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Having guests and my boundaries


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#1 Janeway

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 01:35 PM

I have boundaries that I always assume are unreasonable, as a result, I no longer invite anyone over. But I really really want to have company, so I am thinking that I need to just get over it. I need suggestions or helpful hints or something. 

 

Basically, I do not like people to stay too long. An hour is my max probably. And I do not like when people go upstairs in my house. I don't mind kids going up there. But as soon as you get to the top of the stairs and look to the right, it is the game room. That is kids space. And if you go straight forward, kids rooms. Also kids space. I have stopped expecting everything to be super clean and leave it as their space. I have an old mattress on the floor in the game room because the kids love jumping on it. It is safe and fun and they get exercise. In fact, it is not even an old mattress, it is just one I bought that ended up being a disappointment. When I grew up, we always had basements. The basements were the kids spaces to keep as messy as they wanted (no food allowed). As I live in the south, with no basements, I treat the game room as if it were the basement. Adults never went to the basement. I feel this pressure like because you go up the stairs rather than down, I have to keep that space clean. Now I have this fear that I will have someone over and the kids will go upstairs and at some point, an adult will head up there and see toys on the floor..and crayons, and art work. You get the idea. The downstairs, my bedroom, the bathrooms, all that is clean and fine. I just made the decision a while ago that the kids space is their space and I decided to let go of my need for order in exchange for their need for a space. 

 

What do you think? I have had too many times where someone was invited over and 3 or 4 hours later, they are still here and it left me stressed and upset. And then the fear of someone going upstairs other than the kids. Is this just hopeless and I should just continue to meet people at parks, which seriously limits our social life, or what? My daughter wants to invite a friend over and the friend will no doubt come with her mom and her 1 yr old sister.



#2 CES2005

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 01:42 PM

I may add more later, but really quick...if someone comments they should go and "get out of your hair," do you reassure them they're fine and not bothering you?  With a few people this has happened to me and the mixed signals are confusing.  Also maybe specify visiting window?  About 3-4 hours is how long me and friends visit with each other.  :o


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#3 Janeway

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 01:50 PM

I may add more later, but really quick...if someone comments they should go and "get out of your hair," do you reassure them they're fine and not bothering you?  With a few people this has happened to me and the mixed signals are confusing.  Also maybe specify visiting window?  About 3-4 hours is how long me and friends visit with each other.  :o

Yes, this is why I figure I am being unreasonable. Maybe if I had snack food available. But we have no soda, no coffee maker, etc which makes it odd. I am unsure what to serve. Keeping things like cookie dough on hand (something some of my older friends do) is not possible with my children.



#4 CaliforniaDreaming

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 01:51 PM

An hour is pretty short for a play date, but you can try. 2 hours is probably more reasonable. When you invite them, state the beginning and ending time. Like, we would love to have Suzy over from 2-4 on Friday. If it helps, you can have something planned that you have to do after that, and you can mention it to reiterate the ending time. Like- We would love to have Suzy over to play from 2-4 on Friday. We only have til 4 though because we have plans afterwards. Doesn't matter what the plans are- they could be making dinner in your pjs. But you have plans.

As for the upstairs you can either try to get over it and let it go, never have guests over, or clean it up before they come. Really that is up to you. Most moms aren't going to care or judge you (some are even relieved things aren't perfect). As long as it is safe and sanitary no one cares about kid clutter and messes unless they have very little ones they need to watch for choking hazards.

If my kids wanted guests over and it was going to stress me out worrying about it I would just make them straighten up as a condition for company. Doesn't have to be perfect- just but a few Rubbermaid tubs they can toss everything into or something. The kids are probably just going to pull it right back out when they play with their friends though.

I would try to let go of worrying about it. Or just rip off the bandaid and march the other mom up there and show her the disaster marked kids play zone, lol.. I wouldn't sit through the whole visit worrying about it though. Life is too short and relationships are more important than impressions.
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#5 Janeway

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:00 PM

An hour is pretty short for a play date, but you can try. 2 hours is probably more reasonable. When you invite them, state the beginning and ending time. Like, we would love to have Suzy over from 2-4 on Friday. If it helps, you can have something planned that you have to do after that, and you can mention it to reiterate the ending time. Like- We would love to have Suzy over to play from 2-4 on Friday. We only have til 4 though because we have plans afterwards. Doesn't matter what the plans are- they could be making dinner in your pjs. But you have plans.

As for the upstairs you can either try to get over it and let it go, never have guests over, or clean it up before they come. Really that is up to you. Most moms aren't going to care or judge you (some are even relieved things aren't perfect). As long as it is safe and sanitary no one cares about kid clutter and messes unless they have very little ones they need to watch for choking hazards.

If my kids wanted guests over and it was going to stress me out worrying about it I would just make them straighten up as a condition for company. Doesn't have to be perfect- just but a few Rubbermaid tubs they can toss everything into or something. The kids are probably just going to pull it right back out when they play with their friends though.

I would try to let go of worrying about it. Or just rip off the bandaid and march the other mom up there and show her the disaster marked kids play zone, lol.. I wouldn't sit through the whole visit worrying about it though. Life is too short and relationships are more important than impressions.

You know..this leads me to this...I could throw everything in the empty rubber maid containers I have up there, and it will be clean. Then as soon as they arrive, march the mom up there. THEN, when the kids dump everything in the first 3 minutes of the visit, the mom will not think I am just messy!!! That is a great idea! Thanks! 


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#6 CES2005

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:13 PM

Pre-company cleaning frenzies were standard in my childhood.  I've had to train myself out of them.  :D


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#7 MotherGoose

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:22 PM

Most moms I know will completely understand a bit of mess, and will ask their kids to help clean up the mess before they leave. As for snacks, how about offering hot tea or water? For snacks, just whatever you normally eat. Doesn't have to be fancy. In my experience, most people are very happy to be invited over, so they aren't judgy. You do probably need to extend your time frame though. And maybe when you get to know the parent a bit better, say something like "Sally would love to have your dd over for a few hours on Friday. Why don't you drop her off and get some things done at home yourself? I love it when my kids have friends over because they entertain each other so well!"
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#8 regentrude

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:35 PM

It is reasonable to tell people that the upstairs is off limits. I would have no qualms telling any child guests that we don't go upstairs.

It is reasonable not to have a perfectly uncluttered house. You don't need to deep clean before having company. Kids' play spaces can be messy, nobody cares. We're talking toys, not animal feces on the floor, right?

 

I do, however, not find it reasonable to expect visits to last an hour max. That comes across as inhospitable (it is barely enough time for a meal) - why invite people if you don't enjoy their company? For many, it would mean a longer travel time than they got to stay.

When I have friends over, their visits last 3-4 hours. Large parties can last six hours (the first friend to arrive at my summer party at 5pm was also the last person to leave at 11pm)

When I hold work related after dinner receptions for our department, I specify a time window of 8pm-10pm, and people don't overstay. It's a week night, and people have to get up early.

 

ETA: You don't serve any food or drink when you have company???


Edited by regentrude, 18 October 2017 - 03:45 PM.

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#9 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:42 PM

I don't see how you can enforce such a short time unless you meet up outside of the house and leave when you are done.


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#10 Baseball mom

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:49 PM

Kid zone = mess. I make statements like "Enter at your own risk! Oh it's safe just a kid mess."
I sure would not judge you.

As far as snacks. Simple is good. Popcorn or cookies, water or tea.

And specify a time is good. And like someone said mention having something to do later.
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#11 Quill

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:52 PM

Well, I can tell you I wouldn't have bothered taking my kids over a friend's house if I knew an hour was the limit of the host's patience for visitors. That is too short of a time. I don't live centrally enough for that have been worthwhile for any of my friends or kids' friends. And please hear me - I don't have a supper-long tolerance for other people in my space, either. But to dictate an hour as the maximum of your limits would make you seem too difficult to work around.

Also, I have a major reputation for being a neat freak, and I'm pretty uncomfortable when people start venturing out of the main rooms of the house. However, if you have a room that in your family concept is allowed to be messy, then why should guests' opinions on this make any difference? So they think, "Wow, Janeway sure doesn't give a flying flip about this kid's room space!" So?

Frankly, if you are uncomfortable throughout a visit, chances are good your guest will pick up on that and will be reluctant to ever come again. I have been the guest at homes where the host seemed continuously uptight and it is not worth it. It is unenjoyable and unwelcoming. If you really can't relax about some of these things, stick to meeting at public spaces.
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#12 onelittlemonkey

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:54 PM

I would do what californiadreaming suggested and say, “can y’all come play from 2 to 4 Friday?” Have a couple bags of chips, some dip, bottles of water and call it good. I wouldn’t worry about the kids play room. As long as it’s clean (not neat and organized, just clean), then it’s fine. I’d lose my mind if I invited my kid’s friend over for a play date and the family stayed 3 or 4 hrs. Four hours?!? :willy_nilly:
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#13 Garga

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 04:04 PM

We're already solved a couple of your issues:

 

1.  As an OP suggested, have a beginning and end time.  Two hours is the minimum to make it worth it for people to go through the hassle of leaving their houses and coming to yours.  Try to build up to 3 hours.  You'll probably be ok with it if you know there's an end in sight. 

 

2.  Put the clutter in the bins and show the mom the room before it's a disaster again.  They won't mind a bit of clutter on the walls and stuff (art.)  

 

For the food issue:  As close to the visit as possible, so the food isn't in the house forever, buy a bag of cookies and a bag of chips and hide them somewhere where your kids won't go.  In the attic, in the shed, under your bed.  They're sealed bags, so they can go anywhere.  Offer water to drink.  Have some bags of tea to offer the mom hot tea.  Done!

 

You can do this.  Start at a 2 hour visit with an end time and go from there.


Edited by Garga, 18 October 2017 - 04:05 PM.

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#14 Quill

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 04:20 PM

I also gotta say, it's kind of funny to me that you said, in my thread about having a party with 50 guests, that I was overthinking it when you don't want one family at your house for more than an hour and don't offer them food or drinks. 😏 That's interesting thread juxtaposition, there.
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#15 Bambam

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 04:35 PM

When we have parties, I state a beginning and ending time. 98% of the people leave by or at the ending time.

But we had two situations - one a teen boy who was just enjoying talking. Finally I told him that it was time for him to go home. He cheerfully left. The other is a family that is a little self-centered. We don't invite them any more. Do not stay over an hour later than every one else and keep saying how you need to leave and don't because you have something else urgent (only to you) to say but take 15 minutes to say what I could have said in 30 seconds. 

 

An hour is a pretty short time though. Two hours seems more reasonable. 

 

Why not meet them at a local restaurant so you can control what time you leave? 

 

As for people going upstairs, I'd just say, "Oh, there is only kid stuff upstairs - nothing of any interest."


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#16 Murphy101

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:15 PM

It is entirely possible to say, “Area(s) X are not for company, please play in these areas instead. Thank!”

I think a one hour limit is way too strict. I wouldn’t go unless I already was very close to the person and even then, I likely wouldn’t take my children. Because at best, I’d spend equal time in the road as visiting and just went they’d gotten comfortable in the new environment it’s be time to leave.

I don’t understand the snacks and drinks thing. Not that I need to. It’s your home.

But coffee and shelf staple company snacks aren’t that expensive or difficult to keep in hand. I keep coffee, hot tea and unsweetened tea (if I know ahead of time) and water. That’s it. I’ve never ever had someone not visit just because we don’t distribute soda or juice and milk. I buy the inexpensive cookie tins at Aldi, tho I don’t always do snacks. I also keep those cheap freezer pop things you can buy at Walmart for like $3 for 50. It’s basicly frozen Kool-aid in a slurp pouch. But it’s something that cools down kids when I toss them outside on a pretty day. Or fresh fruit and veggies that I cut up myself.

Do you really want family company or do you really want “coffee and conversation” with another adult? If it’s a coffee date, then I suggest planning it as such with another mom.
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#17 QueenCat

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:08 PM

If you allow the kids to go upstairs, you cannot tell their parents that they can't go up there. One hour is pretty short for almost anything. I'd think at least 2 hours for a playdate. And I'd plan on 90 minutes for coffee with just adults, no kids. It might go shorter but I'd plan on the longer. 


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#18 Elizabeth86

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:39 AM

I don't have certain expectations, but loathe having people in my house and have since childhood. My space is my space. I always feel paranoid it smells weird or people won't think it's clean enough. We have dh, me a 6, 4, and 2 year old. One on the way. We live in a 1000 sq ft house. My kids have a lot of stuff. No playroom. Their stuff is all over. Does it bother me? Does it bother dh and the kids? No. But it looks like a disater even if they only have out 1 box of toys. Everytime fil comes in our house he starts carrying on about what a mess the kids have made and the toys everywhere. F you old man. I enjoy my kids having fun. He didn't. His loss. I like to live how I want without worrying what others think. I want to be able to hang my bra on the bathroom doorknob kwim? :lol:

I do think an hour is too short to expect to have people there. If I go to the trouble to make the house company ready I don't really care f they stay long. I just hate people to drop in on me.

I also wanted to add that if I had a playroom I wouldnt mind people seeing it messy. Just think, my whole house has that playroom look to it, :lol:

Edited by Elizabeth86, 19 October 2017 - 10:06 AM.

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#19 marbel

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:02 AM

You know..this leads me to this...I could throw everything in the empty rubber maid containers I have up there, and it will be clean. Then as soon as they arrive, march the mom up there. THEN, when the kids dump everything in the first 3 minutes of the visit, the mom will not think I am just messy!!! That is a great idea! Thanks! 

 

So, I'm wondering why and how you're going to "march the mom up there" right when she arrives.  That seems so awkward unless you are showing her around the house.  I guess you could escort her and the kids up there to say "here is the play area" and then you and she walk back downstairs?

 

But honestly, you are overthinking this. I've never been in a house where the kids' play space was neat.  It sounds as if you  have a nice setup for company - kids' space upstairs, a comfortable (neat) living room to talk to the mom.  

 

Offer water and/or tea.  Get some sort of light pastry for the mom and yourself.  Make or buy some scones.  Buy a few so you don't have leftovers, if you need to keep stuff like that away from your kids. (Or freeze them for another time.) Have a small amount of appropriate snack food for the kids - cheese sticks, fruit, vegetables.  

 

I tend to invite more than one person over at a time. That way I don't have to carry the conversation.  Maybe that is not your issue.  Two mom guests is about right for me. 

 

Two hours minimum, as others have said.


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#20 marbel

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:02 AM

DP. This is my second one today; I don't know what I'm doing to cause this! 

 


Edited by marbel, 19 October 2017 - 10:03 AM.


#21 DawnM

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 02:47 PM

If I am invited over to a friends' house, I would never assume I could only stay 1 hour.  It usually takes me 20-30 min. to even get there.  If you only want me an hour, I am not coming.  It isn't worth it.

 

That may just be me, but that is how I feel about it.  

 

If you come over, please stay a while.  I will be hurt if you only stay 1 hour and will wonder if I did something wrong or you didn't like my coffee.

 

The rest of it......yeah, you will need to just get over it.


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#22 Catwoman

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:23 PM

If I am invited over to a friends' house, I would never assume I could only stay 1 hour. It usually takes me 20-30 min. to even get there. If you only want me an hour, I am not coming. It isn't worth it.

That may just be me, but that is how I feel about it.

If you come over, please stay a while. I will be hurt if you only stay 1 hour and will wonder if I did something wrong or you didn't like my coffee.

The rest of it......yeah, you will need to just get over it.


Same here. It would take me more than an hour to get ready, get out of the house, and drive over there, so if you're going to boot me out of your house after an hour, please don't bother to invite me at all.

Also, kids are just starting to have fun after an hour. It would be disappointing for them to have to break up the fun so quickly.

That said, Janeway knows her limits, which is actually a good thing. She can either try to find a way to minimize her own discomfort with longer visits, or she can decide it's not worth it to her so she won't bother inviting people over to her house. It's her house and she can do whatever she likes.

And in the meantime, since we won't be going to Janeway's house, you can come over to my house and visit for a few hours, or even longer. I'm pretty easygoing about that sort of thing. :)
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#23 Quill

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:59 PM

You know..this leads me to this...I could throw everything in the empty rubber maid containers I have up there, and it will be clean. Then as soon as they arrive, march the mom up there. THEN, when the kids dump everything in the first 3 minutes of the visit, the mom will not think I am just messy!!! That is a great idea! Thanks!


I'm with marbel; I don't understand what "march the mom up there" means. What will you do? Grab her arm, drag her up the stairs, show her the room and say, "There! I just wanted you to know it was tidy before the kids destroyed it! Now let's go back downstairs and stare at each other with no coffee or biscuits."? It's weird.
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#24 Laura Corin

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:05 PM

I don't expect houses with children to be pristine.  For that matter, I don't expect houses to be pristine.  That's a choice without any moral weight.  So long as it's sanitary and there's enough space to walk about, anything else is a personal choice and not my business.  Why care about the mess?


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#25 ErinE

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:05 PM

And in the meantime, since we won't be going to Janeway's house, you can come over to my house and visit for a few hours, or even longer. I'm pretty easygoing about that sort of thing. :)

 

Some of my favorite memories with friends are when we spontaneously get together and next thing I know the street lights are coming on, the kids are curled up on the couch watching tv after exhausting themselves playing outside for hours, and my friend and I realize we should probably end the visit.


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#26 QueenCat

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:15 PM


And in the meantime, since we won't be going to Janeway's house, you can come over to my house and visit for a few hours, or even longer. I'm pretty easygoing about that sort of thing. :)

 

How much wine should I bring?


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#27 QueenCat

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:17 PM

Some of my favorite memories with friends are when we spontaneously get together and next thing I know the street lights are coming on, the kids are curled up on the couch watching tv after exhausting themselves playing outside for hours, and my friend and I realize we should probably end the visit.

 

I always have cold wine in the fridge for impromptu evening chats with neighbors on one of our porches. And several other neighbors do as well! 


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#28 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:19 PM

The not wanting them in certain spaces I think is fine.  The only stay for an hour...mmmm.  We might get along great.  After an hour I've had enough.  I stay longer because I assume people would think I was running away too quickly!  Although an hour can go by really really fast sometimes.  So I'm not sure that's the most reasonable expectation.

 

 



#29 Liz CA

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:22 PM

Didn't read all replies but it sounds as if this is about the fear (you wrote "fear") of what people will think of you.

A snack can be as simple as an apple cut up and dipped in honey and a cup of tea. Again, it sounds to me that you are afraid to do "it" wrong but there is really no right or wrong.


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#30 Liz CA

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:43 PM

DP. This is my second one today; I don't know what I'm doing to cause this! 

 

Your posts are always worth reading twice! :)


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#31 Arctic Mama

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:47 PM

The not wanting them in certain spaces I think is fine. The only stay for an hour...mmmm. We might get along great. After an hour I've had enough. I stay longer because I assume people would think I was running away too quickly! Although an hour can go by really really fast sometimes. So I'm not sure that's the most reasonable expectation.


Yeah, it’s totally reasonable to expect certain areas of the house are off limits. But the time limit is very very odd, and would be exceedingly hard to stick to. Visiting friends messed up my entire day, if it’s worth it. Upsetting my whole schedule for a planned event like that and all the effort of hauling the kids into the car and only staying an hour is no bueno.

Edited by Arctic Mama, 19 October 2017 - 04:47 PM.

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#32 Arctic Mama

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:51 PM

Some of my favorite memories with friends are when we spontaneously get together and next thing I know the street lights are coming on, the kids are curled up on the couch watching tv after exhausting themselves playing outside for hours, and my friend and I realize we should probably end the visit.


Exactly! That’s me and all my mom friends, too. It’s double great when the husband are around and hanging out as well.
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#33 Dust

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 05:50 PM

I could never do family playdates. A 2-4 hr visit messes up my whole schedule. I sit there unable to do the chores I need to do, then once the playdate is over, I have the usual chores, plus whatever cleaning up I have to do that the friends left behind. And the kids are wired as a result. And the left over snack food!

 

What I can do, is let DS invite friends over. There's no expectation for me to entertain their parents, and I can feed/water them when they ask for something. And if the place is a mess, the kids don't care as much as I would if an adult saw the mess (it's not dangerous/gross mess, just clutter/toy mess)

 

But I suppose you may need to know the family first. I wouldn't feel comfortable dropping my young kids off at someone's house if I didn't know them well/hadn't been to their house at least once. 

 

Another social thing I can do (I tend to get really anxious about social things, which is another thing that makes daytime playdate difficult for me) is invite families for dinner. That way, my husband is involved, can help entertain, cook, and clean. And that way, there is a pretty clear end time (most people wont want to keep their kids up and playing at someone's house at 11pm).


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#34 Rosika

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 06:18 PM

What do you think? I have had too many times where someone was invited over and 3 or 4 hours later, they are still here and it left me stressed and upset. And then the fear of someone going upstairs other than the kids. Is this just hopeless and I should just continue to meet people at parks, which seriously limits our social life, or what? My daughter wants to invite a friend over and the friend will no doubt come with her mom and her 1 yr old sister.

 

I'm the friend that never leaves  :lol: 

My feelings are never hurt when friends, or their husbands, say, "Rosi! Thanks for coming, we'll have to do it again!" as they shoo me towards the door. It is the culture I come from, where there aren't firm start/end times or an air of formality. It's very casual, open-ended, and a "hey, this is what I have on hand, please stay to eat" environment. I'm learning to adapt to a less ... informally social? I don't know the words to describe it ... American culture. This is actually a topic that  comes up every once in awhile in a church group I'm a part of (immigrants). 

 

But the situation you describe doesn't sound like a friend (of yours), so that's a bit different. It sounds more like a time you'll be HOSTING this family. Maybe there's no distinction, but it would feel different to me to be a HOSTESS versus just "having a friend over." The former is definitely more stress-inducing. 

 

I'd figure out how to push your limit to 2 hours, as suggested throughout this thread. As a mother to a 1 year old, I'm prone to keep these types of visits short because it's hard to contain and entertain a 1 year old in someone else's home - especially if the baby is with the adults, and not with the kids. (It's also something I understand you stressing about, should the mom "try" to let the baby play with the older kids - naturally, she might, then, see the playroom.)

 

From the get-go, outline the visit: "We'd love for you to come by from 1-3pm"  Put an exclamation point on that end time by linking it to something - maybe you need to start dinner before the husband comes home, or maybe you have to run to the library before it closes, or maybe you have a gymnastics class to get to. Mention it with the invite, and also when she comes over. When she gets there, apologize for the need to set an alarm but that you "can't forget to ____" (whatever your reason is to end the playdate on time.) Then set an alarm. I set one for park days. I give myself 20 minutes. It's enough time to have the kids begin to pick up and get one last, favorite thing done before wrapping up. I've figured it takes 10-15 minutes to do that and another 5-10 for the Great Goodbye (actually getting everyone on their way.)

 

Plan ahead and do a crockpot dinner or dinner out that night. You'll be wiped out from pushing yourself past your comfort zone. Keep it simple, easy, and give yourself permission to check out - a long shower, a hot bath, a glass of wine, whatever while you pop the kids in front of the tv with dinner. It will help de-frazzle you, and give them a buffer to "come down" from the friend high that sometimes happens with play dates. 

 

Let your daughter know that you're doing your best, but can only reasonably handle ___ of these things a month. Maybe it's one a month, or one every other month. Let her know ahead of time so that hopefully it's not something they ask for, or come to expect, more regularly than you can commit to. 

 

Hopefully in time, the other will drop-off her daughter instead of staying.  :grouphug:


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#35 mom2scouts

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 07:05 PM

Can I just say that my favorite visits to people's houses are when they didn't work all day to clean and they didn't go out of their way for food. I really don't care if your house is a bit of a mess, especially in the kids play areas! I have the mess at my own house to worry about. An offer of a glass of water or other drink and a small snack is great. Pull out what you have. I'm not looking to be impressed. I visit people to enjoy their company and let my kids have some play time, not to criticize their housekeeping and snacks. People who aren't worrying about that stuff are more relaxed and more enjoyable hosts. Of course if I'm really enjoying your company, I may overstay my welcome for much longer than an hour and you may need to send me on my way.


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#36 SebastianCat

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 07:32 PM

I agree with others that a 2-hour playdate is a reasonable amount of time, and that being upfront with a start and end time will help limit the visit.  

 

Sometimes when I do have a firm end time in mind (or we have something else planned), I will offer to drive the friend home.  

 

Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I really don't expect to be fed in someone else's home, unless specifically invited for a meal or an event where snacks are served to a crowd.   But I think it's perfectly reasonable to open a sealed container of store bought cookies, offer some to the kids, offer some to the mom, and carry on from there.  


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#37 ktgrok

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 07:35 PM

If you want to be able to offer coffee for guests you can always keep instant on hand, or pick up a bottle of cold brew (you can heat it or drink it cold). Tea bags, instant coffee, and pick up a coffee cake or some muffins. Or if it is in the morning you could have orange juice with the coffee cake or muffins or whatever. 



#38 Rach

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 08:06 PM

RE the one hour time limit

We had good friends pre-kids that we got together with 2-3 times a week for dinner. Those visits at each other's houses were right about an hour. We didn't have a set time limit but usually we just went over or they came over after work, maybe helped each other cook, we ate, cleaned up, then went home. Neither of us felt obligated to clean the house for the other but really all we saw of each other's houses were the kitchen and living area, maybe the bathroom. Really though we became close enough that there wasn't a part of my house I felt like hiding. I think you could pull off hour long visits if it was someone you saw regularly. Do you have a friend in the neighborhood? Maybe you could go for a walk and then invite them over for a cup of tea or coffee.
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#39 KungFuPanda

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:56 PM

Have you ever had a regular meeting at your house? A homeschool science class or weekly book club? Having people over EVERY Tuesday for weeks in a row can really desensitize you to worrying that you'll be judged. Most homeschoolers have imperfect homes because people LIVE in them all day. It might take just a few people seeing how you really live before you give up on looking perfect. I mean, once they've seen your sink full of dishes you can't fool them anymore so you may just relax and stop trying so hard. If there is someone in your life who really will gossip or judge, just cut that person out.

You can also just meet people in public for a meal or snack. Then you never have to wonder when they're leaving. I'd give up on the one hour thing. I can barely have dinner with just my family in an hour. When guests are over, we spend 2-4 hours at the table. Maybe if you invited more than one family you wouldn't feel so pressured to carry the conversation alone? The only way to pull off the one hour thing is to host an adult club of some sort, and even then expect it yo take 90 minutes.
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#40 Janeway

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 07:46 AM

It is reasonable to tell people that the upstairs is off limits. I would have no qualms telling any child guests that we don't go upstairs.

It is reasonable not to have a perfectly uncluttered house. You don't need to deep clean before having company. Kids' play spaces can be messy, nobody cares. We're talking toys, not animal feces on the floor, right?

 

I do, however, not find it reasonable to expect visits to last an hour max. That comes across as inhospitable (it is barely enough time for a meal) - why invite people if you don't enjoy their company? For many, it would mean a longer travel time than they got to stay.

When I have friends over, their visits last 3-4 hours. Large parties can last six hours (the first friend to arrive at my summer party at 5pm was also the last person to leave at 11pm)

When I hold work related after dinner receptions for our department, I specify a time window of 8pm-10pm, and people don't overstay. It's a week night, and people have to get up early.

 

ETA: You don't serve any food or drink when you have company???

Totally toys! I want the kids to go there and play. I have my clean space downstairs and in my bedroom (which is upstairs) and they have their space..which is full of dolls, and Legos (Legos are oddly contained right now) and doll clothes and doll diapers (the poop is made of playdough in those diapers! LOL), that sort of thing. 

 

For food and drink, I just have water and milk, that is it. And snacks..apples, bananas, etc. 


Edited by Janeway, 20 October 2017 - 07:46 AM.


#41 Spryte

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:49 AM

If I am invited over to a friends' house, I would never assume I could only stay 1 hour. It usually takes me 20-30 min. to even get there. If you only want me an hour, I am not coming. It isn't worth it.

That may just be me, but that is how I feel about it.

If you come over, please stay a while. I will be hurt if you only stay 1 hour and will wonder if I did something wrong or you didn't like my coffee.

The rest of it......yeah, you will need to just get over it.


I bet your coffee (and the company, of course!) is wonderful! From one coffee lover to another...

I feel exactly the same way you do. Come over, and if you're diving for the door that fast, I'll think it's something I said or did or it's the coffee! :)
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#42 DawnM

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:41 AM

Same here. It would take me more than an hour to get ready, get out of the house, and drive over there, so if you're going to boot me out of your house after an hour, please don't bother to invite me at all.

Also, kids are just starting to have fun after an hour. It would be disappointing for them to have to break up the fun so quickly.

That said, Janeway knows her limits, which is actually a good thing. She can either try to find a way to minimize her own discomfort with longer visits, or she can decide it's not worth it to her so she won't bother inviting people over to her house. It's her house and she can do whatever she likes.

And in the meantime, since we won't be going to Janeway's house, you can come over to my house and visit for a few hours, or even longer. I'm pretty easygoing about that sort of thing. :)

 

YAY!  Party at Cat's house!  I'm in.  I have a latte machine if you want to come over to my house.....but my house is currently a mess, so if messes bother you.....we can just go to your house.


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#43 QueenCat

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 03:25 PM

Totally toys! I want the kids to go there and play. I have my clean space downstairs and in my bedroom (which is upstairs) and they have their space..which is full of dolls, and Legos (Legos are oddly contained right now) and doll clothes and doll diapers (the poop is made of playdough in those diapers! LOL), that sort of thing. 

 

For food and drink, I just have water and milk, that is it. And snacks..apples, bananas, etc. 

 

You don't offer the adults coffee or tea? 


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#44 marbel

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 04:30 PM

<snip>

 

For food and drink, I just have water and milk, that is it. And snacks..apples, bananas, etc. 

 

If you want to start having people over, you should figure out a few things you can offer them.  In the US, or at least everywhere I've ever lived, there is almost always some sort of drink (besides water) offered, and more often than not, a light snack (which of course people can ignore or refuse).

 

You could start with a box of tea bags.  Then all you need to do is boil some water and steep the tea.  You have milk, and surely you have sugar to offer with it, right? Some mugs or teacups and saucers?  And you are set with an adult beverage.

 

Then, some small cookies or some other baked thing.  Earlier I suggested scones; other may have made other suggestions.  Or some small cookies, like gingersnaps or similar.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive.  

 

The food is not really necessary but, I think it signals "I'm happy to have you here."  I don't always eat offered food, depending on... well, lots of things. And when people come to my house, they don't always take it.  But I'm glad to have something to offer.  


Edited by marbel, 20 October 2017 - 04:31 PM.

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#45 Spryte

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 05:38 PM

I always have cold wine in the fridge for impromptu evening chats with neighbors on one of our porches. And several other neighbors do as well!


Wanna be neighbors? :D
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#46 fralala

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 05:50 PM

Such helpful advice here, but I just wanted to add as a parent that it is always helpful to me if someone who is not a close friend (but whose child is a friend of my young child) lets me know up front, "You're welcome to come hang out [if I am welcome], but feel free to drop ____ off if you have things to do. She can hang out for a few hours."

 

Personally, I also find nothing so tedious and unbearable than spending several hours making idle chitchat with someone whom I have little in common with just because our kids are pals. Let them play!


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#47 marbel

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 06:11 PM

I always have cold wine in the fridge for impromptu evening chats with neighbors on one of our porches. And several other neighbors do as well! 

 

I try.  Sometimes we run out.  There's usually a bottle of red around.

 

I'm having a hard time imagining not having anything available to offer guests.  I know not everyone wants (or can afford to buy) wine.  (I do seek out inexpensive wines, which can be had even here in PA where everything comes from a state store.)  But coffee and tea are cheap and so easy to keep around.  I'm pretty sure my mom kept stuff around for guests.  I'm QUITE sure my Georgia born-and-bred MIL has always done so.  :-)     


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#48 Catwoman

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 06:48 PM

I try. Sometimes we run out. There's usually a bottle of red around.

I'm having a hard time imagining not having anything available to offer guests. I know not everyone wants (or can afford to buy) wine. (I do seek out inexpensive wines, which can be had even here in PA where everything comes from a state store.) But coffee and tea are cheap and so easy to keep around. I'm pretty sure my mom kept stuff around for guests. I'm QUITE sure my Georgia born-and-bred MIL has always done so. :-)


I agree. It's hard for me to imagine a house with no beverages other than milk and water, and no snacks other than a few kinds of fruit. We like a lot of variety (and we don't worry about everything in the house being healthy and nutritious,) so we have all kinds of foods and drinks available. And if I know someone is coming over, I'll try to find out what they like so I'll be sure to have something they will eat -- especially if I know they have dietary restrictions or tend to be picky eaters.
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#49 Janeway

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 07:05 PM

I invited someone over for next week. I think I will try to get teas and maybe juice and maybe some sort of cookie or something. 

 

Saying no more than an hour was probably an under statement. I had issues when I had a couple different people over on different days, one was invited and the other showed up uninvited, and they stayed for several hours, as in 8+ hrs. 


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#50 cjzimmer1

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:19 PM

I agree. It's hard for me to imagine a house with no beverages other than milk and water, and no snacks other than a few kinds of fruit. We like a lot of variety (and we don't worry about everything in the house being healthy and nutritious,) so we have all kinds of foods and drinks available. And if I know someone is coming over, I'll try to find out what they like so I'll be sure to have something they will eat -- especially if I know they have dietary restrictions or tend to be picky eaters.

 

See I don't find that odd at all.  All we have is water and milk (albeit 4 kinds of milk due to allergies/intolerances).  But we don't drink soda, tea or coffee.  We buy milk for cooking and cereal but even that isn't really a beverage in our house. And because I don't drink those things it never occurs to me to buy them when we have guests so I always feel lacking when guests come because once again I forgot to think about beverages because everyone here just drinks water.  

 

Snacks at our house is whatever fresh fruit is in season and fresh veggies like carrots or cucumbers or red peppers (eaten without dip).  When we are completely out of those things we have dried fruit and veggies that I dried myself.  We eat very little processed food and so snacks that my kids enjoy are not often appreciated by others (such as dried zucchini that I have to dry bushels of each year because it is so loved).  When we have guests, I do try to have fresh baked goods but again, we use only whole wheat, low sugar, packed with fruit/veggie kinds of stuff.  

 

So while I know my house and eating habits aren't mainstream it also doesn't surprise me when I find others who just don't keep lots of quick type snacks on hand.  


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