Manners Matter: Cleaning Up After Guests

Dear Mary Pat,

A hurricane just went though our home in the form of my old college roommate, her husband, their three kids and their small dog. We had been planning this time together so our kids could get to know each other better and I looked forward to it for months. Now I feel as though I might need months to recover. My son and daughter are fairly well behaved and are usually good about cleaning up after themselves. In just five days with my friend and her family, I feel that eight years of consistent parenting went right out the window. The kids left messes everywhere they went: on the deck, in the kitchen, in the bathroom and in their rooms. They never made their beds and clothes were just left on the floor. My friend and her husband weren’t much better! Honestly, their dog was the least amount of work.

Even though it was a lot of fun catching up, I’d have to think twice before inviting them up for another visit. Shouldn’t it be common sense that you shouldn’t trash the house of your host and hostess?


Not A Merry Maid

Sister Bay, Wis.


Dear Not A Merry Maid

That is disappointing but not totally surprising. Five days is a long time for guests. There is a reason that Benjamin Franklin said “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

Your routine will always be interrupted with guests; that’s a given. Something that is not included or expected is daily maid service. Since they were guests, ordering them around like a drill sergeant wouldn’t have been appropriate. However, you could have asked the kids to load their dishes in the dishwasher and to not leave their clothes on the floor. Perhaps if you had, your friend and her husband would have also taken the hint.

All that is left to do now is a whole lot of laundry and to give yourself a little break from hosting for a while. Instead of being annoyed (and I agree that it is annoying), try to focus on the fun moments that you spent together. You can also take it as a compliment that your friends were comfortable enough around you to be themselves.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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