My husband’s parents have now arrived and we’re about halfway through their visit. Although things were a bit uncertain at first, they seem now to understand the adjustments that need to be made to their regular routine. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy for them, but they’re taking it all in stride, and asking questions as opposed to making assumptions or denying the need for accommodation.
I think the greatest single thing that helped was explaining up front the things we have changed about our lifestyles (work clothes stay away from soft furnishings and home clothes, new toiletries), and providing them some laundry detergent and other toiletry products so they could accustom themselves to the differences. After they arrived, in response to questions, I also shared the lists of chemicals and products to which I’m allergic and showed pictures of some of my reactions.
There are definitely some differences from previous visits, other than just showering and changing clothes after going out. They now brush teeth and change contact lenses in the laundry room to avoid spreading toothpaste or contact lens solution (since there are no easy-to-obtain ingredient lists for the latter). They are a bit more cautious about my food intolerances as well, which isn’t bad. I was happy to have my daughter’s mostly-normal shampoo and conditioner for my husband’s mom to use, so things don’t seem quite so abnormal.
I’ve had to use my medicated creams a couple of times this week, mostly in response to their arrival and to our going on a car trip to another city. Luckily I have caught things early and physically moved past them well. The only thing that has really been bothering me is some of my lymph nodes, which I’m sure will clear up, they just need a bit more time. If I had to give this week so far a rating on the reaction scale, I would give it a 3 or 4 out of 10. Really not that substantial, thanks to their willingness to work with my needs.
I’ll update again at the end of their visit, but for now, it’s a tentative success.
When having house guests who are not family (or not willing to accommodate), the situation becomes a bit trickier. Having our guest bedroom on a different floor than the main living space and our bedrooms helps, as does providing hard (wipeable) surfaces on which to sit.
During very short visits, we haven’t had too much trouble with bathroom sharing, though it would be nice if we had a separate bathroom for guests to use. If the visit was longer and sharing a bathroom was necessary, I would probably ask them to keep toiletries in separate locations and ask them to use as many of our own products as they could, including towels. I would probably even offer to wash their clothes. Is this reasonable? I hope so, but we’ve not yet been in that situation.
What solutions have you found for having long-term house guests? Comment below.