I guess my anxiety is that my home has never been set up to accommodate guests. And one extra person is MY idea of a lot.
I understand exactly what you're saying, Toni B.
I had four extra people for company for a whole week two weeks ago. I dreaded it!!! We already have a small house, and this round of houseguests just about ruined me forever. My DH's aunt and uncle came over unexpectedly a few days before DH's parents were supposed to come and spend a week getting to know our new 2-mo. old. Getting everything ready for company with a newborn in tow is extra stressful for me. I found these were my issues:
1. Getting my house clean. My DH's aunt and uncle are notorious for calling the DAY BEFORE they come from out of state for a visit. With a teenager, two babies, and a dog, our little house is always cluttered with toys, spotted with dog hair, and covered with carpet stains. I learned that much of my stress over house guests is in the preparation for their arrival.
2. Grocery shopping. Neither DH nor I are working right now, so money is especially tight. Trying to plan meals and snacks for 8 people, two of whom are diabetic and need low-carb, two of whom are on blood-thinners and can't eat dark greens, and one who follows a strict diet by choice is kind of hard to do. I made meal plans the best I could, but that was an expensive undertaking for our budget.
3. Chasing after and entertaining my toddler when we were out of the house. After all my grocery shopping and meal planning, my guests all wanted to eat out! I know they were trying to be thoughtful of our money and didn't want to eat us out of house and home, but going out to eat with a newborn and an 18-mo. old is a nightmare for me! My 18 month old is very active, and can't sit still in a high chair for the amount of time it takes to read a menu, wait for the food, eat, then chat afterwards. No amount of toys will keep him still for that long. Generally speaking, when my family can afford to go to a restaurant these days, we are looking UP at a menu, not DOWN, LOL.
3. Entertaining the houseguests. I am nursing my baby, who is hungry every hour or two. Normally I'd nurse right in the living room, my family is used to it. But houseguests are a different matter. Every time I needed to feed the baby I had to excuse myself to a different room for about 20 minutes. When I'd return, they'd swamp me with requests. One morning, my FIL asked if I had PB and graham crackers because his blood sugar was low, my MIL wanted to know if I could empy the dryer lint trap for her, my DH wanted to know what I would make for breakfast, my DD was in tears because she had just found out that her new school schedule was wrong, and my toddler was just downright screaming, and no one was taking care of him. I lost my temper, to put it lightly. Everyone needed me all at once, and I couldn't handle it.
4. Making room for people to feel at home. My house is very small, so any extra houseguest requires us to rearrange things to make extra space. DH and I give up our room and stay in the babies' room. My in-laws literally TAKE OVER our room. They are really bad about leaving their medication and diabetic supplies out, so I am constantly needing to keep the door closed so my toddler doesn't get in there. They use the ironing board as a table, so now I can't iron any clothes. I just generally feel like my space has been invaded when they come. They also bring their yappy little ankle-biter dog, which is another rant. My 55-lb. dog is very well behaved, great with the kids, and knows the rules of the house. The in-laws' dog doesn't. She is a little 7 lb. terror. Up on the furniture, nipping at me when she doesn't get her way, begging and barking for table scraps, just downright mean. They let the dog run the house, IMHO.
5. Putting the house back together when they leave. As I said, the in-laws are bad about leaving their meds out. They are both insulin-dependent, and more than once I've found needles they've lost. I've learned to go over everything very meticulously to look for any dropped pills that my toddler could swallow. Their dog has always peed (or worse) on my carpet, so I need to clean that up too. I need to wash the guest towels and sheets. I need to move all my personal items from the babies' room back to my room. (I feel like I have to rearrange my house back to its original way.)
Wow, I didn't realize this was such an emotional topic for me. I love my family dearly, and I think my stress is about wanting to make everything perfect while they're here. Toni B, maybe you want to be a gracious host as well, and you get stressed over making everything just right?