Sister needs to be honest with parents about visit
Adapted from a recent online discussion.
los angeles: My parents decided to visit my sister for two weeks. The problem is, sis and her husband are going on vacation about 10 days into the parents' visit. Parents want to stay at sis' place after sis leaves. Sis doesn't want that but doesn't know how to tell them. Is there any way to tell them without causing a lifetime of hurt feelings?
carolyn: Dunno. What's her reasoning?
los angeles: Nothing particular. She's persnickety. No shoes on the carpet, that sort of thing. And I think she's just generally uncomfortable with anyone being in her home when she's not there.
carolyn: Okay then. She's entitled to have her own rules about her own home, and to have the sense that her home is waiting for her just as she left it. Also, her parents probably know she's persnickety and therefore, I would hope, will be able to recognize that her decision is a reflection not on them, but on her own issues.
That being said, can't she get over herself for two days to make her parents happy? If she has a housekeeper, she can even arrange for the housekeeper to come in right after the parents go.
This is why I don't usually give third-party advice. "Get over yourself" loses all its oomph when it becomes "She should get over herself."
los angeles: Thanks, Carolyn. She does have a housekeeper. It's just that after the housekeeper leaves, my sister re-cleans everything. (All of us wash the dishes thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher, if that tells you anything about us.) Also, FYI, she objects to the description "persnickety." She says she's OCD.
carolyn: That actually changes things. If she really is OCD (you seem skeptical), then your parents ought to back off and stay in a hotel. What do they gain by letting her wonder, during her entire vacation, whether her oven is on? That would be cruel and selfish on your parents' part.
anonymous: Perhaps remind your sister that, over the many years of childhood, there were undoubtedly times when your parents probably would have preferred not to have her in the house for a few days at a time? They had to clean up after a Teenage Her at one point, after all. Unless the parents are complete jerks (no mention of that), why force them to spend $200 per night on a hotel when the child they raised lives right there? (Yes, she should put any, er, intimate items deep away in a back bedroom closet. But that takes, what, 15 minutes?)
carolyn: This actually explains the reasoning behind my first answer pretty well. If it's not a diagnosed condition but just a personal preference, then that's when people need to step back for a moment and remember what their parents have done for them over the course of a lifetime. That is (as you alluded to in your post), assuming the parents aren't intrusive, or slovenly, or otherwise ruling themselves out as desirable house guests. Thanks.