How do you deal with overnight guests when there is not room for all?

When we were little and had company, we were evicted from our rooms and the company got to stay in them. It was couches or the floor for us (or the guest would stay in the nice ‘girls’ room and we’d oust our little brothers from their beds).

I think your MIL should get the nice guest room and your son should make due with an air mattress, an AIRB&B, or whatever you can figure out. Our neighbor does airb&b and we’ve thought of that as overflow, but for now we just make do with couches.

I don’t know if it should bother you, but it would bother me. Different families have different traditions and expectations, but I would want my kid in the condo with me, and parents/in-laws at a hotel. Airbeds only go so far, I need privacy, not just a place to sleep.

Worth bringing up to your DH and DS, maybe they have some ideas. Does your DH have siblings, or is your MIL yours alone for holidays?

I try to follow the rule that “when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one”.

IMO, the son is immediate family and should get the spare room. For MIL, you help her get other accommodations since you just don’t have the extra room for her, unfortunately. If she takes offense to that, it’s her problem, not yours.

What I wouldn’t do is make your son sleep on a inflatable mattress for 5 days (see my first sentence).

But for the husband, the MIL is the same blood relationship as his son. Immediate family.

Interesting. I don’t consider my parents immediate family. My parents are my family of origin. My husband and children are my immediate family.

Your DS will have a partner at some point to whom you will be the MIL to. I cannot imagine my kids being bothered by an air mattress in the living room especially as the olds go to bed early, in order for their grandma to be comfortable. Kid can use your room as a bolt hole outside of when you are in bed., and use your bathroom?

MIL stopped being the husband’s immediate family when he got married.

Unless it’s an emergency I don’t stay in other peoples homes. I can not stand being a house guest. When we went to visit my brother in law the first time his wife was like “We feel so badly that you don’t want to stay with us” and I just said sorry you feel that way but this is not negotiable for me. She eventually got it. As for guests, I really don’t like them and my kids would always come first. I’d say sorry this is simply no room. We are happy to find you a hotel. Or you can come at a different time

In general, we don’t stay in other peoples’ homes either. My D’s inlaws always stay with them on an inflatable mattress, all sharing one bathroom for days at a time. We do not. We want and require more privacy than that (DH had extensive colon cancer surgery-he doesn’t have a colostomy bag, but suffice to say that nonetheless he has privacy requirements that make anything other than a separate bedroom and ensuite bathroom a non-starter).

As to the OP’s scenario, I don’t think there is one right answer here. It really depends on the specific family dynamics. We don’t kick our kids out of their own bedrooms, but if it were a given that an elderly woman was going to stay with us, I’d likely give her the bedroom. But that doesn’t really mean anything really, because I’m not the OP with her unique situation.

Am I the only person that is shocked that a MIL is no longer immediate family once you marry? I know my daughter would look at her husband as if he had two heads if he ever suggested that, and vice versa with his parents.

Might your son actually prefer to stay elsewhere? Lots of people do. It doesn’t sound like he objected to last year’s arrangement. Maybe he actually liked it (especially if the alternative was an air mattress in the living room).

Definitely do not consider my mother to be my immediate family. Have not done so since I got married. For those of you who do you stay as house guests in other peoples homes do you enjoy it? Do you do it simply because it’s cheaper or more convenient? To me it’s just a small form of torture. Did it when I was young and then said never again.

Thanks for all the replies.

It has always been the case that we have stayed with the in-laws and they have stayed with us in our respective homes. We just used to have a much bigger home! I would have been much happier staying at a hotel and having a place to retreat when we visited them - particularly when fil was alive. But, that is their family culture. After being married 30 years now, that would be hard to change.

Dh’s sister is only 45 minutes away from mil. She brought up Thanksgiving to us only a couple of days after fil died. Thanksgiving is sil’s husband’s big family holiday to be together. She basically said, “You’ve got to take mil for Thanksgiving.” So we did - it was only three months after fil had died last year. I honestly was surprised that ds wanted to and was able to come for Thanksgiving last year and that he plans to come again this year. He is on the opposite coast, TG is such a crap time to travel, etc. However, he always has tons of airline miles from his job, and he does not have a SO at this point. Most of his friends are local and go spend time with their families. I am GLAD he wants to be here for TG! But, mil is definitely coming then - and probably again at another time - she’s already mentioned coming in February for her birthday.

I don’t really think ds minds being “trumped” by his grandmother. I am the one who minds. And, I kinda mind that dh doesn’t see why this bothers me. Ds probably DOES appreciate having somewhere else to retreat. There really and truly is not room for an air mattress in our condo. Our coffee table is heavy with a glass top - not easy to move. I can’t stand the idea of his sleeping on an air mattress in the kitchen. That just seems icky. Plus, I want ds to WANT to come, so I want him to be comfortable. Honestly, he gets the better end of the deal because we only have a sleeper sofa in our second bedroom (thought it’s not as bad as it sounds - it is some fancy kind - does not have a bar in it and is reported to be quite comfortable), and ds will get a “real” bed whether he stays at our friends’ place or we rent something for him.

Maybe what is bugging me is that it apparently hasn’t crossed mil’s mind that we might prefer ds to be here with us instead of her. She had “booked” with us first last year before we knew if ds could/would come. He wound up working remotely two of the days he was here (so that also made it nice that he could retreat to our friends’ place). I feel like we are going to be “stuck” with this situation as long is mil can travel. That sounds pretty mean, doesn’t it? We do hope to buy a larger condo eventually, but that is probably four Thanksgivings away.

I’m not sure of the answer on how to define “immediate family.” My parents both died before dh and I married, and I have no siblings. I think if I am being honest that at my core I struggle with our always having had to spend holidays with dh’s family and always having to “share” ds after he came along. Pretty selfish, eh? And, whether rightly or wrongly, I think daughters typically stay closer to their family of origin than do sons. That is a BROAD generalization, I know.

@Marian - I really don’t know what his preference is. It doesn’t really matter at this point since we are going to have to farm him out if he comes. An air mattress was never an alternative - no room. We were uncertain at one point last year if our friends were going to depart before ds arrived. Dh said we could put ds on the couch. I reeled at this idea and said, “No way,” even though it would have only been for one night. The timing worked out perfectly with our friends last year, but I would have insisted we get ds a place somewhere else - even for one night. It’s one thing to make a 12-year-old (or even a college kid) sleep on a couch. I’m not doing that to my young adult ds.

I know each family is different, but my girls wouldn’t think twice about sleeping on the couch so grandma could have a bed. We all love to be together so we make due in our small space. It sounds like the solution for you is for your S to stay elsewhere. My guess is that it will bother you more than him.

When I’m not on CC I spend a lot of time on a site for people with dysfunctional inlaw relationships so I’m coming at your issue from that side. It sounds like you and your husband aren’t on the same page right now. It was understandable last year when he had just lost his dad and your MIL had just lost her husband that you would prioritize her visit for Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean that that sets the precedent for the rest of her life. I’m a bit surprised to hear that you’ve spend every holiday with your husband’s family… you didn’t ever have a holiday that was just the 3 of you? Would you have wanted that or were you happy enough to have the bigger group even though it wasn’t your extended family? Our family of 5 started doing Christmas just the 5 of us sometimes a few years ago (after usually doing it with my parents since they are in the US or occasionally with hubby’s family) and we discovered that we all really like it that way.

So I have a couple of ideas for you going forward. One is that maybe you and your hubby should consider talking about this issue with the help of a counselor… someone who can be neutral and help your husband understand your concerns. Another thought is that if you enjoy your MIL’s company and want to keep doing Thanksgiving together, what about renting a larger house just for Thanksgiving weekend so you can all be together then? Either in your own city or (in future years) meeting up in another city altogether.

There’s a famous story of an anthropologist visiting Japan who stayed long-term at a hotel and was moved from room to room during his visit. He was confused, and thought it might be a “dis” because he was Western. It turned out that, as a long-term guest and a nice human being, the hotel management considered him “family” and felt comfortable moving him to accommodate “outsiders.”

Which, I guess, means that asking my kids to sleep on the floor in order to accommodate older guests makes me Japanese?

At the same time, I prefer to stay in a hotel rather than with friends/family, partially because I’m an introvert and partially because I don’t want to be a bother.

I’m on week 3 of company. Different groups of people, but Sunday night we all said no more company for awhile after the in laws can leave. Unfortunately mil and fil are here recuperating after being in a car accident.
I hate sleeping at other people’s houses, but that is our family norm. I have 20 something people sleeping here for Thanksgiving! I have a pool house and I have a few beds and a bunch of cots and sleeping bags and the kids find their own space.
My mom once stayed a few weeks recuperating after my dad died and she had surgery. Mostly people just stay a few days. My d just had college friends come from Wednesday to Saturday night. Hubby and I decided to beat it out of here Friday and stayed at a hotel.
I understand your resentment completely. I’d ask your son his thoughts about it, but I’d also want my son in that room. What’s frustrating is your mil lack of consideration and probably your feeling your husband choosing his mom over his son. I’m sorry you lost your parents so young. That had to be very difficult.

If I were in your situation, I would say grandma gets the bedroom, because she’s old and I’m assuming would be less comfortable than son sleeping on the sofa or whatever. I would have no problem putting one or multiple of our “adult” children on the sofa(s) or think about renting a place where everyone could be together. Are you comfortable asking your son how he feels about this? I know in many large families it’s just not a big deal at all to have even adult couples on sleep sofas in the open space. They make do. While visiting my husband’s family we sometimes had 16 people in a 4br house. Each set of “parents” got a bedroom, and “kids” either slept on floors of parents rooms, or in the family room or basement. This went on for up to 4 nights. As an only child,I was probably the least comfortable with it, but we all made it work.

Can’t MIL somehow come earlier or later and you can sort of have a second Thanksgiving? So that the two of them overlap only a night or two? My son wouldn’t think twice about sleeping on the couch - he does it all the time (and I’d do it myself for a couple of nights). I’d be a little perturbed that MIL isn’t being cognizant that this might be an issue - the both of them in your place at the same time.