Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Your Turf, Your Rules

Recently, a reader posed the following question....

My better half and I bought a house last year, and have finally renovated to the point where we can have guests. For the first time ever, house rules are entirely our choosing--no more "the landlord insists that...." My parents are coming to stay with us next week. How does one gracefully pass on house rules that are our arbitrary choosing, like "no shoes above the first floor," "smoking only on the front steps," "these items are recyclable in this bin but that item is trash and goes in the other one"? Is it better to just let them keep their shoes on wherever they wish and quietly separate out the trash and recyclables after they've left the room?
Many thanks!

Grace Says:

Congratulations on the new home and for getting the place ship (or 'guest') shape. Simple guideline: "Your turf, your rules." You said it best, just pass the policies along--there is nothing unreasonable or punitive in any of the items you listed. Now, if one of your guests would have a legitimate difficulty adhering to said rules, then you can make adjustments out of respect and concern. An example might be an elderly and frail grandmother who would have difficulty walking without supportive shoes, or someone on crutches for whom stocking feet could prove hazardous. Similarly, if someone has a health condition that makes going shoeless painful or difficult (I'm referring to an actual medical condition, not a desire to match the shoes with the outfit) then you may accommodate accordingly--either grin and bear it, provide slippers or acceptable house shoes in the appropriate size, or advise the guests of the shoe situation ahead of time so they may BYO.

Same goes for recycling--When Mom heads for the trash can with her soda bottle, simply show her the recycling bin. "Mom, you can toss the bottle here; we recycle glass and aluminum." No drama, just a simple fact.

Sometimes it can feel odd giving these types of directives to parents or elders, but I am confident that you will do so in a respectful, Gracious way and they will delight in seeing you and hubby in your very own digs.

Enjoy your visit!

On the subject of smoking outdoors, I got a kick out of the following ad. NB: smokers may not.

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