Polk Moms

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Every year we go over to my husband's mom's house for Thanksgiving. The house smells bad because of her three cats and our kids hate going over there. Should my husband say something to his mother about this? What should we do?

It's easy to get used to the smell of family pets if you are around the same area day in and day out. But that doesn't mean others who come into the home do not smell odors, especially from pets or even odors from a specific food frequently cooked. When I was a child, we went over to my aunt's house every Thanksgiving. She had two cats and two dogs and we clearly smelled things my aunt had just grown accustomed to smelling. I remember when my mom finally said something to her. Since she was quite elderly, she had no idea that her house smelled so bad from her pets. She did get a little upset though and said that maybe it would be better for the family to hold Thanksgiving somewhere else, which we did. At first my aunt balked when we changed the location but after a couple of times, she saw the convenience of not having our large family over with all of the kids running in and out, food cleanup, etc. - R.J. Lakeland, FL

As the reader stated above, people get used to certain smells in their own home while others who visit can immediately pick them up. Therefore, it would be perfectly fine for your husband to mention the situation to his mom, as long as he has a good relationship with her. If not, then maybe he can ask another relative or friend that is close to her to bring it up. With that said, be sure to have a plan handy to suggest how to possibly help her with the best way to alleviate the smell. Maybe she is aware of the odor but doesn't exactly know how to get rid of it and/or can't afford a professional carpet cleaning company, or to hire someone who can also clean other areas. Before anyone talks to her, get the opinion of others who have noticed the smell and find out what can be done as a group effort. For example, see if the idea of offering to pay professionals to come in and clean her house and carpet is feasible to those who agree to help. This will show her that there has been a lot of thoughtfulness put into the situation. The whole thing may be emotional for her so do it early enough where she can think about the problem and decide what she'd like to see done. Though the odor may eventually return, it should smell much better for Thanksgiving. And, if your family is going to continue to honor the Thanksgiving tradition in her home, maybe think about having it professionally cleaned on a regular basis if she agrees to it.

The kids have a cousin we will be seeing frequently during the holidays. This kid has to be the center of attention at every family gathering. Plus, he thinks he is never wrong and knows everything. How's the best way to tolerate Mr. Know It All without upsetting family members?

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