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Aaaaargh my SIL is coming to stay for 2 mths - help me with some ground rules

(11 Posts)
MrsFogi Sat 02-Aug-08 23:17:51

I was caught in a good mood and said "yes" to her staying. She is very spoilt and very lazy. I already have quite enough to do in the house with 2 dds under 2.5 and I'm going back to work ft next month. I've just realised even if she behaves she's going to add to the housework load (cooking, laundry etc). Normally when she stays for a few days she does nothing - leaves towels on the floor in the bathroom, never lifts a finger to help clear the table, expects cups of tea etc etc. I think I need to lay some ground rules - any ideas? What can I expect her to do? Should I get her to do her own laundry and risk my machine being constantly tied up or let her put hers in with the families etc etc?

MrsFogi Sun 03-Aug-08 08:09:19

Bump for the morning so that the more assertive mners can tell me how to handle her arrival this evening.

RubySlippers Sun 03-Aug-08 08:17:15


put a laundry bag in her room and tell her she will be able to do her laundry every other day (evening or morning which ever is best for you)

show her how to use the machine

you can't pick up after her - if she leaves sopping towels in the bathroom, dump them back in her room (she will soon get sick of wet towels)

ask her up front for money for a household essentials kitty and tell her it will be replenished by her every week

tell her that she is expected to EITHER help to cook OR clean up after each meal she has with you

if she wants tea/coffee she is free to help herself and to offer everyone else a cuppa too

i think you also MUST tell her, if it is clear things are not working out you will ask her to leave

do all of this with a smile on your face

<<why is she staying for 2 months - v long time)

chelsygirl Sun 03-Aug-08 08:22:16

yes, say you are haooy to have her stay but as a working mum you need to be very organised and she needs to fit in with your house rules

why 2 months??

ellceeell Sun 03-Aug-08 08:24:45

Is she DH's sister? If so, make sure you do the rule giving together and that he will back you up.

Bumperlicious Sun 03-Aug-08 09:08:03

I think subtly is the key, at first. As ruby says, put a laundry bag in her room and say "this is for your laundry and towels when they are dirty, if you could put some washing on in the day that will be a great help, do you need me to show you how the machine works?"

Don't offer her cups of tea. Leave her lists of shopping and say "would you mind just getting some bits for dinner?" surely she won't say "no".

How do you and DH normally split up the chores? You could work some compromise around that, e.g. every evening 1 person cooks the other cleans, the third looks after the kids. You need to get DH onside.

How old is she?

lucysmam Sun 03-Aug-08 10:03:46

i agree with ruby's list totally!!! my sister's the same and i couldn't imagine having her around for 2 months.

it might sound daft but if she needs running round after like a child, maybe stick a chart to fridge or somewhere with a list of 'jobs' for each day and tell her she has to pick at least 3 or 4 of them (not all the simple ones either) to do throughout the day like washing, ironing, tidy kitchen or living room, clean bathroom?

the household kitty sounds a good idea too that way you're not spending all your hard earned cash on her

MrsFogi Sun 03-Aug-08 19:56:09

Thanks everyone. Aaaaaargh she arrives in a hour! She's coming to stay because she was meant to be staying at her boyfriend's for three months and he got fed up after a month and I was in a good mood on the day it happened so said yes (usually I am in a dragon mood and noone would have dared to ask me).

Countingthegreyhairs Sun 03-Aug-08 20:32:15

I'm not sure subtlety is the key tbh. Someone who is ordinarily sensitive to others would not be lazy when they stayed in a house with 2 dds under 2.5. She might need it to be spelt out.

It's awkward but in my view better to lay out the ground rules VERY CLEARLY from the start (this comes from years and years of flat-sharing) and from having my extremely messy sister to stay fairly frequently.

Have a proper "meeting" with her around the dining room table tomorrow - agree dh definitely has to be on side - and say something like "it's great you are coming to stay, the dcs will love having their aunt around for so long, but it's non-stop here so if you don't mind ...."

and then give her a list of tasks and dos and don'ts. You are doing her a favour by letting her stay rent free after all. The least she can do is contribute a bit.

Also, I remember the days before I'd had a child and I genuinely didn't know HOW to help my sister when she'd had her first (although I didn't drop towels on her bathroom floor that's for sure). The routines involved in childcare can seem a bit bewildering and impenetrable if you haven't had experience of dc, so perhaps she would welcome some fairly firm guidance - it makes you feel like more of the family too - less of a "guest".

Get it straight from the start and you will save yourself loads of hassle later on ...

One thing I'd add to Ruby's list is to ask if she could try and fit in with the routine of the house as much as possible. When my sister stays she watches TV until 1 or 2 am every night (morning), wakes up everyone when she finally comes to bed, but then sleeps in late so that dd has been up for hours by the time she struggles downstairs, then she has breakfast when I'm trying to start lunch, and we clash at every turn, you get the picture, aaarrrgggghhhh!!!

Not sure I'd have the guts to say about asking her to leave if it doesn't work out though.

I think you are a very lovely s-in-law btw. Brownie points stacking up from your dh I hope...!!

Countingthegreyhairs Sun 03-Aug-08 20:32:39

sorry for the essay

this subject very close to home

Countingthegreyhairs Sun 03-Aug-08 20:35:10

sorry - one more thing

I'd give her very specific tasks that have a beginning and an end

please do this basket of ironing

please make dinner twice a week

supermarket shop once a fortnight

please would you mind baby-sitting once a fortnight

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