply

Melanie March 15, 2013 at 11:05 pm

GOOD FOR YOU!

Reply

Melanie March 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm

I mean that in all sincerity! So glad you stuck up for yourself.

Reply

Cat March 17, 2013 at 10:01 am

Reminds me of my grandmother, who lived with us from the time she was 57 years old until my mother died when granny was 79 and then she went to live with her son.
Granny loved to give things away-my things. Toys when I was a child and then clothes when I was older. I spent forty hard-earned dollars for a name brand jacket my senior year of college (1971). When I went to wear it, she had sent it to my cousin-who “needed it”. Same with outfits I would buy for parties-gone. She’d wait until I left the house, run into my room, choose what she wanted, pack and mail it before I got back.
She drove me nuts for 22 years. I know how you felt.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Heh. Reminds me of that time my cousins came to stay. My sister and I (we shared a room) quickly learned how to lock our door, pull it closed, and then pick the lock when we wanted in. We wore our hair in buns the whole week, so that we could pick our bedroom lock, and keep the cousins out.

That kind of behavior is THEFT, and frankly, I think she should have been called on it. The first few times, maybe just a private reading of the riot act, but if she continued, you would have been well within your rights to call the police, and press charges. People do not learn to break their bad behavior if they never have to face consequences.

At the least, you should have asked her to pay you back for the money you spent on stuff she gave away. Charity begins at home, and that means you spend your OWN money on charity, not someone else’s.

Reply

Cat March 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Calling the police on your grandmother is not a good idea in most instances. For one thing, how would you prove it since she did it when she was not likely to be discovered? For another, she lived with us. I would have had to leave home at seven.
My mother knew she stole, but her take on it was, “She’s your grandmother. You just have to put up with it.” She did get upset when Granny stole her prescription when Granny decided that her son had the same complaint and why should he have to go to the doctor when she could just give him Mother’s pills?
The coup de grace came when she moved out in 1973, and took most of Dad’s furniture with her-including the dining room set she had given my parents as a wedding gift in 1936. She also took all of Mother’s wedding presents and Mother’s wedding dress.
Dad expressed his shock and I asked him, “Didn’t you know she steals? She always has.” Nope, Mother never mentioned that little habit to him.

Reply

crella March 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm

This type of behavior is mystifying to me. My MIL always tried to give my things away. When she’d come over with friends she’d offer them things from around my house, off living room shelves, out of the china cabinets, etc. I wondered was she trying to goad me into a conflict so I’d look bad in front of her friends. I couldn’t think of any other explanation. If you’re trying to look generous, you don’t do it by trying to force someone else to give up their possessions. I finally blew up (in private, after her friends left) when I found out she had promised the daughter of a friend of hers, who was expecting, the rocking chair I got from my parents for my first birthday. Sorry, just not going to happen. I managed to gently tell friend it wasn’t possible, I’d just restored it (completely filled in all the dings my son caused, and repainted it) and didn’t want to loan it out, and then I let MIL know what was what in private.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Good for you!

Reply

NostalgicGal March 22, 2013 at 1:49 am

My mother did that with a lot of my childhood possessions, whether I thought I was done with them or not; during the big family reunion week every summer there was one set of cousins that always seemed to leave with a carful of my stuff and mom seemed to be careful about making sure I wasn’t around to see them do their departing… (at 10 i wasn’t done yet with my barbie dolls, etc).

I finally had a good long discussion about at least ASK me first… then a few months later I went to give something away that was supposed to be stored to a friend that I wanted to give them this item, and discovered it had left during the annual giveaway (reunion) a few weeks before. So much for the talk and promise.

In these modern times it does show up as when I make a promise or commitment I do not automatically volunteer my DH. If I say I will come to help you move and bring my pickup and trailer, you will get ME, pickup and trailer. Where’s my DH? You have to ask him separately… his time and commitments are his to make and keep. If he agrees to do something I am not obligated or promised unless asked first.

Donations? The box by the door that says Donations, I’m making a pass through the house, it leaves on X date, whatever is in it goes. Add to it or not, of your own stuff.!

Bravo InNM, for standing up for it

Reply

Justin March 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Your house, your rules. While it may be nice to host someone if you aren’t comfortable that is your choice. For example my rule for overnight guests is it has to be someone I know and trust in my home, so even family I never see and don’t know well would be out. The people I invite to stay have usually been guests in my home during the day in the past and treated my home with respect.

As a guest I often prefer a hotel when traveling, no issues with sleeping arrangements and bathroom arrangements and no imposition on the host.

Reply

pinkiu March 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm

What happened to guests making their own arrangements. I never assume I can stay anywhere. When we went across country to a cousin’s wedding, we asked sister of cousin getting married if staying with her was possible. She had a large home and offered not only a couple of nights but much of the week in order for us to have a bit of vacation. I have 1 bathroom in my home with my husband and I and always let guests know ahead of time in case they want to make alternate plans. Honestly, it’s not the best arrangement when one has small children.

Reply

Mae March 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

One of admin’s best lines will work ” I’m sorry but I cannot accommodate your request”.

Another bit of admin’s advice also works: Plan a wedding you can afford. It seems as Mom wants to invite bunches of out of town guests and save them money on hotels. If they cannot afford to pay for their own hotel, they very well may decline. If Mom is not able/will not foot the bill, then, sorry, those guests just cannot make it. You don’t assume you can lodge them at somone else’s home.

It’s not even about having a single bathroom and small children- You simply do not assume, invite or otherwise dictate that someone is obligated to host YOUR guest. If you invite them, it’s your responsibility to provide them with lodging options (local, affordable hotels) or lodge them yourselved but don’t expect others to do it for you.

I understand OP. I have a 3/2 ranch house but I am not comfortable hosting people I do not know well, especially overnight for several nights. I think we all have that odd family member that is not an upstanding citizen.

Reply

Kai March 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm

It seems to be a thing with different families. I grew up in a family where you always stayed in the house with family to visit. No-one in my family would ever even think about staying in a hotel or asking other visitors to stay in a hotel. It’s a seriously unpleasant standard, but you have to stand up for yourself to be able to get out of the pattern. And yes, you’ll be judged as selfish.
But your sanity is usually worth it if you can withstand the initial backlash from doing something different.

Reply

Agania March 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm

I hear you Kai. My Dad’s side of the family always freeloads on the relatives. My Mum’s side of the family wouldn’t think of it – and pays for a hotel. And really, who wants to spend the weekend on an air mattress and schedule a time for the shower? Wouldn’t the privacy of your own bedroom and shower be worth a few hundred bucks? Although other cheapskates may not agree. If you can’t afford to attend the wedding, don’t attend. Stand your ground OP. “I’m sorry I can’t accommodate your request – literally!”

Reply

Mer March 18, 2013 at 7:43 am

I think the difference here is that most of those people really enjoy having the company over and they enjoy the visit where you can stay up late and enjoy each other’s company without thinking that “oh my, clock is so much, we really need to be going”. But I know I’m very lucky to have the family and relatives I have. I would not think a second that somebody who would be visiting us would go to hotel if there was any possibility to stay with us. (Should they stay at hotel, basically at that point I would not say that they are visiting us, I would say that they are visiting [city I live in], we might make plans to meet at some point.) Of course if one lives in single apartment with husband and kid, it is probably impossible to fit in second family.

From that point of view I can see why some will think one is selfish. I think it’s not really the money issue. From their point of view you are basically saying that you value your own solitude over their company and cannot stand to socialize with them. It is a totally different point of view. You appreciate your own bedroom and shower, they appreciate the company. So no wonder that it might cause some negative feelings and communication problems as it might be that they don’t see it as “freeloading” at all but superfuntime with dear relatives.

However, I’m not saying that this is the only right way to do things. This is just to offer a viewpoint to understand the thinking that might be behind there, and even if this does not strike true with your family, I’m quite positive that it will with some other. But some people just don’t like extended visits even with people they like a lot, and I can understand that too, personally, as the group of people I would happily have over almost any time does not cover all the people I know. It just happens that my relatives are in that group, as well as few other friends. I also know that when I was working a job where I had to be in customer contact constantly, it was very tiring for me. After work I was happy to just be alone. During that time visits might have been less welcome. Just to say that I also understand the point of view where one is not happy to have other people over and your house makes your rules.

Reply

NostalgicGal March 22, 2013 at 2:14 am

My folks smoke, I and DH do not. When we go visit them it has to be a hotel or motel and I opt for a 3 star minimum hotel, as they almost always have laundry facilities on site. Anything we wear into their house goes into the laundry as that smell will NOT come out and it turned out to be one of my migraine triggers… and they are of the stripe that relatives MUST stay with relatives. They had to get used to the idea we didn’t want to sleep over so I could have a four day headache.

Others visiting, we are now in such a small place it’s not really feasible to let someone stay, though a few have brought their own campers and used our driveway and come in to use the bathroom. We have sturdy extension cords, hook their water up, and let them hook up to our wifi.

OP, if you don’t want to be hostess, you don’t have to be. It’s your house. Naughty on someone else volunteering then pressuring you.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 24, 2013 at 3:13 am

I also have headache triggers. I find it to be quite revealing, actually. Those people who acknowledge the trigger, and either try to avoid it, or at least apologize if it is unavoidable, are people I want to continue to have, as friends. Those people who deny it, or just expect me to “suck it up,” are the people I will avoid from then on.

This is why there are some people who will ALWAYS be welcome in my home, for as long as they want, and others who are welcome for a few hours, at most, and some that I will meet elsewhere, if I meet them, at all.

Reply

Library Diva March 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm

OP, your mom is putting you in a very difficult spot. I don’t think you’re being selfish. Not everyone can host, not everyone is comfortable with hosting, and it doesn’t sound like you could help out more than one or two people, anyway. You shouldn’t be forced to do this. It’s not your mother’s home to offer.

Reply

Katy March 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Your house, your rules, you choose who to host or not to host, and it’s not up to your mother.
I’d say I would host- when she ponies up (comparable price to local hotel) per night to help defray the costs, time, and effort. If I have someone I know coming to visit, I’m cleaning for hours. Someone I haven’t seen in years might have me in meltdown mode trying to cover the fact that my kids like to pull a Picasso or two on their walls, and I haven’t scrubbed them yet (I kind of adore looking at their artistic progression, and it’s only paint).

Reply

Marozia March 16, 2013 at 5:02 am

Your house, your rules, your say. If yes, OK. If no, your mother should accept it.
I like @Pat in Toulouse’s idea of a shower schedule. Great idea. We had the same thing when visitors were forced on us by MIL. I made up a ‘dog-walking’ roster as I was busy with cooking, organising, children, etc, with the visitors. Aunt and one cousin had to walk our 2 pit-bull dogs in the morning for an hour and uncle and other cousin an hour in early evening. They became quite attached to the dogs and one dog-timid cousin became quite fond of both of them, and even stayed on extra to walk and spend time with them (and us).

Reply

ImJustSaying March 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm

A similar situation happened with my aunt S. My mother has a large family (6 siblings) but they were never close as the are half-siblings split 4 to 3 and the older 4 stayed with their father and step mother when she was growing up. Now as adults they are trying to re-connect, and a certain aunt assumes she will stay with us whenever she visits. The first time was fine as she and her adult daughter (my cousin) cam to stay. She stayed in my room and air mattresses were put in the Office (formerly my older brother’s room) for my cousin and myself. Fast forward to the holiday’s where the youngest of the 7 invites everyone to a reunion on him. He rented out a restaurant and talked with everyone ahead of time to set up smaller meet ups for just the siblings. Aunt S texts to ask can she stay for the holiday reunion ahead of time, which is fine. It’s important to know Aunt S is a Jehovah’s witness and they do not celebrate any holidays or birthdays as it takes reverence away from Jehovah. My family is Christian. The issue comes when she sends her flight information. IT’S ON CHRISTMAS DAY AT 10AM!
She called to rave about the great price she got on her flight and my mom explained that it was Christmas day and that’s obviously a light travel day as most are home sleeping in and opening presents. Could it be possible to check another flight time later in the day? We didn’t even ask for her to change the day of the flight since we know the cost of holiday tickets. My mom was trying to spare me from having to get up early on my only day off (I work retail) and drive out to the airport a 45min trip from our house. No she couldn’t change it the low ticket was also a low frill thing. She then said she specifically picked that day since she knew it would be low traffic and thus low prices!
Luckily for us a Christmas eve snow storm pushed her flight to the 26th. We never told her our frustrations ( I think at the time my mom was in shock at her dismissal of our family time)
Fast forward again to summer when we get a request to come “visit” that happens to coincide with a JW Convention in our area. Not just her but her granddaughter and granddaughter’s friend for 11 days. This time my mom said the magic words “I’m sorry but we can’t accommodate you at this time”

Reply

Cat March 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

I know what I would have said to the Jehovah Witness’ cousin on Christmas day, “Call a taxi. We are celebrating Christmas.”

Reply

Cat March 17, 2013 at 9:54 am

You are not willing to put up a relative in your small home which is already filled with your family. You don’t owe Mom, or anyone else, an explanation. The answer is no.
That was my father’s belief. If it is your decision, you do not have to justify it to anyone. Don’t blame the kids, the cat, your husband, or the fact that you are a big girl now. You don’t want visitors. The answer is no.

Reply

AnnieS March 18, 2013 at 7:21 am

Too right. It took me 40 years to realise I didn’t have to pander to people, least of all my in-laws. If it doesn’t suit me, or I cannot do it, I now say “no”. Not rudely or unkindly, just firmly.

Reply

Angel March 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Cat, I completely agree. Just say no–why give excuses? When you give excuses you leave yourself open to arguments about why the other person’s point of view is correct. When you just say no, you don’t leave it open to debate. It’s just no.

Reply

Wren March 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm

There are people who always think other people will be thrilled to have Guest X stay overnight with them. They wouldn’t dream that that you might hesitate to open your home! This same kind of person can’t understand why you’re not exactly looking forward to visiting her in her un-air-conditioned home for a week, sharing one and a half baths with nine other people in the middle of August.

Reply

another Laura March 18, 2013 at 10:59 am

Depending on the number of out-of-town guests planning to come to the wedding, your mother could possibly help more guests out by getting a group discount at local hotel. Usually they require a certain number of lodgers in order to provide the discount, so if say 30 families/guests are needing accommodations and hotel requires 25 rooms for the mark down, if your mom gets “free” lodging for 6 guests/families, then 24 have to pay full price for hotel.

Reply

June First March 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Good idea…but even better if the couple to be married does it.

Reply

Jane March 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

I think admin is spot on with this one. A single relative for one night? Fine. But for the OP to open up her home to oodles of relatives she hasn’t seen in years? Um, no. They can get a hotel.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I haven’t read the comments, yet.

While I give your mother kudos for wanting to help out as many guests as possible, she went about it wrong. Had she *asked* you to participate, you probably would have felt much better about it, and you could probably think of a relative or two that you would enjoy having over for a night or two. They would have to be understanding about sharing the bathroom, but if they are not well off, and really want to attend, and the price of a hotel would make the difference between attending or missing the whole thing, then they would be very grateful for your hosting, and gratitude makes people put up with a lot. In other words, it would depend greatly on which guests YOU CHOSE to INVITE, and you may not choose to invite any at all, and that’s all right, too. She should have asked.

Since she tried to force the issue, though, I completely agree that you have every right to be upset by it. You are quite within your rights to refuse. If you can think of someone you would not mind having over, perhaps someone who you know is a helpful sort, and might volunteer to help you out a bit, in exchange, then it would certainly be gracious to offer some room in your house. Gracious is good, but it is not necessary.

If you really do not want to have anyone over, and she insists on pushing it, perhaps you could volunteer a bit of money, and start a hotel-stay fund, to help out those who can’t afford it. This should be based on NEED, though. If your relatives can afford to stay at a hotel, then they should. Those who can’t afford to attend the wedding without some help, either by hosting them in a home, or having the hotel paid for, would surely be grateful for the help. Well, we can hope they’d be grateful (snark).

I totally understand not wanting to clean up for guests. My parents pretty much raised us kids with the idea that you clean and scrub before guests come, but for family, they take you as you are. In fact, family can be *asked* to help out, whereas you never ask a *guest* to help. If a guest offers, you can accept.

Here’s an idea: Invite a few of the younger cousins for a sleepover/cleaning party. They’re family, right? In exchange for their help with a bit of cleaning, you give them a slumber party, sans parents. Their parents will enjoy a bit of a break, and the kids will enjoy the slumber party, and you get to have some help with the cleaning, and can have some good bonding time with your young cousins. And if you approach it right, a group of people cleaning actually CAN be fun. Crank up the tunes, and dance and sing while you clean. Break it up into areas, and race to see who finishes their job first. Small prizes to the winners. It’s good to get to know your cousins, and this leads to lots of opportunity for conversation, as you go.

Also, most people have some sort of cleaning chore they hate, but they also have a cleaning chore they can actually enjoy. I hate vacuuming, because it makes me sneeze, but when I was young, and didn’t mind crawling on my knees, I used to really enjoy scrubbing the floor. Polishing silverware is good for someone who needs to sit down. It’s actually quite enjoyable, unless you have arthritis in your hands. If your young cousins get to choose their chores, they’ll probably be quite happy to help. I find that young children really do get a kick out of helping people. It makes them so proud.

Mind you, my perspective on this is colored by the fact that my nephew and niece are always so darned happy to help out, when they come to visit me. I don’t know what my brother and sister-in-law are doing, exactly, but they’re doing something right, because those kids just love to help. And if it meant a slumber party, they’d jump at the chance. Your mileage may vary.

Whatever you choose to do, though, OP, be it inviting a relative or standing firm on your “no guests” policy, know that you are completely within your rights, and do not let your mother push you around on that. Love her, and honor her, but now that you are an adult living in your own house, you do not need to obey her. And good luck. Weddings are stressful for all concerned, and it seems your mother is very concerned.

OK, I’m off to read the comments now.

Reply

Kimstu March 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm

@Michelle C. Young: “Weddings are stressful for all concerned, and it seems your mother is very concerned.”

Heh heh, well said, Michelle. Every bride or groom trying to cope with a Momzilla needs a pad of sticky notes with that sentence printed on it.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Thanks!

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Speaking of my perceptions being colored, this whole thing reminds me of a time, years ago.

My aunt (mother’s sister), came to visit, and I moved out of my bedroom, and slept on the loveseat, downstairs. Yes, loveseat. I’m short, but it was still not really comfortable.

Anyway, my aunt said to my mother how nice it was. “You have a spare bedroom, and can have someone over, any time.”

My mother, bless her sweet heart, took umbrage, and said that no, she did not have a spare bedroom. That bedroom was mine. I never minded giving up my bedroom for my aunt to use, and have done so several times. I love my aunt, and I like her, too. She’s a lot of fun. But that was a bit off-the-wall of her to think that my bedroom was somehow a spare, and I was so happy that my mother stood up for me, that way. I’d give her a shout-out, except for the fact that she doesn’t read websites, so she wouldn’t see it, anyway. LOL

Reply

Mer March 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm

To be fair, if you have two floors in your home and your aunt did not actually snoop around every corner (or were not given complete tour), she might have actually thought that there really was an extra bedroom you were giving her. Even if in my family we might be more relaxed around relatives and their homes, we do not generally peek behind closed doors. And be it storage room or extra bedroom, one does not know.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm

It was a two-bedroom townhouse. There were no closed doors for her to peek behind. Yep, she saw it all, including me bedding down on the love-seat, after getting my clothes out of the bedroom, while she was settling into it. I put it down to her having “a moment,” as she never did say anything like that again.

Another visit, my folks decided that me curling up on the loveseat for a whole week was just too much to ask, so they rented a folding bed, which they set up IN THE KITCHEN. That made cooking awkward, but we went out to eat a lot that week. One night, I woke the whole house up with my yelling. The folding bed had decided to fold up, with me in it! I was like a taco. Mom and Dad had to pry the bed open for me, and I did not sleep well again for the rest of the week, always afraid I’d be folded up again. One time, I did get shot out of bed, when the head of the bed decided to fold up, and throw me forward, but fortunately the bottom stayed down that time.

We never rented a folding bed again. Air-mattresses all the way.

Reply

Ergala March 21, 2013 at 10:25 am

Would the decor give away that it wasn’t a spare room? When I was a kid my room had posters, stuffed animals, stuff I collected….it was quite obvious it was a child’s room. The spare room was empty of that. Had a couple of pictures on the wall, a desk and a nightstand with lamp and clock. But it didn’t have the personal touches a bedroom has.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 24, 2013 at 3:16 am

Nope, pretty blatantly obvious, especially as there were only two bedrooms in the whole house, and all my stuff was in that bedroom.

Reply

just sayin' March 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I think a possibility that was missed isn’t that the mother is asking for one close cousin to stay with her. It sounds as if the mom wants multiple people to stay with OP in her quest to host as many people as possible, and that giving in to a cousin might give way to “oh, well these other cousins can stay in the room as well…”

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm

This reminds me so much of my Grandma.

Reply

Catvickie March 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Reminds me of when my SIL got married years ago. My MIL was upset that we did not want to stay overnight in a tent and share a 1 1/2 baths with a dozen other people. We lived a half hour away, and stayed in our own place that night. She was mad at us for a long time, but so what? We got ready and drove down, a lot better than getting in the way of everyone else.

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Wait, wait. Let me get this straight. Your MIL got mad at you for NOT adding to the inconvenience? WHAT?

I guess she really just wanted a slumber party. Some people are REALLY into slumber parties, but most of them outgrow it by the time their joints start aching and sleeping on the floor loses its appeal. Is your MIL particularly spry?

Reply

Lynda June 20, 2013 at 12:32 am

MIL would have been in her own comfy bed during this fiasco.

Reply

Maggie March 18, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Regarding the OP’s dilemma, why do I have the feeling that, if the OP had said ‘yes’ to one guest, her mother would have opened up the OP’s home to multiple guests. “Two more won’t matter.” “Another one won’t matter.”

Reply

Michelle C. Young March 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Not every person who makes an unreasonable demand is a camel pushing its way into a tent. However, that is a reasonable assumption, based on this demand.

Reply

sv March 21, 2013 at 9:17 am

I find it deeply stressful to host people in my home. Not only am I uncomfortable sharing my personal space but I have young children as well, and the idea of having someone come to stay while the wedding is going on sounds terrible to me. Hold your ground, OP. Just say no :)

Reply

Ergala March 21, 2013 at 10:30 am

My mom is notorious for this. She volunteers me for events, small jobs (like babysitting, giving someone a ride…you name it) and other favors for people she knows but I don’t. I’m 31 year with a family of my own….I put my foot down at her wedding last year when I flew 5 hours south to attend it. Our flight left here at 6am and we had to be at the airport by 3am. The moment we landed they picked us up and took us to their home where my mother immediately put me to work peeling potatoes and cutting onions for the BBQ they were having that night at their home for a very large number of people. I was exhausted, was dealing with a time change and I just wanted to go to the hotel and relax. When my sister’s flight arrived 4 hours later they were smart and rented a car. They were kind enough to come get my husband and I and brought us to the hotel to check in. My mom was put out that I wasn’t there to watch the brisket on the smoker for 3 more hours so she could go meet up with friends to discuss last minute details.

I have a steadfast rule for our home. Unless it is an emergency (and poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine) if you invite yourself to stay the answer is no. The only acceptable way to invite yourself is to ask if we minded having company for a few days and accept it if we said we didn’t want anyone staying. We’ve had people stay with us who ate us out of house and home, dominated the tv, used our computers, gave out our phone number on Facebook on their wall in case they needed to be reached….you name it. We don’t tolerate that at all anymore.

Reply

Rose March 25, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Somewhere on the BB is a story from a daughter who’s mother not only expected her to accommodate a family of distant cousins during her sister’s wedding, she was expected to hand over the keys to her apartment and move out for a week while they stayed there! Mom volunteered she could move home, except she didn’t have a room or bed for her to sleep in because of the guests she was already accommodating. Plus daughter’s cat is supposed to somehow vanish for the week, since Mom doesn’t want the cousins to have to care for it, and she can’t bring it to the house cause the groom is allergic. Daughter laughs in mother’s face and tells her no way. Mother still cites it as an example of what a selfish brat daughter is.

Reply

2browneyes4 March 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I hope OP’s story also serves as caution to the “guests” that are accepted into someone’s home to do everything possible to not be a burden.

I was attending a national athletic event in a city 2 hours away in which a close relative was participating. I called cousin P that lived in that city and invited him since he was also related to the athlete relative. He accepted and invited me to stay at his home. Admittedly I was hoping he would invite me to stay and I accepted, glad that I would save the cost of hotel and excited to spend time with P and his family since we had not seen each other in a long time.

I purchased tickets for the two of us, and when the day before the event came, I drove to his city. As I got closer to the city, I called for directions to his house which is what he’d told me to do when I previously asked for directions. I got the answering machine so I left a message and kept driving until I heard from him. When I arrived, I hugged his wife Q who had cooked a great meal. We talked and she mentioned that she did not know I was coming until she heard my message on the machine!! I was stunned and embarrassed!! It never occurred to me that P would not have discussed this with her.
I apologized and explained that of course I would have expected him to discuss it with her even if he did offer accommodations on the spot when I invited him to the event, and later had to cancel if it was not okay with her. Q said not to worry and that they were glad to see me but that she had not made up the sleeper sofa in the guest room yet. I told her I would do it and not to worry. That night P showed me to the guest room and the bed was already prepared with sheets and I assumed he had done so. When I asked P what time we should leave for the event the next day he informed me that he changed his mind and was not going to the event and that he was going to work instead. I was disappointed, especially since I’d wasted money purchasing his ticket, but I understood that work was important.

The next morning I woke up to the sounds of P getting ready for work. He told me that Q had left to get groceries for my breakfast and for the kids’ lunches and she would be right back. I told him I in no way expected breakfast and he left for work. 10 mins later I heard Q come in nearly hysterical because the kids were still sleeping and they had to be at school in 15 minutes! The poor kids were roused out of bed, hustled in and out of the bathroom and out the door!!

As I was driving to the event I got a phone call from P asking that, since Q had called him crying and mad that he did not get the kids ready before he left she was threatening divorce (not the first time) and could I babysit that night so he could take her to a movie to make amends? I was a little miffed about the request but figured it was the cost of the free accomodations so I agreed. I also mentioned that I did not think a night at the movies was adequate and I told him he needed to do something extremely special.

After the event later that day, I returned to the house and a woman that I assumed to be the babysitter was talking to one of the kids. The kid immediately got up to come hug me and the lady kept telling him to sit down, which he never did after I came in. Well then she tells me that she is his tutor and it became clear to me that I had disrupted the lesson. I felt really bad.

When P comes home, he informs me that Q had turned down the movie offer, so he took my advice to do something special and bought her some fancy jewelry, so I won’t need to babysit. Whew! He then says that he will order takeout and I said that I will pay for everyone. He refuses despite my insistence and proceeds to order dinner. I go with him to pick it up, and am I surprised to find that for 5 people (P, Q, their 2 kids and me) he has ordered a ” personal pan pizza” (about 6inches across) and 8 tiny chicken wings! How were we supposed to divide that? I kept trying to politely suggest that we stop somewhere to get additional food that I would pay for, but P wouldn’t hear of it. At his home, he insisted on fixing my plate on which he put 1 slice from the pizza which is meant for one person and 2 wings!!! I was so hungry I gobbled them quickly and was still very very hungry!! I kept trying to think of an excuse to leave the house to get something more to eat but since they knew I did not know the city well, I couldn’t come up with a reason.

At this point I decided that staying with P was a bad idea and I wanted to get a hotel room for that night which was the final night of my stay. I would have even risked the 2 hour drive home although I was tired from sitting in the sun all day. But I could not come up with a polite way to excuse myself from the situation since P was expecting me to stay 2 nights.

The next day I got up very early to get ready to head home. I asked P where should I put the sheets after I strip them from the sofa bed. He said to leave them on the sofa bed since they never change those sheets and those sheets had probably not been washed since he put them on the sofa bed when he bought it long ago. Eeewwwwww.

I nearly bolted from the house!! As much as I wanted to leave, I also felt bad for them, especially for Q since she had no idea I was coming until I was 20 minutes away. I had been an uninvited guest as far as Q was concerned, I wasted money on an unused ticket for which P had accepted my invitation, I had witnessed marital woes when dealing with the kids, and I was starving the night before since 5 people had to share servings meant for 2 people at best despite my attempts to pay!!

I clearly was amiss in a lot of ways here, especially by not ensuring that Q was okay with the visit. The following year when the athletic event was again held in their city, I called P again to invite him to the event (which he accepted then declined after I asked if he was working that day), declined his invitation to stay again, and offered to stop by for a brief visit on my way back to my own city. I explained that I would be staying In a hotel with “fictitious friend” who was meeting me there from another city. As it turned out, P did not have time for me to visit when the time came, but relations are good and we still keep in touch by phone.

Reply

catwoman2965 March 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Wow – OP you are under absolutely no obligation to host anyone, unelss you want to. And your mother was quite presumptuous to assume that you would! I know as a child, we lived across the country from my dad’s side of the family, and while we didn’t visit every year, we did stay with them. But I think it was mutual on both sides, as it gave my grandparents and other family a chance to spend time with us. Now that my grandparents are gone, I’m hoping to make a trip out there to see them. Sometime in the next few years, but as all my cousins are married and have kids, i plan on staying in a hotel, mainly for MY comfort. I might, if asked, stay with my cousin and aunt on the second leg of the trip, but on the first one, while I’m happy to spend itme with everyone, it will be on my terms, and i will factor in hotel as part of the overall cost.

Reply

pterabite April 17, 2013 at 9:37 am

I think you have the right to be annoyed. It’s your house, your time, your bathroom you have to share. Hotel costs for an out of town wedding are standard and I’d bet that letting one person stay, or even calling to offer your preferred relative a place to stay, could lead to more people you don’t want staying there. I can just see that one relative saying “no thanks, but my cousin is looking for a place!” and next thing you know you have to deal with that.

Reply

sjhaughty April 29, 2013 at 2:20 am

I think it has to be your choice whether to open your home. You have to choose whether, who, and how many stay in your home. Saying no, no one, and none is perfectly fine!

Reply


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: