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

I’m not sure if this is a question or more of a vent.

Last year mil and ds both came for Thanksgiving. Fil passed away last August, so mil came and spent eight nights with us. Ds spent four or five - one day beyond when mil was here- she came much earlier.

We live in a 2 BR/2 BA condo, and I must say, that having grandmother and grandson here at the same time never occurred to me when we did our big downsize. Fortunately, we have friends in the building who traveled last year for Thanksgiving, so we put ds up in their unit, using it as overflow. It worked out great because they were able to use our unit as overflow for their family at Christmas when we were traveling. However, we (and they) aren’t sure if they are traveling this year for Thanksgiving or not. So, we may be able to use their unit again, but we may not. If we cannot use their unit, we will have to rent something.

Undoubtedly, mil will have a longer visit than ds will. Dh feels like asking mil to stay elsewhere will “hurt her feelings.” Since her visit will be longer, it would also cost us more to put her up than ds. TBH, I am hoping she doesn’t stay quite as long this visit, but I imagine she will. I think she feels like she has to stay awhile to get “value” out of her flight cost. The length of her stay is another issue. Anyway, it kind of bugs me that dh’s mother gets to “trump” ds. I’m not sure why as ds did stay in the friend’s condo last year. However, it is on-site. We would do our best to get something that was at least in walking distance. We can’t rent another unit in our building because the minimum rental period here is 30 days. I guess I didn’t anticipate that not having ds under our roof at Thanksgiving was going to be an ongoing issue. It’s just sort of this forgone conclusion she will always be spending TG with us from now on.

I guess my question is - Should this bother me? I will add that I do, for the most part, enjoy my mother-in-law. It’s just that ds is now on the opposite coast, and we see him less frequently than we see mil.

Also, as a more general question - how long do you have guests in your home? The max we have ever stayed with anyone (including in-laws) has been four nights.

Since it is just your S is there room for an air mattress in your condo for him to sleep? You could move the air mattress into the master bedroom during the day to make room. We have always lived in a small house and only have one extra bedroom so when people visit some sleep on the air mattress and little kids sleep in sleeping bags. It has worked out fine for us.

It would certainly bother me to not have our D under our roof for the holidays. IMO, she trumps everyone else and the extra room in the house is HER room, especially if she’s home!

My H and I have had issues with this over the course of our marriage. In my childhood home, extra guests went to the hotel. In H’s childhood home, people piled in on sleeping bags on the floor and every available nook and cranny. It was considered “rude” to get a hotel room for overflow company.

FWIW, I would have MIL come at another time.

We’ve had company for as long as a week. It’s too long. We also prefer 4 days max both for staying in someone else’s home and hosting ourselves. After that, I get antsy to get my space back.

Personally I would consider my unmarried children still ‘immediate family’ even if they weren’t living at home full time any more while parents, in-laws, etc are ‘extended family’ and immediate family trumps extended family. I’d put MIL up in an airbnb or hotel or have her come some other time.

I have stayed at my D and SIL’s apartment on an air mattress on the living room floor for 3 nights at a time. Their apartment is 693 sq feet, so that is the only option. We move the coffee table and the inflating and deflating takes 5 minutes each. No big deal, IMO. Would your son be opposed to doing that?

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.