1. Pat

    During the evening of Christmas Eve, our stepgrandson arrived to have dinner out with my husband, his parents, little brother and his aunt. We had previously asked his parents if he would be coming for that evening dine out and got the answer they weren’t sure. He finally did call the evening before Christmas Eve to let us know he was joining us for dinner the next evening. He did arrive about a half hour before we were to leave, which was good and we even had time to chat a bit. His mother asked him if he was going to spend the night with all of us (first time I had heard about this) and he said he would like to. And my husband and I said it would be great, but that he would be sleeping on the floor (on a blow up bed) or the sofa or the nice trailer that we own and had brought home and had it heated and ready for extra guest if needed. His mother got kind of quiet then said to us, “why can’t he sleep in the other guest room ?” Our reply was that we had prepared the room for our other son and his wife and didn’t want to mess up that room. (our other son and his family were coming the next day …Xmas Day but we had prepared the room for them to be completely ready so we wouldn’t have to be doing that on Xmas Day) Then our daughter in law said she would change the sheets and get it ready for them, but would like her son to sleep there for that night. I said to her, we don’t have a second set of sheets for a king size bed (the bed was a daybed that we had spent time the day before making into a king size bed for the other couple) and I didn’t think it was nice that we would have to be working on Xmas Morning doing laundry. I really wanted to just enjoy Xmas morning with my family, after making this huge breakfast for them that was expected of me. Well, we all went off to dinner, thinking about this. Came home and it sort of exploded into a mess when they realized that I was not going to change my mind nor was my husband, and that we had decided to make this young man very comfortable sleeping in our trailer for the night. He seemed fine with it even, and his little brother wanted to join him so the two of them slept out in the nice trailer that night and had a good time together. But, the mother, my daughter in law was up all night long checking on them and crying over this (she told me this the next morning) worried about her little boy with his big brother. Our question is why didn’t they tell us that it would worry them to have the little one with his brother that night??? Both of us would have gone out and slept with the two of them, as our trailer easily sleeps 6!

    We all managed to get through Xmas Day, but there was tension and I know they were both upset with my husband and myself. My thinking on this is that yes, I could have let them have their way and been done with it, but then my Xmas day would have required me to have to do laundry and etc. to get that room back in order and I know even though my daughter in law would have done a good job of it, I know I would have over seen it to make sure it was ready for our other son and wife.

    When I was growing up we weren’t a wealthy family, in fact times were tough for my family, but we knew that when we went to someone’s home that we did not question where our hosts would put us to sleep for a night, and we raised our son that way too. His wife on the other hand was raised in a hispanic family and very very poor, so I am sure this was never a issue that she learned. So now what I am asking, was I wrong to stand my ground on this issue? If I am I will certainly make all efforts to my son and his wife to make up for it. I have talked to several of my friends that have grown children and they all have told me that I was right and our son and wife were wrong to question where their son, that doesn’t live with them would sleep. And that they should have called weeks before to let us know that they wanted him to spend that night with all of us. (I certainly would have changed my arrangements if we had known ahead of time). So, please give me some advice on this issue. I would love to show what your answer is. If I am wrong then I definately want to make it up to my son and his wife. Thanks for any help you can give to me on this matter. Pat

    • Alicia

      I think any bed at all is very nice for an unexpected guest. The guest himself does not seem to have a probvlem with it. Had the mother of the younger boy been uncomfortable with the kid staying the the trailer she should have told him to stay where you origionally allowed him to sleep. Crying over this is silly and irrational. Perhaps if they are uncomfortable with the level of hospitality they can all stay in a hotel in the future.

    • This is complicated. On one hand, no one was using that room, and your daughter-in-law was gracious enough to offer to take care of the laundry so you wouldn’t be troubled. I think that speaks a lot for her character; i.e., she understands that her requests means that she will be taking on extra work, rather than just expecting you and your husband to handle everything. It also seems that by offering to take on this responsibility, she is letting you know how important this is to her.

      “I know even though my daughter in law would have done a good job of it, I know I would have over seen it to make sure it was ready for our other son and wife.” This sentence tells me that you know and acknowledge that she’s competent, and could have done the laundry. I’m not sure why you would have had to oversee anything. Is your daughter-in-law inept at making beds? I can see where she might be confused, and think perhaps you are treating her son differently because he is a step-grandson. I’m not saying this is your thought process, only that it may be perceived this way.

      On the other hand, it is your home. Therefore, your rules. People should not argue with the homeowner in the homeowner’s own home, nor should they guilt them into anything. In the interest of family harmony, I really don’t quite understand why the kids couldn’t have slept where their mother preferred, but I’m not going to tell you how to run your house.

      • Jerry

        There may be something about offering your son the room you prepared for him as opposed to the room someone else prepared.

        Honestly, to me this sounds like a huge power play on the part of mother. When the step-grandson said he had no issue with the sleeping arrangement that should have been the end of the matter. Mom has no standing to object unless there was some significant health and/or safety issue not disclosed in the letter: that is, (i) step-grandson was happy, and (ii) it is not mom’s house. Mom is going to get upset about a trailer? What is going to happen when the kids want to take a weekend camping trip?

        • I always agree that the homeowner makes the rules in one’s own home. I just noticed that it seemed to mean a lot to the other woman to have her child inside the house – was it cold out? Had there been break-ins lately? As you said, I don’t think we got all the information.
          And as for weekend camping trips, I used to volunteer teaching Boy Scout merit badges, and I can tell you there are many overprotective mothers who freak out at the idea of their little darling being left outside in a tent at the tender age of 16.

  2. Linda C.

    Once a year my mother’s family gets together at a buffet restaurant for the holidays. My grandmother pays for the meals and drinks, under the assumption that her 6 children pick up the tip for her and their respective children, grandchildren, etc. Toward the end of the night, a relative collects the tips to present to the server. My grandmother is a much-loved regular at the restaurant, so the manager picks his very best server who is scheduled that night to manage our huge group (from what I’ve heard the servers fight to get assigned to our tables), and s/he provides everyone with excellent service. Most of the siblings put in a fair/good tip ($10 for 2 adults, $25 for 5 adults/2 kids, etc. ) and try to make it easy for the server to clean up after us (stacking dishes, wiping up melted ice cream spills), with the exception of the two who brag about their salaries (much more than what everyone else makes) – they only give $5 for 6 adults/6 kids and $3 for 8 adults/3 kids, and they leave a HUGE mess – including things an overturned dish of ice cream left on the floor, shredded napkins, etc. A few other relatives get upset, even angry, feeling like they need to make up for the lack of tip for that part of the family (the ones pulling 6 digits a year from retirement in addition to a substantial salary at a current job compared to the rest of us who barely make ends meet), and are embarrassed by the mess they leave.

    Personally, I think there’s no one direction to point the finger. I don’t think it is appropriate for the relative to collect the tip and present it to the server, but the tip should be left on individual tables; this relative should not be telling everyone who gave what either. The poor tip and horrible mess is inexcusable as well (the cost of each adult meal is about $12, $7 for children, making these tips 4.3% and 2.6% of their part of the bill) – there is no reason to allow children to shred napkins (and fling the shredded napkins all over the table and nearby floor) and dump full bowls on the floor without so much as picking up the napkins, bowl, and what food you can easily grab.

    My question is this: Given the situation, how correct am I (I’m pretty sure I’m not 100% on target)? Any advice to help remedy the situation would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and time on this matter!

    • LC

      Why don’t you just set a fixed tip contribution for each adult meal and each child meal? For example, if the adult meal costs $12, state that each adult should contribute $2 (which is roughly 17% and generous for a buffet), or whatever value you find appropriate. If the child meal costs $7, then each adult should leave $1 per child, etc. So, a family with 2 adults and 3 children would leave $7, while a family of 5 adults would leave $10. I would set this expectation clearly, in writing to all attendees in advance and point out that you want to ensure your tips reflect how grateful you are to have such gracious hosts in the the manager and staff, especially since your Grandmother frequents the establishment. When setting it in advance, you can also say that you are letting everyone know so they can be sure to bring sufficient cash.

      • Elizabeth

        I think that most people would chafe at being told how much to leave, especially if they’ve been leaving normal or generous amounts all along. While I agree that the situation unfortunate, I don’t know that there’s anything you can do short of saying something to the bad-tippers – which, depending on your family dynamics could be put across diplomatically as in a joke or good-natured ribbing, or could start a big family feud.

        The better options would be to either leave additional money as you have been doing – which, since you’re getting the meal for free isn’t such a bad deal – or, you could just do nothing. People are entitled to tip according to their own best judgment and, since it is a buffet, the situation doesn’t quite warrant the same standards as a regular full-service restaurant. Servers know that there are more and less generous people, and will not think badly of your mother or those family members who do tip appropriately.

        If some sort of tipping rule is to be instituted, it would be best if it came directly from your mother who seems to be in charge of the whole event.

  3. scdeb

    I was just thinking how unwelcome the step grandson must have felt on Christmas eve when there was a huge blowup over his unexpected presence in the grandparents’ home. How very sad that on a day when families come together to celebrate being a family that this child, who probably has no control over his life choices, was made to feel that he ruined everyone’s day. I don’t think that that was what anyone in the family set out to do but maybe next time everyone should show a little more flexability & empathy so that this boy learns that he can count on this side of the family. It is obvious that the other side of the family doesn’t care at all because they didn’t even plan the child’s holiday.

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