Three years ago we moved from the Land of Lincoln, Illinois, to the Lone Star State, Texas. This was a huge move for us as a family for many reasons. The number one reason though was because we moved away from all of our family. Going from living near your family with kids to without any family nearby is NOT easy! We greatly missed the love, help, and support that our families provided. Living without family dinners together, anytime babysitters, and without the people who knew us best, made life tough at times. Luckily, my parents are able to come for an extended period in the summertime.
Disclaimer: This post was my mother’s idea.
Having my parents here for a good portion of the summer is one of the greatest joys we have as a family. But having them here for a long period living under the same roof has not always been easy. It’s definitely not the same as living near each other and coming over for visits. This is the fourth summer that my parents have come for 4-6 weeks and we’ve learned how to keep things functioning in a smooth way. These simple tips have helped keep our family running smoothly with extended houseguests.
Keep the kids on their normal schedule
It can be easy to let all the rules go when you have houseguests. This can cause stress for everyone though. When kids aren’t on their same sleep schedules and routines, they can begin acting out and becoming very grouchy. Often, a houseguest may want your kids to stay up later or offer to do their chores. As hard as it is sometimes to stand up to your houseguests, when it comes to your kid’s happiness, keep them on their normal schedule and routines.
Plan out the calendar
When houseguests are staying with you, it’s important to have a plan of action for the time that they are there. This can be as simple as saying, today’s a day we hang out at the house and play in the backyard. Or you can write down bigger activities on the calendar such as the zoo, the museum, etc. When you have a plan, everyone knows what is expected that day.
Create a meal plan
Every Sunday we sit down and make a meal plan for the week. This helps make sure we aren’t eating out too much and divides the responsibility of who is doing the cooking. Then each night we are ready for dinner and can spend family meal time together!
Take advantage of the help
Since I live without family nearby, I’ve learned to value the extra set of hands when they are around. This means running errands without the kids, going out on date nights with my husband, and taking some time to myself. Plus, it gives my houseguests the opportunity to enjoy my kids without me around.
Remember that time goes quickly and you can’t control everything
While at times it may seem like that I’m ready to have my house back to normal, I know that time is moving quickly and I am going to miss spending this time with family and friends. My kids won’t always be small and having family here helps create memories that they will remember forever. So, rather than try to control everything around me and count down the days until normalcy, I embrace the chaos that is having houseguests. I take a deep breath and feel grateful for family that is willing to drive 24 hours to be with my children.