I love having folks in my home, I love opening it for guests, and all that is involved with hostessing. My husband… not so much 😉 Differences in personality can create both harmony and discord when shoved into small spaces for extended periods of time. As we enter the home stretch for Christmas, traveling may be imminent, let’s chat a bit about hosting.
We have both hosted and been hosted many times over the years, so I thought I would offer some things to keep in mind when doing both.
- Having people in your home means chaos, or at least expect that chaos may happen. Extra kids in your home, who don’t know the rules of your home, may bump things over cause extra wear/tear on your home. Are you sure you are ready for this, or are you sure you can accept if these things happen? If you are not prepared to accept this possibility, you may want to rethink hosting.
- Is there overflow space? If you live in a spacious home, you may want to consider “child proofing” a space or room in your home for the over flow of people. This will also offer a safe zone for those kids that don’t know the rules of your home to play with limited damage done to your home.
- Does your safe zone accommodate the children present?
- What is the back up plan when the safe zone becomes too small for safe play of children?
- Lay some ground rules with your guests before, or upon, arrival.
- Either point out or have removed precious things you don’t wish damaged. If your whole house is a museum of precious artifacts, re-think having a family gathering with many small children. Something may happen no matter how diligent the visiting parents try to be.
- If utility usage is an issue, be up front with the guests concerning these things. For example: here in MD we pay over $100 for water a month, just our family. However, I have an awesome 75 gallon jetted bathtub that I love to share. Hubby has agreed to allow my female guests one bath per visit.
- Would you like your guests to pitch in with groceries? Make sure the amount or type of assistance is clearly spelled out for all parties involved. We once pitched in $50 for groceries on an extended visit… the husband thought this was sufficient, the wife did not.
- Do you have a pet, and how does your pet interact with strangers, small children, people in general? If you don’t have a kid friendly pet, have a back up plan for where the pet will be during the gathering. If your guests are allergic or terrified of the pet, do you have a place where the pet can stay during the gathering? Are you willing to put your pet in a kennel during the gathering? You will need to have this figured out. One bite or nip, and a friendly gathering can become a war zone quickly.
- Hvave you cleaned up the dog waste in the yard? Dog waste in the yard may not matter to you if you never enter your yard to play in it. If part of your guest overflow is the yard where the dog waste is, chances are your guests will find it.
- Please note: asking your guests to pick up the dog waste will usually not go over well.
- Conflict may or will arise. As the hosting family, if having guests in your house is stressing you out, for whatever reason, recognize this and discuss it with the guests. Your guests will continue annoying or angering you while they are ignorant of the problems. Be honest and forthright, while remembering that “proverbs quote”
- Try to remain calm during the discussion. I know, you are already annoyed, but you haven’t given them the chance to change behavior or apologize for what was done.
- As the host, you may need to give you guests the opportunity to think over what you have said, and offer their side of the story. There are always 2 sides to each conflict and your guests deserve the chance to explain themselves. It’s possible, JUST POSSIBLE, that they truly didn’t understand what was happening and weren’t actually trying to destroy your house.
- You must remain calm or give yourself time for composure. If you blow up at your guests, you may go above discussing complaints to spewing hate speech. Once you have done that, your guests are no longer the ones who may have been in the wrong, you are!