Author Topic: Is it rude not to help the hostess?  (Read 7850 times)

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Queen of Clubs

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #45 on: September 05, 2013, 08:51:07 AM »
So one of Dina's daughters-in-law doesn't show up much, and the other one, Cara, shows up, but doesn't help?

My take would be that there are MIL/DIL issues in this family. Perhaps the DILs have been told not to help. Perhaps they have tried to help and been snubbed.

If none of the family members are complaining about the DILs' behavior, I would chalk this up to family dynamics. Every family works out its own solution to things.

I agree with this.  OP, you say Dina is a lovely person but maybe her daughters in law have a different opinion.  If Dina isn't saying anything about Cara's lack of help, then, really, it's nothing to do with you.  It's between Dina and Cara and Cara's DH.

As for the rest of it, I agree with PPs in that it depends on the host/hostess/the family themselves.  Some hosts/hostesses accept help, some don't.  No one's wrong.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #46 on: September 05, 2013, 09:45:09 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.

I'm not seeing why you are bringing up "female" guests. The OP states both Cates DH and the OP's DH both help out.  And even if she is there under protest, in my family it would still be seen as rude to not offer to do anything when everyone else is assisting. Even saying "can I fill the glasses with ice" before dinner starts is assisting in some way.

I know this is a pet peeve of mine because I dealt with it so long with a SIL. This was typical occurence.

Dinner at my house with our "in town" family. Could be father's day, mother's day, a family bday, a just because day. In town family is
Me, DH, our 2 kids
My Sis and her DH (Alice and Ted)
MIL, DH's sister(Nora), DH's brother (Phil) DH's brother's wife(Sue)

Alice and Ted usually call, ask what I'm serving and suggest bringing something that fits with the meal.
MIL calls and asks what I'm serving and can she bring a salad, a potatoe dish, or some type of fruit.
Nora calls to confirm time.
Phil & Sue just arrive with a contribution (Sue only cooks 3 things so it's one of the 3, Phil brings beer or wine)
DH, my kids, and I have most of the food prepared and ready to go, the kids have set the table and we are usually just waiting on everyone to arrive to finish up any last minute cooking that needs to be done... grilling the steaks, reheating MIL's potatoes, tossing the salad.
Guests arrive, DH and the kids or I offer drinks, MIL and Sue ask if they can do anything. I usually say no we are good but might say would you mind refilling the crackers on the cheese tray. Or I might ask one of them to check the asparagus in the oven. Or ask someone to take a tray out to DH who's grilling steaks. Or would you pour the dressing on the salad and toss.
Once it's close to serving time, Alice usually starts filling glasses with ice (she likes lots of ice and doesn't think anyone else puts enough in ), I start plating food to be taken the table or set out on the buffet and everyone seems to assist at some point even if it is just carring a salad bowl to the table. If food needs to be carved, someone will offer. All but Nora, she just goes and sits at the table.
While we eat, if wine or drinks run low, the kids, DH or Ted will usually offer to refill, never Nora.
After dinner is done, a couple of people will volunteer to clear the plates (usually one of my kids and Phil or Ted) while I, with the help of Alice, MIL, or Sue, start serving dessert.  Again, Nora sits at the table and never offers to assist.
Dessert is finished, different people start taking plates into the kitchen, usually DH as it's his sign he's tired of sitting at the dining table and Ted usually does too because it gives him a chance to go outside and smoke. Nora hands her plate to one of them and takes her drink glass to the family room to sit.
Sue usually helps me with putting food away or putting it into to go containers if anyone is taking some home, Alice, Phil and Ted rotate rinsing and loading dishes. (MIL will usually get something to wipe down the table because she is a fanatic about glass circles on my dining table and it drives her a little nuts that I don't use a tablecloth.) Since MIL was from the generation of "women did the housework" we try to keep her away from doing the dishes because as far as I'm concerned she's already done her fair share.
During this 10 minutes of post dinner activity, Nora is not doing anything. She may be standing at the kitchen bar chatting with us but she does nothing to help.

Now can you imagine that scenario playing out 10 to 12 times per year for 10 years? It was actually my BIL, Ted, who really got tired of it and started forcing her to participate. DH thought Nora's face was going to freeze the first time Ted said "Nora, I think it's your turn to rinse the dishes."

Sure, DH and I could tell everyone to just sit and we and the kids would do everything. But if that was the case, I wouldn't be hosting family get togethers at my house monthly in addiiton to hosting the larger family holidays. We'd get burned out feeling like we were running a restaurant serving them all the time. And most of the family recognizes that it's not fair to put all the work on us just because we have the largest house.

Zilla

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #47 on: September 05, 2013, 10:03:46 AM »
Probably was mentioned before but perhaps Cara doesn't like help in her own kitchen thus doesn't help Dina in hers.  Maybe when the mil comes over for dinner, mil "relaxes" while Cara cooks/hosts.

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #48 on: September 05, 2013, 10:07:19 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.

I'm not seeing why you are bringing up "female" guests. The OP states both Cates DH and the OP's DH both help out.  And even if she is there under protest, in my family it would still be seen as rude to not offer to do anything when everyone else is assisting. Even saying "can I fill the glasses with ice" before dinner starts is assisting in some way.

I know this is a pet peeve of mine because I dealt with it so long with a SIL. This was typical occurence.

Dinner at my house with our "in town" family. Could be father's day, mother's day, a family bday, a just because day. In town family is
Me, DH, our 2 kids
My Sis and her DH (Alice and Ted)
MIL, DH's sister(Nora), DH's brother (Phil) DH's brother's wife(Sue)

Alice and Ted usually call, ask what I'm serving and suggest bringing something that fits with the meal.
MIL calls and asks what I'm serving and can she bring a salad, a potatoe dish, or some type of fruit.
Nora calls to confirm time.
Phil & Sue just arrive with a contribution (Sue only cooks 3 things so it's one of the 3, Phil brings beer or wine)
DH, my kids, and I have most of the food prepared and ready to go, the kids have set the table and we are usually just waiting on everyone to arrive to finish up any last minute cooking that needs to be done... grilling the steaks, reheating MIL's potatoes, tossing the salad.
Guests arrive, DH and the kids or I offer drinks, MIL and Sue ask if they can do anything. I usually say no we are good but might say would you mind refilling the crackers on the cheese tray. Or I might ask one of them to check the asparagus in the oven. Or ask someone to take a tray out to DH who's grilling steaks. Or would you pour the dressing on the salad and toss.
Once it's close to serving time, Alice usually starts filling glasses with ice (she likes lots of ice and doesn't think anyone else puts enough in ), I start plating food to be taken the table or set out on the buffet and everyone seems to assist at some point even if it is just carring a salad bowl to the table. If food needs to be carved, someone will offer. All but Nora, she just goes and sits at the table.
While we eat, if wine or drinks run low, the kids, DH or Ted will usually offer to refill, never Nora.
After dinner is done, a couple of people will volunteer to clear the plates (usually one of my kids and Phil or Ted) while I, with the help of Alice, MIL, or Sue, start serving dessert.  Again, Nora sits at the table and never offers to assist.
Dessert is finished, different people start taking plates into the kitchen, usually DH as it's his sign he's tired of sitting at the dining table and Ted usually does too because it gives him a chance to go outside and smoke. Nora hands her plate to one of them and takes her drink glass to the family room to sit.
Sue usually helps me with putting food away or putting it into to go containers if anyone is taking some home, Alice, Phil and Ted rotate rinsing and loading dishes. (MIL will usually get something to wipe down the table because she is a fanatic about glass circles on my dining table and it drives her a little nuts that I don't use a tablecloth.) Since MIL was from the generation of "women did the housework" we try to keep her away from doing the dishes because as far as I'm concerned she's already done her fair share.
During this 10 minutes of post dinner activity, Nora is not doing anything. She may be standing at the kitchen bar chatting with us but she does nothing to help.

Now can you imagine that scenario playing out 10 to 12 times per year for 10 years? It was actually my BIL, Ted, who really got tired of it and started forcing her to participate. DH thought Nora's face was going to freeze the first time Ted said "Nora, I think it's your turn to rinse the dishes."

Sure, DH and I could tell everyone to just sit and we and the kids would do everything. But if that was the case, I wouldn't be hosting family get togethers at my house monthly in addiiton to hosting the larger family holidays. We'd get burned out feeling like we were running a restaurant serving them all the time. And most of the family recognizes that it's not fair to put all the work on us just because we have the largest house.


Yes.  This is a very good description of how parties are at Dina/Jay/Cate's house.  I have observed this for 8 years and it has always bothered me.  As I said before, I was raised to always at the very least offer to assist, especially if the host is a relative.  Jay and his family are more than just friends to DH and me.  They are like family. 

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #49 on: September 05, 2013, 10:11:33 AM »
Probably was mentioned before but perhaps Cara doesn't like help in her own kitchen thus doesn't help Dina in hers.  Maybe when the mil comes over for dinner, mil "relaxes" while Cara cooks/hosts.

Actually, Cate does not cook at all.  Dina does the all the main cooking for everyone in the three flat.  Cate eats downstairs by Dina every day.

Zilla

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #50 on: September 05, 2013, 10:24:56 AM »
Probably was mentioned before but perhaps Cara doesn't like help in her own kitchen thus doesn't help Dina in hers.  Maybe when the mil comes over for dinner, mil "relaxes" while Cara cooks/hosts.

Actually, Cate does not cook at all.  Dina does the all the main cooking for everyone in the three flat.  Cate eats downstairs by Dina every day.


Oh that makes perfect sense then!  First off, Cara doesn't like to be in the kitchen to cook, so why on earth would she be helping?  And second, it's been several years of this pattern, this is what they are used to.  I don't think it's rude but it would be nice for Cate to help with the cleaning up at least. 

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #51 on: September 05, 2013, 10:25:38 AM »
I feel like I should add that even though it seems like I dislike Cate,  we are in fact friends also. We socialize, girls night out type of thing.  I have to be honest, this is the one thing about her that bothers me. 

wolfie

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #52 on: September 05, 2013, 10:27:49 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.

I'm not seeing why you are bringing up "female" guests. The OP states both Cates DH and the OP's DH both help out.  And even if she is there under protest, in my family it would still be seen as rude to not offer to do anything when everyone else is assisting. Even saying "can I fill the glasses with ice" before dinner starts is assisting in some way.

I know this is a pet peeve of mine because I dealt with it so long with a SIL. This was typical occurence.

Dinner at my house with our "in town" family. Could be father's day, mother's day, a family bday, a just because day. In town family is
Me, DH, our 2 kids
My Sis and her DH (Alice and Ted)
MIL, DH's sister(Nora), DH's brother (Phil) DH's brother's wife(Sue)

Alice and Ted usually call, ask what I'm serving and suggest bringing something that fits with the meal.
MIL calls and asks what I'm serving and can she bring a salad, a potatoe dish, or some type of fruit.
Nora calls to confirm time.
Phil & Sue just arrive with a contribution (Sue only cooks 3 things so it's one of the 3, Phil brings beer or wine)
DH, my kids, and I have most of the food prepared and ready to go, the kids have set the table and we are usually just waiting on everyone to arrive to finish up any last minute cooking that needs to be done... grilling the steaks, reheating MIL's potatoes, tossing the salad.
Guests arrive, DH and the kids or I offer drinks, MIL and Sue ask if they can do anything. I usually say no we are good but might say would you mind refilling the crackers on the cheese tray. Or I might ask one of them to check the asparagus in the oven. Or ask someone to take a tray out to DH who's grilling steaks. Or would you pour the dressing on the salad and toss.
Once it's close to serving time, Alice usually starts filling glasses with ice (she likes lots of ice and doesn't think anyone else puts enough in ), I start plating food to be taken the table or set out on the buffet and everyone seems to assist at some point even if it is just carring a salad bowl to the table. If food needs to be carved, someone will offer. All but Nora, she just goes and sits at the table.
While we eat, if wine or drinks run low, the kids, DH or Ted will usually offer to refill, never Nora.
After dinner is done, a couple of people will volunteer to clear the plates (usually one of my kids and Phil or Ted) while I, with the help of Alice, MIL, or Sue, start serving dessert.  Again, Nora sits at the table and never offers to assist.
Dessert is finished, different people start taking plates into the kitchen, usually DH as it's his sign he's tired of sitting at the dining table and Ted usually does too because it gives him a chance to go outside and smoke. Nora hands her plate to one of them and takes her drink glass to the family room to sit.
Sue usually helps me with putting food away or putting it into to go containers if anyone is taking some home, Alice, Phil and Ted rotate rinsing and loading dishes. (MIL will usually get something to wipe down the table because she is a fanatic about glass circles on my dining table and it drives her a little nuts that I don't use a tablecloth.) Since MIL was from the generation of "women did the housework" we try to keep her away from doing the dishes because as far as I'm concerned she's already done her fair share.
During this 10 minutes of post dinner activity, Nora is not doing anything. She may be standing at the kitchen bar chatting with us but she does nothing to help.

Now can you imagine that scenario playing out 10 to 12 times per year for 10 years? It was actually my BIL, Ted, who really got tired of it and started forcing her to participate. DH thought Nora's face was going to freeze the first time Ted said "Nora, I think it's your turn to rinse the dishes."

Sure, DH and I could tell everyone to just sit and we and the kids would do everything. But if that was the case, I wouldn't be hosting family get togethers at my house monthly in addiiton to hosting the larger family holidays. We'd get burned out feeling like we were running a restaurant serving them all the time. And most of the family recognizes that it's not fair to put all the work on us just because we have the largest house.

Wow... If I had been Nora I would have been livid that Ted - someone who isn't related to me and doesn't even live in the house - would do that to me. Could be that Nora doesn't want to go but her husband does and he promised she wouldn't have to lift a finger and he would do her chores if she did. I think if you were bothered you should have spoken up about it and not let a guest berate another guest. Are things more awkward now? If I were Nora I doubt I would be coming over as much.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #53 on: September 05, 2013, 10:43:21 AM »
^^
To clarify, I'm not the OP, I was giving a summary of my experience with my SIL and why Cora's behavior was so irritating to me personally.

Nora views Ted as another brother, or at least a BIL. She's known him since she was 15 and would be the first
one to be hurt if anyone said that Ted and Alice weren't members of her family. And Nora isn't married and isn't coerced in anyway to attend these family meals. She's actually quite often emails and asks us what we are planning for X date.

I'm not clear how stating "Nora, I think it's your turn to rinse the dishes" is berating someone. 


cicero

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #54 on: September 05, 2013, 09:02:06 PM »
These responses are interesting.  I've had it drilled into me that when your mother, mother in law, or sister in law, basically any close relative is hosting a party, that the female relatives always help the hostess.  Always.  That is just the way it is done.

Is it really true that you are not rude if you don't hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess?  I feel horribly guilty if I don't offer assistance.  Not being snarky, that's a genuine question.  :)
But you can understand that Cate may have had a completely opposite upbringing. Neither are an absolute right or wrong. Maybe in her world it is enough that *one * part of the couple should help while the other should stay at the table ( I've been to dinner parties where there were more guests/hosts in the kitchen than at the table which isn't' very comfortable either)

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blarg314

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #55 on: September 05, 2013, 09:04:42 PM »
For immediate family or very, very close friends, I would normally pitch in and help at a family dinner.  As a guest of someone I knew well, I would offer to help, but would only pitch in if my offer was accepted - I'm not going to spontaneously start helping.  As a guest of someone I didn't know well, I may or may not offer to help depending on circumstances - If I don't know them well, I'm not necessarily comfortable diving into load the dishwasher or chop vegetables. The larger or more formal the event in the last two cases, the less likely I am to offer to help, because of the logistics. And I won't help if the hostess doesn't want my help.

However - I can see lots of reasons where those general rules would break down.

I don't generally offer to help control freaks and micromanagers, or people who get angry if I don't do things exactly the way they want. I'm not going to offer to help if the kitchen is such a mess that I feel claustrophobic going into it. I'm definitely not going to offer to help with expensive, delicate china - I'm a bit of a clutz, and that's part of the reason I don't own expensive dinnerware myself. If I'm already doing something useful, like keeping a difficult guest occupied, or watching kids, then I'm already helping. And if the kitchen is already packed with so many people that they are tripping over each other, I'll stay out of the way that time.

As an aside - I do reserve the right to stop jumping into help when it becomes obvious that girl = help in the kitchen, boy = relax in the living room with a beer. I'm quite happy to count myself as one of they guys in that case.

I have encountered the in-law who just sits there and does nothing for no apparent reason when the dynamic is one where you dive in and help - it's a family meal, they are a regular guest, the host would welcome the help, and the other members of the family (including those not related by blood) are helping, but they're sitting watching everyone work. And it definitely doesn't buy brownie points with the extended family. I have some relatives like that, and it's a habit - it doesn't occur to them that watching everyone else work while they relax is a problem, and they will even go and get themselves a snack and a drink to enjoy while watching.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #56 on: September 05, 2013, 09:07:03 PM »
These responses are interesting.  I've had it drilled into me that when your mother, mother in law, or sister in law, basically any close relative is hosting a party, that the female relatives always help the hostess.  Always.  That is just the way it is done.

Is it really true that you are not rude if you don't hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess?  I feel horribly guilty if I don't offer assistance.  Not being snarky, that's a genuine question.  :)
But you can understand that Cate may have had a completely opposite upbringing. Neither are an absolute right or wrong. Maybe in her world it is enough that *one * part of the couple should help while the other should stay at the table ( I've been to dinner parties where there were more guests/hosts in the kitchen than at the table which isn't' very comfortable either)
But what is being described isn't a dinner party. It's a family dinner. A mom, two grown sons, a DiL, a guy who is like her son and the guys wife. And the ONLY person who never does anything in 8 years is the DIL.

To me this isn't about helping then hostess it's "doing your fair share" at family dinners.

lowspark

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #57 on: September 09, 2013, 09:59:31 AM »
I agree that this is a "family dinner" dynamic and completely different than a "dinner party".

This situation (and the one in Hmmmmm's story) is such that every time this family gets together, it's at the same house with the same group of people. So in that case, it seems that everyone should sort of figure out what their "job" is, and over time a routine would fall into place. I see that as no different than a family who lives together and eats together regularly. Maybe the kids set the table, Mom cooks, Dad does dishes, everyone helps clear, for example.

And with a larger group, there's more to be done, so everyone pitches in their part.

A dinner party is a totally different thing and that's the point of view I was coming from originally. I host them and attend them. When I'm hosting, I do everything (or very nearly everything). And by "I", I mean DH & I. When I'm a guest, honestly, I don't want to do anything. I want to sit back and be a guest.

But yeah. If one member of the family is holding the regular family dinner at their house, then it's not so much a case of being hosts/guests. It's more of a case of a regular family dinner so unless the person "in charge" specifically says not to help, then everyone should have a job.

Now, in the case of the OP, I'd say it's up to Mom or Casey's DH or even one of the other relatives to say something to Casey. Just as in Hmmmmm's story. But the OP probably can't say anything directly to Casey. Although, if I were the OP, depending on my relationship with the other members of the family, I might be inclined to ask one of them (privately of course), "How come Casey never helps at family dinners?"

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #58 on: September 10, 2013, 11:55:24 AM »
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?

My mother used to complain to me that one of my aunts never helped out in the kitchen when she came to visit but I know aunt is not much of a cook.  She likes to bake, but mostly cookies, which she often did bring with her. I've also heard reports that she's a bit clumsy in the kitchen too, as uncle has joked that she's not allowed to cut things up after cutting herself while chopping veggies.
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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #59 on: September 10, 2013, 02:44:01 PM »
Come to think of it, some might questions it when at my ILs gatherings, my MIL, DH, SIL, and (female)cousin-in-law seem to be doing all the cooking and prep while I'm relaxing on the couch.  They all love cooking, while I don't care for it and am not good at it.  Why bother them with my poor chopping skills?

We are also all generally kicked out during clean up time as that is FIL's providence.  He is very particular about how things are cleaned and wants and needs no one else's interference.

So I generally kick back and relax during my visits there!  Frankly, if everyone is assuring you that you should relax and let them take care of things, then I think there's a degree of rudeness in not letting them.