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Family Time Exhausts

Question

We have four adult children and we are in our 80s. Our children are well-educated adults with good, stable jobs. They are hard working adults with homes and families. We do nothing to support them or their lifestyles.

What is a little bit challenging are their differences. They rarely agree on dates to get together, food to eat, things to do, meal times, etc. Trying to please the gang when they are all here is exhausting at best. Frankly, I look forward to them coming and cannot wait for them to leave when they are here.

When I talk to friends they all say the same thing. The constant eating, the cleanup, the laundry, and the trying to accommodate everyone’s wishes except your own is so difficult.

I am hoping that you have some solutions for dealing with the family.

 

Answer

I believe that everyone, particularly the person that manages the household, knows exactly what you are talking about. How can it be so much work to have your own children visit? After all you raised them and they know your routines by now.

There is no easy solution to your dilemma though many parents with adult children want an answer to this question. I have some recommendations to make get-togethers less tiring and as with young children consistency is everything. Set the rules and stand by them. Oh, you will get some complaining, that is to be expected. Do not think that because your children are adults they are still not kids at heart.

 

Here is my list of ideas for managing the crowd and surviving the gatherings:

*  Have two sets of sheets for each bed. One on the bed the other in the closet of the bedroom with the bed. Require your guests to strip and remake the bed. Most people are happy to be useful this way.

*  Plan menus and print them out for everyone. Include the times. Let everyone know that the kitchen is closed to meals at other times. You are not a short order cook.

*  Plan maybe one outing with everyone and tell your children to plan their own free time. Another idea is to have each family plan one day for the gang.

*  Let everyone know that after you go to bed they are responsible to turn out lights, put cups in the dishwasher, lock doors, or whatever else needs to occur. Make it clear when your quiet time is and that sleep is not to be interrupted except in an emergency.

*  Bathrooms often need attention during visits. You might want to assign each bathroom to one individual, rotating that responsibility each time. Tell that one person what the bathroom drill is, such as cleaning, shower routine, towels, laundry, etc.

*  Cooking is always fun. It is one of the most time-consuming things and can be fun yet tiring. It is the cleanup that many dislike most. There are several ways you can go here. Have each family plan and prepare a day, a dish per meal, all breakfasts, or dinners. It can include cleaning up and purchase of the food, whatever you prefer. If having people in your kitchen is difficult for you, work side-by-side with them.

*  Some families do a buffet thing for meals and let members graze as they desire for an hour or so. This can be a stress reducer, though you would still need to have some time parameters.
If you desire you can assign vacuuming, floor mopping, and starting the laundry to the children prior to departure.

I believe the most helpful hint that I can impart is establishing a plan and communicating it to the children. Rest assured, someone will not like the plan. It does not really matter if they all like your routine. Consistency and fairness in planning is the key for stress reduced visits.

May you enjoy many good times with the family, with hopefully reduced stress.

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