Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

You always go to so much trouble!

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The first part of my story is technically rude, I know, but I don't mind, so don't worry too much about it.

My two kids have birthdays a month apart soon, and last year we had a biggish combined party for them. We weren't planning on doing anything this year, apart from a cake at home. Both are too young to know when their birthday should be or care about a combined party.

In a few weeks, all of DH's extended family, including our family are going on a mini-holiday, so MIL decided we should have lunch this weekend and discuss plans, so invited everyone (DH's brother and sister and their families) to our house for DS's birthday this weekend. That part, I really don't mind.

None of DH's family are big eaters like we are, and so they aren't big caterers either. A typical meal would be thin beef sausages, maybe two each, some bread and a bowl of green salad between 20 or so people. DH and I eat our share and eat when we get home if we need to.

I like to cater a bit more food, and I like to make dishes that my kids like more than salad so I'll have no problem getting them to eat while I'm hosting, and also that I like more. Nothing that exciting - just things like lasagne, or potato bake, or chicken drumsticks.

Every time we offer to host, just dinner with PIL, or even at last year's party, MIL will comment several times about how I always go to so much trouble, don't go to any trouble, don't work so much, etc. I really don't go to that much trouble.

Firstly, I like cooking - it's not trouble for me. Secondly, I'm not making anything difficult or complicated. PIL are really meat and potatoes type people, and we eat with a bit more variety, but it's really nothing that difficult.

So, my questions. Am I rude for bucking the trend in DH's family and hosting in a different way than the rest of the family does? Do I look like I'm trying to show them up? I'm not trying to; I just like to eat different food, and more of it.

Is it rude to constantly be telling me how much effort I should be going to in hosting in my own house (whether or notIi offered or was voluntold)?

My response so far is things like, 'It's no trouble, beandip?' Which she's obviously not believing.

If you are just having them over and not with other people around, I would maybe say with a smile, "It's sweet of you to worry, but I promise, I just made extra of what we were having anyways."  In a larger group as you described, I would just do what you normally do.  If she makes a huge deal about it and you have a good relationship otherwise, maybe just discuss it with her.

I host my way, too. Our kind of food, my way. The first generation didn't act like they liked it, but by the time the kids started coming along, they really loved when we hosted because the food was so interesting. From the first generation, I started to get a lot of, "Well, I'll just have a taste of that. It looks interesting," as they take about a serving. I've noticed the third generation aren't phased because they are used to it. Aunt Luci for the win! so I guess I did OK. (Everyone is still a pretty healthy weight, too.)

I don't think it is rude to host your way as long as religious and health issues are respected.

I'm not sure the commentors are rude - take it as a compliment. They might really mean, "Thank you for doing all this for us! How kind." I always responded to comments about going to too much work with, "It's a pleasure."

In my experience, comments like "you always go to so much trouble!" are intended as compliments and come from people who feel a bit insecure about their own entertaining.

My mother-in-law does not cook, at all.  So she cannot help but make lots of comments about all the fuss and trouble and so forth when I do (and presumably when anyone else does).  It's partly her own insecurity about her own not cooking, and partly I suppose it really does seem like a lot of trouble to her, because for her, since she is not used to it, it would be.

Anyway, comments like, "No, it's really no big deal" got me nowhere.  Probably just made her feel worse or sounded to her like I was showing off -- a la "What, this old thing?" after a compliment to your designer original tiara.

What did work was simply saying, "Oh, well, you know I like to cook" or better yet, if it's styled as a compliment, simply "Thank you!"  And then right to the bean dip.

The point: it's not about me at all, it's about her own view of herself.  When I remember that, it's still irritating to hear EVERY TIME, but it's easier not to get my back up about it as if it were some sort of challenge or commentary on how I do things.

Maybe that will work for you, too.

rose red:
I think instead of "It's no trouble" maybe say "I love doing it."


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