Author Topic: Is it rude not to help the hostess?  (Read 7008 times)

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SleepyKitty

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2013, 11:38:12 AM »
She just sits there while Dina runs herself ragged.

I do just want to point out that it's Dina's choice how much hosting to do - there's no need for her to run herself ragged unless that's how she feels comfortable hosting, and if that's how she feels comfortable hosting, it's not rude for Cara to stand back.

Personally, I always offer to help out when I'm at someone else's house, but I agree with PP's who say I don't want any help when I'm hosting. I'd prefer to shuffle everything into the kitchen and deal with the clean-up after everyone has left. But I think that's because I don't understand the "hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess" mentality anyway. Parties are for talking to and being with people, in my opinion, not for being hidden away in the kitchen. Honestly, I'd be a little miffed if I came to a celebration and spent a significant chunk of time in the kitchen washing dishes. Note that I don't mean helping clear the table or to do some general clean-up - that's obviously expected - but when someone is offering to host a get together, I expect to, well, get together with the other invitees! Not be cooking and cleaning (which, even with others helping, can take awhile if there's 5+ people - particularly in an unfamiliar kitchen).

lowspark

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2013, 12:01:50 PM »
She just sits there while Dina runs herself ragged.

I do just want to point out that it's Dina's choice how much hosting to do - there's no need for her to run herself ragged unless that's how she feels comfortable hosting, and if that's how she feels comfortable hosting, it's not rude for Cara to stand back.

Personally, I always offer to help out when I'm at someone else's house, but I agree with PP's who say I don't want any help when I'm hosting. I'd prefer to shuffle everything into the kitchen and deal with the clean-up after everyone has left. But I think that's because I don't understand the "hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess" mentality anyway. Parties are for talking to and being with people, in my opinion, not for being hidden away in the kitchen. Honestly, I'd be a little miffed if I came to a celebration and spent a significant chunk of time in the kitchen washing dishes. Note that I don't mean helping clear the table or to do some general clean-up - that's obviously expected - but when someone is offering to host a get together, I expect to, well, get together with the other invitees! Not be cooking and cleaning (which, even with others helping, can take awhile if there's 5+ people - particularly in an unfamiliar kitchen).

ITA. I do the same thing. Throw everything in the kitchen and get back to my guests. After they leave, I can do all the dirty work. And yeah, that is definitely one of the reasons I don't want to get involved in helping with clean up at someone else's house. I came to enjoy myself at a party, not to stand up in the kitchen.

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2013, 12:08:38 PM »
She just sits there while Dina runs herself ragged.

I do just want to point out that it's Dina's choice how much hosting to do - there's no need for her to run herself ragged unless that's how she feels comfortable hosting, and if that's how she feels comfortable hosting, it's not rude for Cara to stand back.

Personally, I always offer to help out when I'm at someone else's house, but I agree with PP's who say I don't want any help when I'm hosting. I'd prefer to shuffle everything into the kitchen and deal with the clean-up after everyone has left. But I think that's because I don't understand the "hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess" mentality anyway. Parties are for talking to and being with people, in my opinion, not for being hidden away in the kitchen. Honestly, I'd be a little miffed if I came to a celebration and spent a significant chunk of time in the kitchen washing dishes. Note that I don't mean helping clear the table or to do some general clean-up - that's obviously expected - but when someone is offering to host a get together, I expect to, well, get together with the other invitees! Not be cooking and cleaning (which, even with others helping, can take awhile if there's 5+ people - particularly in an unfamiliar kitchen).

ITA. I do the same thing. Throw everything in the kitchen and get back to my guests. After they leave, I can do all the dirty work. And yeah, that is definitely one of the reasons I don't want to get involved in helping with clean up at someone else's house. I came to enjoy myself at a party, not to stand up in the kitchen.

But does it make a difference when the party is being hosted by a close relative, mother, sister, mil, sil?  That is what I would like to know.  Not only this situation, but for my own family as well.

lowspark

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2013, 12:23:55 PM »
I dunno. I don't want to be working in the kitchen while everyone else is relaxing/having fun in the other room regardless of who is hosting the party. If I'm hosting, then yeah, I've got work to do. But I plan my parties so that my work during the party is at a minimum. I premake things, I have everything set up in advance, etc. And then, like I said, I throw everything in the kitchen and forget about it till everyone leaves.

I know that not everyone has this style of hosting. Some like to fuss while everyone is there or they just don't know any other way of hosting. But MIL, SIL, best friend or someone I just recently met... does it matter? I came to the party to have fun, not work.

Now, if I were in a situation where my MIL were throwing these kind of events often and was always in the situation of doing too much work during them, I'd offer one of two things. Either to take on the hosting responsibility myself sometimes or to help with PRE-party and/or POST-party duties.

I think Casey should help at least in some capacity, but what I think is ruder is that MIL is always the host and no one else is apparently taking a turn or reciprocating.

camlan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2013, 12:25:46 PM »
She just sits there while Dina runs herself ragged.

I do just want to point out that it's Dina's choice how much hosting to do - there's no need for her to run herself ragged unless that's how she feels comfortable hosting, and if that's how she feels comfortable hosting, it's not rude for Cara to stand back.

Personally, I always offer to help out when I'm at someone else's house, but I agree with PP's who say I don't want any help when I'm hosting. I'd prefer to shuffle everything into the kitchen and deal with the clean-up after everyone has left. But I think that's because I don't understand the "hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess" mentality anyway. Parties are for talking to and being with people, in my opinion, not for being hidden away in the kitchen. Honestly, I'd be a little miffed if I came to a celebration and spent a significant chunk of time in the kitchen washing dishes. Note that I don't mean helping clear the table or to do some general clean-up - that's obviously expected - but when someone is offering to host a get together, I expect to, well, get together with the other invitees! Not be cooking and cleaning (which, even with others helping, can take awhile if there's 5+ people - particularly in an unfamiliar kitchen).

ITA. I do the same thing. Throw everything in the kitchen and get back to my guests. After they leave, I can do all the dirty work. And yeah, that is definitely one of the reasons I don't want to get involved in helping with clean up at someone else's house. I came to enjoy myself at a party, not to stand up in the kitchen.

But does it make a difference when the party is being hosted by a close relative, mother, sister, mil, sil?  That is what I would like to know.  Not only this situation, but for my own family as well.

For me, it's not just who is hosting the party, but what type of party it is.

If it is all family, then everyone is expected to pitch in. But not everyone is working the whole time. So if I help with the cooking, I'm sitting down and chatting during the dish washing.

If the party is a mix of family and friends, I tend to act more like a guest who doesn't have to help, instead of a family member who is expected to help. Unless the hosts have previously asked to me to help out.

I've been to some parties where everyone is jumping up to help and no one is actually enjoying the party. Or, to be honest, all the women are jumping up to help and most of the men are sitting down enjoying the party. I don't think that's right, either. There has to be a happy medium.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Yvaine

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2013, 12:28:05 PM »
She just sits there while Dina runs herself ragged.

I do just want to point out that it's Dina's choice how much hosting to do - there's no need for her to run herself ragged unless that's how she feels comfortable hosting, and if that's how she feels comfortable hosting, it's not rude for Cara to stand back.

Personally, I always offer to help out when I'm at someone else's house, but I agree with PP's who say I don't want any help when I'm hosting. I'd prefer to shuffle everything into the kitchen and deal with the clean-up after everyone has left. But I think that's because I don't understand the "hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess" mentality anyway. Parties are for talking to and being with people, in my opinion, not for being hidden away in the kitchen. Honestly, I'd be a little miffed if I came to a celebration and spent a significant chunk of time in the kitchen washing dishes. Note that I don't mean helping clear the table or to do some general clean-up - that's obviously expected - but when someone is offering to host a get together, I expect to, well, get together with the other invitees! Not be cooking and cleaning (which, even with others helping, can take awhile if there's 5+ people - particularly in an unfamiliar kitchen).

ITA. I do the same thing. Throw everything in the kitchen and get back to my guests. After they leave, I can do all the dirty work. And yeah, that is definitely one of the reasons I don't want to get involved in helping with clean up at someone else's house. I came to enjoy myself at a party, not to stand up in the kitchen.

But does it make a difference when the party is being hosted by a close relative, mother, sister, mil, sil?  That is what I would like to know.  Not only this situation, but for my own family as well.

It makes a difference if it's the norm for your family, is what we're saying. I don't think you're going to find a hard-and-fast rule on this. If this is what your family does and has always done, then it's best to either keep doing it or to do any pushback in a polite fashion (an example might be, if you want to discontinue the tradition of being stuck with chores at other relatives' houses, you could lead the way by doing all your own chores at your own events and gently declining your relatives' help).

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2013, 12:56:27 PM »
I started this thread because I have been wondering what the right thing to do is.  Not only in Dina and Cate's situation, but my own family parties too.

When I host a party, I (with DHs help) bust my @#$ to make sure everthing is prepped and ready to go.  I don't want a lot of people helping in my kitchen, that would make me very nervous.  I want my guests to enjoy themselves.  My mom, mil, and sil really have no need to assist.

SIL on the other hand, is the type of hostess who expects everyone else to do most of the work.  I decided a long time ago that I would help clear dishes, etc., but not major work. 

I appreciate everyones responses, it has helped.  :)

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #37 on: September 04, 2013, 01:59:26 PM »
I'm curious--do Jay's brother and SIL attend these parties? How much do the brother and SIL help out? Because if the other daughter-in-law is running around helping, then Cara's not-helping stands out even more.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Cara helped out a lot before the party--cooking, cleaning, setting things up, with the understanding that the preparation work was her contribution and she doesn't need to help out during the party.

Most of the time Jay's brother attends, his contribution is that he cooks something for the party.  Jay's SIL doesn't always come, I don't know why, it's kind of strange.  I have seen her cleaning up at the end of the night.

Cate does not cook at all, and she's not much of a housekeeper from what I see of their place.   I could be wrong, but I highly doubt she is helping to set up, etc.

And that could be exactly why she doesn't help. I never help cook at my parent's place. I hate cooking and I while I am a passable cook I am really not that good at it and my mom is a wonderful cook so why would I want to ruin what would be a good mean? Cleanup 0 usually someone beats me to it and I do all the cleanup at my house so I am not too concerned about not doing it at my parent's house. I clear the table and put away leftover but only one person can rinse and put in the dishwasher at a time.

If she isn't a cook and doesn't clean well what kind of help could she possible offer?

Setting the table, putting ice in the glasses and pouring drinks, helping clear the table, and carrying food from the kitchen to the table are all activities even most 5 year olds can handle.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2013, 02:08:52 PM »
I dunno. I don't want to be working in the kitchen while everyone else is relaxing/having fun in the other room regardless of who is hosting the party. If I'm hosting, then yeah, I've got work to do. But I plan my parties so that my work during the party is at a minimum. I premake things, I have everything set up in advance, etc. And then, like I said, I throw everything in the kitchen and forget about it till everyone leaves.

I know that not everyone has this style of hosting. Some like to fuss while everyone is there or they just don't know any other way of hosting. But MIL, SIL, best friend or someone I just recently met... does it matter? I came to the party to have fun, not work.

Now, if I were in a situation where my MIL were throwing these kind of events often and was always in the situation of doing too much work during them, I'd offer one of two things. Either to take on the hosting responsibility myself sometimes or to help with PRE-party and/or POST-party duties.

I think Casey should help at least in some capacity, but what I think is ruder is that MIL is always the host and no one else is apparently taking a turn or reciprocating.

I agree that when I'm hosting a party, I have everything pretty much ready to go and need very little done once guests arrive.

But I'm imagining a Sunday night dinner with family or the family getting together to watch a football game. If hosting of these types of get together's rotate amongst the regular participants, then I think there is less need to help out. But since one person hosts all events, I can not imagine feeling comfortable sitting on my rear end while my DH, his friend, his friend's wife, and my MIL do all the work.

cutejellybeen

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2013, 03:32:50 PM »
When my dad hosts something, after dinner its kind of an all hands on deck to clean up. Though I can see that changing with his new girlfriend. She likes to "Host".

At Moms, we all just pitch in where needed. Sometimes mom lets us, sometimes she does it beforehand and its just loading the dishwasher.

At my MiLs - the kitchen is her domain. I dont feel comfortable helping her out, as I dont know where anything goes, and there is not much room for more than one. Though I do offer.

At my house, if we host family, we tell them to just leave it and we will deal with it later. With friends we all just chip in and clean as needed - no matter whose house we are at.



CakeEater

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2013, 05:40:21 PM »
Ther thing with my ILs is that they have a very nice house: wood floors, expensive rugs, white funiture, knick knacks every where that they refuse to put up. I have two small children who are fairly difficult for different reasons, and it's all I can do to follow them around and make sure they don't destroy the house, because there's very little for them to do there. Even though I bring their own toys, they're not as exciting as handling the pretty, expensive knick knacks everywhere.

So I don't feel even slightly bad about not helping clean up after meals there. I can't chase kids and help in the kitchen. Also, PIL like to leap out of their chairs and start cleaning practically while still chewing their last bite of food. We're eiher trying to finish eating ourselves or get the kids finished and cleaned up. I literally can't beat them to the kitchen. 

Plus, ILs are very particular about how exactly things should be done. I once put a stand mixer away after having used it and MIL got it back out, very pointedly wiped it over more thoroughly than I had done and put it way again.

So I guess it could look to an outsider like I was being lazy and not even attempting to help, but it's just easier for everyone, probably, if I don't try. And I don't feel bad about it.


Arila

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2013, 06:34:32 PM »
I think there are some significant details here which affect my answer:

Cate isn't just a DIL who is a guest at the party, they all live at the same address, so she is a  co-hostess. Especially since the guests aren't all family, but include OP and OP's DH, who are friends of CATE's husband. So, although OP & OPsDH may have forged a relationship with Dina over time, the primary relationship of at least some of the guests is between the younger generation.

For this reason, I think that Cate and Jay should be contributing to the hosting duties of the party, unless Dina's planning and setting guest lists without regard to Cate and Jay's desire to have (the responsibility of throwing) a party, and they are kind of dragged into the whole thing.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #42 on: September 04, 2013, 10:30:42 PM »
Ther thing with my ILs is that they have a very nice house: wood floors, expensive rugs, white funiture, knick knacks every where that they refuse to put up. I have two small children who are fairly difficult for different reasons, and it's all I can do to follow them around and make sure they don't destroy the house, because there's very little for them to do there. Even though I bring their own toys, they're not as exciting as handling the pretty, expensive knick knacks everywhere.

So I don't feel even slightly bad about not helping clean up after meals there. I can't chase kids and help in the kitchen. Also, PIL like to leap out of their chairs and start cleaning practically while still chewing their last bite of food. We're eiher trying to finish eating ourselves or get the kids finished and cleaned up. I literally can't beat them to the kitchen. 

Plus, ILs are very particular about how exactly things should be done. I once put a stand mixer away after having used it and MIL got it back out, very pointedly wiped it over more thoroughly than I had done and put it way again.

So I guess it could look to an outsider like I was being lazy and not even attempting to help, but it's just easier for everyone, probably, if I don't try. And I don't feel bad about it.
Not the same. You aren't sitting around waiting to be served. Your parenting the youngest family members.

Allyson

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2013, 10:38:00 PM »
I notice that these things often unfortunately get gendered--people don't like the idea of a daughter in law not helping the MIL, but might not think the same about a son in law not helping. And, the expectations of help from men are often much lower, too--ie a guy can get away with just clearing glasses but the women will be doing all the 'harder' cleanup.

Personally I hate being in a crowded kitchen, I have no dexterity or depth perception so end up being a walking disaster more often than not. I realize it sounds like an excuse, but it does make me hesitant. Especially because I never know if I should accept a 'no, I'm fine.'

CakeEater

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #44 on: September 05, 2013, 06:19:36 AM »
Ther thing with my ILs is that they have a very nice house: wood floors, expensive rugs, white funiture, knick knacks every where that they refuse to put up. I have two small children who are fairly difficult for different reasons, and it's all I can do to follow them around and make sure they don't destroy the house, because there's very little for them to do there. Even though I bring their own toys, they're not as exciting as handling the pretty, expensive knick knacks everywhere.

So I don't feel even slightly bad about not helping clean up after meals there. I can't chase kids and help in the kitchen. Also, PIL like to leap out of their chairs and start cleaning practically while still chewing their last bite of food. We're eiher trying to finish eating ourselves or get the kids finished and cleaned up. I literally can't beat them to the kitchen. 

Plus, ILs are very particular about how exactly things should be done. I once put a stand mixer away after having used it and MIL got it back out, very pointedly wiped it over more thoroughly than I had done and put it way again.

So I guess it could look to an outsider like I was being lazy and not even attempting to help, but it's just easier for everyone, probably, if I don't try. And I don't feel bad about it.
Not the same. You aren't sitting around waiting to be served. Your parenting the youngest family members.

I get that, too.

But I don't believe that every person who lives at an address and every guest, especially every female guest, needs to leap out of their chair and dive into the washing up. Cate might well hate these gatherings, and protest about having them in her house. Perhaps she has very little choice about whether or not these gatherings are held and would really rather be doing something else with her evening. Not helping out at an event she had no desire to hostis fine, in my opinion.