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Friend with filthy house?

10 replies

25kilopumpkin · 22/10/2011 04:04

Recently visited slightly eccentric friend at her home for first time. Pulled up outside and realised immediately there was problem. Overgrown garden, filthy windows etc. Went in (with NB baby) and house was untidy & filthy. Like dirty plates everywhere, pans left on cookers, bottle after bottle of same olive oil all half used no lid, sinks full of stagnant water. I could go on. She and her DS being left out of stuff at school (playdates , parties) she tells me, and it's upsetting her a lot. I know this is why. Do I tell her?

OP posts:
IslaValargeone · 22/10/2011 05:10

Is she suffering from depression or just a bit erm...disorganised and eccentric as you put it?
I'm not quite sure how I'd go about tackling it tbh, but if this is the reason they are being left out I don't think you have much choice. If she does suddenly have a tidying spree, are things suddenly going to change, she might have a bit of a slog escaping from the reputation she has created?
Are you in a position to roll up your sleeves and grab the marigolds to help get her straight? then maybe she could host the coffee morning/playdate and take things from there?

25kilopumpkin · 22/10/2011 05:52

This is a nice response thanks. She lives hundreds miles away or I would have done, I love cleaning Grin She does have a lot of stuff in her past that may make her depressed but she is totally dealing with it. I can't say more but if that's why then she is treating it and prob wouldn't consider a dirty house to be top of the list of stuff to sort. However, I am sure she would feel sooo much better if it was clean and tidy (I would go and visit to do it) but she def hasn't made connection between bogging house and her DS not going to parties

OP posts:
mathanxiety · 13/11/2011 01:07

Do you know what school her DS goes to? Have a word with the HT if you do. There is the issue of neglect here.

Her DS must smell if his home is in such a state. There is no way clothes could escape the stench. Probably no clean towels to dry off with if he bathes either. There is also a potential food safety problem. A kitchen that is not clean, with stagnant, smelly standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Maybe the school could look into it if they have access to a social worker.

KatieMiddIeton · 13/11/2011 01:19

I would tell my friend. I'd definitely speak to her before talking to the head teacher at her child's school! Shock

mathanxiety · 13/11/2011 01:21

Could she really not have an inkling though?

ravenAK · 13/11/2011 01:32

My friend has been like this for years.

I've tried to help her de-clutter. Ended up with dh's van full of rubbish I'd almost physically wrested off friend & her dh - I stank so badly that dh insisted on driving to the tip with the doors open. The vanload consisted of things like cat piss sodden shoe boxes.

Dh & I were both infested with fleas afterwards (my clothes, his clothes, the van).

They had a flood, caused by not fixing the shower tray which had leaked 12 months previously on downstairs flat & subsequently not been used. When a pipe burst it all happened again, much to downstairs leaseholder's understandable horror.

They called out a plumber who ripped up the carpet in the bathroom to get at the pipes, & complained loudly about the stench.

I happened to be there. It was eye-watering.

Once the plumber left, the carpet was dropped back into place. Sad.

Friend's dd has recently moved schools (bullying) & been welcomed into a new school. Friend can't/won't return playdates & cycle looks set to happen again.

Watching thread with interest because I've been in OP's shoes for several years & have no idea what to do Sad

TheMouseRanUpTheClock · 13/11/2011 01:42

I think you need to sit her down and explain the difference between her home and yours, and why some people would be repulsed by her home, scared for their children's safety due to germs.

I have always been quite repulsed by the same sort of thing you are at your friends, I wouldn't drink a tea at a certain friends house due to a similar problem, though not as bad, more kids hand print marks on glass that had never been cleaned, and dirty surfaces due to kids, that had not been cleaned for a long time, that kind of thing.

I noticed with my children there is a difference in them also, the youngest always had been clean and "got" germs from a young age, the oldest oh dear, well a lot of educating is still going on there, and I think that there are just some people who don't have that natural repulsion of germs that most people have. You know the not wanting to shake hands with someone sneezing that type of thing, it simply would not occur to my oldest the link between the germs and spreading and she is very bright, it is like there are links in the brain that are not working, she has it with some other things, like she could not tell the time on a clock that was not digital, then she learned to tell the time in Italian, and it finally clicked, and she can tell the time now she just has to translate it to English so takes her extra time, she is 13, and nothing worked before regarding telling the time, it just didn't compute in her brain properly before!

Enough waffling!

I really think you need to go over the basics of germs, go over, how often people in general clean, how they clean and why they clean, a few video's of how clean is your house as someone mentioned earlier may help her.

KatharineClifton · 13/11/2011 01:45

Does the DS smell as has been suggested upthread? I don;t actually understand how a kitchen in this state would mean the DS is excluded from parties?

mathanxiety · 13/11/2011 02:03

Children would shun a child that smells, one who is not clean, has greasy hair, unless he had some fabulous redeeming feature that could compensate. I doubt if a child in a house like that has clean laundry to wear. A house that is not clean but is in fact filthy as the OP described would smell of dust, old burned fat from grill pans or frying pans, dust and dirt from carpets and of course of any pets there, especially cats, and there would be a lingering odour on clothing and hair.

The state of the house's interior can be guessed from the outside by the other children -- it is unkempt. If the child is young, it is possible that other children would actually be afraid to go into it, fearing spiders, etc., and would see the child who goes there every day after school as a freak.

If you talk to her and she remains in denial or minimises the problem, then for the sake of the child I would speak to the school. It would be out of order to speak to anyone without trying with the mother first, you are right, KatieMiddleton.

mathanxiety · 13/11/2011 02:14

A woman whose DD was a friend of DD1's was something of a hoarder and her pets had the free run of the house -- on top of the rest of the mess there was always the chance that you would sit down and inadvertently squash a sleeping hamster. There was pet hair and dust everywhere and the stairs were hazardous because of clothes and junk all over them. DD1 always came home wheezing and I tried to have her friend spend time at our house instead so that they could play. The friend smelled 'stale' always, and her hair went a long time between washes.

This woman was a nurse and her countertops, sink, cooker and bathrooms were clean but every square inch of the rest of the house was packed with stuff she used to pick out of skips and bargains from charity shops. Her dining room table was covered with prescription medications, as she was a hypochondriac too. She used to quiz me on DD1's asthma symptoms and suggest possible causes and cures...

I went with DD1 to a book group along with another two mothers and their DDs. The nurse friend had cleared about 6 square feet in the living room so that we could manage to sit down. It was sad beyond words.

They moved the following year to a small flat and had to get rid of probably 90% of the stuff.

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