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To upset my parents by asking them to clean their filthy house

(130 Posts)
Oysterbabe Tue 13-Sep-16 17:18:19

My parents are lovely people but they live in squalor and always have. The house is full of animals; several cats, an enormous long-haired dog, parrots flying free range and that's just in the house. In the paddock they have all manner of creatures. There is grime and dirt everywhere. Everyone wears their shoes inside as if they didn't their socks would be black within minutes from the dirt on the floor. It was always like this when I was growing up and I thought it was pretty normal until I moved away at 18 and realised no one else lived in a house like this. Until recent years they've been healthy and able-bodied. My dad had a stroke a couple of years ago so is a bit more sedentary now but it's no worse than usual. They could afford a cleaner if they wanted one.

Anyway it was never a massive deal, just how they choose to live. A bit embarrassing taking my now husband there for the first time but meh, whatever. They live 200 miles away and we only visit a few times a year. They live in a very rural location, there are no hotels nearby so we just stay there and put up with it.

We now have an 8 month DD. Last time we took her she was 3 months old and we just held her the whole time and insisted that the massive, untrained dog was always shut away and the birds caged. We're visiting again in a couple of months and DD will almost certainly be crawling by then. Even now she doesn't really like being held and likes sitting on the floor surrounded by toys. I don't know how we'll keep her off the floor for 3 days.

The main problem is that DM doesn't think the house is dirty, will be incredibly offended at the suggestion that it is and will certainly cry. I have tried to gently suggest the place could do with a bit of a clean in the past and it did not go well. I can't stand the idea of upsetting her like that sad But I genuinely believe DD could be at risk crawling around there. They come straight in from walking around in shit in the paddock and shoes stay on. How can I raise this in the most sensitive way?

Oysterbabe Tue 13-Sep-16 17:18:51

Sorry I really could have shortened that 🙈

situatedknowledge Tue 13-Sep-16 17:20:15

We had this situation with MIL. My only suggestion is to make sure you take a play mat with you for DDs toys.

gamerchick Tue 13-Sep-16 17:21:15

Well you know if you don't then you'll have days of stress while your bairn crawls around in filth.

Are you staying there? Maybe a nearby hotel and days out?

YelloDraw Tue 13-Sep-16 17:21:40

Take this for your DD to plan on?

Champagneformyrealfriends Tue 13-Sep-16 17:21:51

I'm not sure how sensitive you can be to be perfectly honest. I think I'd just have to say that because the carpets are dirty you don't want DD crawling. What a tough situation though op you have my sympathy

ImpossibleGirl Tue 13-Sep-16 17:22:06

Can you take a play pen? One with sides, so nothing strays into any dirt? Otherwise stay at a hotel?

bkg3000 Tue 13-Sep-16 17:22:09

Take a blanket to put on the floor when your daughter is.

Smartiepants79 Tue 13-Sep-16 17:22:39

I'm not sure there is a sensitive way of saying it that is going to be listened to.
I fear being very blunt and perhaps even having to refuse to come are going to be the only triggers for change.
They don't see a problem so until it's very strongly pointed out to them it's not going to happen.

CocoLoco87 Tue 13-Sep-16 17:22:55

Sounds like they need to go on obsessive compulsive cleaners!

Is there any opportunity for you to run a hoover / dettol round while you're there? I realise that's not what you're going there for, but you could maybe make an area safe and acceptable for your DD.

BaronessEllaSaturday Tue 13-Sep-16 17:23:06

You've tried in the past and failed so either stay in a hotel and do only a short visit to the house if at all or arrange days out elsewhere or cancel the trip.

bkg3000 Tue 13-Sep-16 17:23:15

Or a travel cot

LineyReborn Tue 13-Sep-16 17:24:25

Don't. They can't just alter that lifestyle.

Take a travel cot and play mats / picnic blankets.

Justmuddlingalong Tue 13-Sep-16 17:24:40

I don't think there is a sensitive way to say anything. You say you've already broached the subject and it didn't go well. I wouldn't go. End of.

BerylStreep Tue 13-Sep-16 17:25:18

I know this isn't really what you want to hear, but your parents' 'squalor' is probably the best thing ever for your baby's immune system and gut micro biome.

There are countless studies that state that children who grow up on farms and around animals have much less illness and far superior immune systems. The window of opportunity is until they are 3 years old - after that the gut biome becomes pretty fixed.

Personally, I wouldn't say anything to your parents to upset them.

GoblinLittleOwl Tue 13-Sep-16 17:25:32

Well, you survived it, but of course you were exposed to it all the time.
I know a couple like your parents, horses, dogs, geese and chickens, the house is a mess, but they are genuinely lovely people, kind, caring, very clever and a pleasure to know. Very generous and hospitable. I don't think they notice the mess.
Doesn't help your problem though. Could you take a rug for your child to crawl on, if it will stay on it, of course?

hippoesque Tue 13-Sep-16 17:25:45

It's not fair or really feasible to expect a newly mobile baby to stay in the same place for the best part of three days though really. I think you'll have to say no to future visits OP, it's desperately sad for you all but what else can you do?

Arfarfanarf Tue 13-Sep-16 17:26:16

You can't.

There is absolutely no way to raise this that isn't going to get the same reaction as the last time you raised it.

There is no easy way to say to someone your house is so filthy that i am worried about my child.

Does that mean you dont say it? Well no. You just need to accept that it may cause upset.

I wouldn't put my crawling child into that house. I just wouldnt.

They will likely be upset.

But it is their choice to live like that and their choice has consequences.

Or you could choose to let your child crawl in filth because you dont want to upset your parents and just try to wipe her as often as possible and hovver over her and hope for the best.

You cant force them to clean but you do chokse whether to take your child into their filth.

It sounds a really awful situation. Sorry you have to deal with this. It isnt easy at all.

LineyReborn Tue 13-Sep-16 17:26:42

A travel cot is like a play pen btw.

lemony7 Tue 13-Sep-16 17:27:50

This sounds like a book I recently read. The mother was a hoarder.

Can you meet at another location? Hotel?

My PIL had a disgusting house. We refused to go there til they cleaned it up. It worked.

emotionsecho Tue 13-Sep-16 17:27:54

It's difficult but I don't think I'd be visiting them until my dd was old enough to be able to stay upright with shoes on as it is not a safe environment for your child at the moment, can your parents visit you instead? Regardless of the hurt and upset caused I would have to tell my parents why I was not visiting.

SaucyJack Tue 13-Sep-16 17:28:43

Just send them a short, factual text telling them it needs to be clean and tidy for when you next visit.

They will know deep down that their house is not normal. I am a filthy shutter myself (as is my mum) and I can assure you we are all fully aware that other people don't live like us.

Your DM might choose to get upset and blame it on you for raising the issue. That's a shame for her, but you're not being unreasonable or offensive.

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Tue 13-Sep-16 17:28:48

That's a tough one. I understand you not wanting to upset them but you have to weigh that up against your dd's wellbeing.

I think the playpen is an excellent suggestion. Do they enjoy days out? Could you plan to be out of the house as much as possible?

I'm assuming you'll be taking a travel cot for dd, which could always double as a play pen.

Good luck. You have my sympathy. My in-laws aren't as bad as this but their house is pretty grubby and absolutely full of hazards. Visits can be very stressful. They have a stair gate, but there are wires everywhere, dirty bath, really grubby floor, random small change in the toy box hmm

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Tue 13-Sep-16 17:30:24

I'd consider staying in a hotel rather than being there the whole 3 days, that way you can meet up elsewhere or just go for an hour or so at a time.

KC225 Tue 13-Sep-16 17:30:40

Portable playpen with a bottom from amazon is about 50 quid.

But I think you need to have a conversation with your parents at some point, a playpen will stop her crawling in the mess buy not stop the parrots crapping in it. Van you ask for one room to be kept animal free, you can clean that one

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