Help! My In-Laws are Coming! Top Ten Tips to Help You Prepare

Summer can be the perfect time to enjoy more family time … or it is a time when relatives come visit from out of town! What if you find out your in-laws are coming to stay — in YOUR house — for roughly 8 WEEKS?! Do you panic? No. Ok, maybe you panic a little; but then, you do THIS! Check out my Top Ten Tips to prepare for a visit from the in-laws.

Help My In-Laws Are Coming. Top Ten Tips to Help You Prepare. A photograph of a vase of flowers and a teacup.

My in-laws from Puerto Rico are staying with us for a few weeks this summer. By “a few weeks” I mean pretty much the whole summer all the way up until school starts. The good news is that they’re pretty awesome, they’re spoiling the kids, my mother in-law is cooking {YAY!}, and they’re offering to pay for a bunch of stuff, including helping out with utilities and groceries. {Who are these people, right?! I’m definitely feeling #blessed!}

That doesn’t mean my home turned into Blisstown :: the newest bed and breakfast in Kingwood {although that would be kind of cool!} My husband and I had PLENTY OF CONVERSATIONS about the in-laws coming to town. Some of the conversations left us frustrated. Other times we were just talking about it in the car, adding notes to an ever-growing to-do list {clean downstairs, clean upstairs, re-organize the garage, remodel the patio, etc.} You know, all the regular stuff you do when the in-laws are coming.

Thankfully, with a little help from one of my favorite organization sites, The Flylady!, I had a plan to get things “as good as possible” by the time they arrived.

To help you out the next time you get a visit from your in-laws {or other relatives}, here are my top ten tips to help you prepare, stress less and feel like a mom rockstar when you welcome them into your home!

Top 10 tips to help you prepare for a visit from the in-laws ::

1) Talk to your spouse and kids

When my husband told me the in-laws were coming, we went into planning {not panic} mode. We told the kids that the “abuelos from Puerto Rico” would be coming this summer and they got SUPER excited! A visit from the grandparents usually means more fun, more toys and more pancakes with happy faces for breakfast!

A plate of pancakes with facial features created from fruit.

I also tried to be as honest {and not “attacky”} as possible, sharing openly with my hubby about some issues I’d had the last times the in-laws had visited. I shared some things that had hurt me because they had not consulted me before changing things around the house. My hubby is an only child, so he and his parents can become BFFs and it’s not hard to feel excluded sometimes. Of course, the kids are part of the BFF circle, but it’s harder for me to feel the same. It’s not a huge deal, to be honest, but I felt like it bugged me enough that I wanted to get it out and not let little issues harden into bitterness.

Our conversations sometimes got a little heated, because family issues can be sensitive. But for my hubby and me, our priority is very clear. We are each other’s first and one and only. The in-laws on both sides are secondary to our marriage and our relationship. That’s not an absolute and sometimes it gets messy to walk that out, but because we are clear on that starting point, it helps a TON.

2) Chat with your parents if they live nearby {especially if there’s any rivalry}

My parents, who lived in Puerto Rico their whole lives up until about five years ago, moved to Dallas. Just last year they decided that was still too far from their adored nietos {grandkids} and they moved to Houston. Unfortunately, they got here in time to lose everything during Harvey flooding. Thank God, they’re doing AMAZING now. Our church, family and friends went above and beyond to help both of our families after Harvey. So we have one set of parents nearby.

Back to the in-laws, my parents are kind of “spoiled” having the nietos all to themselves. I figured it would help to let them know that the other grandparents were coming to visit, just so they’d have a heads up. Also, in traditional latina mom style, wanted to know ALL the details when she found out my husband’s parents were coming. If you’ve ever watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” it’s kind of like that, but puertorrican instead of greek!

A group of a husband, a wife, two children and two grandparents smiling at the camera.

All that to say, sharing the plans with both sets of abuelos ahead of time helps avoid conflicts, confusion and general anxiety about getting caught between two grandma bears who, understandably, want to spend as much time as possible with those adorable nieto cubs!

3) Check the calendar

This is pretty self-explanatory, but if your family is anything like mine, GIRL! We gotta check those calendars. We’re busy, even in the summer, with my hubby and I both working full time, plus our kids doing gymnastics and basketball, among other things. Do like me and finally buckle down and get some cute washi tape at Michael’s {I’d been wanting some forever!} Put the dates on a planner or wall calendar and on your digital calendar, of course. Mark down everything :: sports, work, the gym {which I’ve been trying to get back to since school got out}, and especially the date the in-laws get here! That’s the due date for the following tips!

Remember to also mark some fun stuff on the calendar. My in-laws have been dying to go back to Magnolia, so that one has to go on the calendar. And Houston is SO FREAKING AWESOME for family fun! I’m addicted to Houston on the Cheap for fun {free and cheap} ideas, like movies at the park, free shows at Miller Outdoor Theatre, Christmas in July fun and more! There’s so much to do, I hope we don’t run out of summer before we get to it all! Oh, and HMB has a July events list, too!

A grandmother, grandfather and child standing in front of Magnolia.

4) Plan ahead

I mentioned The Flylady earlier in this post because she is LIFE CHANGING. Unless you’re like my sister and somehow got all the Martha Stewart and Joanna Gaines genes, I’m not super organized and I “crisis clean” when someone comes over. When there’s someone coming over, it’s important to plan ahead because there’s really more to do than we have time. Like me, you may have piles of stuff to sort and put away. Not like me, you may not have realized it’s July and there are two backpacks in a corner that we have ignored for the month or so that school has been out. Don’t judge me.

Planning ahead with those Flylady tips has helped me not lose it when I realize all that needs to get done before the in-laws come. She preaches the “make it fun and it will get done” gospel. She also encourages those of us who are perfectionists to set a timer and just tackle tasks like the kitchen counter clutter, or the clean laundry pile. Instead of staring at it, discouraged, you set the timer for 15 minutes and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve either beat the clock {YEAH, BABY!} or I’ve been motivated to keep going and finish a few extra things in that time!

My hubby and I made a list {ok, I made a list and told him everything we needed to do before his parents came!} Then, we tried hard to be realistic, prioritize what REALLY needed to be done {like getting the office/guest room ready}, and did our best to maintain the house as clean as possible.

5) Take time off work

Depending on how much time you’ll have when your in-laws come to visit, a little staycation may be in order. You want to be able to spend quality time, so if you’re able to take time off work, do it! We’re still trying to figure that out because my hubby and I both have somewhat crazy schedules in the summer, but we’re trying. Especially for that Magnolia trip!

The front of Magnolia.

6) Clean the house

This goes along with tip #4, but I’m including it here, just in case. Some of you may be able to skip this step because your house is pretty much company ready right now! But if your mother in law is anything like mine, you know you want to clean a bit more than usual. If you have time to prepare before the in-laws visit, you’ll probably have time to spread out the chores and get the house in Mary Poppins tip top shape, little by little. If all else fails, just remember that you are AMAZING, you’re doing your best and if you, your hubby and your kids are healthy and happy, your house can be a work in progress and it’s totally OK!

7) Prepare their room

My in-laws have stayed on an inflatable air mattress in our living room when we lived in an apartment. This was actually not that long ago, in 2016 when my hubby needed brain surgery. Thank God, he’s in perfect health now! And last year we moved to a house, so we have an office that can work as a guest room. We figured out where we could put a sleeper sofa and how to make the room as comfy and cozy as possible for them. And I have to say, the in-laws went above and beyond, offering to pay for the sofa! I think I can keep them.

8) Stock up on extras {toiletries, bedding, towels, etc…}

You may already have extras for guests, but just in case, it’s a good idea to stock up on things you’d want to have if you’re staying over at someone’s house. You may also want to check to make sure the bedding looks okay and the towels don’t look crazy faded. If you know what your in-laws like, having some of those favorites on hand can help to make them feel loved and appreciated!

9) Meal plan & stock up on groceries

This doesn’t have to be a fancy meal plan! Keep it simple. You’re probably an expert on groceries for your family, but if you’re adding one or two more people {or if you have more relatives coming over}, sit down and plan a few meals that are easy to put together, and make sure you have enough for the extra people. This is a good time to ask if your mother or father-in-law are doing a Whole 30, if they’re Paleo or Keto or whatever. Having diet-friendly snacks will probably be a huge way to show appreciation!

10) Make a Welcome Basket!

A welcome basket containing a candle, two mugs, two bottles of water and a sign reading welcome to our home.

This is if you want to be extra. But it’s not too hard to put a little basket together to make the in-laws feel extra welcome! This can be sweet if you get the kids involved, picking out little things for their grandparents! We kept our welcome basket super simple :: a couple of mugs {they love coffee}, some toiletries, water bottles, mints, a little decorative item, a candle, and we put it all together in a simple “organizer caddy” instead of a basket. That way, it gave them a practical place to hold their things.

I hope these tips help you prepare the next time you have in-laws or other relatives coming to stay with you. Having these tips really helped me stress a bit less, keep our house cleaner than usual {bonus!} and it helped our family be as prepared as we could be to make this summer visit with the in-laws super fun!

Have you had houseguests for an extended period of time? Share any helpful tips in the comments!


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