If you have a son or daughter who moves into their own place please read this. First, remember, if your kid invites you over you are really lucky. Nine times out of ten children will insist on meeting you in public so you can’t see how they are living. And sometimes it’s better that way. Maybe you can’t handle the truth.
But if you decide to go in you need to follow some serious rules.
When you first walk in, no matter what kind of nightmare national disaster you encounter, you must not gasp, shake your head or say something like ”
“Oh Lord.” You must keep smiling and talking without staring at the hairy kid with the catfish tattoo who’s sleeping on the couch. And don’t touch him either. Do not comment on the forty three Taco Bell bags behind the couch.
Now, find a place to sit down, then stay there. And don’t act like finding a chair is a big deal, even if you have to dig past dirty clothes and beer cans. Be Cool. Act as though it’s not a big deal. And please, do not pull out a germ-X wet wipe.
Once you are seated, stay there. That will keep you from doing the one thing you must not do. Clean. You absolutely positively can not start cleaning. Don’t touch the nasty dishes, don’t put dirty clothes into the empty laundry basket, do not empty the revolting ash trays. Just sit down and hold still If you start cleaning , you will offend your kiddo and they won’t ask you back. For at least 18 months. Would you walk into a friends house and start cleaning? I hope not.
While you are there, try not to use the bathroom. Sometimes a bathroom is so foul you’ll forget all the rules and start cleaning or crying.
Do not comment on the smell in the apartment, unless you seriously smell something burning. It’s their home. If they like the smell of wet dog and bong water that’s fine. Maybe what you smell is the roommate so bite your tongue and keep smiling and breath through your mouth..
If they offer you something to eat or drink, take it and say thank you. Do not point out that the coffee mug is chipped and dangerous, drink from the other side. Don’t try to pick the dried cheese off the plate with your fingernail. And don’t ask where the nice plates you gave him at Christmas went. Just take what they give you, look relaxed and smile. And you actually need to eat or drink, you can’t just fake it.
If a member of the opposite sex walks out of the bathroom or appears from a closet or bedroom don’t say, “Who are you?” Be polite and say something like, “Hi, I’m Diana, Joe Joe’s mom.” Again, be polite, You might try “Those are really pretty beads in your hair”. Do not be nosey, you may not look at your son and say, “Did she sleep here last night?”. You actually don’t want to know the answer.
And finely, do not start poking around. Do not open drawers or cabinets, do not dig through closets. I promise you, you will not like what you find (a zip lock full of assorted condoms or midget porn). If you rummage you are invading their privacy and you’ll never get invited back.
Things will get better as you child gets older. Eventually, they will clean the fridge and do the dishes, it just might take sometime.
Remember, your kid loves you, they invited you over! That’s an honor and probably means you did a good job. So, keep loving them and ignore the beer can sculpture.