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How do you cope with the visitors?

(32 Posts)
stickybean Mon 12-Nov-12 03:36:35

I'll start by saying I know I am probably being unreasonable... I'm just having a little vent, feel free to ignore me!

We live in New York but are both British. I have 2 young kids and another on the way. People come and stay with us ALL the time. I reckon we have guests 50-60% of the time. Some months we'll have no one and then we can have a month or two where we are 3 or 4 different guests back to back.
Mostly it's not too bad and I just get on with it but I'm reaching my limit. I don't want to make polite conversation, I don't want to cook every night... I want to eat cereal for dinner.
I don't want to find a free night to go out. I want to stay at home, watch TV and go to bed.

When people come for a week it's ok but after that I reach my limit. One of my siblings is here for 3 weeks at the moment... It's killing me. There is a reason we don't live with our siblings as adults. Don't even get me started on my mother.

I know I just need to say NO when people ask to come and stay or set strict time limits. But it's easier said then done. I am crap at confrontation so just quietly seeth.

I don't even know what I'm asking... Share your stories, tell me how to deal with it or to suck it up. Or that it's the price you pay for moving precious grandchildren / nieces nephews across the globe and tough luck.

Just venting really.
Sorry for typos, can't proof read on my phone.

Lavenderhoney Sat 01-Dec-12 18:20:39

Not having a spare room helps now smile although I would love people to come, when they do its crap. I dont want to cook dinner party dinners at night, and prefer to eat with the dc at 6. The only person I know who copes with visitors fabulously is mil, and she just does her thing. Sometimes she peeks in our bedroom and rolls her eyes at the mess but she knows I am untidy in there only. I also buy her loads of magazines and treats which she wont do for herself. She doesn't go on trips etc, but will supply picnicssmile then she puts her feet up and gets her friends round for a good moansmile

EdwardtheEagle Sat 01-Dec-12 15:39:17

Being non confrontational means you're putting other people's family before your own. Are they worth that?

RichardSimmonsTankTop Mon 19-Nov-12 03:07:13

Like Adora we're also in South America but have about six sets of guests booked throughout the next six months. They're all lovely people but I'm a bit nervous about reading this.

Does anyone else find that well meaning family members have offered you as free accommodation? My sister emailed me a few weeks ago saying "X, y and z are coming to your city in March, May and June and I've said they can stay with you." NO THANKS.

stickybean Sat 17-Nov-12 14:34:08

AdoraJingleBelles: suck it up or set some boundaries... I know which one I should do and I know which one I probably will sad
I am too non confrontational for my own good.

Spending all my time hiding in my room at the moment and then feeling like the worlds biggest bitch just for feeling how I do.
My family is so blooming high maintenance. Sometimes I think moving across the Atlantic was the best thing for me... Then someone else comes to stay and I'm not so sure!

AdoraJingleBells Sat 17-Nov-12 02:48:16

We don't get many visitorsgrin we're not only too far away but obviously we're in the middle of the jungle with all the associated bugs and nasties because that's all south America has to offerhmm. Anyway, I'm a lazy bolshi hostess who refuses to bend over backwards to accommodate uninvited guests. This means the few visitors we have had, one repeat offender visitor has been here 6 times, don't treat our home like a hotel.

You need to decide weather you are going to suck it up and vent on MN (nothing wrong with having a rant on here) or set some boundaries and stick to them.

strictlycaballine Fri 16-Nov-12 10:14:42

[sorry - rushing - should have proof-read that properly before posting..]

strictlycaballine Fri 16-Nov-12 10:12:22

Sympathies, sympathies Stickybean. I think I started a thread virtually identical to yours a couple of years back - and it hasn't got much better I'm afraid - although we are a little more judicious about what we agree to from the outset.

So would suggest firm boundaries right from the first moment the visit is suggested on the telephone. shock at MrsSchadenfreude's cheeky 'friend' who had 'already booked flights'.

Always, always be ahead of the game in terms of what you want to be doing for long weekends or holidays, else other people will plan it for you. You need to be able to say without hesitation "oh it would have been lovely to see you but we are heading off to x then" or "oh what a shame but dh's god-daughter is staying with us over that weekend" (even if they aren't blush)

We like in Brussels and like Londonmoo absolutely detest the tourist trail aspect of it all. Can just about do my job, look after house, make up rooms, do the extra shopping and provide meals but I know draw the line at shepherding people around the sites that I have seen fifty times before.

As others have said, it ultimately depends on how your guests behave though.

I have one set of regular guests (brother, his dp and their two dc) who always arrive , "exhausted", empty handed, never lift a finger to help, never pay for anything, expect to be chauffered everywhere and, worst of all, the moment they arrive; exonerate themselves from all responsibility of looking after their dc who I am expected to entertain at every waking hour. And they barely bother to say thank you afterwards either.

On the other hand, when my best friend visits from France (also two parents and two adults) they arrive under their own steam (never need collecting from anywhere), come laden with inexpensive but really thoughtful gifts (eg walnut oil they have pressed themselves, local cheeses etc) are up and off and out every day, insist on cooking a couple of evenings while they are here and even offer to take my dd out with them for the day. And I always receive a huge bunch of flowers and a card in the post three days after they have left.

Tis chalk and cheese frankly and I know which lot are always welcome and which lot ellicit groans...

Dh and I dream of winning the lottery and being able to convert our roof in to a self-contained flat which we could have made up for guests at all times, with it's own little kitchen etc which would put an end to the endless tea and coffee-making, can I borrow your iron scenario etc etc. Mind you, that might encourage more guests to come. Yes, thinking about it, might keep it as a wreck after all ....wink

CordeliaChase Fri 16-Nov-12 00:25:05

We've just moved out to Canada. Luckily, both mine and DHs family hate the cold weather, and we are currently surrounded in pesky white stuff. Peace and quiet for the first Christmas in 6 years grin we are going to be finding a place with a developed basement though, as my mother is planning a 6 week stay with us in February. I don't mind so much as it means me and DH can get out and sample the Canadian night life while she watches our 2 year old wink

stickybean Fri 16-Nov-12 00:11:40

Arrrrghhhhhh. That's all angry

Your posts have made me feel better and less alone but oh my goodness I can't wait until weds when I finally have my home back. I feel like I have a shadow.
No time alone even when I'm running errands, doing school run, supermarket etc she's coming with me.
It's NYC for gods sake... Go and do something!!!
And breatheeeee.

FuckingWonderwoman Thu 15-Nov-12 23:06:25

This year we rented a gite and invited a friend of mine, who had had a shit year, to spend a long weekend with us, in the middle of the holiday. She contributed nothing to the weekend at all, didn't lift a finger and only went out to get bread after extreme pressure had been put on her, and we were busy with other stuff. We went out for dinner a couple of times, and she didn't even offer to pay her share or the wine, or offer to drive so that we could get pissed. Or say thank you afterwards.

We have booked the same place again this year - she asked what we were doing for our holiday when she rang the other day, and we told her. She called back the next day, saying enthusiastically that not only had she and her DH booked leave, but also the ferry. Unfortunately, she didn't ask when we had booked for, and we're going a week earlier this year...not to mention the fact that we hadn't actually invited her and her DH this year...

EspressoMonkey Thu 15-Nov-12 12:34:42

MrsSchadenFreude - snap! We used to live in Paris too and we often had guests weekend after weekend. They left after breakfast inbetween finishing eating and starting the dishes, and turned up at night inbetween meal preparation completion and time for an aperitif, empty handed of course. Then they complain about how expensive drinks and coffee were in Paris whilst helping themselves to my Tassimo machine or wine cabinet.

We are in Switzerland now and bracing ourselves for the start of the ski season, especially as arrival of DD2 means no more spare room. "she can bed down with you!" MIL announced. Grrrrrrr.

Our best guests stayed for one night and came armed with a bottle of Moet and mail ordered a hamper of food. The kids loved them and still talk about them a year later.

Our worst guests were rude to the kids, spilt coffee on the bedroom carpet and didn't clean it up or tell me, emptied our drinks cabinet, got drunk and insulted my husband, and paid for nothing.

NapDamnYou Wed 14-Nov-12 18:44:55

We moved into a place with no spare room.
I didn't see why we should pay hundreds of dollars extra rent a month in order to host visitors three months a year.

BookieMonster Wed 14-Nov-12 15:59:43

Don't answer the phone or the door!
Seriously, tell them it isn't convenient for you and compile a list of nearby hotels. You don't need to give anyone an explanation.
I got tough after a nightmare Christmas when my PIL booked flights out to stay with us (without checking if it would be OK or convenient) in the full knowledge that their stay would coincide with the planned visit of my parents. That was a fun four weeks. hmm

picklesrule Wed 14-Nov-12 15:46:33

We just had visitors for 8 weeks on the trot actually almost drove me mad! Was a mix of dh's family and mine..not sure which was more annoying actually grin
Was so sick of making conversation by the end of it!!

Sorry that's not remotely helpful just yo say I feel your pain!!

londonmoo Wed 14-Nov-12 15:35:47

Poor pupsie. I'll visit you! I'll bring my own lunch AND wash up smile

pupsiecola Wed 14-Nov-12 14:09:46

We have the opposite problem. Five months in (!) and still no visitors although MIL is coming for 3 weeks in December. It's just so expensive to get over here and a long flight too so impossible for a weekend sort of a thing. Most of our friends can't afford it. A fair few are going through divorces too. I'm hoping to bring a couple of those out on airmiles but they work and it's hard to to spare the holiday etc when also splitting the childcare in the school holidays etc. Our parents could afford it but aren't that adventurous. Last time my mum was on a plane was 35 years ago and that was only for 2 hours.

Anyway, I feel for you. It sounds like a total nightmare and has made me think maybe it's not so bad not having guests after all!

Some good suggestions there. It's unbelievable that people are so cheeky and thoughtless. Especially "friends"!

londonmoo Wed 14-Nov-12 13:54:17

Am new to this overseas business but I think it must be very hard to say no, but I think there are some practical ways to make it a bit easier on yourself and you can bring in some constraints and terms & conditions.

When third baby comes along you can get away with a flat 'no' for a good few months - longer if needs be. Who can argue with someone saying: 'Sorry, my 18-month old is still a nightmare at sleeping and we are finding having three to be very exhausting. It'll be a very helpful conversation stopper. Should you find yourself having to do it regardless, then:
• Set maximum stopover times - 7 days max or even less.
• Be honest about having done the tourist thing a lot but turn it into generosity by offering to give people a key and come and go as they wish. It IS generous, anyway.
• You can invent a previous phantom guest who was very useful and get the ghost to set the bar high by suggesting via one of the planning emails something like: 'What we did with our last guests was have one night on and one night off - we'd shop & cook one night, they'd do it the next. We'll do that again this time.' Make sure they know these are your current expectations. It might only work with familiar people who you know well but at least if you can get a couple of visitors per year to play along you will salvage a bit of cash & sanity & energy.
A cousin who used to come and stay with us when we were back in UK bringing three tall kids and a wife (we are a family of three) would pack his car with all the ingredients it took to make one enormous meal, and then cook it, and then clear away. A really lovely gesture and always a gorgeous meal full of French fancies.

Poor thing. Be as honest as you can. The best people will understand competely.


papooshka Wed 14-Nov-12 11:22:56

We are in Singapore and have had our fair share of visitors which I do love having, however cos we've been here a while now, visitors are fewer and fewer which is hard cos I do miss home.

But when we do have visitors I have a strict 2 week rule, any longer just kills me with the constant going out, not relaxing, having to be on my best behaviour all the time!!

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 13-Nov-12 23:43:09

I feel your pain. We are in Paris and have non-stop guests, usually only for a weekend/long weekend, but we counted up the other week and had had guests for 10 weekends on the trot. So we just said to anyone who asked, no, sorry, we need some weekends to ourselves for a bit. And to the cheeky cow who said "But we've already booked our flights", recommended a cheap hotel near us and said "It would be lovely to see you for drinks." grin

I cannot bear: people who expect us to entertain them/come to Montmartre/ go on the batobus etc etc; people who see us as a free/cheap holiday and don't offer to even buy a bottle of wine. We have some friends who are notorious for this. They wandered off on their own in Paris one weekend, but said they wanted to meet us for lunch. We turned up at appointed place at set time, and found they weren't there. I called them, and when they finally answered, it transpired that they were right over the other side of Paris and had already eaten.

The people I hate most are the ones who say to me as soon as I get in from work "What's for dinner? Did you pick up any wine on the way in? There doesn't seem to be any left because we have been sitting here all afternoon drinking it " And Paris isn't cheap, so I would never expect anyone to take us out for a meal, but it would be really nice if they could pay their share. I ended up paying well over 300 euros for a meal for four of us, in a restaurant they wanted to go to - when the bill came, they said "Oh we'll settle up with you later" and never did, despite my reminders. They finally said they had run out of euros, and would send me a cheque for their half. Well, it's like that mythical postal order from Australia - three years on, and I'm still waiting for it.

chloeb2002 Tue 13-Nov-12 20:14:39

Id say as you know the answer is no.. In contrast since we have been in Aus we have only had one visit a year! The problem seems to be similar among all our British friends! the phone lines only call out.. not many people know how to call into Aus.. very strange.. but their loss!

frenchfancy Tue 13-Nov-12 16:58:40

I love having guests, as long as they pull their weight.

When we first moved here we had a string of visitors who didn't lift a finger and expected to be waited on (the we are on holiday sindrome) they haven't been invited back.

My best friend and her family come for 10 days or more every summer, and we love it. They help out, pull their weight, and don't get offended if we go to bed early. Mum comes out twice a year and she is the same.

50% of the time is a bit much though.

CaliforniaLeaving Mon 12-Nov-12 20:39:20

We only get my Mother coming to visit, she's fine Dh said she can live with us if need be as she's fairly easy. We aren't in an international tourist area (3 hours to San Francisco) only one small hotel within a 40 minute drive. So no one comes, grin

We are very antisocial and don't give up our bed or shuffle the kids around, we also live slap bang in the middle of absolutely nowhere, so we don't get many visitors smile My father emotionally blackmailed me into letting my mother come and stay straight after my DC2 was born and it was a nightmare, ruined those first weeks and probably also our already not great relationship, so well done you for saying NO ahead of time, it's less damaging than going along with a visit you don't want immediately after the birth!

In your position I'd be wondering how many of the guests would be flocking to stay for weeks if you'd moved somewhere less exciting, and responding to their requests to stay accordingly! For anyone, even if you want to see them and they are over mainly to see you and not New York, I'd set a limit of maybe 4 nights. With 3 small children and a job you are not a hotel!

stickybean Mon 12-Nov-12 13:00:03

What a lovely bunch of supportive people you are! I feel better for just having written it down really.

Hotels aren't an option for most but I have got to a point where that can't be my problem anymore.
I have already told my mother I don't want her staying in my house after the baby is born. I feel bad but it will tip me over the edge. It went down like a lead balloon.

I think she's very cross I dared make my own decision / had my own life and moved away. Not sure that she will ever forgive my husband.
I need to keep reminding myself I am in my thirties, have a family of my own. I am not answerable to my mother or anyone else.
God I have issues grin

MortimersRaven Mon 12-Nov-12 06:13:43

Our constant stream of guests during our first year abroad prevented us from having a holiday or travelling at all, which had been the whole point of moving here. Plus extended family are really hard to live with for long periods of time. I think to an extent you have to suck it up but there is a limit.

We moved into a 1 bed place and booked a beach holiday. 2 sets of friends asked separately whether they could come with us and we said no. We've been together almost 4 years and have never had a holiday as a couple!

You need to lay down some boundaries; how about 'we can take guests but only for a max of 7 days as we also need our own space'?

IMO you can totally use being pregnant as a reason to refuse anyone/everyone. They will probably huff about your hormones but they'll understand. Then you can extend that into 'not with a tiny baby' and then 'not with a sleepless toddler' and so on for as long as you want to.

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