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How do you make your Mother and Father in Law feel welcome when they come to stay?

Mother in Law comes to stay

Mother in Law comes to stay

Depending on if you get on with your Mother and Father in Law or not the prospect of them coming to stay can be very daunting. You want to make a great impression, but without appearing to be 'sucking up' to them. If you are honest you probably want them to genuinely like you as a person and partner for their son or daughter! The question of course is 'How do you make your Mother and Father in Law feel welcome when they come to stay?' I hope that in this hub I can explain some ways that I feel will make all the difference as to how welcome your 'in laws' feel when they come to visit. Nothing too complicated or too expensive, in fact most of the advice I plan to share used to be commonplace, and consisted of things you would do both as a mark of respect for your partner's parents, and of course for your partner.

Even if you have a major dislike of your parents in law, you should put this to one side if you know they are unavoidably coming to stay. I know this can be very difficult, but because of the love you have for your Husband or Wife you should be able to grit your teeth and turn on the charm. All that said I have been lucky in my marriages at least, and whilst I rarely ever saw my first (and late) Husband's Mother, (his Father had died many years earlier), I did get on with her. My current (and hopefully last) Husband has a Father and Stepmother who I get on fabulously with, and although I have never met his natural Mother, from speaking to her on the telephone I know I like her a great deal. This does not mean I am being naïve though, as my ex-fiance had a Mother from hell, and she used to invite herself over to Tenerife (when we lived there) to stay with us for up to a month at a time, most of which she spent hero-worshiping her 'singer' son, and offering to cover for him so he could go off and sleep with other women behind my back (I found out that part much later)!! Much though I hated having her around for more than a couple of weeks, I was never rude to her, and put up with her 'antics' (and having to sit in the back seat of the car every time he drove us anywhere.) I won't dwell on this relationship here, but if you do want to know more about it read the full story on my Living with a Control Freak hub.

Planning Ahead

If you have a date when your Mother and Father in Law are coming to stay mark it on your calendar. In the time you have leading up to 'D Day', do some research to find out as much about your 'in laws' as possible. Your Husband or Wife are a good starting point here, but so are your Sisters and Brothers in Law. What you need to know (if you don't already depending on how long you have been married), are the obvious things like what foods your parents in law eat and if they have any allergies (e.g. pets hairs, hay fever, nut allergies, feather pillows etc.) Having this knowledge to hand can make all the difference, and will determine what preparations you make, and what shopping you buy prior to their arrival.

Thoughtful Gestures

Often the little thoughtful gestures are the ones which make all the difference. Things like placing a bunch of flowers or a bowl of fruit in their bedroom so they get a nice surprise when you show them in. Even a bottle of wine and two glasses can make a great impression, (and guarantee you loads of popularity points with both your spouse and your 'in laws'.)

Take their luggage to their room for them, (don't leave them to carry their own bags,) especially if their bedroom is going to be upstairs.

Always find something to pay your Mother in Law a compliment on, e.g. her appearance, her perfume, her dress, her hair etc.

Ask them if there is anything they would like to eat or drink, (tea, coffee, wine etc.)

Show an interest in what they have to say and their topics of conversation even if the subject matter does bore you to tears.

Show an interest in them as people, and ask them about their lives, careers, hobbies etc.

Make sure you use your earlier research to ensure meals consist of their favourite foods and avoid anything they might actively dislike or be allergic to.

If you are a smoker and they aren't, smoke outside during their stay. They will appreciate the fact you are not expecting them to inhale your smoke.

If you know that one of your 'in laws' is allergic to pet hairs it might be a nice gesture to send your dog or cat to stay with a friend or family member during their stay. If this isn't possible at least do your best to keep your pets out of the same room that your 'in laws' are in at any one time.

Take them Places

Whether you take your Mother and Father in Law for a few nice meals in restaurants or simply for a bar meal, it will be nice for them to spend social time out with you, in a place where you are all relaxed and household chores aren't getting in the way of conversation.

If you know they have an interest in gardening take them to any nearby gardens that are open to the public. In Britain there are places like The Eden Project or The Lost Gardens of Heligan which are simply heaven for a gardener to visit.

If they have an interest in trains, planes, museums etc, there are usually places that are open to the public where you can take them for a day out.

If they have hobbies such as keeping fish then take them to an aquarium.

If they have a great interest in animals take them to a wildlife park.

If they like fishing, go fishing with them.

I am sure you get my drift by now. The point is to keep their trip enjoyable and memorable in a positive way. The more fun they have, the more they will feel welcome and the more they will appreciate the trouble you have clearly gone to in order to make sure they had a good time during their stay.

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The Day they Leave

Finally the day they are due to leave will arrive. Offer to go with them to the airport, ferry port, railway station etc (if relevant). If they have their own car and a long drive ahead make them a pack lunch to take with them for the journey.

Tell them how much you have enjoyed their stay and make it clear that they are welcome any time and that you are looking forward to their next visit.

Depending on your gender either kiss both your Mother and Father in Law on the cheek before they leave, or kiss your Mother in Law on the cheek and shake your Father in Law's hand, (I am sure you can work out which method applies to you.)

Now go back indoors and make yourselves a nice cup of tea or coffee, you survived the 'Parents in Law' coming to stay and made them feel very welcome.

#12 of 30 in the March 2012 Challenge


Open on August 29, 2013:

I feel saefisitd after reading that one.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 14, 2012:

Thank you Prasetio, it is always a pleasure to have you visit one of my hubs. I am amazed you are not married already as you are such a well loved person even here on HP, so I am sure you are elsewhere too :)

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 14, 2012:

Very informative hub. I should follow your advice if I am married. I should bookmark this hub. Thank you very much for share with us. Rated up and useful!


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 13, 2012:

Thanks Sturgeonl, I am glad you liked this :)

Sturgeonl on March 13, 2012:

I think it is helpful to be reminded about keeping peace in the family. Great suggestions!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

Thanks Marcy, I firmly believe touches like the fruit bowl make all the difference. Just shows you went the 'extra mile' for them. I did it once when my sister came to stay too and she liked the fact I had made the gesture for her.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on March 12, 2012:

You've listed some great tips for being a good host or hostess; many thanks for the ideas! The vast majority are useful for any guests. I like the idea of fruit in the bedroom; I've been sure to put toiletries, books, and other things out, but fruit is a very nice touch.

Voted up and useful.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

Hi Susan, thanks so much for commenting. Nice that you already have a good relationship with your 'in laws', like you I have this too, but none of them have visited us because we live in Guernsey and they are on the mainland. The other problem is that right now we don't really have a spare room that would be big enough for a couple 'with luggage' to stay in.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

Hi rosika, thanks for asking the question, it was a good one. Good luck with the visit and let me know how it goes if you get a chance (keep them well supplied with alcohol, they will be convinced they had a good time if you do). ;)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

Hi 'Kelly the Outlaw', I love that title, it should be your new nickname. I so hope your parents in law actually do like you even if they do call you this :) Thanks for commenting as always.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

LOL Bob, I knew your answer would make me laugh, but the fact one MIL shot at you with a .38 was not what I was expecting. At least you got on well with one of them :) In your shoes I would give up on marriage for sure :)

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on March 12, 2012:

Luckily I get along really well with my mother in law. We're really good friends. My father in law....well...but he doesn't come to visit so that's works out well.

rosika on March 12, 2012:

Thanks for answering my question in such a cracked me up when you wrote "Show an interest in what they have to say and their topics of conversation even if the subject matter does bore you to tears", I hope they won't be that boring, lol!..Let me see how I go! Voted up!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on March 12, 2012:

Hahahhaha! Misty - ohhhhh my iinlaws don't call me the outlaw for just no good reason! Hahaha!

Now, these tips can be useful for my own parents:) haha! Very nice and great ideas. I'd love to employ them:)

diogenes from UK and Mexico on March 12, 2012:

I have had four wives and another four I didn't marry but lived with. There were 3 mothers in law and 1 father in law. I was more dashing than rich when younger, so they didn't think much of me. Two of the MIL were witches from hell, and one was lovely. The one FIL was OK. Two of the wives were hopeless; two, OK.

One MOL wanted to kill me, another actually shot at me with a .38!

I don't like marriage much!


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

LOL drjb, you really have doormat that says 'GO AWAY'? I so want one of those for outside my front door :)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:

LOL stclairjack, I am sure there are many in your shoes who will never get on with their mother in law no matter how hard they try.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on March 12, 2012:

The first thing I would do if my in-laws came to stay, Misty, is remove the doormat outside in front of my door. It reads: "GO AWAY." I wouldn't want them to think I displayed it just for them.

Stclairjack from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks on March 12, 2012:

the most civil thing i managed to do while my mother in law was in my home was to resist the urge to choke the livin crap out of her with my bare hands,...

the most satisfying thing i ever did in reguards to my mother in law,..... i divorced her son.

i know this wasn't very nice of me here,... forgive me,... i couldn't resist

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