Know the Saying 'Be Careful What You Wish For'?

Updated on July 25, 2012
K.S. asks from Littleton, CO
14 answers

I'm not entirely sure what I'm asking here, but hoping someone can relate and help me sort my feelings. I have 3 siblings, two sisters who live on the east coast, and a brother who lives here. The relationships are somewhat strained, but coming along. Just us sibs get along fine, but throw all of the in-laws together and it's awful, it has caused so many hurt feelings and strain. I almost gave up on everyone, but really don't want to. So I focus on my relationships with each sibling, and know that I have to put up with their spouses (and really, know that they are doing the same with my hubby). So it's shaky, but ok right now.

Things tend to blow up when everyone visits and are all together. My parents live CO, and since they are here along with my brother and me, this is pretty much the hub. Way too many people together and personalities clashing. So historically, everyone has stayed here because I had the most room. It was always awful. I am a bit qurky and OCD, so admittedly I am stressed to have company. But the main thing is that I really feel that my siblings and their spouses don't wish good things for me and my husband. We are by no means wealthy, but we did manage to get a nice house, specifically nicer than they think we deserve. When we moved in, there were lots of 'you guys totally have to be living beyond your means' and 'how does a dumb jock (my hubby) manage to scam for this house' comments. Very hurtful. And I don't know if it was intentional, but they seemed almost satisfied if something broke in my house or the kids messed something up. Everyone was so quick to point out any flaws in our home. It was just always a negative environment.

So, finally my brother and his wife just moved nearby into a lovely (and big!) home. I'm so relieved because now they can share hosting duties. My sisters are both coming to town for their HS reunion. So I was mentioning to one sister that I thought they could stay here because they have a new baby and it's quieter here for naps, etc. My brother could host the other sister because they all have little kids who can play together. She said they had all talked and everyone was probably going to stay with my brother.

Now on one hand, I should be thrilled. I relish the idea of not having anyone mess up my house and disrespect my home and family. However, this is obviously weird. While his house is big, my brother did mention that they don't even have an official guest room, so people will be crammed in. Again, I know I don't make it easy to stay here. I insist people respect the rules of our home and am fussy (not crazy or over the top, but not running a frat house here).

But should I take this as a sign that I am a horrible host and they would rather cram into his home? Or that they just don't like me and are pulling away and not wanting to connect? I don't want to make a stink about this with them, but I would like the visit to go well. So how should I approach the visit to convey that I am fine without them staying here, but still value them as siblings and hope to get along on some level. Because maybe we will get along better without them being in my house.

Any advice appreciated. And I always feel better knowing I'm not alone in sibling issues, so any personal stories would be wonderful. Anyone in the same kind of boat with me? Thanks everyone.

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answers from Austin on

It also could be that since in the past everyone has stayed with you, they feel you need a break....... they may have also felt that it stressed you out, so they don't want to stress you out again.....

You may just be reading too much into it.

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answers from Seattle on

You're making this about you, when it's probably about your brother. As in,

- sisters haven't stayed there yet, and want to.
- brother invited them first
- brother wants to show off
- brother DOES run a frat
- etc.

Or about your sisters
- They want to stay together
- they want to give you a break
- they're trying not to hurt your brothers feelings
(first visit in new house, but snubs him to stay with you / he's not as set up so not worth staying with)
- etc

Or about the kids
- babies & toddlers v 12yo
- naps needed = trade who stays home w sleepers
- earlier bedtimes
- etc

I mean, you COULD take it to "They hate me / Im a horrible hostess." but why pick the most hurtful option of you've got a dozen alternatives?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think you should count your blessings that everyone is staying at your brother's house and not take this personally.

If you still feel like you need to do something, host a lunch or dinner at your house and invite everyone. I'm sure afterwards, you'll be glad they're staying at your brothers!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If they actually said "how does a dumb jock scam for this house" or something like that, they are so lucky you would ever invite them again. I hope they Never disrespect you and your husband like that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Let them try it over there. The sister with the baby might just feel less awkward with all the noise knowing that a baby is not going to be very quiet. Or maybe they just want to see his home, or maybe he really wants to host.

When I got married and got a house, I wanted to host Thanksgiving. It was all set up, and then my uncle got married and his new wife, rather than accepting that someone else might host, browbeat everyone into maintaining the tradition of going to his house. The end result was that my sister started doing Thanksgiving with her in-laws, and I host my mom and my in-laws. I felt very hurt that I had a perfectly good plan for Thanksgiving and I was looking forward to it and then nobody wanted to come.

I mention this because maybe it's like that - your brother has a new house, wants to host and they're willing to go. Maybe it's not about you at all, but allowing there to be new traditions.

Staying with him might just be about him. I'd make other gestures if you want to work in the relationships. Maybe ask them if they want to go to lunch or visit for a day trip or see x kiddie oriented event.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

you are probably not a good sounds like your stress may stress everyone out. It would me. HOWEVER-not sure you realize how bad your family is! Seriously-I would let nobody get away with talking to me like that and most of all not family. The thing is they would never even try. I don't know anyone actually who I think would say those things to me about my house. Its just NOT done. At least not by anyone with any amount of class. (they may stilll say it but not to my face-which is fine, we all are entitled to our opinions, even if they are nasty) I really hope that you call them on it for the rude behavior that it is. If you have not already you should. And you should be happy that this group of people are not staying at your house and that you can measure how much you have to do with them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You said that it is stressful for you to have company and they are trying to not stress you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Let them all stay at your brother's. Maybe they'll be crammed and miserable and the baby won't nap and they'll figure out that it wasn't such a good idea. Maybe they won't. Either way, with a family that is so seemingly disrespectful of you and your space, I'd say it's a blessing that you're getting a break.



answers from Houston on

Every family has problems so you are far from being alone. Next year after the new has worn off some will be calling you back for a place to stay. Enjoy the peace when you can.

Maybe have everyone over for lunch or desert and coffee?



answers from Pocatello on

I am lucky in that all of my siblings and our spouses get along great. However, I can relate to the house issue.
I live about 20 minutes from a bro and a sis. My other sis is about 4 hours away. When she comes to visit she stays with me as I have (had, baby next month will eliminate a guest room) the most extra rooms. I will admit, it stresses me out! She has 4 LOUD and crazy kids. After they leave I always find something broken. They just trash my home, mostly the toy room, but they don't really respect my house. My sister is more social than disciplinarian. She might yell at them, but they don't listen.
Last time they came I just decided I would not let it bother me. I tried really hard to just go with the flow and not be uptight. Yes I said something if they were getting out of hand and going to break something - that is my right in my house. They were not too bad though. The time before the visited, they stayed with my sister. That was nice too.
Let them stay where they want. Try not to take it personally and perhaps plan a dinner at your house so your sister in law can get a break. Or invite the group over for another special event just to show you have no hard feelings. Appreciate the fact that you get to spend time with your siblings without the stress of hosting.
I think you can convey you are ok with them staying at your brothers just by saying, ok, well if anyone changes their mind, let me know and I'll have the guest room ready.
Good luck. Enjoy your family time and don't let this or anything else ruin the visit.



answers from Tampa on

Nope, I would be giddy jumping up and down with relief at not having to host anyone. Guests stress me out too...



answers from Oklahoma City on

They perhaps know how hard it is on you and feel they are giving you a break. I would be so happy to not have them coming. I bet once they figure out the ins and outs of his house some will be calling to come to your house to stay though.

I would make sure that the sis with the baby knows that you're okay with that but if they change their mind she can come over.



answers from San Francisco on

I don't really understand what you mean by "how should I approach the visit". Just say hi, give hugs and kisses and visit away. No need to mention anything at all about where anyone is staying or why no one elected to stay with you.

Be glad someone else got the chaos and mess for once!


answers from Chicago on

Or it is a new house and they all want to stay in it. Seriously, I think you are reading too far into it. I think you will know better once everyone is out there what is going on. In the meantime, be prepared for someone to decide it is better to not be cramped and open your home mid trip.

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