Every summer our good friends and their teenager come to visit for a week. They are a fun bunch, witty, entertaining, and nonstop story tellers. However, the last couple of years, I've noticed that after they leave, I've been feeling like I'm just the maid with all the mess to clean up. They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at our house. I cook all the meals and clean up, too. They seem to offer to help only after I've been in the kitchen long enough for everything to be already done. They leave all their dirty linens on the bed and in the bathroom. They have never offered to take us out to dinner, nor have they ever given us a host gift to thank us. Am I being an ungracious host? Am I expecting too much? I'm getting stressed out just thinking about next summer.
P.S. We rarely visit their city, and when we do, we don't stay at their house because we have 3 kids and they don't have enough room.
Dear The Maid,
You sound like too gracious of a host. You have been taken advantage of by your "mooching" friends and are finally seeing past their "fun" personalities. Moochers tend to be entertaining so that they can get away with it.
If guests stay a week, they should at least take you out to dinner and give you a nice host gift. Your guests should also help you in any way they can if you're cooking, cleaning, or grocery shopping. All houseguests should clean up after themselves and bring dirty linens to the laundry room. It would be especially nice if they washed all their dirty linens before they left.
It's your home, and they cannot barge in without your allowing it. If you don't want them to stay any more, then when they write to tell you of their upcoming visit, write back and tell them that you're sorry, but you have other plans and can't accommodate them this summer.