Bibsey’s Expat Guide for a Harmonious Parental Visitation

Here at Bibsey Towers we are coming to the end of three weeks of visits from the abuelos –  both sets. Mr B’s first and then mine. Here is our quick guide to getting through such a long visit in one piece and in relative harmony:

What's in Granny's fridge I wonder...

Do: stock the house with enough alcohol to ensure that everyone can sail through the visit in a happy half-cut haze.

Don’t: make too many promises about the weather, sightseeing excursions or elaborate meals that you might like to cook.

Do: create some space and time in which all parties can go off and scratch their arses in private.

Don’t: actually have them to stay in your house. If it is at all practically and financially possible find them a lovely B&B or holiday rental (preferably with pool for you to make full use of) in the local area. Somewhere within walking distance is best.

Do: show them the ropes at the local supermarket as early as possible and then set them free to fend for themselves.

Don’t: worry too much about cleaning the house from top to toe before they arrive. They have not come to check the size of your dust bunnies (not even your mother-in-law) – they have come to see you.

Do: let them help out in tackling the dust bunnies/recycling tower/jungle outside the back door when they offer. Assume that they are trying to help rather than point out your failings.

Don’t: forget how much you were looking forward to seeing them before they arrived and how much you will miss them when they go home again.

Do: remember how important it is for your little one(s) to build a close bond with their grandparents. You only have to stand back and watch them together to see the mutual joy and affection. These are precious moments.

We have all had a lovely time over the past three weeks and, although it will be nice to get back to normal, I am not sure we will quite know what to do with ourselves when our visitors have left. I am sure that Bibsey will just wonder ‘where did everyone go?’ I of course cry my eyes out every time I say goodbye. I expect that tomorrow morning will be no exception.

Bibsey has had a lovely time with all the grandparents. They have really all had enough time to get to know each other better. I suppose that this is one of the benefits of living so far away from family: when you do see each other, it is for decent ‘quality’ time.

Could you add to this list? How do you handle visits from family and in-laws? Is throwing copious amounts of alcohol really wise in all family situations?