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To expect houseguests to tell me when they will be home and if they are having dinner with us?

(9 Posts)
BeaArthursUnderpants Thu 24-Mar-16 14:22:59

We moved to London from the U.S. last year with our DD age 7 and DS age 3. We left behind many good friends and told everyone (as you do) that they were welcome to come stay with us, as our rental house has a nice guest room with ensuite bath. A few weeks after we got here, the mom of one of my DD's close friends emailed and asked if they could come for spring break. Our kids adore each other and I consider this woman a friend but not a very close friend, and her DH hasn't been overly friendly the handful of times I've met him. They have 3 DCs, the 7-year-old girl who is friends with my DD plus two boys aged 10 and 13. I was in the throes of homesickness when she asked, and I mistakenly thought it coincided with my kids' term break, so I said yes. My mistake I know. When I realized my kids actually did have school that week I told them very clearly what our schedule was and that they were welcome to come but we wouldn't have a ton of free time so they would have to find their own way around. My friend responded that they were fine with that, that they wanted to see London but also make a priority of having our DDs spend time together. She then sent me their proposed dates (5 nights) and I told her we would be around for the first 3 nights but leaving for vacation after that, but that they were welcome to stay at our house after we left. it seemed like a good arrangement for everyone, and I said my only request (during the days we were home) was that they tell me on any given morning what time they were planning on being home that day and whether they would be with us for dinner. I did say we would probably do carryout most nights as I have a bad knee and it's hard for me to cook for a big group. So it's not like I had to plan for cooking but it still made a difference as to when I would feed and bathe my DCs, what we would eat for dinner, etc. Also my DD is VERY attached to her friend and was so thrilled to spend time with her. Unfortunately I couldn't pull her out of school at all because she's missed several days already this term, but I was clear about this to our friends.

Today is day 3. They had tickets to a show yesterday afternoon so we knew we wouldn't see them until late but I asked them to tell me if they were planning on being home for dinner. She said they would tell me in the morning. They were sleeping when I left to take my DCs to school and gone when I got back, but I textrd her multiple times to get an answer. Finally I said I assumed they wouldn't be around for dinner and we would plan for ourselves. At 5:30 she texted to say they were on their way home. She offered to sort out their own dinner but frankly that wasn't the point. I did have her DH pick up an extra box of pasta as we hadn't planned for them.

Meanwhile, my DD is OBSESSED with seeing her friend. She truly doesn't understand that they didn't come just to see her. She wants to know exactly when her friend will be home and gets very upset when I can't give her an answer. Yesterday I was able to plan another play date for DD because I knew they wouldn't be home but today my DD is fully expecting to see her friend-- and I don't blame her.
I sent a fairly pointed but not rude text saying we would love to have them at the house but we really need to know when they will be home, for my planning purposes and also for my DD. If I knew they weren't going to be home until dinner time I would try to find another playdate for DD as I know she will be pathetically counting the minutes until her friends get here. My friend responded that she wasn't sure but would let me know. Just now she texted and said they would "aim to" be home by 5, and that she was turning off data on her phone so I wouldn't be able to reach her.
They are only here for 5 days. For one of them they had tickets that required them to be out all day and for two of them they would be totally alone in our house. AIBU to expect them to tell us when they will be home on the days we are there? Further, AIBU to expect that at least their youngest DS would be around from around 4 pm on the 2 afternoons it was possible for the kids to play together? Obviously I know they are here for vacation and I don't expect them to spend all or even most of their time with us. But we're not a hotel.

Frankly I don't see why they chose to stay with us anyway, if they weren't interested in hanging out with us or having the DDs spend time together. They are certainly comfortable financially and she sent me their flight itinerary showing that they had spent over £3K on plane tickets for a 5-day trip. They also bought us a thank you gift that I know cost at least £150. Another few hundred pounds would have bought them a lovely Airbnb in a more centrally located area where they would have plenty of privacy and actual beds for their kids instead of air mattresses and sleeping bags.

AIBU or asking too much to expect them to tell me each morning for 3 days approximately what time they will be home and whether they plan to eat dinner with us? Especially whe they will have two more days in our house alone without us?

To be fair, they have been very nice guests otherwise, very considerate and neat. But we have also been (I think) nice hosts. We have a nice guest "suite" on its own floor with private bath, a main bedroom, and a separate small bedroom for the kids. It is well-stocked with sheets, towels, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. (Keep in mind we just moved from overseas a few months ago and we didn't get our things until about a month ago, so we had to scramble to get the room ready.). We also stocked up on groceries and good snacks and told them to make themselves at home and take whatever they wanted. We were happy to do it and we could have said no, but my point is we are making an effort and I think it's fair that they should too.


BeaArthursUnderpants Thu 24-Mar-16 14:23:42

Holy s**t that was long. Sorry. But it was definitely cathartic for me to write it out!

Jade1212 Thu 24-Mar-16 14:28:37

I can understand your daughter being upset that she's not seeing her friend as much as she hoped, but if they're not expecting you to cook dinner for them then I don't think it's unreasonable of them to not know their plans at the start of every day. Put yourself in their shoes, this is them on holiday and they'll be taking the days as they come! I can understand the frustration but I think that maybe yeah, YABa bitU

ImperialBlether Thu 24-Mar-16 14:32:13

I think it's pretty clear that they are using you as a hotel. That must be a really horrible feeling. Your poor daughter, too; mine would've been just the same at that age.

There have been a lot of threads about people who live in lovely areas who are inundated by requests for accommodation - they seem to learn the hard way that not everyone who asks is a friend.

Someone might be able to link to the thread where the OP was asked for money for a bottle of milk - does anyone remember it?

BeaArthursUnderpants Fri 25-Mar-16 11:40:18

Jade1212, I guess my feeling is that if they wanted complete freedom they have the option to stay in a hotel or Airbnb. But if they choose to stay with a family who is trying to maintain its daily routines, it's not too much to ask to be respectful of those routines. And frankly, even if we don't have to cook it is disruptive to have a family of 5 roll in anytime. What frustrates me the most is that I told my friend before they came that this would be my one request, so if she didn't think it was reasonable she shouldn't have stayed. But I was wondering in general if it was unreasonable to ask. If it is then I will have to rethink whether to invite people to stay in the future, because it's just too disruptive to have no idea what's going to happen in my own home on any given day.

Imperial, thanks for understanding -- I did feel like we were being used as a hotel. But it was a good lesson for me for the future in setting boundaries. I blame myself for saying yes, or at least for saying "sure, yes, of course, NO problem, we'd LOVE to have you!". I think women in particular are conditioned to always feel like we have to be gracious and accommodating. They left this morning and everything was on good terms, but I have no interest in running a B&B so I need to start thinking before I open my mouth.

BeautifulMaudOHara Fri 25-Mar-16 11:53:20

I can see both sides. You told them you would t be around much, which may have made them think 'great, we'll see London' and you've also said make yourselves at home BUT you want them to tell you their plans. And you've told them you're not cooking so...

I think yab a bit unreasonable but I understand why you're upset and especially so on your dd's behalf. I think neither party has managed each other's expectations well, to use a business term!

OneLove10 Fri 25-Mar-16 12:01:26

I think Yabu as you offered this to them but you seem to have some conditions attached. They are on vacation and probably want to get the most of the time rather than sitting around at your home. Unfortunately for your DD she won't understand, but they are here to have a holiday. They seem like considerate guests otherwise so maybe next time say no, instead of getting upset if they want to follow their own schedule.

NoOneIsInterested Fri 25-Mar-16 12:24:04

I think YABU - but I can see where you are coming from. I think getting back to your house for 4 would cut the day very short - I presume you'd have to leave whatever you were doing in London at three'ish.
I also think you are unreasonable to be worrying about catering for them. It sounds like they are happy to sort themselves out so I think you can leave them too it. The fact that you said you would probably do takeout means to them means that they won't be worried that you are buying in and preparing food for them.

You told them you haven't much free time so they are occupying themselves.

We were expats for years in a number of very holiday-worthy places and I never invited anyone other than very, very close friends and family and when I did I wouldn't dream of putting conditions on them apart from insisting they bought me some walkers cheese and onion crisps from the UK I found that letting people get on with it and not fussing too much was the best way of working it. I didn't inconvenience myself more than I wanted too. That way I would genuinely enjoy people visiting. I was also fairly upfront if I wanted contributions to food or chores. I found it much better to be honest with people than getting annoyed. All our visitors returned and we never fell out with anyone so we must have been doing something right.

I also said no to a couple of people who wanted to stay who I knew would irritate me. One was a cheeky friend of a friend who was pissed off with me when I said it wasn't convenient --- which of course, made me even happier that I had said no.

NoOneIsInterested Fri 25-Mar-16 12:26:16

Sorry about the really crappy English blush. Hopefully you get my drift.

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