Holidays. Family get-together. The meal is done. Does it bug you that some don't help clean up?

We don’t throw that many dinner parties. When we do, we never ask the guests to help clean up. However, if one or two of them do help, we certainly don’t turn it down!

My biggest takeaway from this thread that he goes off to watch TV. To me, it is inconceivable that a guest at a dinner party would turn on the TV. It just isn’t done in my circles.

When we have a dinner party, my wife will do most of the cooking and at the end I will start to collect the plates and generally several others will help. Then I start loading the dishwasher and washing up, while others will help. Meantime my wife will go off to the living room with other guests. We don’t allow her back into the kitchen at this point. But no TV.

I had a relative who used to pull that kind of shit. I ended up dealing with it by just calling him on it - “Joe, we’re cleaning up now, get out here and help.” He did end up helping, muttering something about me being bossy, but ultimately did it without complaining or getting resentful. I think it just didn’t occur to him to help. Astonishing.

So you don’t help because you don’t want to do it the way everyone else wants to do it and talk about the things they all want to talk about. :dubious:

That… would not be OK with me, were I one of the aforementioned women in your family.

For people that do this some guys are lazy if they can get away with it, but it’s mostly context and how they were raised. If there was strict role separation in their family growing up doing this is not a faux pas to them as it’s how they are used to things going on. Having said this in 2016 if a man younger than 70 (I’m 57) is running away from the table to the recliner he needs to be brought up short.

I’ve helped keep a family tradition alive, and I’m enjoying it.

My gf’s dad always carved the turkey/ham/roast and took great pride in doing a nice job. In exchange for his labors, he was never expected to help in any other way. It was a tradition that everyone was used to.

When he died four years ago, the carving job went to me by some strange default (others basically claimed they couldn’t do it). So for family meals, I carve and in exchange am excused from any other chores.

If you like talking shit about other people behind their backs then you are more than welcome to join the other women in my family.
You’ll fit right in.

Gross sexism alert!

When they host lunch, my brother and his wife do the washing up because it’s a bonding thing. I still ask if I can help anyway, and help clear, of course. In my various circles of friends, I don’t recall a single incident of the behaviour you describe among adults. Kids - of both sexes - are another matter, of course.

When we used to have family get-togethers, everything possible was disposable. Plates, silverware, cups, tablecloth. After we were done eating, you’d grab the tablecloth by the four corners, fold it up and dump everything in the garbage. Took less than a minute. Maybe a total of 5 or 6 items that would have to be washed. If someone wants nice glasses and real silverware, let them wash them and clean up. I was happy with plastic cups, paper plates, and plastic silverware. Most people make life too complicated.

When my mom hosts Thanksgiving, either my brother or my BIL will wash the dishes. The rest of us haul everything up from the basement (the only space where we can set up a big table) and help with scraping, packaging leftovers, breaking down the tables and putting away the chairs, drying dishes… whatever. Quite a change from my youth when my grandmother cooked and cleaned everything while the menfolk watched football.

I do have one BIL who is content to sit on his ass except when he moves said ass to or from the table. If I happened to be hosting, I’d put him to work, but he doesn’t come visit us and my MIL is fine with letting her boy sit.

I never help with the dishes, but part of that is that when I do my own dishes, I putter around a bit and I’ve never cared to have someone else there attempting to tell me what to do while constantly getting in my way.

Last time I did, about 6-7 years ago, my sister bitched at me the entire time and I ended up just turning and walking away. There’s no chance I’ll ever volunteer again.

So please consider the NAGGING about dishes and how it may drive people away from helping out.

In my family, you ask to help cook (“What do you need me to do, Mother?”) and you help clear. Kids start the dishes, and are told what needs hand washing and what can go in the dishwasher.

My SIL sits there like a lump. Frankly, it makes her seem like not one of the family when she doesn’t pitch in. At least ask.


I always, always am part of the cleanup team. My wife, if she cooks, should not clean up, though she will worm in there if it’s a major event meal. Regular meal, the kids do a little and I do most.

I really should be making the kids do it, but to be honest, I LIKE cleaning the kitchen. It’s my favorite chore. I’ve had that chore on my personal list since I was ten, and I just find it an easy, relaxing chore. Also I’m the only person in the family tall enough to reach every shelf easily.

As to whether it bothers me that some people don’t clean up, no, because

  1. I like doing it (see above)
  2. It seems rude to invite people for dinner and then demand they do a chore, and
  3. The practical limit on the number of people who can clean in our kitchen is 3 or 4 - which is I suspect the limit in any residential kitchen - and there’s always a few volunteers at a family meal.

I do notice some people do not volunteer, ever. My one brother in law, I’ve probably had him for dinner 50, 100 times and I honestly can’t remember him EVER helping. Conversely my mother will always ask to help, though she’s 70 and has done enough for long enough that she shouldn’t have to help anymore. It doesn’t seem to bug me, though.

there you go…exactly how I feel. I just tell the SIL since she is the only one that asks, that I shall do them later. Gaaaahh the dinner was enough stress, I want to start relaxing not worry about clean dishes!! :dubious:

Right on! I agree big time! :D:D

after all, how many people helpers can do, are we all going to take a turn washing and drying one plate? Guess it depends on how many people you can fit in the kitchen and how many can put the item away at the same time? Stop fucking asking me where the dried item goes!! :eek::mad:

Yeah…there you go. Fuckers are always talking behind relatives backs! :eek:

and if someone can help with the furniture/sitting situation then get to it! :smiley:

Why do you even go to dinner with these horrible women?

During the holidays my wife and I will do the vast majority of the initial clean up and dishwasher loading. Since it’s usually more than one load and we don’t want a big chunk of the night spent on clean up, a ton of stuff will just be stacked or left on the table until the guests go. Then the one generation down kids, who likely are staying overnight finish up when everyone drives home. We never do the all hands on deck thing. We want everyone to feel like a guest.

When we are at her folks or siblings, I mostly sit on my ass after dinner because they have the same philosophy. I suppose if I was at a dinner party where everyone is pitching in I’d feel guilty not helping out but usually it’s a “No, no. You people relax” type thing.

Most people don’t like to create a large amount of wasted plastic and don’t like to eat off paper plates at a special occasion. Maybe they think helping the environment for their future generations is worth the complication of not considering things that don’t break down for decades as disposable (disposable = I can fit it in the trash so I don’t have to look at it).

This year we specifically asked my 30 year old nephew to help out with the clean-up, since others had done the cooking, prep and setup. My 17 year old son and 20 year old niece were also asked. Nephew agreed, then without saying a word, simply retired to the living room to sit like a lump, as he has done in previous years. I looked at him and asked “having a good time?”. He replied: “Yup”.

He was not making a statement or anything… Just clueless. And yet again, my sister (his mom) did nothing. I didn’t want to cause a fuss, and the other kids were doing a great job (and enjoying themselves).

I have a different take. I think a family dinner is different from a non-family dinner. Especially if it’s an holiday family dinner, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, where the work load is colossal and expectations are high.

My parents are getting up there in age, but the family still relies on them to host the Christmas shindigs. My mother spends all her energy getting the house clean leading up to the event and then slaves over the hot oven on the day of. People contributes dishes, of course, and my dad helps out a lot with the set-up. But she’s still does the bulk of the work. And her fatigue afterwards is a testimony to her effort.

It would be downright trifling for all of us–her grown kids and her almost-grown grandkids–to expect her to then clean up behind us. Because in this situation none of us guests. We’re family. Even if the kitchen is packed with people, you’re still expected to at least offer assistance. At the very least, you can collect all the dirty dishes and stack them on the counter. Or take trash out to the garage. Why should Mama do all the work every single year?

(I don’t think I was the only one to notice that my niece’s boyfriend didn’t need anyone to spell out anything for him. He was one of the first to start helping out with clean-up. I can tell that boy was raised right. :))

But sure, if a friend invites me over for a dinner party, I wouldn’t expect to be put to work (beyond scraping my plate and putting it in the sink) unless I have volunteered for the task. Cuz they ain’t no kin to me.

My BIL on my wife’s side is like this, too. In his family, the women-folk do the cooking and cleaning, unless there is some grillwork at play.

I don’t fuss about it myself. I enjoy cooking with my MIL, and I don’t much mind cleaning up, especially if I don’t have to put away dishes.

When my extended family gets together, people pitch in for cooking, more or less on rotation, with some better cooks (mostly women-folk) in heavier rotation. The rest of informally rotate through cleaning duties. It’s not scheduled, so I’m sure it is not strictly even-steven, but I think it is even enough for most people. But reading this thread I am minded that we definitely need to bring the kids into these duties.

My partner :frowning:

I do all the shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, cooking and cleaning up - and when it’s all over, he looks at me and says “Thank goodness that’s over - I’m exhausted!”.

I don’t know where he learned it. His mother does the bulk of their Christmas cooking, but his dad chips in a bit, makes sure everyone’s drinks are kept topped up, helps serve up and does most of the clean up.

I’ve reflected a lot on it as Christmas approached and decided I need to stop casting myself as the victim who selflessly slaves over everything, and resolved this Christmas I’d actually ASK him to do things instead of waiting for a Christmas miracle to wake him up.

Poor guy got laid low by toothache and spent Christmas in bed, doped up on painkillers.

Next Christmas.

I like people helping clean up, but I insist on loading the dishwasher personally ever since some idiot relative placed several hot dog buns in mine and turned it on.

Cleaning that mess took ages…