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Perhaps you’ve picked up on the fact that it’s generally unpopular to have more than 2 or 3 children.  Maybe you’ve noticed that one handful is considered a little crazy but once you start working on that second handful (or beyond) you’re most likely thought insane.

I’ve noticed it, too.

I’ve heard all the jokes.  I’ve endured the stares.  I’ve filed away the advice.  I’ve tuned out the lectures.

Dinner with house guests

But then I started to think.  Do we give people a reason to think twice before inviting us to their home? Probably we have.  But there are some things we do in order to avoid giving them reason to fear us.  Here are a few:

  • Bring something.  If you are invited for a meal, ask what you can bring.  Most of the time, you’ll be given an idea for a small something that will tie nicely in with the meal plan.  It’s fine to bring something extra but do try to bring the suggested item.  Bringing flowers never hurt either.  Or chocolate.
  • Bring enough.  If you are asked to provide the drinks and there will be 12 people present, don’t bring one bottle of juicy-juice.  Select something everyone is likely to enjoy and bring plenty.  If you are joining in a potluck, a good rule of thumb is to bring enough for your family, plus 4.  Another good rule of thumb is to warn your family against piling their plates until they resemble pig troughs.  Just a suggestion.
  • Don’t show up looking like the People of Walmart.  We all have our casual comfies we tend to wear around the house.  But in most cases, those just aren’t going to fit the bill for visiting.  Pull out the good stuff.  If you’re like me and don’t have much of the good stuff, wear your best appropriate for the situation clothing and throw on your very best smile.  It’s called accessorizing and it’s free.
  • Don’t act like you live there.  Be comfortable and at ease but don’t take the place over.  Don’t raid the fridge or dig through the cupboards.  Don’t let your kids wander around, breaking into bedrooms and tearing out toys.  You don’t live there.  Neither do your kids.  Wait to be invited to partake of food or play.  And for the sake of all that’s good, do not go into the bathroom and lock the door for an hour in order to hide from your kids.  Wait until your home to do that.
  • Clean up after yourselves.  If you sleep in a bed, make it.  If you have a glass of water, don’t leave it lying around.  If your kids play with toys, be sure they clean them up.  And not by shoving them under the couch.  Obviously, but seriously.  I won’t tell you why I felt the need to add that part.
  • Help with the meals.  You are extra people creating extra work.  A hostess assumes the responsibility of seeing to the needs of her guests.  A guest should assume the responsibility of making sure that doesn’t become a burden on the hostess.
  • Maintain a measure of quiet.  No hostess wants her guests stressed over every peep little Johnny makes.  But neither does she want her guests to allow little Johnny to shriek, scream and wail with abandon for hours on end.  Use good judgement and step in when necessary.
  • Don’t overstay your welcome.  As much as our families and friends love us, they also love the routine of their days. Plan ahead of time how long your visit will be, ensure it’s suitable for your hosts and then stick to it.  If you ever hope for a follow-up invite, do not pass over this important rule.
  • Be gracious.  Period.

We need to ban together and create a new perception of family, big or small.  And we need to be sure we aren’t feeding the negative vibe being thrown off by those not sold on the idea that it’s okay to have a handful.  Or two.

What am I missing?  Add your thoughts in the comments.