Not to want to go to farms anymore? (LONG!)

(23 Posts)
Albadross Wed 12-Oct-16 17:26:09

I'll start by saying I grew up on farms and we were very lax about hygiene - I don't remember being aware that you could catch anything from animals and also I was sick a lot, but never very seriously. I love animals and I do want my ds to experience them as I did. I'm certainly not 'OCD about cleaning' as DH likes to say.

My inlaws have a smallholding, and DH and I have a longstanding conflict about visiting, since their house is very unclean and animal faeces is continually trodden directly into the kitchen, the surfaces throughout are also covered in mud from the dog and the house has been full of hoarded crap (which they think is all that needs cleaning up) which I don't think are safe for young children. I've continually asked dh to let them know that if they want ds to stay there, they need to drastically improve things, but of course MIL gets very upset at the suggestion. They have removed some of the hoarding crap but then just sort of covered up the grime with rugs and surface things. They don't travel because of the animals and because of MIL's own anxiety, so I have endlessly compromised because I want ds to have a relationship with GPs and I have MH issues too so I'm sympathetic to that. In the 7 years we've been together, PILs have never visited us, despite us having spare rooms.

Each time DH promises we won't go again until they gut the house and clean it thoroughly (I offered to pay for professionals or go and do it myself), but each time he gives in and we go anyway because she cries and hangs up on him. I'm made to feel I'm BU because in DH's words 'none of us ever got ill'. He's talking about 15 years ago when it probably wasn't this bad and he was a young man with a decent immune system. MIL called him and offered money to us for having ds for a week so we can have a holiday on our own, which is not what I want since we've never had a family holiday other than going to see them. He always says yes before asking me and then we have to go through it all again - resulting in DH saying that either we all go or he'll take DS and leave me behind. So it feels like our 'family' is never priority. My DF also lives near them and he never gets to see DS unless I'm there, and even then far less. When DS was 5 weeks we took him and I spent the entire time holding him and panicking about sterilising things.

We visited them with DS (3) at Xmas, and we stayed nearby but not in their house but DS stayed over on Xmas eve (this upset me because I wanted to have him on xmas morning). We spent a lot of time there though. When we returned I kept getting diarrhea and feeling so weak I wasn't able to get out of bed. This went on for quite some time until I paid for private tests which showed I had campylobacter. This is usually caught from eating contaminated meat, only I don't eat meat, so it can only have come from surfaces. DH laughs off the idea that being at their place could've caused it.

Fast forward to last week when, after a lot of arguments (even in couples therapy, where the therapist clearly didn't believe how bad it is there and told me I shouldn't stand in the way of DS' relationship with GPs), we went again.

On day 2 I took DS with my DF (who DH has outright refused to allow DS to be left with for no reason whatsoever) to a children's farm and mini theme park - of course I followed all the handwashing rules and we only ate snacks in separate packets I bought from home. The next morning I woke up with dreadful stomach cramps and had diarrhea - after the first couple of days the diarrhea stopped but I'm still in pain 4 days later and we had to stay an extra day because I wasn't well enough to travel. I spent most of the 'holiday' lying on my own in a strange house whilst everyone else enjoyed themselves. I realise this won't have left me feeling good anyway! They always give DS a load of toys and now DH brought home a box (covered in more mud) of crap and I'm feeling paranoid that I'm going to get sick again from something.

Nobody takes this seriously it seems because it's only ever me that gets ill, but I'm recovering from a serious health problem and it feels like my choices are stay home, spend a week alone instead of having a break and miss DS terribly (plus worrying he might be ill next time), or risk it every time with the accompanying anxiety that now starts building from about 6 weeks before we even go.

AIBU to not want to keep going there?

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Wed 12-Oct-16 17:30:10

Ok YABU because this is not about not wanting to go to farms in general. This is one farm in particular. And YANBU for that as it sounds disgusting.

Don't let DS stay there. Don't let them buy you off with a holiday, stick to your guns- save up and go on a family holiday.

If it's as bad as you say, I'd make it clear why you're not visiting. They're welcome to visit you. The animals will keep for a few hours.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Wed 12-Oct-16 17:31:36

Also you're more likely to have caught something from somebody's dirty child at the children's farm than one of the animals.

Squirmy65ghyg Wed 12-Oct-16 17:48:37

This is horrendous. Your DH needs to take a look at himself. And why is your therapist dismissing you?? I couldn't be with someome who treated me like that. Sounds awful.

snakesalive Wed 12-Oct-16 17:52:53

Get a new therapist.and a new husband,while you are at it..your being walked over

Albadross Wed 12-Oct-16 18:33:54

Troll - no, we visited 2 farms this time hence I'm left wondering if it's just my immune system at fault and hesitant to be around farm animals if I'm anxious about getting sick again. I haven't eaten in 4 days and I've lost half a stone!

Unfortunately I don't get to say that we don't go for the reasons I outlined - DH sees nothing wrong with the state of their house.

Albadross Wed 12-Oct-16 18:36:59

Squirmy and Snakes I think she will tend towards thinking I'm OCD about cleaning rather than believing it's as bad as I'm saying - because I'm the one with MH issues currently being treated separately (although DH has severe anxiety too but refuses to do anything about it).

I even offered to show her photos but she sort of laughed at that. I've made a point to my own therapist who is able to speak to her, and she'll hopefully be able to forward the photos to prove that what I'm saying is true.

feesh Wed 12-Oct-16 18:43:24

If it's campylobacter, it can linger and cause ongoing issues - my husband had it as a kid and still suffers from stomach 'issues' now. If I were you, I'd start taking a very high quality probiotic to try and help your immunity to it.

That aside, no you're not being unreasonable.

littleprincesssara Wed 12-Oct-16 19:03:01

Find a new therapist asap. She sounds utterly incompetent, bordering on dangerous.

Your husband being raised by hoarders (hoarding is a psychiatric illness) has probably given him an unrealistic view of the world, where he believes their hoarding and squalor is normal.

You aren't preventing them from seeing their grandkids at all, if they aren't happy to travel to you or for you to stay nearby, that's on them.

Weedsnseeds1 Wed 12-Oct-16 20:14:44

That particular organism is normally associated with raw chicken. Did you eat out anywhere where your meal could have been cross contaminated e.g. by chopping board or knife, even if you don't eat chicken yourself? Cooking kills it. Cross contamination is more likely than directly from animal.

Albadross Wed 12-Oct-16 21:41:06

Xmas I ate a few bits of bread at the in laws (PIL had done a turkey because MIL was down with a bug too!), but we didn't eat anywhere else where any meat had been. I actually did scrub their bathroom and kitchen myself, so I could easily have picked it up then. I don't know what bug I have this time around but it's more acute.

SalemSaberhagen Wed 12-Oct-16 21:50:44

You let them have your DC Christmas Eve night without you?!

Albadross Wed 12-Oct-16 23:02:09

Salem yes I had to because they'd already agreed with DH and he'd assumed it was fine and told DS of course so he was excited confused

maninawomansworld01 Thu 13-Oct-16 00:05:31

Campylobacter stays in your system for years and years. Often there are. O issues but if you're recovering from something else, get exposed to the same bug again or are just generally feeling a bit low and shitty it can come back.
That's why it's you that keeps getting ill , be a use you have never properly shifted the original infection and you keep 'topping up' when you visit farms.
We have a farm and they can be mucky places but there is dirty and then there is DIRTY... Sounds like your IL's are the latter.

PickAChew Thu 13-Oct-16 00:17:03

Didn't we have this, the other week?

This is your parents' farm.it sounds revolting and I'd seriously worry about the welfare of any livestock if they cant even keep their own dwelling reasonably hygienic.

Have had various farming family friends/boyfriends, over the years. Most have had pristine houses, even if they have been basically furnished with no central heating (not uncommon, anyhow, back in the 80s). Out of half a dozen, only one house was filthy. The percentage is no worse than non-farming friends' families - one house not filthy but cluttered and definitely lived in - terminally ill father and career minded mother who had to keep the family afloat, so housework was a low priority - and it was a relaxed house to be in, so not uncomfortable. In another case, just far too many cats with too few boundaries, meaning everything as sticky and hairy and smelts quite stale! The house that DH grew up with has never been clean. But no, the proportion of dirty homes belonging to farming families to those belonging to non-farming families has not been disproportionate.

PickAChew Thu 13-Oct-16 00:19:00

you have a DH problem as much as an IL problem, btw.

MsMims Thu 13-Oct-16 00:32:57

If you empathise with MH illnesses then why are you letting your DH refer to OCD as if it's just a cleaning fetish? He is VVV unreasonable to do that, it's a debilitating mental illness.

Aside from that, the farmhouses that I've visited tend to be very messy and far from immaculately clean, but this sounds like something else. YANBU on that front.

Albadross Thu 13-Oct-16 08:34:04

Manina - is there a way to get rid of it?

Pickachew - I wasn't saying the percentage of farm houses that are dirty is higher, but since you can't catch something from animal faeces where there aren't animals it's more likely to have been caused by poor hygiene at their house where they all touch the sheep every day and then touch everything inside the house. I think they've just got older and have been living in their little bubble because they lost their business and since MIL doesn't go out alone other than to walk the dog, they simply don't see stuff building up. Now they probably can't face it because it's such a huge house.

MsMims - I don't 'let 'him, he said it in therapy and I pointed out that it wasn't on.

Albadross Thu 13-Oct-16 08:36:02

Sorry also Pickachew - it's my PILs farm, not my parents. There was a similar thread a few weeks ago where someone was worried about their baby being put on the floor of their parents' house, but that wasn't me.

PickAChew Thu 13-Oct-16 09:33:27

Apologies for getting muddled, Albadross.

Yes, animals do seem to be a common theme in the dirtiest of houses, though, even without pets or livestock, the worst do seem to attract vermin, so aren't any better off.

Rather than staying away entirely, I would avoid eating at your PIL's and your DH does need to back you up on that - draw a line in the sand and make it clear that you expect him to respect that line, including when it comes to making decisions about your DC staying for a week (and, even if the house was spotless, how the hell is it a good idea for a child to stay with grandparents who won't even leave the house for a whole week?) I have a few people in my life whose houses I wouldn't eat at and I tend to have a bottle of water on me when I'm out and about because I avoid caffeine, so find it easy enough to say no thanks to a cuppa, too.

Albadross Thu 13-Oct-16 22:56:04

PickAChew I have tried to communicate this to DH many times, but he won't accept it. He seems to feel that because he now does a bit more with DS (he worked away a lot in the first 2 years) that means he's suddenly entitled to change all the routines we had established and make decisions without consulting me - and usually in a way that means someone else getting upset so it's harder for me to argue. I intend to keep raising this in therapy because it's a slippery slope.

BakeOffBiscuits Thu 13-Oct-16 23:06:56

So your H can insist that your father doesn't have your son on his own but doesn't listen to you about your concerns about his family?

Your h is a bully.

Find a new counsellor and find the confidence to put your foot down.

Albadross Fri 14-Oct-16 11:01:43

Yes he is a bit... I have actually been very firm in saying that neither of us has the right to take DS away against the others' wishes, and I've also raised the issue of my DF barely ever seeing DS in therapy but we've only had two sessions so it's still early days. It was meant to be psychosexual but those issues are caused by this dynamic I think. So much to wade through

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