Nothing can strike fear into the heart of a new wife quite like a husband's nonchalant announcement that his parents are popping by for a weekend-long visit. "There's a lot of pressure to make a good early impression on your in-laws, because that helps lay the foundation for your future relationship with them," explains Lynn Gilliard, relationship expert and author of Let Him Chase You. "You want them to feel comfortable and valued in your home."
But with this expert action plan, you will knock your in-laws' socks off in all the right ways.
Before you turn into a Tasmanian Devil-like cleaning and cooking machine, talk to your husband. "He knows them better than anyone," says Gilliard, "and he will know all their quirks and small preferences, such as having the bath towels folded a certain way or enjoying the fresh scent of lavender. When you pay attention to small details, they really get noticed — and that can make a big impact."
Set your boundaries.
Making your mother-in-law and father-in-law feel welcome won't require your 24/7 attention. "You can be a great hostess, but still not feel like your guests are consuming you," says Rachel DeAlto, relationship expert and author of Flirt Fearlessly. "Your best bet is to lay out any expectations from the beginning, so no one has a different notion of how they think the stay will go — let them know the plan, how often you plan on being around, and that you are all about making them comfortable."
Focus on the necessities.
You don't have to go Cinderella on your ceramic tile, cleaning every nook and cranny on your hands and knees. "Just make sure that house is fresh and clean, your in-laws have comfortable sleeping accommodations, and add two or three of those 'small details' that they will really appreciate, " recommends Gilliard.
Spend alone time with your in-laws.
Getting to know your new family better will only make the next visit that much easier. "Schedule a visit to the nail salon or spa with your mother-in-law while your husband and father-in-law do some similar bonding activity," Gilliard says. "Then come together later for a couples dinner."