Friday, August 30, 2013

Ten tips for being a better house guest

We've just had a trail of house guests, one after the other over four weekends. And it got me thinking about what makes a good house guest, one that you want to come back again and again because having them here is just plain awesome.

I tend to think I make a poor to middling house guest myself when I'm visiting family. We usually have an awesome time but I don't think I do the dishes or help out often enough. So these ten tips are a combination of what I've liked people doing when they come here, what I wish they'd do when they came here, and what I acknowledge I should be better at myself. I'm not pointing fingers, Mama, I promise.

  1. Please don't assume you can stay with us because, hey, we might be busy or have other guests. If you book your tickets without consulting with us about dates, please don't be surprised if you end up having to book a hotel as well.
  2. Please don't expect my toddler to cuddle or talk to you right away. If you haven't seen him since his functional memory kicked in, you are a perfect stranger. He might take a little time to warm up to you.
  3. Please don't sleep nude. My boy doesn't need to see your junk. I don't either.
  4. If you are sleeping in a shared space, please don't sleep in. I really can't keep Dear Boy at bay in his bedroom when he's up and ready for the day. Also, please pack up your bed and bedding (and keep your stuff neat) so we can use the space on a day-to-day basis. A big old mattress in the middle of the room doesn't work for anyone; not even Dear Boy wants to jump on it for that long.
  5. If you're staying for several days on a non-work trip, please come with a vague plan of what you'd like to do with your time. I'm happy to consult on places to go and things to see and do but I am not a tour guide or the entertainment director. If your preference is to sit on the lounge, please don't expect us to be with you the whole time. Dear Boy needs to run free.
  6. If you borrow my house-key, please be home to let us in when you say you will be. There's a lot of stuff in my bag but I don't keep an infinite supply of nappies, snacks, water or toys in there.
  7. Please cook, pick up a take-away, pack the dishwasher, watch Dear Boy, hang out the laundry, etc. Just do it, don't even offer because I'll likely say 'no' but really want to say 'yes, please'. You might feel like you're on holiday, but having a house guest adds to my work load. I really do love having people to stay, but even the most entertaining house guests can be a pain in the bum if they don't help out.
  8. Please don't tell me what you think I'm doing wrong. This applies to my parenting, my cooking, my housekeeping, my crafting... you name it. Unless I've specifically asked for your advice, it's likely that I don't want it.
  9. Please strip the bed and chuck the bedding into the laundry before you go. I don't expect you to wash and iron it all before your jet off; I'm just not a fan of handling other people's sheets.
  10. Please don't announce you need a ride to the airport the morning you have to go. If we haven't worked it out previously I'll assume you're making your own way and make other plans. Train station is that way. 
Look, I said please.

Oh, that reminds me: say thank you. I would have thought that was self-explanatory, but apparently not.

How would you rate yourself as a house guest?

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