Over the last three weeks we had our first house guest since we became a family. I’ve mentioned a bit about the impact on the food spending, but I thought I’d share what I’ve learned, both to help myself understand how to be better prepared next time and for others who may wonder how they can establish boundaries when the budget is tight.
What Went Well:
- My friend is lovely and it was good to catch up!
- It was wonderful to be able to provide her with a base & place to stay while she explored. Generally speaking she was here for 5 to 6 days, then away for 3 days, for 3 cycles. I’m glad she had a “home” to stay in so she could explore without paying for hotels apart from her trips further afield (Montreal & Quebec City, Kingston & Ottawa, Niagara Falls etc.)
- It was very nice treat to be able to take my daughter to physio therapy twice without my son having to tag along (we have to go downtown in an evening, so it makes for a late night).
- The adult company was lovely!
- It made me see I’m very pleased with my decision to move here
- I am delighted my children met such a dear friend!
- While I explained some of our budget limitations, mostly in relation to the fact we wouldn’t be able to join her on weekends away, I wish I had clarified in more detail what that meant. I think if you don’t have forced frugality, you don’t really understand that expecting someone to drive you 2 hrs there and back to a place you want to see, means they need to find that money from somewhere, our choices are food and medications, neither of which is a real option!
- I will admit, there were a couple of times where my resentment about the costs, in light of the fact I have two children to raise, got the better of me. It was the second week where in the space of 5 days 8 eggs were consumed, as were 2 tins of tuna, a whole squash, all the beets, the whole bunch of bananas, all the nuts, 2 whole containers of yoghurt, a whole jar of organic peanut butter and the punnet of blueberries. None of which entered our mouths. I found it stressful.
- I would spend more time in advance preparing a house guest for how I will need to parent to meet my children’s needs. As they were adopted late, with so many homes prior to this, their forever home, I have to constantly watch for signs of attachment issues. While the guest staying reassured me about my daughter’s attachment, it made me aware my son’s past still means he “mommy shops” and to protect his long term mental health, I will need to work on that. Next time I will explain to guests in advance things like bedtime routines need to just be with me & the children, rather than have to talk about it once they are here.
- I needed to better explain things like appropriate clothing for children. On the day my friend baby-sat, I was horrified to find out what my daughter went out in (a dress 3 sizes too small!). Another day my children’s best outfits were ruined, as was my table cloth and a chair (!) as they were allowed to paint with no boundaries. It was my fault as I shouldn’t expect everyone to feel comfortable putting limits on these things.
- I felt uncomfortable with some of the religious teachings my friend talked to the children about. In the future I would address this in advance.
It was a lovely visit, I’m glad my children learned so many great things about being a host and caring for others and I so appreciate my friend baby-sitting when she was local and didn’t have anything planned. However, I did also learn that once you have a family it isn’t as easy as it was before and they will need to come first, especially with the type of past my children experienced and especially if the visitor stays longer than a few days.