unclean house(108 Posts)
At the weekend I travelled to visit my DSis and her 5mo DD. I have my own 7mo DD but she wasn't with me for this weekend. She lives a 4 hour drive from me so I don't see her that often especially now we both have babies.
DSis house is, to put it lightly, an absolute tip. Clothes, used dishes (some mouldy), rubbish/used nappies, baby toys and just "things" lying everywhere. The dishes clearly haven't been done for a few weeks, there is no clear surface space in the kitchen and you can barely see the carpet in all of the rooms. On the kitchen window there were a lot of dead fruit flies. Herself and her DH "wash when needed" eg. 2 bowls and 2 mugs in the morning. I moved 6 black bin bags (of rubbish) from her utility room to the garden bin when I arrived. We ended up with take out for the 3 nights I was there as washing up enough to make a proper meal would have been too much hassle. I think they have take out the majority of the time. The fridge will filled with out of date food. Her DH works from home and his "office" space was the only semi-organised room in the house. The 2 spare bedrooms are filled to bursting with useless junk. Dsis and Dbil did not have one item hanging up in there wardrobe (all clothes are on the floor or piled up on the dining table) Her DD is well looked after I've no doubt about that (bathed, clean clothes, well fed etc) but I'm just not sure it's safe for her to be living amongst this. They have stopped sterilising her bottles (I don't sterilise my DDs anymore but I'm so worried about the cleanliness of the kitchen).
DSis has always been messy, I thought she would change for her DD sake but apparently not. Having my own baby I completely understand how hard it is to keep on top of everything so part of me is thinking don't say something but the other part of me thinks she has to change as it's just not fair. She has a large home (5 bed/3 bath) compared to my small flat. Her DH doesn't seem bothered about the mess and I'd say they are both 50/50 equal in the (little) housework they do.
She has asked me to come down next month for a week with DD this time but I honestly don't think my crawling baby would be safe in her house. I don't mind staying there myself, she is so welcoming and I don't mind the mess but DD is at that stage where she is getting into everything and puts everything into her mouth!
Would I be unreasonable to say something / what should I say if I do? She would be mortified I'm sure. Or should I presume she realises she needs to tidy up and will do so before we arrive?
If I am being completely unreasonable please let me know. She's the only person I know who lives like this though. Her and her DH are happy.
It's very difficult. If the baby is well cared for I don't think you can say anything.
I have a close relative whose home is like this - we don't stay with them any more.
I have a 5mo dd and I would not take her to a house like that! Think you need to tell her your concerns!
I don't think your being unreasonable. My house is most certainly not a show home in the least but mould and nappies lying about is just not hygienic. Do you think she might be struggling either with the new baby or maybe depressed?
I think you do need to say something to her for her daughters sake if not hers.
If the baby is bathed, fed and well cared for then really it is none of your business to say anything. Just don't go to stay if you feel it is too dirty for you.
Two of my friends are like this. I visited my best friend recently (I don't live in the same city) and I walked past her bedroom and the door was open. I had the horrible thought of taking a photo on my phone because it was so bad - pretty much like the scene of a crime. Her kitchen is similar. Stuff doesn't get put away, dirty plates on the table, crap everywhere, rubbish bags overflowing a bit etc.
My other friend is very similar although has more space so it isn't as obvious when you walk in the door .. but still fairly grim.
Both highly functional lovely women in good jobs with great marriages and lovely kids. I used to worry a bit about my best friend's baby from the point of view of bottles etc but he was fine - never sick actually.
my best friend has told me she is stressed by the mess. She just can't deal with it and it doesn't stress her enough to change.
So I think you should only stay with your sister if you are comfortable (I probably wouldn't be). Maybe suggest to her that a cleaner would be great now they have a baby but other than that I don't think you can say anything. It is baffling to me that anyone would live like that but they do and they are happy.
I think it depends on your relationship with DSis, and her personality. Can you broach the topic gently, ask her if she needs your help, and take it from there?
All this is only if you are indeed prepared to offer help (with your own time/effort or financially). If you're not, I wouldn't say anything. DSis would quite understandbly tell you to put up or shut up.
Is there any chance you could help her clear it up?
We get on really well but I worry because I would need to be "serious" that she would be hurt. I can't imagine her DD in a few months being like mines- getting around, into everything, eating proper meals that Dsis has to cook and store etc.
Please nobody think I am judging her. She seems happy and has always been messy but I'm sure she does feel very overwhelmed as it would take days of work to properly gut the whole house. I would love to help but we would need to keep the babies entertained while we worked.
I'm happy to go and stay myself but I'm not so keen on making my DDs food in the kitchen amongst mouldy dishes and flies. In my house she can play on the floor and I don't have to worry about her putting things in her mouth (except my shoes at the moment - her fave) but the floor at DSis house is so covered you honestly can't see the carpet. Am I being precious
We ended up with take out for the 3 nights I was there as washing up enough to make a proper meal would have been too much hassle
You were there for three days, surely you could have been a help to her and actually cleared the washing up and done some washing so she had a head start instead of just criticising her.
A naturally messy person will struggle anyway, but when it gets to that stage she wont know where to start, everything needs something else doing first. You, as a more tidy person can probably prioritise better than she can and could get jobs done more quickly so then she wont have the mountain of washing up etc.
And actually, why is it ok for you to not do it as it would be too much hassle, but not her to leave it for the same reason?!
I would love to help but we would need to keep the babies entertained while we worked.
Which is exactly why she is struggling! Dont you see that the reasons you are giving about why you cant help her are the same reasons why she is in this state in the first place.
Take a play pen and gut the kitchen and clean the living room floor. Once that is done then you can get cracking on the washing which will be on while the kids are playing with you. Then in the evenings put 2 hours aside each night to tackle a specific area and at the end of the week it will all be done.
And then discuss it with them about getting a cleaner so at least the basic standards are maintained even if it is messy.
I know it might be hard to imagine but every single plate, pot, knife, bowl etc had been used. It would have taken me hours to sort out. We were visiting family both days (she lives in my hometown- I moved away a few years back) and we went shopping so its not like we had the time to spend cleaning in order to make tea that night. I am used to that when visiting at her house though. It's only because she now has her DD that I am thinking maybe she has to change for her sake.
Please don't think I was sitting in her house the full weekend judging her. I arrived Friday night and left early on Monday morning. We visited our parents on the Saturday, went for lunch then went shopping. On Sunday we went to church with our grandparents and then spent time with them.
Why should nnname do the cleaning??!? She has a house and child of her own to look after! It takes a family to make the mess and that family should clean it up. I'm certainly not house proud but I do what I can as often as I can. And mould on dishes? Come on!! Scrape a plate, fill a sink with hot water and liquid, dump in plates and scrub. Takes less than 5 mins. Shocking. Don't go near op until she gets a grip!
I realise that you werent there to go cleaning, but the fact is that every reason you have for not doing it is a reason she has for not doing it. And for her its worse because it was in such a state to start with, at least when you are having a bad day it doesnt matter if you leave the pots til morning because the rest of the jobs are done to a basic standard.
* Dont you see that the reasons you are giving about why you cant help her are the same reasons why she is in this state in the first place.*
I disagree with this completely. The people I know who live like this (with children) were like this before they had children - nothing to do with being so busy with the baby they couldn't clean the house. they are like that (in my experience) because they don't value clean houses at all, don't care, don't notice and aren't impacted by it. both women I know who are like this are personally very clean, as are their children. Their food hygiene is good too. It is just their houses look like something from a reality tv show.
Could they afford help? A cleaner or better still a mothers help type person who could come in say 3 mornings a week and do the cleaning, washing and tidying etc?
I agree that things are going to need to change but right now, everything that needs doing is so overwhelming that its easier to not start. Trust me, I know what I am talking about, she is me. Or rather, was me. I am much better now but I struggled so much when I was younger, I really did. The house got into such a state because I simply didnt know where to start. I had never been taught how to do housework, or even what housework needed to be done and when!
I ended up with help from a friend to get on top of the worst of it and although I will never be the worlds greatest housewife, you can atleast walk on the carpets without catching something! Cleaning and tidying will never come naturally to me, thats why I am a minimalist at heart, less crap to dust and tidy!
they are like that (in my experience) because they don't value clean houses at all, don't care, don't notice and aren't impacted by it
I dont agree.
Yes I was like that before I had kids and it didnt really bother me. But once I had my son it did bother me but I genuinely didnt know where to start. It was such a huge job that it overwhelmed me. It was easier to just get by, the idea of tackling it all on my own (I was a single parent) was terrifying. Thats why I shall be forever grateful to the friend who helped me. It got me to a place where I could cope.
I understand where you are coming from and she must not know where to start.
How do I bring it up with her / say that I am happy to help out when I come down for the week? I could suggest that my mum and dad take my DD overnight the first night and her DH does something with my niece during the day so we can try and blast a good bit of it. My parents would not be able to cope with 2 young babies at the same time unfortunately.
I could easily joke about her messiness to her and not offend so being serious and not embarassing/hurting her might be difficult?
and her DH does something with my niece during the day so we can try and blast a good bit of it
Or her DH puts the marigolds on and gets stuck in too, its his mess as much as hers! I think you need to say something, if only because she may be wanting help and too embarrassed to ask (I was) or she may not realise and you saying something will help open her eyes to it.
But seriously, this has to involve her DH because otherwise she will be running herself in circles and he will still be chucking his crap on the floor without a second thought. He will be less likely to do that if he knows that he will be the one picking it up again.
Bogeyface, a lot of people are like you - getting overwhelmed after a baby. Sometimes too that kind of chaos is indicative of depression or other issues/not coping etc. If that is the case then of course the sister needs support.
But some people really just don't care that much. Both of my friends have cleaners and lots of money to pay for more cleaning but it is like they don't notice it. the OP's sister sounds like that - op said she was always messy - and I think it is a bit unfair to tell the OP that she should have helped clean because the cause of this is lack of support after having a baby.
OP, in your case with my sister, I think I'd tell her straight that her house is a bit chaotic and does she want to have a day or so where you and parents help her get it back to normal. My guess is in 3 months it will be back to fairly bad though.
I'm messy-ish, though not unhygienic/dirty, but I have a relative whose home is like you describe and I've stopped taking the children to visit as I find it so stressful - things like the kitchen bin over-flowing (and stinking) so rubbish (rotten, unwrapped food waste) was piled on a piece of newspaper on the floor next to the bin. Every space in the house is rammed full of clutter, and everything you touch feels grimy.
I actually think its a MH issue, in the case of my relative - they come from a family of hoarders, and they are a person who struggles to move on from the past, is negative in general, and i tend to think of their home as an outward manifestation of their inner mind.
Do you think your sister could have PND? It's not 'normal' to live in squalor. Yes, with a baby the housework doesn't get done and the laundry doesn't get put away (we dressed from a mountainous pile of clean, but unsorted laundry in the back room for longer than I care to admit to ), but six bags of refuse, festering nappies, and mould are simply not a healthy way to live, emotionally or physically.
I'd suggest looking into methods to help hoarders address their problem, and look into possible depression too.
I only suggested my BiL taking the baby so that we would have complete peace to get on with things. My DSis could probably get her watched for the day (Bil parents/siblings perhaps) so the 3 of us could do it together but then would I be rude to suggest that also ? I'm going to sound like a right cheeky cow as it is.
Op I would be upfront too. Just say let's sort out your kitchen as it's a mess and you all get done as much as you can.
I think it's awful that it's in such a state. Imagine if someone reported it.
It's really hard to say because she's always been like this. I am more motivated to clean and tidy after having DD. for example I don't want DD picking up things and eating them. Before DD I would Hoover the carpet once every week but now I try to go over once a day, the kitchen/bathroom floor gets a quick steam mop every evening (especially since I caught her licking the floor tiles!!). The lack of wanting to change could this be pnd ?
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