May 2, 2022

Ask Margaret: What Rules Can I Set for Family Visits?

Having kids means having visitors who can't wait to see them– which means that in addition to being a mom, you are now a part-time travel agent and innkeeper. Here’s how to create ground rules that will help keep the peace when the visiting starts.

When are kids are born, your friends and family will want to see them! Which is lovely, but hosting family while juggling a new baby or a houseful of kids can be exhausting. This week Em from Australia asks:

Margaret - you say you go to stay with family for holidays, have family stay with you for holidays and leave kids with family so you yourself can go on holidays. Amazing! Question - do you have any ground rules or tips and tricks for having family stay with you? My husband and I live interstate from both of our families so if they visit they stay with us. We don't live in a large house and we're finding the line between hospitality and what we can handle hard to draw. How can we simplify our approach?

Margaret's response touches on these three principles:

  • When kids are with family, that family's rules apply. If your kids eat way more ice cream than they do at home, that's OK.
  • Set ground rules for family who visits you. You get to determine when it is a good time for you to have visitors and how long they should stay. You have veto power on all visits.
  • Work from your place of maximum generosity. Remember that your parents and in-laws are longing to see your kids. But be clear on what you can handle... then when you get pushback, remember that "No" is a complete sentence!

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