Life Advice



Ask Amy: Toddler-tornado makes a messy guest

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wife and I recently bought a house and we have decided on a few rules to keep the place as clean as possible.

I invited my sister and her three kids to stay with us for the next two weeks, and while we already explained the house rules several times, the youngest child (he's 3), always manages to create a mess. I don't blame him (after all, he is a child), but my wife gets really irritated and takes it out on me.

I offered to clean the mess, if my wife would let me know. But every time this occurs, we have an argument.

I think my wife feels she's making all the sacrifices for me and my family. When we visit her family, I always try to be open and understanding (they are from another country), and I actually love it.

Today my wife snapped in front of the kids.

At first, she was so excited about this visit, but today she told me that the next time I have someone over, she will go to visit her family because she doesn't want to sacrifice anymore.


This is hurtful to me since my family has always been gracious and generous toward her.

Good Husband

Dear Husband: Three-year-olds are human tornadoes. I’m assuming that you don’t have children (yet), but experienced parents who are hosting children anticipate a period of upheaval and do their best to keep up, while understanding that – where toddlers go, messes happen.

You have asked your wife to “let you know” if there was a mess she felt needed to be cleaned up. But you (and your sister) should take this on without prompting.


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