1. Karen

    Divorced In-laws – How to decide who stays at our home.

    I’m hoping to handle this with kid gloves. My daughter will be in the Nutcracker this year. My parents are coming and are very helpful and will be staying in their RV. My mother-in-law and father-in-law will also be visiting from out of town. They have been divorced for 40 years but my mother-in-law has deepseated resentment towards him. Druing thier visit, there is a lot going on. Its my Father-in-laws 70th birthday, which we will be celebrating; my daughter will have ballet practice and shows the entire week; I have a home office and will need to work; It is during the holiday season – need I say more?? Both kids have a band concert; and I will be helping with obligations for the ballet. My father in law is always understanding that I have to work, my mother-in-law feels like I should stop everything when she says. How in the world do I determine who stays at our home and who stays in a hotel? And then, how do I tell that person that they will be staying at a hotel?

    —Already stressed

    • Alicia

      Breath. First you do not need to host any of them. Second it is your husbands folks what does he think? How much room do you have for either of these folks to stay?
      Some polite options
      1. Give them both a suggested hotel or motel to stay at and invite them for specific brunches /dinners ect
      2. Invite one to stay(pick based on husbands choice) and suggest a motel to the other.
      3. Invite both to stay letting them know that the other is also invited and that there are a few house rules. Ie a) no being rude to other houseguests b) when office door is closed you are working and guests must amuze themselves c)assorted events will take up the time during their visit so as much as you are very excited about a few major holiday events that they will largely need to be indepenant guests. d) you totally understand if they prefer a hotel or motel.

  2. Karen

    Thank you Alicia.
    I really like your ideas. I always feel like I have to be the perfect hostess all while doing a million other things in a course of a day. My husband does not care and understands how much this is stressing me out. Both of his parents are very intrusive and will step in my office while I’m working, becasue hey I’m home! And although my home is quite large, I think both of them being in the same country might be too close for my m-i-l!! She has a tendency to not hold back either so your “rules” are great!
    Thank you again. Trying to breath!!

    • Karen,
      Alicia has provided you with excellent advice. One suggestion I would make is to give them each a copy of the schedule of events (YOUR schedule) so they will be able to see exactly what is going on, where kids (and you) will be, and how busy life will be that week. By no means is it to be a way of saying “This is not the best time to have you here” but simply a way of letting them know what is in the plans for the day so they can also plan accordingly. Be sure to schedule in your work time as well!

      You might want to think about putting a sign on your office door to indicate you are working, so no interruptions allowed. Use a little humor so no offense is taken, but the point will still be made. My rule is “No blood, no smoke … it will wait.”

      Best of luck!

      • Camille

        ooo I love the schedule idea so they know when certain events are and when they should figure out stuff to do themselves. I would vote for no one to stay at the house rather than pick between the two. If you must pick, pick the MIL because it sounds like the FIL rolls with the flow a bit better and would likely not be upset by your choice. The other reason is if no one stays at the house……you and your family can have at least a few moments amid the whirlwind of family. I am curious how your parents and your inlaws get along. Sounds like your are in for an interesting week. As Jodi said….best of luck!

        • Karen

          Thank you all for the suggestions, I really appreciate them. Camille, love the idea of not invitng either. M-I-L would be sooooo offended. Do I pick the one that is least annoying?? I guess that would leave me with noone! HE HE! I do like the scheduling idea from Jodi. I’m just afraid they will think, oh she’s free, we’ll drop in, and I’m afraid they both have it in their heads that I’m going to be serving dinners every night. In the past, they both just sort of sit around while I cook and pick up. My husband is a wonderful cook and helpful but we own 2 restaurants, so he won’t be around much while they are here. I would feel better if they did stay elsewhere, I need my space during this stressful time. I’m so stressed because not only do I have all the ballet functons, I’m trying to figure out how not to make anyone angry. And my M-I-L is soooooo difficult, intrusive, demanding, and almost Chauvanistic at times! UGHHHHH!!!

          • Hi Karen,
            Okay, now having read your additional information, I am going to be very direct and say that you need to invite both MIL & FIL to better enjoy their visit by staying at a hotel. The amount of anxiety and stress you are already feeling about their upcoming visit in December (I am assuming, as you referred to The Nutcracker) when it is only mid-October comes through loud and clear in your letters. Your HEALTH and the well-being of your children is worth much more than a few upset feelings, especially when it comes to your MIL, who sounds she will be difficult no matter where she stays. If financially possible, and necessary, perhaps you and your husband might pay for part of their stay. When it comes to breaking the news to them, it would be great for your husband to take over this task. However, if it falls to you, be firm but courteous. “We are really looking forward to your visit! This year, as we have SO many activities going on, we think you will enjoy your stay much more by being away from all of the commotion, so we have made a reservation for you at _____ hotel. ”

            Yes, there will be objections and reassurance that they won’t mind a bit.

            “I appreciate your willingness to be so adaptable, but really, you will be happier, and it will allow the kids to focus on their responsibilities and the things they need to do during this busy week. Besides, I am not only going to be taking care of the kids, but I also have several work projects that will consume my time, so dinners, etc. are all going to be on a spur-of-the-moment basis. This is what will work best for all of us!”
            (Then stand your ground and do not back down, if not for yourself, for the impact it will have on your kids when you are ripping your hair out. )

            You might still consider giving them a copy of the schedule so that they know what events are happening when, but list only that information — when they ask about open times, say (with a laugh) “Oh, gosh, that’s just the kids’ stuff; you should see what I have got going!”

            Stand firm — you can do it! Think of how much better you will feel — and the impact this may have on future stays … as well as the example you are setting for your kids!

            Now, get to it! :>)

          • Alicia

            I agree with Jodi. Have them both stay at a hotel/motel. Plan a few things including at least one dinner and some good times with their grandkids and enjoy a little holiday sanity.
            Remember you can be polite and have a spine of silk covered steel.

  3. ColoMom

    Should an 8 year-old ring bearer wearing a tuxedo shirt, pants, and bow tie also wear a vest or cumberbund? Can he do with just the bow tie?


  4. Laura

    My mom recently passed away and it was very unexpected. Also, it was almost exactly 2 years after my brother was killed in a car accident. While I know and greatly appreciate that everyone has the very best of intentions by asking me how I’m doing and wanting to talk about it, I’m a very private person and choose to only confide in a few very close friends. I also hate how people expect you to grieve in a way that they see fit and I’m starting to find myself getting frustrated. I’m not sure how to respond gracefully when people ask me how I’m doing, or how to gracefully avoid discussing anything to do with the topic. Any suggestions?
    Thank you.

    • Laura, I am sorry that not only are you facing this difficult time in your life, you have encountered busybodies who are irritating you as well. I find it humorous that some people erroneously believe this is a right and a wrong manner in which to grieve. That being said, most people are only trying to be kind when they ask how you are doing. Perhaps you could respond, “I’m doing as well as may be expected. How have you been?” or, “It was a shock, but I’d like to focus on good things right now, as that’s what Mother would want.” For those nosy folks who may press for gory emotional details, I hope you can gently reply that while you appreciate their concern, you are unready to discuss such private matters at this time.
      I think that if anyone continued to badger you, you’d cross them off your friend list.

  5. Karen

    Thank you all for your advice. I really appreciate it. Now I only hope my husband understands my request. He’s very understanding at how much I stress out about things like this, so I don’t think it will be a problem but then again it is his family. I’m writing rough draft emails now on how to break the news, and one of the things I have stated is that although this is a busy time, I don’t want it to be a frantically busy time.
    Also, my daughter informed me last night that she’s very appreciative that everyone’s coming, but she really doesn’t want people over while she’s trying to do homework prior to rehearsal.
    Thank you again for your great advice. Maybe now I can breath a little!!

    • Jodi Blackwood

      Hi Karen,
      A few months ago, someone I don’t know, other than by email, said this to me and it had a tremendous impact on how I felt, so I would like to do the same for you… Please know that in no way do I mean this to sound condescending, but I am proud of you! It takes guts to stand up to certain people, and sometimes it is easier to make that move when we are doing so on behalf of others; by her words, your daughter has given you all the reinforcement and “approval” you need to know you are taking the correct action. It sounds like you are finding the words you need for your emails, so carry on. Enjoy the family times you have together and know that you have no reason to feel guilty (regardless of what may be said!) You are taking care of yourself, your children and husband … now smile and breathe!

      May you enjoy a happy and peaceful holiday season!

      • Karen

        Thank you for the encouragement and advice Jodi. I did not take it that you were being condescending at all!! I really appreciate it!!

  6. Lisa

    Wedding invitation wording for a reception at home

    Bride’s parents are hosting the wedding, married at church, and reception is at their home.

    Mr. and Mrs.
    request the honour..
    at marriage of their daughter…

    and afterwards at the reception
    at the home of the bride (or at their home?)

    Do you say “at the home of the bride” or “at their home”?
    What is proper etiquette here?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *