It’s a nice, lazy Saturday afternoon. You have had a work week that would curl the hair on a bald man and it’s finally time to kick up your feet, open a book and relax (well that would apply to many of you who may be reading this – I have a young son who thinks he is the next WWE wrestling champ….!). The phone rings……
Skip to 10 minutes later. The initial shock has ebbed as you come to the grim realization that guestsarecoming!. If you are anything like me, you are now pulling out the Sherwin Williams paint chart and planning the entire re-decoration of your home. I know this was done about 6 months ago, but does the baseboard look as white as it should? Yes, I panic. I want to change my entire home to accommodate the anticipated guests – regardless of who they may be. Usually it’s a mother or mother-in-law, which is always a wonderful addition to our home, but usually an exhausting pre-visit experience.
After selecting the appropriate paint colors and sending my husband on his Honeydew list (honey-”’do”’ – get it?), I normally find myself emptying closets and drawers and generally scrubbing every square inch of a typically clean and well-kept home!
No, this does not mean the rules that I expect my guest to follow, this is just the part where I explain what a visitor is expected to do in my home….. nothing.
I am a firm believer that a guest should be pampered and truly enjoy the experience they share with you while temporarily living in your home. Therefore, I make certain that I have enough groceries that include items that I know they enjoy, and always plan for slightly “fancier” meals – at least a few during the duration of their stay. Bedding is either purchased new, or taken from the “guest bedding” selection that I store away for such purposes. New pillows and towels are a must!
I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible by assuring them that “our home is your home” – except that you don’t need to do anything, lol….
I would say that’s where my rules end….
Most guests have their own set of rules, such as: cooking, cleaning and helping around the house. It’s nice to object to this, but if after a couple of attempts, they insist on doing something, then I say, “let them”. Often guests feel uncomfortable if they have to sit back and watch YOU do everything, so it’s okay to let them do some chores if they wish, just don’t leave them a list….
Obviously we all need our own space. I know that you can’t run naked from the bathroom to your bedroom when you have Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob living with you. (Or maybe you do….????). It’s nice to have a little privacy when guests are with you, so I suggest offering them a brochure of “Things To Do In….” and present it in a way that you are thinking of their alone time. A nice restaurant, museum, whatever it takes to afford you some alone time in your home. This often doesn’t work according to plan, but it’s well worth the minimal effort if it does!
The day will inevitably arrive when they must return to their own homes. This is not the time to do the “happy dance” – wait until they have pulled out the driveway.
Never let your guest feel that their departure is making you as happy as though you have won the lotto!! Reassure them that it was a pleasure spending time together and extend a warm invitation for them to return. They will appreciate this and you will know that it won’t happen for a while!!! Offer them a little memento of their stay in the form of a nice photograph of you all together, as an example – justnotthekeytoyourhouse!.
I hope that this has offered a little assistance in the life altering experience that can occur just by answering the phone……..