MomsTalk: Survival Guide to Guests
Juggling Family and Special Family Guests
Hospitality, n. The virtue which induces us to feed and lodge certain persons who are not in need of food and lodging. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911
If you are among the many McLean residents who did not leave town this week in search of warmer climates for spring break and Easter weekend, you may be exercising the “virtue” of hospitality.
The Washington area is a wonderful place to visit, especially in the spring. If spending a week with the grand-kids or nieces/nephews isn’t enough of a draw, the cherry blossoms and the free museums can bring the extended family to town in droves during holidays.
All the McLean Patch Mom’s LOVE having their extended families and friends visit, but it is helpful to recognize and prepare for the challenges that come with spending your vacation as a round-the-clock hostess.
Alison Senold, McLean resident, married, mother of two boys, and two dogs.
I think I’ve read somewhere that the optimal length of stay for house guests is three days. Because most of my extended family has drifted to the far corners of the world over the last 10-15 years, shorts visit are not practical. Visitors staying 2-3 weeks is more the norm for us.
I’ve learned that with long visits, I can’t be a 24/7 hostess to my guests. For a few days I can drop everything to make my visitors feel welcome and appreciated ,but after that they have to be willing to be a little self -sufficient while I attend to other responsibilities. Gathering everyone together for meals is fun, but I’ve long since stopped trying to impress anyone with the “good” dishes and linen napkins night after night. I’m very happy to cook a nice meal for a crowd when I can, but if the kids have activities or games, dinner sometimes has to be as simple as pizza at the little league field.
I’ll be honest, not everyone in my extended family has reacted with the same level of understanding to the way I approach these long visits. Some see how hard I try to juggle things and completely understand, but I know some of my relatives would prefer that I make more of a fuss over their visits.
I find I have to offer regular reminders of how much I really do enjoy their visits, but all my responsibilities (especially those toward my husband, two kids and two dogs ) aren’t miraculously suspended during their entire visit.