Always Real, Outsmarted

Guest Towels As Explained To A 4-Year-Old

AM:  Here, Sean, don’t use those towels.  Use this one.


Sean: But I like those towels.  Why can’t I use those towels?


AM:  Those are guest towels.


Sean:  (blinks)


AM:  They’re for guests.


Sean: (blinks) 


Sean:  Am I a guest?


AM:  No. You live here.  Here, here’s your towel.


Sean:  Oh. (disappointed)  Why can’t I use the pretty towels? 


AM: (blinks)


AM:  Why indeed. 


AM:  Here.  (hands over the pretty towel)  Be my guest. 


53 thoughts on “Guest Towels As Explained To A 4-Year-Old

  1. My babysitter ALWAYS uses the pretty white elephant towel in my kids’ bathroom. After it bothered me for a while I realized that I don’t even want the guests using that towel! Now I just put it away before she comes.

    Man, I didn’t know how weird I am until typing that.

  2. True, true. Too often we think that just because they’re family, we can give them the leftoevers when they really should have first pick. We spend more time trying to impress people who don’t have to put up with us on a daily basis. In reality, those who know the “real” us should be getting the best as a reward for dealing with us, if nothing else!

  3. Can you imagine explaining to him the concept of “untouchable guest towels” if he really WERE a guest?

    I love reading about your interactions with your son.

  4. At our house we’re thankful if there’s any towel on the rod. I’ve seriously considered making my own ‘roller’ towel by SEWING two ends of a towel together while the towel is on the rod.

    Mary, mom to many

  5. Hand over the guest towels to Sean … you will never regret it. HOME is where you are treated the best … or should be …. You are a good Mom and he is a precious son.

    Betty in Oklahoma

  6. I guess we are supposed to treat our guests special but in my home they are treated just as we are… maybe that’s why I don’t have many guests???

    I use all those special “pretty” things passed down from generation to generation for my family. I’m certain I’m the first in my family to do that… but why have something “just to look at”… I get much more joy out of using it.

    By the way, we don’t have “guest” towels or anything else for that matter that is off limits to the family but others may use… my guests are not more important than my family.

    I’m glad you let Sean use the guest towel, I KNOW he felt very special.. as he always should feel.

  7. How many times as a guest have you looked at that absolutely beautiful towel and passed it over? I know that’s what I do.

    At my house, I’m with Owlhaven. My kids have taken to using paper towels. A habit I’m trying to stop.

  8. I just found your blog but I’m already loving your conversations with Sean. Thanks for sharing them!

  9. Uh oh. Next thing we know he’ll be served pb&j on china with milk in a crystal cup.

    I received the prettiest set of towels as a wedding gift. They had lovely lace trim. I saved them for years and then we finally used them. I realized we never have guests.

  10. This reminds me of Erma Bombeck’s saying (I think she said it!) to use the “good” dishes every day instead of keeping them on display or only for “special” ocassions as every day is a special ocassion.

  11. When I was a kid, I ran into too many people’s homes where I couldn’t use their untouchable “guest” towels or soaps, though I was technically their guest. Even then, I vowed never to have such a useless waste of space and money in MY house! 🙂

  12. My mom always had a new set of dish towels tucked away in the hutch ‘just in case’. We never used them. I found them there after she died, yellowed and not so pretty any more. We never used her ‘good’ dishes. We never had company. I never ‘save’ anything ‘for good’, as my mom would say. That toothpaste will wash out of that towel, anyway.

  13. I had guest towels once. It lasted about two weeks. The kids kept asking for the fluffy soft towels, and I, like you, thought, well, when it comes down to it, why not? So now we all use soft, fluffy towels.

    We have guests so infrequently, I can prepare myself and the kids to hand over the “guest” towels when someone comes…

  14. My guest towels are not even supposed to be used by the guests – they are just to hang there and look pretty! I swear I saw somewhere some pretty paper guest towels that you could put out, maybe in a basket, when you have people over. I look for them every time I have a party but have never found them.

  15. So cute! Found you via Whittaker Woman, via Boo Mama, via Rocks in my Dryer, via Fiddle Dee Dee… glad to get here. Adding you to my link list. Thanks for the giggle.


  16. I’ve started using my china for just this reason. Why wait to share the special stuff when my people are special to me everyday?

  17. This approach works when you’re trying to lose weight as well. If you put your small(er) portion on a fancy plate, you don’t feel as deprived because you are using the “special” china. It’s all about the emotions. Amazing but true!

  18. hee hee “be my guest”…I love it.

    I gave up on the concept of guest towels about 9 years ago when my eldest daughter was two and used my beautiful, plush, white towels to clean my lipstick off of her face.

    So, if you’re ever a guest in my home, don’t be offended if you have to use the same, old raggedy towels the rest of us use. 🙂

  19. Karen, I’d be right at home at your house with your raggedy towels. I was folding towels the other day and realized that some of them I’ve had for 26 years. 26 years. But they still dry. They don’t match and they ain’t purdy, but they still dry.

  20. I agree totally. We have “good” dishes that we only use on Sundays or for company. Of course, now we have company more often than not, so the good dishes are out a lot. (Oh, and sometimes all the other dishes are in the dishwasher, so we use the good ones…but that’s another story.)

    On the other hand, maybe the tucked-away good things still serve a purpose. What if it brings some kind of inner satisfaction, just knowing that the good, nice things are there, never getting used up, “just in case”?

  21. I wouldn’t let my husband dry off with the guest towels either. I told him that they were only for guests. He had to use the ratty ones in the linen closet. Then of course guests came to stay and what did my husband do? He gave them ratty towels out of the linen closet too! So no one used my pretty guest towels, and everyone dried off on the ratty ones. What’s the point?

  22. I agree with you. I realized no one was more special to me than my family, so sometimes we used the good dishes just to make that point. However, sadly, some Mikasa dishes are known to have lead problems, and my brightly flowered ones probably have that problem since the paint on the flowers doesn’t seem to have the clear glaze coating on the rest of the dishes. Now, I have to be glad my children didn’t eat on them every meal, and when I had company for Mother’s Day, I couldn’t bring myself to put the good dishes on in case I’d be contributing to lead poisoning for everyone. I have to comment on people’s bathrooms that have no hand towels– Do I use the bath one hanging there to dry that the person may have dried his/her butt on or risk using the fancy one? Thanks, anyway, I shake my hands and wipe them on my own slacks.

  23. I am no longer a lurker! Actually, I just made my blog today, and yours is one of the 4 blogs i read daily. I love your stories about your son, and it warms my heart to hear how devoted to him you are! The world could use more mothers like you seem to be.
    if you ever feel inclined to stop by my blog and leave a comment, i would be very honored!
    keep up the good work!

  24. I finally gave up on keeping separate guest towels in the bathroom. My husband said they looked so nice and cushy, he just couldn’t resist. Even after getting yelled at, he would do it again and again. And, heck, if he gets to use them, then so do I!

  25. Guest towels are nice. Of course, I gave up keeping them separate from our regular towels a couple of years ago. I just couldn’t justify keeping them for company. When we had friends over they thought they were too pretty to use and raided the towel closet for the “real” towels.

  26. My mother always says, “Treat your guests like family and your family like guests.” I repeat this mantra to myself whenever I think to do something silly like forbid use of the guest towels.

  27. Now he’s going to ask for a mineral water bath and a foot massage. You’ve really gotten yourself in a fix now.

  28. Full of good questions, he is. I hope Anja will make me question my stodgy old ways (not meant as a slam toward you, dear) on things like guest towels.

  29. How sweet! I regret not having used my good china more often when my kids were growing up. What on earth was I saving it for? I do have special memories of when my daughter was younger and we’d have ‘tea parties’ with it, though.

  30. But you have to admit that it’s sometimes fun to say something you KNOW is going to stymie them completely. I’ll say something and then just sortof sit back and watch Bean’s face, knowing she is NOT going to get it, and wondering what she’s going to ask me next. And she never disappoints me. And then I get to say, “I know! Isn’t that SILLY?”

  31. Laughing! Isn’t it strange when inspiration strikes. My mom always used the nice dishes for us on Sundays, and disposable “nice” stuff for large family gatherings. It always made me feel special when I saw the fancy place settings.

  32. My 4 year old thinks that the dining room is the guest room. So when she wants to be
    ‘fancy’, she asks to eat in the guest room. With two little very girly girls, we eat in the guest room alot!

    And, we don’t use guest towels. We (and our occasional guest) just wipe our hands on our pant legs like everyone else!!

    And, forget about tissues…that is why we have shirtsleeves!

  33. Cute post. I had the same conversation with the kids when they were young. Now it’s my HUSBAND I’m trying to train since he’s retired and home all the time. LOL


  34. Here’s the funny thing – I have never understood the concept of guest towels. If I hang it out, I pretty much expect them to be used, and I consign them to the ragbag quickly if they start looking ratty.

    BUT – I DO have a complete set of fine china that I never use. I don’t know what “special occasion” I am saving it for. Whatever the occasion is, it hasn’t happened yet.

  35. Excellent post. I maintain we should treat our family like special guests and our friends like family. This works well for me! You are a great momma. And you have a great sense of making the practical seem quite profound. BLessings.

  36. USE the good stuff, I always remind myself . . . Memories are made that way, and kids are small for such a short time. It won’t be long til he WILL be a guest in your home . . .

  37. ok, now that stupid Disney song is stuck in my head. BAH.

    We have one set of “decorative” towels in the “girls” bath. Only because they have these cute embrodered jungle animals (bathroom theme) but the towels themselves are white and I’m afraid they’ll get stained. I think of them more of “wall art”.

  38. I’ve tried to have nice towels, but with three boys and a husband who doesn’t “get it” they’re just as scuzzy as the rest of the towels. You’ll get clean towels at my house, they may be scuzzy looking, but at least they’re clean!

  39. I gave up guest towels a long time ago! I’ll just have to replace my everday ones a little more often so that they’re presentable to guests!

  40. Love it! Unfortunately for our guests, they get to use the same one’s we all do. I am proud to say that I have very few things reserved for guests only. I bet that makes you want to get in your car and come visit us right now, doesn’t it?

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