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My husband and I have been married for 16 years. We have come a long way with communication and conflict. We were lucky to find a retirement home on a popular lake earlier this year. What I need help with is setting reasonable boundaries for visitors. My husband's children make arrangements with him and then I'm "informed" with very little to no notice. I did something different and before the 4th of July holiday, I sent a text to his son and the son's wife asking them to keep me in the loop for planning purposes for this and future stays (citing food and laundry). I was told by my Husband that it would be them and another couple. Well it turned out to be them and over 6 people and a dog. I had actually good conversations with them through texting and thought I had broken the cycle and they would see that I was actually working with them to ensure a good experience. Their friends were not horrible but, for example, the one friend's dog peed on our carpeting and early Sunday morning I wanted to clean ut but my cleaner was downstairs where all the people were staying so here I am in what is half of my home feeling like I can't go downstairs because of not wanting to wake up people I only met the day before. By the time they work up it was too late, the stain was dried.

I also feel "invaded" when I see them go through my kitchen and use my cookware etc. My Husband invited his daughter , husband and their 3 kids to stay over along with some customers of his who have become our friends to the house that same weekend "thinking that they wouldn't show up" and I told him if you invite someone you have to plan like they are going to show up. I told him that I understood that it is a holiday and with a lake house, there are going to be people so let's just invite those people you wanted to have over and get it done in one big event and then let's try for at least 50% of the time having "just us" weekends. He didn't object but also didn't say anything either. I told him that after 7/4, I wanted a weekend or two without guests. My daughter has been here for about 4 weeks (away for one of them) in-between moving to another state for her new job so I know that I cannot say it is ok for my daughter to stay but not for his son to stay. She was leaving this Friday and I really was looking forward to the weekend being "just us" and not having to rush about doing laundry and cleaning up the rooms between guests on the same day again.

I'm not saying that the son and his wife are horrible or that I dislike having his daughter and her family (I am closer to them than the son). They "try" to clean up but I still have to wash bed linens and towels and put rooms back together and the way this cycle has been, it seems like someone is "checking out" of the house the same day someone is "checking in" and so it has to be done right away. I feel like a hotel maid. I feel like I get no breaks over the weekend If this were a second home, I think it would be easier but this is our primary residence. Hubby thinks because the son, his wife and their friends go off to the lake part of our property it is no big deal but there is something about having guests in your home that makes me feel like I cannot be myself. Hubby is very proud of this house and wants to make his children happy which I totally get.

Now I just found out a few hours ago after hearing my Husband hang up on the phone that my step son and his wife are coming back over again. I wouldn't have known unless I had asked him "what's up" after he hung up the phone. When he told me, I must have made a face or said something because he said "well we have a baseball game to go to this Sunday" (which I aware of was a possibility but wasn't sure). So if I did not ask, I would not have known. My effort to have me kept in the loop and clearly express my desire to have some weekends for family and some some for just us was not heard despite that suggestion being said very clear and very upbeat. I was thinking maybe having a calendar where we could assign family weekends and "just us" weekends would be my next step to manage this better. For me, mentally knowing in advance would help me to mentally prepare.

What are reasonable boundary suggestions to find a healthy balance?
 

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Since your husband isn't relaying it, and his kids aren't getting it from the texts...when you have them all there at the same time, have a family discussion and lay it all out while looking them in the eye. Make sure your husband is there too, so nothing gets construed.
 

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Since your husband isn't relaying it, and his kids aren't getting it from the texts...when you have them all there at the same time, have a family discussion and lay it all out while looking them in the eye. Make sure your husband is there too, so nothing gets construed.
I completely agree.

You can't tiptoe around your needs.

Tell everyone clearly (this includes your husband) what you need and expect of them. Have no hesitation reminding everyone this is "our" (you and your husband's) home and you expect the same level of courteous notification that any of them would expect from guests coming to see them in their homes. Then end the conversation with "dinner's ready, let's go eat." in other words, dont allow people to disperse. Follow up with a group activity that reinforces they are being treated well regardless of just having been "told."

Best case, you get what you want. Worst case, people get butthurt (which would be pretty immature) and maybe never come over again. Win as well, because you'll have the house more to yourselves.

Another idea is to proactively call them and invite them. In your conversations, remind them to contact YOU when they can confirm. You are helping to move the point of contact from your husband to you.

Lastly, get your husband more involved in helping to care for your guests. Can't he run a load of laundry, cook, set the table? Maybe if he knows the operational effort involved, AND that it'll be his "job" too, he'll think twice about always saying yes.
 

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I'm going to suggest that you stop behaving as a maid in your own home.

If someone's dog pees on the carpet, you wake them up and let them deal with it right then. It's not your dog and shouldn't be your mess to clean up.

If stripping the bedding and remaking the rooms between guests is bothering you, stop doing it. Tell those who are leaving that they need to strip the beds and put the dirty linens in the laundry room. Hand incoming guests a stack of clean bedding from storage to put on themselves. Have your husband pay for more sets of bedding or towels if you don't currently have enough to have clean ones while the others are still dirty. Offer to help them make the beds if they need it, then walk away and go do something else. Let them figure it out or be the ones to come find you and ask for help.

Don't cook for everyone at every meal. Keep basic staples in the house that guests can help themselves to. Anything they want extra, they'll need to provide. Perhaps plan to make one special meal while they're staying with you. Ask which meal your guests would like to be in charge of. "I'm making my lasagna Friday night! How about you guys tackle dinner Saturday? And everyone's on their own for the other meals!" Keep it happy and upbeat, and then walk away as if the "discussion" is over. And it is.

It's perfectly fine to assign a guest to help you with a task or to tell them what you need done. There's a way to do it that insists without offending. "Hey, Jack, bring me the dirty dishes from the table, will you?" "Suzy, bring me all the wet towels from the deck, please!" "Henry, I'm afraid your dog has made a bit of a mess in the living room. Bring the carpet cleaner up with you and I'll find you some towels to help blot up the mess." "Clara, I'm going to let you toss the dirty sheets into the washer and get them going." Keep your tone light, happy, gracious, but expectant. Most people will comply and think nothing of it.

If your husband's children do balk at having to help out, then what you have is not a cleaning problem, but a respect problem. If they don't like the new house rules, then it's probably time to find something else to do on the weekends your husband springs guests on you. Be somewhere else. Let them fend for themselves. Tell you husband, very clearly and very directly, that you must insist that he talk it over with you before inviting people to stay from now on, and that if he doesn't that you can't promise to act as hostess. After that, you'll need to start enforcing that boundary. "Oh, you've invited So-And-So up and they'll be here tonight? I wish you'd told me sooner, dear, I already have plans." Be pleasant, be kind, be gracious. Then, kiss his cheek and go be somewhere else - even if it's just spending the afternoon getting your nails done or having coffee or reading at the library. Be absent, but in not in any way sulky or as if you're hiding. You weren't consulted beforehand, you shouldn't be expected to cater to people at the last second. Breezily go about doing your own thing. And do not apologize for doing it, either. Nor should you accept anything that whiffs of your husband apologizing to his guests for your failure to provide adequate maid service. These are all grown people. And you are not, in fact, their maid.
 

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I'm going to suggest that you stop behaving as a maid in your own home.

If someone's dog pees on the carpet, you wake them up and let them deal with it right then. It's not your dog and shouldn't be your mess to clean up.

If stripping the bedding and remaking the rooms between guests is bothering you, stop doing it. Tell those who are leaving that they need to strip the beds and put the dirty linens in the laundry room. Hand incoming guests a stack of clean bedding from storage to put on themselves. Have your husband pay for more sets of bedding or towels if you don't currently have enough to have clean ones while the others are still dirty. Offer to help them make the beds if they need it, then walk away and go do something else. Let them figure it out or be the ones to come find you and ask for help.

Don't cook for everyone at every meal. Keep basic staples in the house that guests can help themselves to. Anything they want extra, they'll need to provide. Perhaps plan to make one special meal while they're staying with you. Ask which meal your guests would like to be in charge of. "I'm making my lasagna Friday night! How about you guys tackle dinner Saturday? And everyone's on their own for the other meals!" Keep it happy and upbeat, and then walk away as if the "discussion" is over. And it is.

It's perfectly fine to assign a guest to help you with a task or to tell them what you need done. There's a way to do it that insists without offending. "Hey, Jack, bring me the dirty dishes from the table, will you?" "Suzy, bring me all the wet towels from the deck, please!" "Henry, I'm afraid your dog has made a bit of a mess in the living room. Bring the carpet cleaner up with you and I'll find you some towels to help blot up the mess." "Clara, I'm going to let you toss the dirty sheets into the washer and get them going." Keep your tone light, happy, gracious, but expectant. Most people will comply and think nothing of it.

If your husband's children do balk at having to help out, then what you have is not a cleaning problem, but a respect problem. If they don't like the new house rules, then it's probably time to find something else to do on the weekends your husband springs guests on you. Be somewhere else. Let them fend for themselves. Tell you husband, very clearly and very directly, that you must insist that he talk it over with you before inviting people to stay from now on, and that if he doesn't that you can't promise to act as hostess. After that, you'll need to start enforcing that boundary. "Oh, you've invited So-And-So up and they'll be here tonight? I wish you'd told me sooner, dear, I already have plans." Be pleasant, be kind, be gracious. Then, kiss his cheek and go be somewhere else - even if it's just spending the afternoon getting your nails done or having coffee or reading at the library. Be absent, but in not in any way sulky or as if you're hiding. You weren't consulted beforehand, you shouldn't be expected to cater to people at the last second. Breezily go about doing your own thing. And do not apologize for doing it, either. Nor should you accept anything that whiffs of your husband apologizing to his guests for your failure to provide adequate maid service. These are all grown people. And you are not, in fact, their maid.
1000% better than my advice!
 
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1000% better than my advice!
I didn't like this because I thought it was 1000% better than yours, I liked it because I agree with you that it was really sound advice and I can't like a post twice. ;)
 
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Or, go one better and ask everyone to bring their own bedding. Then you don't need to wash for other people ever again! That's what my inlaws do. They have a holiday house, and people stay there regularly. It was getting to be too much for them having to wash/make beds/tidy and everything else so they now ask people to bring their own bedding. Perfect solution.
 
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