Daughter's messy house...

alamatorOctober 10, 2009

My daughter and SIL have 2 beautiful children that my wife and I truly adore. (We love our daughter and SIL too!)

They live across the country and we don't get to see them very often.

Our biggest problem with their raising them is their messy, messy filthy house! 2 dogs and a cat don't help.

I know their hands are full but it's pitiful. As soon as you walk in the front door, the smell of dog knocks you out. When the dogs aren't outside, they live on the stairway going to the basement. It REEKS of dog feces and urine.

The good size living room is constantly strewn with toys, food and crumbs as well as dog hair. I mean, "watch where you're walking" type of clutter.

We are no clean freaks by any stretch of the imagination ...but...It drives me NUTS..! We have suggested that the kids,(all of them) go to the park and me and Nana will "straighten things up a little". Nope. Not having it. We try to play a game with the kids that involves picking up their toys and putting them away. No...we'll do that later. Those babies have more toys than a family of 12 should have...and no place to put them!

The bathrooms..? Oh my goodness! Lets just say that there are a few bacterial experiments growing on the tile behind the rust colored (once white) porcelin toilet. The tub..urp..lets not go there.

We WANT to help but everytime we suggest a house cleaning or lets knock out a few loads of laundry, they seem embarrassed or "you guys are on vacation".

I can't stay there anymore. We keep making excuses or meeting somewhere else for vacations instead of staying at their house.

How can we get the message to them, without hurting them or retaliating by denying us the kids, that their home is mess and a health hazard?

If someone were to call Health Services to inspect the home, I'm scared to death what would happen to the children.

Why are they so messy? Neither my daughter or SIL were raised in a dirty, messy environment. They say they have no time, but will play video games for hours after the kids are in bed. Is this a generational thing?

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Maybe someone should call the health department, it might make a big difference. They would not remove the children permanently. I have a couple of nieces that live that way and they will never change.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 3:39PM
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It seems obvious your daughter and her husband do not see a problem with the way they live. Or they are addicted to video games.
They probably are not going to change.
Maybe you could hire a once a week or once every two week person to come in the clean.....I am sure your daughter would appreciate the help.
How old are the kids? Do you feel they are being neglected?
Do they have any close friends or a pastor you could talk to about your concerns?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 7:25PM
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The kids are 6 & 2.

No..they are not neglected at all. Their parents are doing a terrific job raising them...for the most part...except for the dirty dirty environment. I feel the kids wouldn't be sick as much if the house was clean.

I seriously doubt a cleaning company would take the job and we really can't afford it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 10:41AM
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Don't sweat it! As long as the kids are happy, that is the most important thing. As long as they are happy with the way they live, there is nothing you can do to change things. They are adults.

If they love their kids the kids may change things but they are the only ones who can. If the kids get embarassed to bring their friends home they will get on the parents case.

As for being healthier. I doubt it. Kids raised in a completely sterile environment tend to get sick oftener because they are not exposed to germs.

Take the febreeze with you when you visit(for yourself), but don't let them see you using it. Enjoy your grandkids and ignore the mess.

1 Like    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 9:40AM
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My niece has a messy home, really messy. She made a comment about wanting her kids to get married and move out. I told her if they meet someone they like and want to have a relationship with and they bring them home to meet you and see your home???? You won't like the kind of person who will put up with that.

Poverty and filth breeds poverty and filth.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 10:18PM
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How judgmental!! Not everyone who lives in poverty lives in filth and not everyone who is rich is clean. The rich can just afford to pay someone to clean for them.

If her kids were old enough to get married they were old enough to do some cleaning too.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 6:13PM
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Oh my goodness alamator! I know exactly how you feel. My daughter and SIL's house is in the same condition. I've worried for years that someone would call health services and our grandson will be taken away. My husband and I don't know what more we can do to help them see that they need to do something about the state of their house. It isn't as if they don't have time - our DD is a SAHM. SIL has a good job but spends all his home time playing video games.

The only difference between your situation and ours is that we live 15 miles from them so we've never had to stay at their house. In your place, I'm afraid I'd have to risk hurt feelings and tell them that staying at their house just isn't possible. Stay at a nearby hotel, pick up the grands and take them to the park, movies, zoo...whatever.

I realize that's easy for me to say as I can pop in and kidnap my grandson almost anytime I want to.

I have no idea how my daughter became such a horrible housekeeper. I've wracked my brain and just don't get it. I also am sure there is nothing I can do or say to change her or her husband. I hope they will outgrow it (they are in their late 20s) but don't see that happening. In the meantime, I focus on my grandson and make sure he's a happy and healthy kid.

Good luck to you alamator. I hope you can enjoy your next visit!!

1 Like    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 12:43PM
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Sorry I have been out of town. And yes I am being judgmental. There are exceptions, but over all a dirty home is the norm for kids who live in it. They can't even have a normal relationships with friends because they can't have friends over. Would you let your children go for a sleep over with a friend who's home was filthy, roaches and quite often fleas. When my grand kids spent a couple of days with their other grand parents they would come home with bites all over them. The other grandparents had 5 kids and when the youngest girl was still at home, she got a job, put a lock on her bedroom door, hung curtains, bought sheets for the bed and in general clean her living area up. She also left home as soon as she could, married a nice guy which she could not have done if she had taken him to meet her parents in their home.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 11:13AM
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As much as all you people hate dirty homes and I'm not a fan of them either, there is nothing to be done with those who wish to live that way. You can make your wishes known but if they choose to ignore what you say there is nothing you can do.

You cannot change others just because you wish to, even if you think it's better for the kids.

The only thing you are in charge of is how YOU react to the situation. You can leave and not come back, you can refuse to enter their house or you can call the childrens aid and have the kids removed from the house, or even sue for custody. Every one of these things come with consequences.

The alternative is to put up with the situation and do what you have to do to tolerate it. You can have the grandkids to stay with you occasionally and teach by example how things should be.

1 Like    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 7:15PM
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You can also do as my sister does, she orders her daughter to have a clean bed for her to sleep in when she comes for a visit.

My sons were raise in a clean home and they picked up their own room and straightened the covers on their beds as soon as they were old enough to understand and do it. When they first married they tried to make their wives clean their home, but it was a hopeless job. You can not change anyone's character, they have to want to change.

I think there is a lot more behind living in filth than just being lazy. The ones I know with that kind of home have mental problems. They are not bipolar or manic depressive, just unstable.

I have never spent a night in my son's homes or had a meal there and I don't make an issue of it because you could not pay me to sleep in filth and with bugs that accompany it.

1 Like    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 11:21AM
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sounds like depression, discouragement, learned helplessness, something.

& they're embarrassed because it's a mess & they know it's a mess, but they feel like it's futile to try to do anything about it.

(Can you tell I have packrats & messy houskeepers in my family?)

I'd *never* report anyone to a "department" unless the children were in immediate danger.

Health & welfare departments aren't like dogs,
you can't call them off:

Once they enter the picture, they have the power & you don't.

Don't "report" your family.

even if you have to go over there with your own mop & bucket of water .

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 11:57AM
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Our last visit in October, we flew out to see them and rented a car. We agreed to meet at a neutral location at a mountain resort. I could not handle going to their house. We even paid for their room. They keep saying they want to sell their house and move to the mountains but they know they can't show their house the way it is. I'm at a loss.

We are going for another visit in February and I AM going to take a can or two of Febreeze with us. It's pitiful.

My DD said the last time "it got bad...we had to spray for fleas".

Like I said before, I'm no clean freak by any imagination and I am dreading going to their house. But it's the price we pay to see the grandkids.

(I'm wretching and itching already)

1 Like    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 10:51PM
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Are you a neat freak or is her home really Health Dept. material?

If you honestly think it needs to be cleaned and reset, offer to babysit one evening so that these parents can go out alone.
With a 6 and 2 year old, I can't imagine that they get much alone time!

Then while they are gone clean the bathroom to your standard while a load of wash is in.

Let it be done without fanfare.

She will appreciate the help without lecture !

I am going to assume that it won't change a thing but at least you will feel that you made a difference while you were there.

You know, some people don't see messiness as a bad thing!!

I am a neat freak and know exactly how you feel.
But I've learned many things in my lifetime.
Trust me on this one !

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:40AM
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If you can afford to treat everyone to a mountain resort, you can afford to stay in a hotel near their house whenever you go to visit.

To quote Mark Twain "House guests are like fish, they begin to smell in 3 days."

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:58PM
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I feel your frustration, confusion, and revulsion to what your grandchildren are living in. My daughter and SOL are such wonderful parents, but their home that my two 4-yr. old twin granddaughters and one 6-yr. old grandson live in is not just messy, but extremely filthy and definitely a health hazard. The bathroom is the worst. You can't even see the trash container for all the trash spilling out of it (I won�t go into detail about the rest of the bathroom, but it�s very bad). My grandkids are constantly tripping over "stuff" left all over the floors. The couches reek of dog smell and there are huge stains on them that really stink. The carpet is so bad, stains everywhere (I've steam cleaned it a couple times), that I hate to see my grandkids playing on it. I don't think the kitchen or bathroom floors have ever been mopped, unless I did it. Dirty towels are everywhere. The kitchen can often be disgusting with old food lying on the counters, flies buzzing around the food and dirty dishes. A couple years ago, my grandson picked up a tippy cup and drank what he thought was fresh milk. The milk had been left out so long it curdled and was rotten. He threw up afterwards and will not drink milk to this day.
My daughter and SOL love their kids very much, will take them fishing, camping, playing in the park, to the library, horseback riding (friends have horses), to grammy & grandpa's house, but trying to keep things a little clean and have some order in their home is not important to them. Unfortunately, while they are modeling how to have a loving, fun environment to their kids, they're also modeling "it's okay to live in filth and squalor" which I know will hurt my grandkids as they get older. I've already read posts online where these types of kids have grown up and say they were embarrassed about their filthy homes, friends weren't allowed to go play there (I already see this happening with my grandkids' friends). How does the constant disorder in the home affect them when they�re at school? How will it affect their future relationships? As they grow older, what if they fall in love with someone who is used to a somewhat clean environment?
I've tried to help clean, do laundry (dirty and clean clothes and everywhere with cat and dogs sleeping on them), but it seemed to help for that day only and they were back to a filthy, germ-infested house within a week. I'm so frustrated after visiting my grandkids yesterday, that I can't sleep for worrying and fretting over what to do, how I can help. It's overwhelming to me and I can�t afford to pay for a cleaning person to come in even once a month (laid off from job). My grandkids also are sick a lot with sneezing, coughing, runny noses and watery eyes. Also, they get fleas on them, in their hair and around their toes. My daughter grew up in a clean home that occasionally would get a little messy, but cleaning bathrooms, bed sheets, laundry, etc., was done on a WEEKLY basis, dishes on a daily basis, and I had to work full-time to provide the needed health & dental ins. for my family.
Now, someone is probably going to say that if you think you're overwhelmed, just think how your daughter and SOL must feel. Believe me, I understand. I took one year off work and helped my daughter with the twins when they came home from ICU and with my then 2-yr. old grandson. I cleaned every day, helped with the diapers, feeding, etc. You know, though, if they would just "chip away" on a daily basis at the dishes, trash, etc., the state of the home wouldn�t be as bad as it is and they wouldn�t feel so overwhelmed/out of control. It�s frustrating when I think of how my twin granddaughters struggled for life while in ICU for 2 mos., how they were constantly monitored and specially cared for, with several churches praying for them, and they joy when they were able to go home, and now they live in such filthy conditions.
I have never talked to my daughter or SOL about this wondering if she would get offended, or so embarrassed, that she will not want me or grandpa to go to their house anymore. However, what is the truly loving thing to do? I believe there are times people need to step in with loved ones and say they are concerned, ask how they can help, etc. I feel better knowing there are other grandparents out there like me who are concerned re this issue. Thanks for listening.

1 Like    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 5:20AM
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My daughter is also a non cleaner of her house. And, she is also a hoarder of everything; nothing is put away, so the house is like a tip. If I go to babysit I always put the first load of washing on; the dishes in the kitchen come next then I go find the other dirty dishes in all the rooms and wash them as well. Usually then I can hang out the 1st load of washing and put on the 2nd, and so it goes on. I love getting some clean clear spaces in her home. But you know what? It makes no difference at all to the way she lives - next time I arrive I find the exact same mess and chaos. But she loves her children and they her.
When I first used to visit her in her home I would leave in tears wondering what I had done in my parenting? But like you all, we cleaned our houses, washed, ironed, put away everything (most days) and loved bringing up our kids. Playing with them and reading to them were normal daily activities.
One of my daughters children said to me one day after seeing me in the kitchen washing dishes again "grandma you are fussy". She's used to the chaos and mess, and I am the odd troubled one!
Sometimes I wonder!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 4:05AM
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Does your daughter work? Did you work when your kids were young? Sometimes when you're being a Mom and working, even if only part time you just have to choose your priorities. Would I rather spend time with my kids or clean house? Obviously I would choose the former. Keep my hubbie happy? Or clean the house? It can go on and on. As far as the smell of dog, you're going to get that in any house with an indoor dog (I don't care how clean you except for a few breeds) - the people living in the house no longer smell it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:07PM
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I know this forum started a few years ago but I was doing a google search on how to handle telling a child they need to clean up their house. I thought it was only my child but after reading these posts I feel a bit better about it, a little. I too thought it was something I did wrong in her upbringing. My major concern is they live in a 2 story house, the 3 children's bedroom are all upstairs and there is no escape passage for them. They would have to come down the steep stairs (this home is over a 100 years old and the children's bedrooms is what was once an attic). I am so concerned if there was a emergency in the middle of the night the floors of the bedrooms have stuff everywhere the kids would trip and fall and never get out safe. Tonight I was skyping with one of my granddaughters and I told her about my fear. Later, still skpying but now my daughter is in the conversation, I told her what I had said to my granddaughter and she said, I know Mom I've told them the same thing many of times. I was furious. The children are 3, 6 and 13. Isn't it a parents responsibility to make sure the safety of their children is their priority. I was skyping with the 6 year old who shares a room with the 3 year old, they aren't old enough to understand safety concerns. I am struggling whether to say something as my daughter will be furious. But if I don't and something happens will she ever forgive herself, or will I?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 9:30PM
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I realize this is an old post (I am new here) but I just want to say, I feel for each & everyone of you. Been there, done that. My oldest Grandson is going to be 13 soon & he often makes comments to me & his Papa about wanting to live with us because his own home is so dirty & stinky (6 dogs, 1 cat, 4 fish tanks, turtles, pet rats, etc). It breaks my heart...I have spoken to both my daughter & SIL about this, they just shrug it off like it's no big deal! Seriously...maybe if our oldest Grandson came to live with us, they would wake up. I doubt it though (sigh). I will say that it is in better shape most times than it was when they were all smaller, I think the kids do better picking up after themselves. I can only hope that things continue to improve & maybe by the time they are all old enough to have friends over, they will be able to clean themselves first. Not that they should HAVE to...

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 11:12AM
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I hate to say it but kids raised in messy homes usually live that way all of their life. My Sis's home was messy, she just didn't clean until she had to. She has 4 daughters and all are messy though my sis did change when she married someone who wanted it clean. One daughter is the same way, her husband insisted it be clean. Both of those men are professional men. The other 3 daughters are slobs.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 8:05PM
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My home never looked like my daughters, not even close. She was raised to be neat & clean, you can't always blame it on their raising...just saying.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Nothing you can do, just stay in a hotel and meet in public places.

Don't call the health department. They probably won't take the kids away, but if they do, it's horribly traumatic for kids--and as someone else said, once CPS is involved they don't go away fast. And if your kids ever get a whiff that you were the one who called, that will be the end of the relationship.

People do have the right to raise their kids in mess. There's disgusting mess, and there's health hazard mess. You'd be surprised how much mess is permitted.

Most people do not want mom and dad cleaning their house; it's a privacy thing. If you really want to help, hire a weekly cleaning service, they run about $45 a week around here. I know you said you really can't afford it, but maybe if it bothers you enough you'll find the money. But you certainly aren't obligated.

Best plan is just stay in the hotel and have them over there.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:39PM
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I don't think it is their raising, I think they may grow up thinking it is the norm and it's okay to be like that. My son's kept their rooms clean and when they married, it took awhile for them to get used to the mess. One daughter in law was raised sleeping on beds with no sheets for years, so you can imagine what the rest of the house looked like.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:32PM
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