Author Topic: You always go to so much trouble!  (Read 2369 times)

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CakeEater

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You always go to so much trouble!
« on: March 05, 2013, 06:46:28 AM »
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.

NyaChan

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 08:49:42 AM »
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.

Luci45

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 08:53:14 AM »
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."

gellchom

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 05:52:16 PM »
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

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 08:06:12 PM »
I think instead of "It's no trouble" maybe say "I love doing it."

miranova

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2013, 10:23:16 AM »
I experience this a lot with my husband's family.  When they come to visit, they act like I'm going way overboard when I'm actually just feeding them normal meals at standard meal times.  I think it makes them uncomfortable to be hosted.  I've had several of them try to get me to not cook, insisting that they can just go grab a sandwich or something and I don't have to "go to all this trouble" of feeding them.  Now, I don't care if they go grab a sandwich if they really just WANT a sandwich, be my guest!  I won't be offended.  But I'm cooking for my family of 7 anyway, so you grabbing a sandwich won't really mean that I don't have to cook.  Also, I have planned for their visit.  I already bought the extra pork chops, or planned to make 2 pans of stuffed shells instead of 1.  The work involved for making 2 isn't really any higher and I've already bought the ingredients.  So they can't really save me any trouble or expense at that point!

My husband explained to me that in his family everyone takes care of their own, even when at someone else's house, so his family is really not used to anyone cooking for them, even if they are staying with someone.  Seems odd to me but it appears he is right because they went on and on about wanting to "take us out" to a particular restaurant.  We finally agreed even though we had no interest in the restaurant.  Then they paid for themselves only.  Remember the family of 7 I said I had?  Yeah, $80 for food we didn't enjoy at a restaurant we never wanted to go to in the first place.  My husband was not surprised and again told me that's the way it is in his family, everyone covers their own family.  Which is fine with me if we are not pressured to go to a certain (horrible) place. 

Personally I just feel it is easier for the hosting family to just provide many/most of the meals and that can be reciprocated when we visit them, but that is apparently not the way it is done.  I can't quite picture how to do it the other way though.  Were they expecting that at dinner time I would feed my family and they would go out and get their own food for every meal?  That just seems so strange to me.  Plus I don't know what to expect when we stay with them for 2 weeks this summer.   :-\ 

Yvaine

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2013, 10:31:28 AM »
Are you the same poster whose in-laws throw a fit when there isn't salad at a meal? My, these people are obsessed with salad.  ;D I think they've gotten into a rut and they think all other cuisine is both inferior and too much work.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 03:05:00 PM »
Perhaps she has low level guilt for inviting everyone to your house.

CakeEater

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 05:25:13 PM »
Are you the same poster whose in-laws throw a fit when there isn't salad at a meal? My, these people are obsessed with salad.  ;D I think they've gotten into a rut and they think all other cuisine is both inferior and too much work.

No, not me, but I did identify with that thread!

I experience this a lot with my husband's family.  When they come to visit, they act like I'm going way overboard when I'm actually just feeding them normal meals at standard meal times.  I think it makes them uncomfortable to be hosted.  I've had several of them try to get me to not cook, insisting that they can just go grab a sandwich or something and I don't have to "go to all this trouble" of feeding them.  Now, I don't care if they go grab a sandwich if they really just WANT a sandwich, be my guest!  I won't be offended.  But I'm cooking for my family of 7 anyway, so you grabbing a sandwich won't really mean that I don't have to cook.  Also, I have planned for their visit.  I already bought the extra pork chops, or planned to make 2 pans of stuffed shells instead of 1.  The work involved for making 2 isn't really any higher and I've already bought the ingredients.  So they can't really save me any trouble or expense at that point!

I really identify with this as well. PIL will come to our house and say, 'Let's just have cold meat and salad for dinner'. Well, I don't really like cold meat and salad, especially for dinner. I'd much rather eat something cooked. Plus my kids don't really eat salad, so I'd have to make something for them anyway.

Perhaps she has low level guilt for inviting everyone to your house.

I suspect that this is the case.

Anyway, all went well. I made a tray of quiche and a tray of lasagne. SIL brought a green salad, and MIL brought coleslaw and dessert, so she felt like she substantially contributed, thus assuaging the aforementioned guilt. BIL was excused from bringing anything, being a man and all.  ::)

And I had leftovers, so I was super happy!

Promise

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2013, 07:12:42 PM »
I guess I look at this a bit differently. It seems to me that they might be thinking about health choices when eating. I like eating salad every day and appreciate having it when at other's homes too. I'd suggest you cook what you normally do but add a salad.

Roe

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2013, 11:03:54 AM »
It sounds like something most people say as a way of acknowledging the work the hostess went through. I wouldn't take it as an admonishment. 

Coralreef

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Re: You always go to so much trouble!
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2013, 04:50:28 PM »
I love to cook and try out different things.  So when I host a party, the food is often "exotic" to some of the guests and I get the "you go through so much trouble" thing.  My best reply to that yet is "it's a pleasure doing this and having you here". So you think it would work for you?

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