29 Jun
The Early Bird Gets the Pissed Off Daughter-In-Law

Today we’re super excited to welcome the very funny and creative Ilana from MommyShorts as our Guest Mouthy! You may recall that Ilana just snagged the (high coveted and majorly prestigious) Mouthy Housewives Seal of Approval and now she’s here to answer a question for us. Whooo! Thanks, Ilana!


Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Throughout the 18 years that I have been with my husband, I have established a disturbing pattern with my in-laws. I have let them guilt me into hosting every single family occasion- birthdays, holidays, showers, all of it! Even worse, they show up early EVERY time! If it was just my MIL that showed up early (she showed up 1.5 hours early for the last celebration), I could pin her down and let her know. But sometimes it’s my lovely sister in law and sometimes it’s my loud FIL, with his equally loud girlfriend. My husband has sympathy for me but he doesn’t say anything to them. What do I do? I’m sick of one of them showing up when I’m still preparing food, or sweeping the floor, or possibly getting out of the shower!

In-Law Issues

Dear In-Law Issues,

There is no excuse for company arriving early. You’ve already agreed to allow them into your home, feed them and put on your hostess face. The least your in-laws can do is not take up more of your time than necessary.

Since the problem persists with more than one family member, the best solution is to address them all at once. The most effective way to do this is to hang a sign on your front door.

For example:

“My invitation was for 6pm. Feel free to wait in your car.”

If your husband insists you entertain his family from the second they arrive, I suggest the following sign alternative:

“My invitation was for 6pm. I have left a game of Trivial Pursuit in the driveway to occupy you until that time.”

If your goal is to get other family members to take over hosting duties, take advantage of the fact that the in-laws are on your home turf. You are in the perfect position to ruin special occasions for them altogether.

For instance, for the next holiday dinner, send your dining room table out for refinishing and then make everyone eat on the floor.

If it’s a child’s birthday party you’re hosting, pick that time to announce your conversion to veganism. “Where’s the cake, auntie?” “Sorry, no can do. But here’s a plate of raw agave macaroons!”

For a baby shower, plan a game where everyone must tell their birthing horror stories. Serve placenta mocktails and invite the mom-to-be’s obstetrician to show instructional videos as entertainment.

The trick is to continue to act eager to host. I guarantee they’ll find another plan by Christmas.

Happy hosting!

Ilana, Guest TMH

34 Responses to “The Early Bird Gets the Pissed Off Daughter-In-Law”


Comment by Alison@Mama Wants This.

Placenta mocktails!!!!!! OMG I near spit up my coffee!

Great advice Ilana!


Comment by vodka tonic.

You need to institute “In-Law Standard Time.” They are now placed two hours behind every invitation. Party at 6? Tell them it starts at 8. They’ll arrive at 6:30, right after you’ve greeted everyone else and downed a few of those delicious placenta mocktails.

Placenta Mocktail? I’m imagining a blood orange martini, with a hunk of liver floating in it. Maybe some Goldschläger for pizzazz.

Kimberly Reply:

This is what I do. Problem solved.

rojopaul Reply:

This was exactly my thought. It works for the reverse too, which is what we do with my SIL who is perpetually LATE. We tell her 30-45 minutes earlier than everyone else so when she shows up (for what she thinks is an hour late), it’s only 15-20 minutes after the real time, which is less ridiculous than being an hour late and having everyone waiting on her to do whatever we were going to do.

Meredith L. Reply:

The only problem with that is they may catch on, and soon you’re playing with time paradoxes and such. Tell them 8pm, they show up at 6:30. Then they figure out your little ruse. So they show up at 5. So next time you tell them 10pm. They show up at 4. Then you say 2am the following day. They show up YESTERDAY.

Just be careful, is all.

Desperate Dietwives Reply:



Comment by tracy.

Oh crap, are we suppose to invite out in-laws to our kid’s celebrations and holiday dinners?


Comment by JK.

When my in-laws show up early for an event, I put them to work. And they actually do it! Plan your to-do list in writing, then go ahead and enjoy your shower.

GrandeMocha Reply:

I put anybody who shows up early to work.

BrassyDel Reply:

This is exactly what I do, too! If you are early, you are working. Guests will either learn not to show up early, or they will help prepare the party. Either way, you win!

Plano Mom Reply:

Isn’t that what family is for? And for the SIL that shows up late, she gets to help clean up as well.


Comment by From Belgium.

Here is the correct reaction : ‘OMG it is soooo kind of you to come a bit early to help me out here! Here, is the vacuum/500 Brussels sprouts which need peeling/cat that needs deworming/etc, etc. Just do that while I get dressed would you’. Be sure to say it really enthousiastic and hyper.


Comment by hokgardner.

I absolutely agree with the suggestions to put any early arrivers to work – preferably scrubbing toilets or taking out the trash.

And my in-laws are notorious for arriving at family events hours late and then being upset when we didn’t wait for them to get started. (my brother-in-law was late for his own rehearsal dinner by an hour) So now we bump up the arrival time. Party’s at 6? We tell them 4:30. Worked like a charm.


Comment by annie.

I’m absolutely 100% in the put ’em to work camp! Give them an enthusiastic “I’m so glad you’re here! I have so much for you to do.” Then hand them a list. A big one!


Comment by Alexandra.

I’m with the rest.

I hand them a dust rag or a vacuum, and they don’t show up early again.

I Love seeing Mommyshorts here.

She is awesome.


Comment by Marisa.

I’m so glad I’ve shown my in-laws enough of my irresponsibility and undependability that after 20 years, I’ve never been asked to host any occasion. I bake for the occasions, but that’s about it. Plus having a couple of really big dogs doesn’t hurt the cause either.

Seriously though, I would just start saying “No”. I mean what’s the worst that will happen? They’ll stop asking??

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

This is the best advice I have read so far: START SAYING NO: what’s this “guilt me into hosting” crap???


Comment by RachelJoy.

All great ideas! You could also just host every party at Chuck E Cheese..then you don’t have to worry about cooking or clean up!

Karin Reply:

Love it! Christmas Dinner at CEC!

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

…And who’s going to pay at Chuck E Cheese? Suppose they guilt her into paying for them all…

RachelJoy Reply:

what kind of in laws are these?!? Tell your husband to grow some balls and start sticking up for his woman!


Comment by Sherri.

Placenta Mocktails…I may have just spit some coffee out!

So funny as always!!


Comment by Megan.

I usually stay in my room and finish getting ready and let my husband handle his always-early family.

But I do like the putting-them-to-work idea.


Comment by Tonya.

My favorite is the sign with the Trivial Pursuit game in the driveway! Awesome!!!! The placenta mocktails are good too!!


Comment by Kristine.

This was hilarious, Ilana!

I also thought the “here’s a cat that needs deworming” comment was worthy of a gold star.


Comment by Karin.

my husband is responsible for all the invites, prep and entertainment of his family. I helped him the first few times after I was done with catering to them by making a list for him (seriously- planning, cleaning, shopping, cooking, running the show, watching the kids – I become just another guest). He started realizing that it’s a lot of work to be a host and it’s really frustrating when you have to guess the time they’ll arrive – you can’t plan to have dinner ready and warm when they show up late and you can’t entertain while cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming the floors when they show up early.


Comment by Ilana.

I love that everyone chimed in with actual helpful advice. Giving the in-laws a later time sounds like it has the potential to backfire but putting them to work sounds awesome.

You could have brooms and mops in an umbrella stand by the door!

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

Yes, I also like the brooms and mops in the umbrella stand, accompanied by a sign: early arrivals, your help is welcome! They are sure to wait in their cars the first time, then show up at the right time all other times.

Or she might start guilting THEM to start hosting something, after 20 years…


Comment by Kristin @ What She Said.

As soon as I saw that you were giving advice on how to handle early in-law arrivals, I knew this was a must-read. My in-laws constantly show up 1-2 hours early to out house for every blessed event I host. As if they don’t already get under my skin enough. Our solution was to simply lie – if the party started at 1pm, we told them to show up at 3. But I like your sign-on-the-door idea so much better.


Comment by Missy | The Literal Mom.

Wonderfully, deliciously funny. Love the different signs on the door!


Comment by Emily.

I’d just tell them a 6pm party was at 7 and plan to start when they get there 🙂


Comment by Carole Sanek.

Here is how we handled it, we moved. Out of state…….


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