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A friend's house is filthy, WWYD? Updated - Page 2

post #21 of 65

^well until you have walked in someone else's shoes there is no room to judge.  I don't understand why you keep posting your judgmental statements.  I don't feel like it is helpful at all.  Everyone's situation is different.  Good for you for getting through all of that and keeping your house spotless.  Not everyone responds to stress or depression the same way.  The point is that she needs help, not to be scorned and judged.  We don't know her or what her situation is.  As Mom's we need to remember compassion and love and understanding.  Yes this situation needs to be remedied but posting judgmental and condescending things isn't going to help anything.

post #22 of 65

It really isn't helpful to take one person's strengths and capabilities and try to apply them to another person's situation.

 

On the surface, it doesn't seem that difficult to scoop cat poop (I really find it laughable that people are boasting about their ability to "care for two cats"... like really, how hard is it to "care" for something that does nothing all day and craps in a box?), or put laundry away or vacuum the house but when all those meaningless little tasks fall on the shoulders of someone already in a bad place and overwhelmed by it all, a lot people's reaction is to do nothing. Then all those little tasks turn into one big disgusting mess. 

 

When I said "we've all been there", I meant we've all reached points in our lives where everything seemed hopeless (if not, some people might want to research the clinical definition of "psychopathy".), not that we've all lived in vermin infested filthy disaster areas. 

 

...and when some people post on topics like this, they should first ask themselves if what they're typing is going to helpful to someone else or if they just want anonymous strangers on the internet to know how great they are?

post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escaping View Post

 

Last I checked, college, a part time job and a newborn didn't run around pooping and shedding in your home wink1.gif

 

 

I have two young children and a third on the way. I was balancing working, being a student, taking care of the children and being pregnant. My home was never filthy. Now I have just dropped one thing, which is the job. My house has toys on the floor, but i would not have a cat if I couldn't clean up after it or keep the cat litter in check. I would never have a bathroom with such filth, or that many dirty dishes. This woman sounds like she needs some serious help. I would start by asking what I could do to help and expressing my concern. I would then maybe offer to bring a group of friends over to clean as a service project. I would suggest getting rid of pets and getting rid of things and learning to keep things picked up. This sounds terrible!

 

I also have many family members and friends with plenty of kids and lots to do. Their homes may be messy, but never could be described this way. 

post #24 of 65

I always had cats. Cleaning the litter box takes 5 minutes a day or even a week if you have the electric kind.

 

 Getting up and moving around as well as completing some tasks helps to improve one mood.

 

 

Medication and therapy are great modalities when one fight depression, but one must get up every day and do things,  just like a person with  diabetes must  check his blood sugar and inject insulin. Mental illness does not get some sort of special pass in life.

 

I am speaking as person who suffered from deep loss and depression after wards.

 

 

Talk yo your friend because if you do not, someone will get sick or someone will call CPS.

 

Make a task list together. Discuss strategies.  Encourage her.

 

Practically speaking, if you have money, maybe you can buy them a few take out dinners so she can concentrate on cleaning whole day.

post #25 of 65

Really agree with escaping's comments.

 

I also note that no where in the OP is there any suggestion that this woman's kids are neglected. Yes her house does sound to be getting out of control, especially if she can't clean up for a playdate, but OTOH, if I was struggling and had a straight choice between prioritizing my kids and the emotional connection to them and emptying a cat litter tray I know what I'd go for. If I had a choice between spending days in bed with the baby (as I understand it) and being a wreck with a tidy house, I know which I hope I'd go for. 

 

I think, yes, there are elements of the house that are unsanitary but the reality is that in 21st century America no one is going to die or probably even get sick. TBH if this has been going on some time everyone will have had toxoplasmosis and anything else they are going to get, if the cats carry it-although she needs to be a bit more careful with the baby. I'd forget the house, its not as important as her. How did she actually come across? Was she depressed? Can you take her out and the baby out, somewhere your kids can run, and just talk? (I'd explain that its hard at your kids ages to be cooped up and would she mind meeting outside, you could sub her a coffee)

 

I have friends like this actually, whose houses are, tbh, so bad that they won't have people over. But they are lovely people and their kids are cared for. There is an extent to which we do all have different priorities and for some of us, being tidy isn't one of them. So long as it can be gotten enough under control that no one gets sick, that's ok tbh. I do think its often indicative of mental health issues, but I don't think that this means the priority should be cleaning, or that she's of concern regarding her kids. 

 

Lets also not forget that this woman has a history of PPD-which I presume she has dealt with sucessfully herself once before? And also she's making the 1-2 transition which is hard on us all.

 

Unless you have a child protection concern then no I wouldn't bother calling CPS. Certainly over here, they'd laugh at you, they have enough to be doing with actual kids at actual risk without supervising people's domestic schedule.

 

Oh and to add too. I've worked out of home with kids. I've worked in home with kids. I've been a SAHM. I think being a WOHM has a lot of stresses, yes, but don't underestimate those of a SAHM with a young baby. Just physically having kids in the house makes mess. People assume that its easy for a SAHM to clean but its often not, not if you have the kind of kid who hates being put down, not if, tbh, you'd rather enjoy your kids while they are babies than clean a toilet. If your priorities were a clean house when your kids were young, awesome and good for you. But I don't look back on those years and say "wow. I so regret that time I didn't do the dishes."

 

ETA I really do want to stress this. Several people have suggested going over to clean, getting a team together to clean. Honestly, if you can muster that energy the priority is not her house. It is her and her children. Take her out, have a chat and take it from there. Sounds like she needs a non-judgmental friend , or a few of them, far more than folded and put away laundry.


Edited by Fillyjonk - 3/18/13 at 1:09am
post #26 of 65

I'm on the fence about calling social services, honestly.  If they can actually help, then that is a great thing.  I don't know much about how they operate and what resources they've had.  And, of course, I've heard horror stories, but the personal stories I've known usually go in the opposite direction, not enough involvement. My sister has had social services called on her (it wasn't called CPS, as far as I know), and they investigated and left.  Nothing was done, other than they told her she would have to give her children the big bedroom.  Her neighbor called to report her for running an unlicensed daycare (because she had 6 kids), so maybe the division that investigates that is not related to the one that investigates child neglect situations, but her house was pretty dirty.  They didn't have pets, nor feces on the toilet, but the house was terribly cluttered, dirty and things falling apart, and that wasn't really an issue, so I think depending on the municipality, they may not be as intrusive.

 

I think if she has PPD and a husband who refuses to help out in his own home, unable to see how his wife is suffering and saying it's her job, then he is potentially abusive, at least emotionally so, unless he, too, is suffering from depression (or diabetes, which I only say because my sister's husband did nothing at home but sleep, and would sleep for 17 hours straight on his day off, and eventually he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes). So even if they come and try and help her, it won't do any good that I can see if he is not on board. But I think if somehow you and maybe other friends or relatives she might have around, could help and organize and clean things for her, maybe she could keep things somewhat clean.  And if she can't, then at that point something else might need to be done.

 

I have clutter in my house, I hate it, it depresses me all by itself, and I have a hard time organizing it.  But cleaning up actual dirt isn't a problem for me--I prefer to clean things like kitchens and bathrooms where I'm scrubbing stuff.  I hate trying to figure out where all these papers and toys are suppose to go.  I think her trying to declutter is a sign that she is trying to accomplish something, and things can look much worse when you are in the process of cleaning up.  So maybe she is just shutting the door on the rooms she doesn't want to deal with at the moment. But I'd just concentrate on the cleaning aspects at first, because that is something that you could do in bits and spurts, if you were so inclined.

 

As far as the toys all over the place, some people have rooms like that.  My 9 year old has a terribly cluttered room, and I try to pick something up in it everyday, and I finally had to force her to clean up her room, including under the bed, which she thought was pointless.  But it was a junk heap under there, and I was on the verge of just throwing it all away.

post #27 of 65

OP, do not call social services. That would be a big mistake. Like someone said upthread, once they're in, they're in. If you are friends with this chick, and are concerned enough about her situation that you have posted here, here's a suggestion. Find a babysitter for your kids one day soon (if possible). Make a huge, yummy casserole and bring it over there. Tell the mom that you want to help and that you want to help clean the most important parts of the house to help her... those being the kitchen, bathrooms and cat litter situation. Never mind about the clutter. Take a day and do just those things for her. Open the windows, get some clean air in there, make the mom some tea, and get her other kid/s occupied in a safe area and take care of it. We've all been there. Busy with new baby and other small kids and things just get out of hand. DH should be helping her. That is terrible. Some people are messy, untidy, but being unclean is not good. Part of being a good mother is keeping a clean and safe home environment for your kids. I'd rather have toys everywhere on a clean floor than have a dirty house... any day. Sometimes the kids have to be #2 for an hour or two if the house is as filthy as you say it is. I don't advocate movie/tv watching, but hey, if it works to take care of a situation such as this one, so be it. I suggested you be the one to clean because it will look more like you want to help her and be a friend vs hiring someone she doesn't know to clean her house. You two can talk, she is comfortable with you, her kids know you, etc. Maybe you can find out what the root of the problem is. Maybe she'll even pitch in to help. Seeing part of her house clean may motivate her to do the rest of it. Seriously, there is no excuse for filth in a house with children. Clutter and s*&t everywhere is a whole different animal and is not as imperative as cleaning the feces off the toilet.

post #28 of 65
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to say that I agree completely that toys everywhere aren't a huge deal. It was more that they're everywhere, mixed in with cat litter and probably mouse droppings because they have never been picked up to clean the floors underneath them.

She has a friend that I have met a couple of times, that I think I will contact to see if we can come up with a plan together. I know she once hired this friend to help with cleaning, so she isn't new to the situation either. Like I said I am reluctant to call and report anything unless we try and things are still bad or worse. Thanks so much for your replies and suggestions, they have given me lots to think about!
post #29 of 65

Kristah1000 - you sound like a good and caring friend, which is exactly what she needs right now. I have a dear friend in somewhat the same situation, and I have learned that all I can do for her is to listen, non-judgmentally. I did help her clean one time, maybe a year ago, but the house quickly returned to its earlier state. Now, I think she is embarrassed to let me see inside again. I am trying to get my friend to seek help - depression meds will be the 1st step, I think. But for now, taking her out for a coffee occasionally is the best I can do. I don't have any answers, but I think it is good that you care.
 

post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

Kristah1000 - you sound like a good and caring friend, which is exactly what she needs right now. I have a dear friend in somewhat the same situation, and I have learned that all I can do for her is to listen, non-judgmentally. I did help her clean one time, maybe a year ago, but the house quickly returned to its earlier state. Now, I think she is embarrassed to let me see inside again. I am trying to get my friend to seek help - depression meds will be the 1st step, I think. But for now, taking her out for a coffee occasionally is the best I can do. I don't have any answers, but I think it is good that you care.

 


Does your friend have children? It's not okay for children to live in filth and never have anyone come visit. You are not doing the children any favors.
post #31 of 65

I'm with the people who would get a team together to get things cleaned up. I'd focus on the stuff that could cause illness - feces, cat stuff, that kind of thing. Clean out the fridge too - IMO kids should be able to open a fridge and find something to eat without having to worry about what's OK. But I wouldn't call CPS over something fixable like a dirty house. I'd help her clean and help her get some strategies together to keep it clean. IMO it does need to be at least made more sanitary, even if it remains cluttered. Even if you don't call CPS, someone else might, and I'd get it cleaned up before anyone does.

post #32 of 65

"Just wanted to say that I agree completely that toys everywhere aren't a huge deal. It was more that they're everywhere, mixed in with cat litter and probably mouse droppings because they have never been picked up to clean the floors underneath them.


She has a friend that I have met a couple of times, that I think I will contact to see if we can come up with a plan together. I know she once hired this friend to help with cleaning, so she isn't new to the situation either. Like I said I am reluctant to call and report anything unless we try and things are still bad or worse. Thanks so much for your replies and suggestions, they have given me lots to think about!"

 

Want to second the poster who said that she's lucky to have such a caring friend. It IS tricky, I agree. I think you are taking very much the right approach here in trying to develop your relationship and see what she wants first. I don't see any point in just cleaning up for her, its very clear that there are deeper issues here.

 

My question would really be, aside from the health side do you have any concerns about her relationship with her kids? How was she with them when you were there?

post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

I think, yes, there are elements of the house that are unsanitary but the reality is that in 21st century America no one is going to die or probably even get sick. TBH if this has been going on some time everyone will have had toxoplasmosis and anything else they are going to get, if the cats carry it-although she needs to be a bit more careful with the baby. 

 

I think some people are too quick to forget this. No matter how clean someone keeps their cats, it doesn't change the fact that cats step in their letterbox and track the urine and feces everywhere.

 

I grew up on a farm as did many kids around me, you could say we "lived in filthy conditions" too because most of our days were spent in a barn. Cats, mice, dogs, horses... everything pooped and no one ever cleaned it up (until it was time to load manure onto a trailer and move it to the garden! lol). Our clothes were always filthy from being where we weren't supposed to be, no one ever got sick from it. I don't ever recall going all the way inside to wash our hands before we ate anything.

post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escaping View Post

 

I think some people are too quick to forget this. No matter how clean someone keeps their cats, it doesn't change the fact that cats step in their letterbox and track the urine and feces everywhere.

 

I grew up on a farm as did many kids around me, you could say we "lived in filthy conditions" too because most of our days were spent in a barn. Cats, mice, dogs, horses... everything pooped and no one ever cleaned it up (until it was time to load manure onto a trailer and move it to the garden! lol). Our clothes were always filthy from being where we weren't supposed to be, no one ever got sick from it. I don't ever recall going all the way inside to wash our hands before we ate anything.

Very true. We used to live in a 900 sq ft house with 3 indoor cats and a 170 lb dog. It drove me nuts to keep up with the fur and cat litter pieces, but the mess can be minimized greatly. I kept very good track of the cats especially near the litter box. I was very diligent in vacuuming frequently, getting the disinfectant wipes and cleaning the floor in the immediate perimeter of the litter box, scooped it out daily, washed it and changed the litter weekly, and whatever else had to be done. If you don't stay on top of it, you'll lose control of it. Sounds like this is the case here. She needs help.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post


Does your friend have children? It's not okay for children to live in filth and never have anyone come visit. You are not doing the children any favors.

I agree. There really is no excuse for filth. Clutter, yes. Filth, no.

post #35 of 65
Is this the first time you have ever been to her house?

If so, as a former CPS investigator, my money is on her house having always looked like this. It's the way some people live. Baseline for this house is probably everything except the dirty bathroom. Hence the comment pointing out that she hasn't cleaned it in awhile. I'd think there is definitely some sort of mental illness going on, but If someone can plan a play date for 5 days in advance and stick to it, they could probably wipe the poop off the toilet seat 5 minutes before you get there. It's probably not as big a deal for her as it is for you.

That's just my two cents....
post #36 of 65

Wow, reading this thread has made me realize how kindly a friend or 2 were trying to help me over a decade ago when I was overwhelmed & bordering on PPD... there wasn't a feces or a rodent problem, but my house was a mess w dirty dishes, tub ring, laundry, etc. Some of the things suggested are actually what my friends did that helped (although I didn't realize it at the time):

 

going outside/ out for coffee once in a while together (with or without babe/s in tow)

inviting me to their house (I saw another mom's struggle, but a good example, too)

asking -me- for advice to -them- re getting on a cleaning routine (1st w bathroom, then kitchen, etc)

one went as far as to offer for me to clean her house for pay (maybe just motivate me? or as an opportunity to give much deserved praise on cleaning, so I'd feel more able/ less in a rut? to boost my esteem by earning a little spending $? It did help, btw)

***FLYlady dot net*** (this is the single most helpful tool I have ever seen for LOVINGLY, non-judgementally, but also effectively teaching ONESELF to establish household routines that work, step by step, esp if you weren't "born organized" like some of the PP who just don't seem to understand what the issue is)

one friend actually offered to do the FLY lady beginning steps with me & we chatted about it daily (although she'd been doing FLY lady for years)

 

Also, as some PP have mentioned, the spouse is part of the problem-- they're -HIS- children, too, living in a mess! IME, everything changed when my MW offered prozac, & I suddenly realized *I* was not depressed, but I was in a *depressing* relationship... if your friend is in anything like a similar situation, the things (in addition to the above) that helped were:

 

constant care & emotional support from dear friends like you!

counseling

boundaries-setting advice/ reality checks, and ultimately

leaving (he was abusive in many other ways) the relationship

 

I won't claim that I am now the tidiest person ever, now that it has been years & healing has occured & my dc are older & I am in a loving relationship, but I know that although there's another baby on the way & a risk of PPD, I never need to go back there... and I know the way/s to seek help if needed. It seems like your friend just does not know how to begin, yet, but I hope you can help her find it.

post #37 of 65
I am also on team "clean-up help"

Maybe it won't last, but it's a nice thing to do for a new mom, and it will make her feel better.

And convince her to find a new home for that cat. It's obviously more than she can handle right now.

As far as mice, you could try finding an enclosed trap (safe for kids) with good ratings on Amazon and sending a link with, " i heard this was a great trap..." that might work. How bad is the mouse problem?
post #38 of 65
Thread Starter 
So I contacted 2 of her other friends, one of whom visited her yesterday and described the house in the same state, so my friend didn't clean up for her either. Both are very concerned. We are going to contact her mom today and try to set up a meeting with her so we can come up with a plan of action.

Also I talked to my friend tonight and she told me that she is seeing a dr tomorrow for PPD. She said she"lost it" with her 3 year old and "it wasn't pretty", and if anyone had seen what happened they would have reported her. I don't know exactly what took place. She said she has been having a hard time with anger and wanting to throw things. I suggested throwing a pillow at a wall or something but she said it wasn't heavy enough...also a few weeks ago I was on the phone with her and she was nursing the baby. When she bit her, she yelled "you little b----!". I am glad she is seeing a dr for sure.

So, that's the update. The two friends have both been involved with cleaning her house before, and I get the sense that this is a last ditch effort for them too. We can't just go in every few months and clean up, they have to maintain it and if they don't, and things are still unsafe, I suspect one of them will call CPS.
post #39 of 65

Depression is, fundamentally, anger that is being turned inward.  There is plenty in her situation for her to be angry about, for sure.  The good news is that this anger can be a source of energy for cleaning--she can use it to aggressively throw away clutter, or to violently tackle a difficult mess.  "Throwing a cleaning fit" is what I call it.  I'm glad to hear that she is getting help for PPD.

 

I thought that all of Mum4vr's suggestions were great ones.  This mom doesn't need any more crap to deal with, she needs someone to support her and encourage her.

post #40 of 65

I am so glad that she is seeing her Dr. for PPD.  I hope that she is able to get some help.  From what you said about her Husband I just feel like there are a lot of issues going on there and I think that whatever the plan is, he needs to be on board and be helping...I think it is very wrong that he is not being more helpful/proactive in this.

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