Like a hurricane blowing in to my town, I try and ride out visits from my in-laws. When I was younger, I would run around the house trying to get everything just right. The whole house would have to be cleaned from top to bottom. It was like I was preparing for a military inspection. Some of my in-laws like to give "helpful" comments about my cooking or housekeeping. Having a thin skin, I would take all these comments to heart. One little remark would ruin the whole visit for me. I couldn't wait until they pulled out of the driveway.
After 15 years of marriage, I am happy to report that I weather these visits better now. I realize that my in-laws may not be the easiest people to impress. They would probably find something wrong at Martha Stewart's house too :) Dropping all this anxiety, I enjoy their visits and actually have fun sometimes. As a more "veteran" wife, I realize that my house is what it is. All that matters for my sanity and happiness is knowing that my household management and cooking attempts are fine with me and my little gang. I'm glad that I don't have all that nervous energy anymore before a family visit. Now I try and play with my kids or sit back and watch some TV before they show up. It's a nicer way to ease into a potentially crazy get together.
Maybe I should change the household theme every time they visit. I could do a whole sixties thing, complete with lava lamps, beads and strobe lights. I can imagine the looks they would exchange. I can just hear the comment on their ride home: "We knew she was DIFFERENT than us!" That's o.k. with me.