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To think that children do care about living in a very messy house?

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bakingmadmum Sun 12-Jul-15 22:59:41

A friend of mine put one of those quote thingies on FB today. It is about how the house is messy,because she is spending time with the children,and the children won't care because when they grow up, they will remember the memories, and not the state of the house.

Now, while I largely agree with this, the friend in question has a very, very messy house, bordering on dirty. I am not judging her for this- she has two small children, a large dog, and her husband is a lazy fucking manchild not much help. I know (because she has told me) that the state of the house annoys her. They can't use the kitchen table because it is snowed under, the children are in the same bedroom because the other one is full of junk... They can't use the garden because it is too dangerous. The husband keeps all his hoard of tools and equipment out there, even though they get rained on and rusty.

The thing is, my mum was raised in a similar household. She often talks about how, even as a small child, she was mortified and refused to bring friends over, as she couldn't bear them to see the house. Dirty nappies on the floor for days, the dining room covered in oil because that is where the bikes/junk was thrown, etc. She once visited a friend's house- the family wasn't rich, very solid working class- and thinking they were living in the lap of luxury, because their curtains were clean. She was about 11, and was genuinely baffled- how did they keep them so clean?

Mum has gone the other way now- she is a total clean freak, to the point where it caused massive rows at times, when I was a teen. She couldn't cope with what was, in hindsight, natural teen messiness. Things like a bit of toothpaste on the sink. It was like walking on eggshells for all of us. She has calmed down a bit now, thankfully.

Anyway, I feel a bit sorry for my friend and her children. The kids can't use the table for crafts, or homework, or family dinners, they can't go and play in their own garden. I can't help but feel that this will start to effect them when they get older, despite my friend's denial.

OwlinaTree Sun 12-Jul-15 23:03:54

I do hate that I'm a great mum because my house is messy thing. It just sounds like an excuse to me. I don't expect children care if the loo isn't cleaned for a fortnight but your friend's place sounds extreme.

rhetorician Sun 12-Jul-15 23:04:55

My house is moderately messy - I would like it to be tidier - but my children play endless creative games which result in...mess. I think there is a difference between crushing play/creativity and living in a house which is not functional, which your friend's house clearly isn't. Mine is, whilst not being a show home.

DisappointedOne Sun 12-Jul-15 23:06:41

I spent a week blitzing the majority of this house. DD(4) burst into tears because she "doesn't like it tidy".

Can't win.

emotionsecho Sun 12-Jul-15 23:09:27

I think children do suffer at both ends of the spectrum too clinically clean can be just as damaging as you have described, I also think it is harder for them as they grow up and feel awkward about having friends round.

treaclesoda Sun 12-Jul-15 23:11:00

I grew up in a messy house, my mum is a bit of a hoarder - I'd describe it as moderate hoarding, rather than the severe overwhelming problem that prevents someone living a normal life.

Anyway, I was painfully aware of it from a young age and I hated it. I dreamed of living in a nice homely attractive house like my friends did. I don't have a deep sentimental attachment to my childhood home either, even though my parents still live there and I visit often.

nancy75 Sun 12-Jul-15 23:13:33

This really annoys me because it suggests that I am not a good mum because I have a tidy house.

I do lots of stuff with DD, I have a tidy house because I tidy when she is in bed.

DD is now 9(the house has always been tidy, not just now she is older) and she is certainly of an age where she wouldn't want to bring friends home if the house was dirty/messy

VixxFace Sun 12-Jul-15 23:13:58


MeganChips Sun 12-Jul-15 23:15:00

I agree and I have a friend like this. She's lovely and a great mum but her house is an absolute bomb site. I'm not talking surface clutter but actually really dirty.

Her kids friends make comments on it and she gets really ashamed, as do the children but nothing ever changes. If she was happy living like that fair enough but I don't think she is.

When I was younger, the house was clean but nothing ever finished. No wallpaper on walls for 2 years, doors hanging off, for example. I used to have to know someone very well before inviting them over.

I am aware of anything that needs doing in my own house as a result and it's always passable at least.

LilyMayViolet Sun 12-Jul-15 23:15:31

I think it's all about degrees of messiness. I think kids like a reasonably clean/tidy house because otherwise it's a bit embarrassing. However, I don't think it would be particularly enjoyable to live in a very, very spotless, minimalist house as a child. Maybe it's just me, I'd find that very boring and restrictive.

BackforGood Sun 12-Jul-15 23:15:54

Like most things, there is probably an 80% 'middle ground' and 10% where the dc will think it's too messy / dirty / embarrassing and probably 10% where it is really sad that the dc can't relax in their own homes.
It's like the programmes they have where they get an person with OCD to help clean the home of a person who has hoarded / stopped cleaning to an unhealthy degree - they are extremes.
Most people are somewhere in the middle. Depending where you 'sit' on that very wide spectrum, you will find some homes too messy or some homes a bit too clinical.
When you get in to the child protection end of the spectrum, in terms of neglect, that is far worse than what you are describing about your friend's home, and many of those dc really, really, don't worry about what their home looks like or how much stuff is around.

madwomanbackintheattic Sun 12-Jul-15 23:15:56

If they are old enough to be upset and bothered by the mess, they are old enough to tidy up.

I am more concerned that you seem to be under the impression that your friend posted this on fb because it reflects her opinion? I thought everyone knew that fb existed solely for people to either lie or to self-justify that their lives aren't as bad as they fear they are.


DadfromUncle Sun 12-Jul-15 23:16:22


Ilovecrapcrafts Sun 12-Jul-15 23:17:03

My house wasn't dirty but my parents were always mid building work because they'd start things and not finish so there would be, eg, a bedroom full of building stuff, no carpet on the stairs etc. Messy and always scruffy and grubby looking.

I hated it and was too embarrassed to have friends round. I will never subject my children to that. My house is clean and tidy and I never start something I can't finish.

I hate that crap about spending time with your kids rather than cleaning. Most of us can handle both

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 12-Jul-15 23:17:39

I agree with emotions. Filthy houses breed clean freak children and vice versa. At some point the swimng to extremes is hopefully broken and a happy medium is achieved.

Weebirdie Sun 12-Jul-15 23:18:45

I do hate that I'm a great mum because my house is messy thing. It just sounds like an excuse to me.

Yep, it makes you wonder what the excuse would be if people didn't have children.

MadHenLady Sun 12-Jul-15 23:19:10

I find those messy house/great mum poems unutterably twee

They are crap too. I live in a tiny house,work part time, have one child, and a DH who isn't above picking up his own socks. Of course my house is tidy, there is no excuse for it not to be. It doesn't mean I stick a bored DD on a sofa island while I fumigate the place daily. So I don't expect to be judged for my reasonably tidy house, any more than i judge my friend who is a single mother with a full time job, 3 kids and no support, for having a house that is a bit mad at times.

hazeyjane Sun 12-Jul-15 23:19:31

I grew up in a very messy house. I never had friend's back, but this was partly because if the chaos of our lives, as much as the messiness of the house. I remember going to a friends house (this was also a big rarity) at the age of 8 and realising I could never have a friend round to my house. The mess was beyond the capabilities of an 8 year old to deal with!

treaclesoda Sun 12-Jul-15 23:20:32

I am one of five siblings of a hoarder mother. Three of my siblings are hoarders, two of them to a problematic extent. Only me and one other sibling have gone to the opposite extreme. I throw everything out - I have a very real fear of getting psychologically attached to 'stuff'. I keep one box to put sentimental things in, and everything else is disposed of as soon as I no longer need it.

hazeyjane Sun 12-Jul-15 23:21:07

It certainly hasn't led to me being a clean freak though! My house is cluttered and full of stuff but clean and relaxed and my dds have lots of friends round.

whattheseithakasmean Sun 12-Jul-15 23:23:00

I agree OP, my sister lives in a large, crumbling, unmaintained shit tip. It is tough, she has 4 kids & a messy husband who does nothing in the house except unfinished DIY that makes more mess, so I don't blame her, but it is grim. It is such a relief to get back to my far smaller and more modest, but reasonably tidy and ordered house.

I am no neat freak, quite the opposite, but I do think there is a tipping point where a house moves from comfortably lived in to squalid and children are aware of it.

Handsupbabyhandsup Sun 12-Jul-15 23:24:03

I grew up in a dirty, messy house and my mother often would spout opinions such as spending time with your children is more important than cleaning. But in reality I don't think she spent more time with us. She just didn't clean!

It was horrible and I was ashamed of where I lived and never had friends home. My best friend had to plead once with a boyfriend not to drop a present off at the house because I would be mortified. It really was far reaching.

I think I'm a happy medium as an adult. My house gets messy but it's always pretty presentable.

lilacblossomtime Sun 12-Jul-15 23:30:31

I agree its a balance and if you are ignoring your kids a lot to clean or being unkind to them in order to make them tidy up thats bad. Plus kids need to be able to make a bit of mess while they play or do some crafts or whatever. On the other hand a clean, reasonably tidy home where you can invite friends over and feel comfortable is much nicer.
But lets not be judgemental of people who struggle with housework it is difficult for a lot of people. Often its lack of time and energy and not being great at organisation.

BeachyKeen Sun 12-Jul-15 23:36:42

I grew up in a hoarder situation, and when I first had kids I was very messy and disorganized, and totally could have gone that way. Instead I worked a bit at a time, learning as I went.
It took a few years blush but I finally reached a point where I felt comfortable with anyone dropping in at any time, with out calling ahead. That is now my yard stick for "is my house messy or dirty?".

CamelHump Sun 12-Jul-15 23:38:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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