48 answers

Would You Prepare the Guest Room for Your MIL?

Please no more replies. I appreciative the supportive ones and the ones telling to go ahead and clean the room anyway but there have also been mean ones and I don't think I deserve that. I never attacked anyone yet people like Toni, Jo, and the woman who called me petty were really harsh so no more please. I had no idea this question would be such an issue.

I said please no more replies but Christine ignored that and went ahead and criticized anyway. Let's see - my husband was fired over a month ago so is not working full time now, nor is he spending 12-14 hours a day looking for a new job. His " home office" wasn't where he really worked. It's just where he put his junk etc. I didn't mess up his stuff. I put his bills, magazines, and newsletters in a pile in a filing cabinet. My parents "took" two rooms bc one only has a single bed! We have 3 other bedrooms so not a huge inconvenience to him. Why do people automatically assume the worst!

My MIL is coming for a short visit very soon. She doesn't come often because she lives 2000 miles away. Typically I'm the one to clean up our guest room, make-up the bed etc for any guests. But this time I'm tempted not to. Here's why: when my parents came to visit a couple of months ago, one of them used our other spare bedroom which is also my husband's office. Of course he had papers all over so I put them neatly in a drawer. He keeps saying how "I hid all his stuff!!" Meanwhile I think it was fair/nice that I didn't even ask him to clean up his own mess. He didn't make any effort to prepare for my parents' visit. Last time we went to my MIL's house, she didn't even bother to make up beds for us (she's retired and has a housecleaner and gardener so has help) but just left the sheets on the bed for me or us to do after having traveled with 2 little kids etc. Nothing was particularly cleaned up either but her house is always messy. So given I work full-time and by no means am being supported by my husband and he's not even really going to be working full time when she comes, I think it's up to him to prepare the room for her. Does everyone automatically prepare the room for your MIL because "it's a woman's job"? or should I stick to my guns and let him do it or her when she arrives? She's never been helpful to me so I don't feel I owe her anything. Why is it automatically my job or a reflection on me if the room isn't in good shape? Btw- she's not coming specifically to visit us. She planned a visit with other family members nearby.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Amazing how I can be expected to be the main breadwinner, do the majority of the childcare and still be viewed so negatively if I don't make-up the room for her. I guess we haven't evolved from the 50's at all. Someone said I might lose my husband and MIL if I stick to my guns. Well, given all I've done for him and his family which has not been reciprocated bc my family is not needy like his is, if this little thing makes him leave me, not sure I'll care. I always knock myself out for guests (including her in the past) but have started to wonder why. Not like I'm not on duty in one form or another almost every waking hour so why do I need to fuss so much when that person doesn't fuss over me? I've always taken the stance of "this is how I want my home presented to people, I have good manners even if they don't etc" but it's hard work and maybe I'm getting a bit lazy if it's for someone who doesn't lift much of a finger for me...

For everyone saying "how hard is it?" The room doubles as a playroom so there is cleaning up to do too. If it's so easy for my, why isn't it just as easy for my husband?

Featured Answers

Eh, I probably would just do it. You dont want to look like she did when you showed up to her house do you? She seemed kinda lazy..

10 moms found this helpful

You may not "owe" her anything but I think the room can be clean, bed stripped and the clean, folded sheets left on the bed.

Do you really want her to be able to say that you didn't even do the bare minimum?

7 moms found this helpful

I would shove the toys in big rubbermaid containers (stick in basement), roll some towels, washcloths and stick in a basket and put on fresh sheets. That should be pretty decent :) You could go as far as tulips in a vase. I am one of those that believes it reflects on me. Don't take it personally that she stinks at hospitality. Give her something to be envious of!

6 moms found this helpful

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I always like to put my best foot forward. I try to have a clean house with clean beds when people come to visit regardless of how they treat me when I go to their house. My house is a reflection of me and I am a caring, kind person so therefore I provide a nice retreat when people stay with me. In your case, I would suggest not reciprocating what she has or hasn't done for you, just put your best foot forward and do the right thing.

15 moms found this helpful

Gee wiz, if you don't want to do it, don't do it then. You won't offend any of US, that's for sure.

But to answer your question, which was, Would you (well ME) make up the guest room for MY MIL, the answer is yes. Yes I would.

NOT because it's a woman's job. But because it's just a nice thing to do, and it's been my experience that Nice works better, that's all.

:)

12 moms found this helpful

I would, just because I'm the one in the family who cares about such things.

11 moms found this helpful

Eh, I probably would just do it. You dont want to look like she did when you showed up to her house do you? She seemed kinda lazy..

10 moms found this helpful

I think that the guest room might have been made up in the time I took to type this, but then again, I'm not in your house or your situation.

I like to make things comfortable for my family. Clean sheets, toys put away (it's our son's room) and some towels out. It just says "I care".

Look at it this way: do you want to do a little better than your Mother in Law, or lower yourself to the lack of care you were offended by?

Just give your husband a head's up, too. "Hey, I'm getting the room ready for tomorrow. Please put your stuff away, or I'll need to do it again." He should get the hint.

Reading your "So What Happened"-- you seem a bit defensive. I'm a big fan of feminism, so I'll just ask you: Why don't you just ask your husband?

I don't think anyone is 'expecting' you to do all this stuff, but you made this pretty pertinent to your MIL, and cited lots of reason you feel she doesn't deserve it. This is an entirely different argument, in my opinion. This isn't a 'worldview opinion' argument, this is 'what should I do in my own house in this situation'.

I agree, too, that you won't get divorced for not setting up a room for your MIL. I think people were feeling that maybe, if it wasn't her, it mightn't have been such a big deal.

10 moms found this helpful

It is a little too easy to lump your two issues together, but you must work hard to keep them separate.

Issue #1: Your husband. You feel you are doing more than he is, and you most likely are. You need to have a conversation with him about reciprocity and fairness.

Issue #2: Mother-in-law. Offering hospitality to anyone is not about reciprocity. It is about opening your home to someone. Whatever she does or does not do for you when you visit should not determine what opening your home means.

Please try very hard to keep the two issues separated as much as possible when speaking to your husband. Otherwise you could wind up with more problems. But no, asking him to do more in preparation for his own mother's visit is not unreasonable at all.

10 moms found this helpful

I read some of your previous posts so I could form a more thoughtful respnse. Just a few months ago you posted that your husband was working 12-14 hours a days,six days/week. I don't know his field of work but he doesn't sound like a slacker to me. Maybe your MBA allows you to earn more but that is your situation. I think the real problem is you feel like you have done way to much for his family and resent everybody. It's not a woman's job but a good hostesses job. I feel good doing nice things for people and don't keep score. Nothing to do with the 50's or "women's work", it is being kind to your husband's mother in 2011. I have an office in my home as well and it would be stressful to have someone stuff my documents in a desk so my parents could have two rooms. Pick your battles and realize it is easier and more rewarding to be kind.

8 moms found this helpful

Wondering why you're even having her stay with you at all, if that's the way you feel about her?

8 moms found this helpful

After reading your "what happened" I had to rephrase my answer...
How you feel about your home and having guests should be about your own expectations, not anyone else's. When I entertain and have guests, I clean as much as I can, put out fresh folded towels and candles, etc. Does that make me a 50's housewife? God I hope not! I am as much of a feminist as you'll meet. I do these things because I enjoy doing them. If I'm at someone else's home do I expect the same? Nope, I'm easy. As a matter of fact for years there were so many of us at my in-laws during the holidays we were literally stepping over bodies on the floor in the morning! I guess my point is do what is comfortable for YOU and if your hubby wants to do more, let him.

7 moms found this helpful

AFTER READING YOUR SO WHAT HAPPENED: I guess you have answered your own question. I would just suggest to family members that are "nearby", that your husband's mother stay with them and set yourself free.

If you decide to stick to "your guns", pretty soon you won't have to worry about your husband or his mother.

Honestly, treat your husband's family like you would treat your own family.

Blessings.......

7 moms found this helpful

You may not "owe" her anything but I think the room can be clean, bed stripped and the clean, folded sheets left on the bed.

Do you really want her to be able to say that you didn't even do the bare minimum?

7 moms found this helpful

I ALWAYS do more work preparing for guests than my husband. Why? Because I obviously care about it and he doesn't. That's the way it is, that's the way it will always be and I accept that. I understand you're put out that you feel the effort isn't reciprocated on your MIL's part, but not everything in life is fair or equal. I take pride in a clean home and I want my guests to be comfortable and in a neat, clean environment because ultimately, it's a reflection on me and how I take care of my family. That's just me. Good luck and it certainly wouldn't hurt to ask your husband for some help :)

7 moms found this helpful

I would shove the toys in big rubbermaid containers (stick in basement), roll some towels, washcloths and stick in a basket and put on fresh sheets. That should be pretty decent :) You could go as far as tulips in a vase. I am one of those that believes it reflects on me. Don't take it personally that she stinks at hospitality. Give her something to be envious of!

6 moms found this helpful

i'm afraid you have a lot of other issues besides whether to ready the room or not. if i felt the way you did, no i wouldn't. "I" however, would.

6 moms found this helpful

If you want your mother in law to think you suck, dont prepare the room.
I wouldnt be able to not prepare the room no matter who was spending the night.

After reading your response it's pretty clear that you want your hubby to take responsibility for the room. If he doesnt care if they have a clean, made bed, then I guess you shouldnt worry about it either. He knows them better than you. And you obviously don't care what they think... so you are FREE.

6 moms found this helpful

I would say have him do it!! It's HIS Mother, he's got tons of more spare time and his Mom wasn't exactly little Miss Home-maker for you when she should have been - especially when she has help on the payroll.

5 moms found this helpful

Oh, P.,
I am going to ignore the "no reply" request.
Please ignore all the mean statements! There is no such thing as "a woman's job." Ask your husband directly to please prepare a room for his mother. Maybe check in to be sure everything looks good. Welcome her to your home, and the nice room prepared for her--it'll make her feel special. And then just don't worry about it. You are busy, your husband is unemployed; you can certainly share chores.
But, in 100 years, none of this will matter anyway. Be of good cheer, and understand anyone who commented negatively to you has their own issues to work through that really have nothing to do with you. I hope you have a wonderful visit with your MIL, and that your husband finds employment soon.
K.

5 moms found this helpful

I saw this quote recently and thought it might help.

How people treat you is their KARMA, how you react is yours!

5 moms found this helpful

I try to treat guests the way I would like to be treated. But absolutely, you should ask your husband to help! BTW most men don't "suck!" No matter who's coming to our house, my husband prepares just as much, if not sometimes, more than I do.
But don't do anything that makes you feel resentful. A wise therapist once told me, "always choose guilt over resentment." Guilt damages you much less.

5 moms found this helpful

Whenever I have ANY company that's not, like, could walk in the door any time sort of company but would be coming for a nice visit sort of company gets the bathroom set up as if the Pope is coming to visit.

Just saying. It doesn't matter how that person's house is set for visitors. I like for my bathroom (and if I had a guest room) to be Pope ready.

5 moms found this helpful

As tempting as it is to just leave it and let him do it, or leave it just as it is...I think that you as a person would feel better if you just did it. Just be hospitable...go above and beyond what she or he would do for that matter. Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful

HI P.,

I didn't read the responses... First of all, I don't see anything wrong with asking him to get the room ready for his family to visit, especially if he has more time to do it than you will. I think that whether you prepare the bedroom depends on how you are going to feel about it. If you don't do it, (and no one does it) will you feel embarrassed or otherwise upset because your MIL has something to say about it to you or someone else? If that won't bother you or your husband, I wouldn't worry about it.

Good luck~ I dislike when my MIL visits.

5 moms found this helpful

Well, you either:

1) Make him do it. It is his Mom, and that is all the explanation you give.
2) You do it, just out of your own sense of common decency and being a 'host.'
3) you don't do it, out of spite and because she is not helpful to you.
4) you do what she did to you... just leave the sheets on the bed and make her do it, not clean up for her, etc.
5) You tell your Husband, he can do it, because it is his Mom and he can then decide how to make the room up or not.
6) you both don't do anything. And then, MIL will guarantee... make it your 'fault' for not making things nice for her arrival.

either way, your Husband MIL, will probably target you... as being the uncooperative, person.

5 moms found this helpful

I think the room should be made up for any guest who comes, even if they don't reciprocate when you visit them. But, if your husband is the one who is home more, ask him to do it. Just make sure you give him a specific list of how to do it/what to do, because simply saying to get it ready for his mom won't be enough. Ask him to put away the toys, put clean sheets on the bed, lay out towels, etc.

Also, don't phrase it as "you didn't help for my mom so why should I help with yours." Just ask him nicely to please do it since you are working more these days.

5 moms found this helpful

My MIL does very little to prepare for us when we travel over 1000 miles to go see her. Beds not made....no food for us. She has said, "well, I figured you ate on the road."
Hel-l-l-lo-o-o-o-o! We got up at 5am have been in airports all day to arrive by dinnertime....and she says she didn't make it to the store. It hurts.
My mom and dad are also over 1000 miles away and they knock themselves out to make us feel welcome. I take the approach my parents do and put the time and effort in to making her feel welcome when she visits. It feels like the right thing to do---put in effort for a houseguest--and I deep down hope it might help my MIL to see how you prepare for guests.
Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful

I would prepare the room no matter what. She is your husband's mother and deserves the respect.

4 moms found this helpful

Men suck...bottom line. Yes, he should be helping you by getting the room ready for HIS mom. However, we all know that it is highly unlikely that it will happen. You know for sure that your MIL will not say anything to her son...she will blame you because you weren't welcoming...

4 moms found this helpful

This isn't about your MIL (ok, maybe a little). Isn't it really about you and your husband and the feeling you have that he's not pulling his weight? My husband and I have "discussions" about domestic choirs from time to time. I find they go much better if I approach him calmly, let him know that I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed or unappreciated, sometimes giving examples, and then tell him that I could really use his help and/or an evening to myself.

My husband doesn't mean to be insensitive, and he doesn't mean to take me for granted. He's just human. While I'm not trying to be too stereotypical, it is true that women tend to be much better about noticing the things that need to happen, and men tend to need specific instructions. I can look at the living room and see the toys that need to be picked up, the clothes that need to go into the hamper, the carpet that needs to be vaccumed, etc. If I ask my husband to clean up the living room, he looks at me and says, "Why, what's wrong with it?" I've found it's much better if I say, can you and the boys pick up the toys and put the books away? When they've finished, I'll ask him to vaccuum. Sounds silly, I know, but many guys need specifics.

I've also found that it's much more effective if I think ahead. What needs to be done, and what do I need him to do. Let him know ahead of time. It lead to a much happier time that waiting for him to figure it out and then being mad at him for not reading your mind.

4 moms found this helpful

We both pitch in to get the house and guest room ready when company is coming -whether friends, his family or my family. We both work full time outside the home as well, so any housework is split 50-50.

WOW -after reading your "What Happened" -you're the main breadwinner and he's not completely working full-time??!? -I would point to the guest room and let him know if he wanted it to appear any differently upon her arrival, then he needed to do something about it, that you were too tired.

4 moms found this helpful

As much as I would love to say, "do unto her what she did to you," I cannot say that would be right. Prepare the guest room, whether it's your MIL or a friend. In your heart, you have to know that's the right thing to do, even though she doesn't do the same for you and your family when you visit. Do what you can to spruce it up, put clean sheets on the bed, make the bed and call it a day. We have an obligation to lead by example. Show her a good example.

4 moms found this helpful

Does your husband make or help make the bed in YOUR room? If not, then maybe he doesn't even know HOW. If he does, then rather than make a big deal out of it, just tell him a day or two before she is due to arrive "honey, while I'm finishing up dinner, can you go get the guest bed ready for your mom? The sheets are _____(wherever they are). Thanks!"

Surely he isn't so neanderthal that he'll say "no, that's your job." If so... well... then maybe you have bigger issues than your MIL.

4 moms found this helpful

I would make up the room because I like to be a good host, no matter the company, and I'm pretty sure my husband would do a job less than my standards ;-) BUT, I would totally call him out on his lack of support and attitude towards helping and pulling his weight. Even if he's not the one making up the room, I'm sure there are other things he can do around the house to prepare for his mother, especially when you are working. I find that I need to be specific about what I ask for and then hubs will pitch in...it is rare that he would do housekeeping on his own but I won't hesitate to ask when I need help. Sorry that your MIL is not supportive or a gracious host...again, that reflects on her, not you.

4 moms found this helpful

I would ask my child and my husband to make up the room.
You are busy and they take it for granted you are going to this stuff, switch it around and let them know you have limits. You cannot clean up for or after 1 more person so they will have the honor of being Grandmas, care takers. Be sure to thank them,give them credit and show them approval of their good/hard work. I bet Granma will feel very special.

No regrets and no guilt.

4 moms found this helpful

If you're working full time and hubby isn't, I'd ask him outright -"honey, can you make up the guestroom for your mom". Don't "expect" it to be done by him, if it's gonna bug you if it's not done, you do need to request it cause really, I don't know if guys think about this stuff. I don't think a guestroom has to be "perfect" for family, but clean sheets and a few empty drawers are nice. I wouldn't knock myself out; I'd just be real basic in the prep. And since it doubles as a playroom, I'd kinda separate the play stuff a bit. Family guests should understand it doubles as a playroom. If they don't like it, that's what hotels are for.

3 moms found this helpful

She has a house cleaner and her house is still a mess?? I do agree about the Kharma. She's a B**** and so keep her happy. I would say make it a family event to prepare for your MIL so it's not just you. Make the kids clean up their mess and you and your husband can BOTH do the rest.

3 moms found this helpful

I get where you are coming from.. but seriosly, how hard is it to throw sheets on a bed? My In-laws drive me batty, but they are making the effort to come and visit so its the least I could do to make a bed.

Just my 2 cents. Enjoy your visit :)

Updated - I also didn't know it was a play room. I thought the issue was only sheets on a bed. Sorry....

3 moms found this helpful

I'm with you. If he is not working full time and you are you should simply let him know where the toys (or whatever) go, where the sheets are and what needs to be done before his mother arrives. If he doesn't do it you can let your MIL know that you thought he was going to get everything ready since you are busier working full time and he's home. From your description of her house, she may not even care one way or the other!

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

I think working together is the best option regardless of whose parent's they are. If you both do a little then he can't get upset over it. I also would not focus on what he or she or others did not do. What do you want to be remembered for? And how would you.like others to treat you?

2 moms found this helpful

I'm with you. I'm so over nasty people. Do for her what she did for you. No more, no less.

2 moms found this helpful

I actually had a similar problem. We use to have a guest room in our old house, but it was empty because we were focus in so much more stuff more important. Every time my mom went to see us, my older daughter give her bed to my mom and she and my sister sleep in air beds. But when my MIL went to visit us I try to be nice and actually bough a full size bed for her to have her privacy and I even buy flowers for the room and candle, etc.
She knew this and didn't even thank me, ok, what ever.
Every time after that when my mom and his mom would come, some how it was set up that my MIL would go to the guest bedroom, my mom is just to nice and she wouldn't even want to always take my daughters room because she felt bed for her so the 3 of them would take turns to sleep in my daughters twin bed.
My MIL not even once offered to even take the twin bed and let my mom and one of the kids sleep in the full size bed.
She is a little older then my mom and she is always sick of something, so with that said and the way my mother is it was no way my mother would have ever accept this, she actually even give her a massage (my mom study for a professional massage lady).
It was the fact that she didn't even attempt to offer, or to invite my daughter to sleep with her in the guest room with her what it got me.
But, we paid for my mom tickets (she doesn't have much money) and my MIL paid for hers, the fun nights and memories my daughter made all those times sleeping in the floor together are priceless.
Now, my MIL and I barely talk, but you know what, I have my conscience clean because I did try, period.
I say, either have your husband do it since he is not working as much as you do, or do it your self, at least you will be able to say: It wasn't for me, I did try.

2 moms found this helpful

Oooohh I SOO get your frustration! I like things tidy too especially when it comes to having company to our house. I can work myself up into a real frenzy and start judging others about how lazy, unmotivated, or ungrateful they are and I have to consciously stop myself because it is negative energy that gets me nowhere! There are a lot of times when I go out of my way to do something for others when I know good and well that it may not be reciprocated. The thing is, you need to do what brings you the most peace. My women's bible group just finished a series about God's beauty and to sum up the jist of it is this: We are all made in God's image and we are a reflection of His beauty, so what are we reflecting EXACTLY? Is it his beauty in its truest form or is it clouded by our pain, jealousy, annoyances, etc? If you are driven to prepare this room because it drives you insane not to, then do it. If you are driven to be a good hostess because it is the way you would like to be treated-golden rule-then do it. If nobody else appreciates or even recognizes your kind gesture, know that God does. Selfless acts please Him. Maybe not your MIL. Maybe not your husband or children or friends, just Him. The more I try to remember that, I am overcome with a sense of peace and happiness. And before you know it, others WILL, perhaps only in a subtle way at first, notice too. It is possible that your MIL has never been pampered in this manner. You might be surprised by her reaction and willingness to try harder the next time you come for a visit at her place! Hope this helps!
A.

2 moms found this helpful

I think you ought to make it your husband's responsibility.

2 moms found this helpful

Typically, I'd say yes, do it just because. And I do go totally OCD when my in-laws come over, worse than I do for my mom (who doesn't care if the sheets are perfectly ironed etc). To me, they're "guests", while my own family is just that, family.

But my husband always asks what I'd like him to do to help get ready, for BOTH his family AND mine. That's in addition to stuff he just knows should be done to get ready (trash out, not leave his stuff everywhere etc).

In your situation, I say if you're busy and this cleaning is going take away from your time with your kids or your own (and obviously needed of course) relaxing time, no, I wouldn't do it. Sorry, but it's HIS mom, he doesn't treat your mom's visit with this "respect" and she doesn't treat your visits with it either. If he cares, he should do it. If she cares, maybe she'll get the hint for next time ya'll visit. And if neither of them care enough to do so, neither should you.

2 moms found this helpful

Stick to your guns!!!

She didn't prepare a room for you - why have a double standard? Seems like preparing a guest room is not a part of their family culture. If it is, your husband can do it.

2 moms found this helpful

your husband is a jerk.
but i would never expect someone who was going to be a guest in my home, even someone i wasn't fond of, to make up their own bed.
and it sure ain't because i'm suzy homemaker.
that reminds me.....time to shave the bathroom!
khairete
S.

1 mom found this helpful

I know it sucks when he doesn't help out! I know it sucks that she wasn't courteous enough to make up the beds. You could fight fire with fire, but what will that do/prove? Will it make things better, will it make things worse, will it even matter? It's up to you...
Easter is less than a week away, I don't know if you are a Christian, but WWJD?

1 mom found this helpful

Men-we're bigger than they are..and I'm assuming that your MIL is older than you are??? Do what you're able to do-you'll feel better about it.

1 mom found this helpful

I would probably be rankled, and be tempted to do to her what she does to you, but alas I would probably cave in, being the subordinate and non confrontational type I am, to just do it and be done with it.

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