Oh the joys of family life. I love my extended family dearly, but it’s true what some say. After a few days, it is time for everyone to go.
I am an extreme introvert. I don’t like a lot of noise. Yes, I have 3 boys, but after so many years I can usually tune them out. I think most moms get to this point with their own children.
However, add 2 more kids in the mix and it can get loud. Really loud.
Especially when you aren’t used to it. I did enjoy hearing my nephews playing the keyboard and trumpet. My boys are more into sports than music.
One great thing: my sister did all the cooking!! Score! She is great!! Her family has many issues with allergies and/or intolerances to foods. So she usually brings her own food. Since our dad and step-mom were also coming, she decided to go ahead and bring meals for everyone to save some time. She was cooking a week before the visit. I love my sister.
We have a decent size house, but it is not equipped to handle 5 extra people. My nephews just slept on the floor in my boys’ room, and my sister slept on the floor in our school room/library. However, my dad slept in a recliner and my step-mom on the couch.
So, some lessons I learned during this visit (in no particular order):
#1: House Rules
Sometimes you need to set up house rules. When the boys were younger, this was especially true for us. I didn’t want them having sweets after 7 pm because it would keep them up at night. I would sometimes make an exception when grandparents were over.
Nowadays, it is more about asking everyone to pick up towels off floors, pick up any food dropped on floor, and things like that. Each family may have different rules. Do what works for you. If your kids aren’t allowed something, decide if it will continue for the visit, or if grandparents will be allowed to “spoil” the kids (like ice cream, extra tv time, things like that).
Smoking and alcohol could also be another house rule. We do not allow smoking in our house. I’m allergic to smoke, so this is easy for everyone to understand. With alcohol, it really depends on the family circumstances. Some families choose to drink wine with a meal, have beers, etc. But if you have family that are recovering alcoholics, it wouldn’t be a good idea to have alcohol in the house. It is a big temptation. Try to consider those around you (see #3).
#2: Bathroom Time
This may sound silly, but everyone needs to shower. You may have to schedule times for the bathroom. Getting 5 teenage boys showered for bed takes awhile. And that didn’t include the adults! We have 3 bathrooms, so I can’t imagine if we only had one!!
#3: Be Considerate of Others
If you are doing the visiting, be considerate of the host/hostess. They have rearranged things to help try to make everything comfortable for you. Also, ask for things instead of going through cabinets, pantries, closets, etc. Bring your own snacks or anything special you may require. It is not the responsibility of the host/hostess to provide everything.
If you are the host/hostess, try to think of all of your guests’ needs. Where are the extra towels and linens? Are there snacks available, or just eating at set times? Allergies or preferences for foods? Try to have something on hand for that person. But don’t break the bank! Most people will bring any special things with them.
Helpings with cooking and cleaning would fall under this category. If everyone pitches in somehow, then mealtimes would run more smoothly and cleanup can be a snap. You don’t want everyone in the kitchen, so it might be easier to assign before and after meal chores to everyone that is able to participate.
#4: Conversation Topics
This is a biggy. In some families, there are topics that just shouldn’t be discussed. The first that comes to mind is politics. More family fights seem to break out over that than anything else. If you do talk politics, please be respectful of the others’ feelings. Each person has an opinion. We should learn to listen to each other and not be belligerent. You may not always agree with each other, but at least be respectful.
Child rearing is another topic. It is not your place to say how others’ children should be raised. We may not agree with it, but each person has their own method. However, if you notice abuse, that is completely different. That should not be allowed or accepted.
I’m sure there are many other topics that could be included, but these are the 4 biggest I have encountered over the years. Just keep in mind, some people are introverts (like me) while others are extroverts. Some are travelling experts, while others rarely leave their hometown. If everyone makes a concerted effort, then a family visit should be a happy event, not something dreaded.
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P.S. With so many people, you might want to stock up on supplies through AmazonFresh.