Inlaws house is too dirty! WWYD? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[Let me preface this by saying that I am not a neat freak or a germaphobe.]  

 

Their house:  Our 10 month old cannot even crawl on the floor because it is so dirty.  There are pieces of bark-o-mulch on carpet, dogs pee on it, cords and things for him to pull down everywhere (not baby proofed at all), super cluttered (crowed full of stuff, they are organized hoarders, so there is barely an floor space as it is), bath tub is not suitable for a bath (I don't even want to shower in there), the house is smelly, they keep the heat up too high, it feels claustrophobic..........you get the idea.  Oh yeah, to top it off, they have mice from time to time as well. 

 

When our baby was born we decided we would get a hotel when we visited.  That was doable since we only came a few times a year. We moved and now we only live an hour and a half away....so that's likely where we'll be going for most holidays and celebrations...plus his mom just shattered her knee, so they're not coming to us for a while.  

 

We actually have visited 2 weekends this month to cheer up his mom by seeing the grandbaby and help a little with cooking and cleaning while she's stuck on the couch.  We tried staying at their house again and hated it (big surprise).  It's just not doable long term with the baby.

 

I just don't know what a good solution is.  We can't continue to stay there and keep a crawling standing baby in arms or sitting on the couch forever.....but we can't afford a hotel every time either...plus there's the whole aspect of being offensive to them.  If we don't go there, we stay by ourselves for the holidays....which I don't feel is fair to all of the other relatives that want to see the baby.  ...and our next closest family is 15 hours away.

 

Ugh, I feel like this is a lose-lose situation. 

We're trying to decide today if we should book a hotel...but I keep thinking, "we can't afford a hotel every time we visit!"

 

What would you do?

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#2 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 08:44 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you had to visit such a dirty place. I've been there and done that! My mother lived that way for years and I couldn't stand it! How does your husband feel about the mess? If he's on your side about and feels the same way you do then its easier. I think you have to talk to them about it even though it will be hard to do and their feelings will get hurt or you have to find a new place to stay when you visit. Do they have family members that live in the same town that you can stay with rather then a hotel or with them? I once babysat for a family with a very dirty house,one time and I refused to do it again (they wanted to hire me full time) b/c I couldn't breath there b/c of the cat pee smell. So I told them sorry,but I really can't breath b/c of the cat pee,it's to strong for me and there isn't a place I feel comfortable playing with the baby b/c of all the boxes there. I offered to help do a clean sweep with the mom over a couple of days,she seemed interested but then said no. 

 

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#3 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamita:  Yes, dh is totally on the same page as me.  He wants to get the hotel....but we don't have very much money right now, and I keep thinking "can we really get a hotel every time we go there?!"

 

I've thought about staying with another family member, but the problem I keep running into is that we'd be at the in laws house the whole day anyway, since we're visiting them....but at least the baby would be able to crawl around for a few hours, and get a bath, I suppose.  There are 2 relatives, but dh is not very close to them.  I'll bring up the idea, but he'll probably say he'd rather stay in a hotel.  He refers to one of them as the "ice queen."  The other relative would be nice. (nice house, they love babies) ...but dh would probably feel awkward.  I'll ask him about it when he gets home though. 

 

His bachelor brother lives in town too, but it's not much better.  We actually tried staying there last time.  He knew in advance that we were coming and there were lit candles, broken glass, and knives on the floor!! (...not to mention that it wasn't vacuumed and the gross bathroom)

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#4 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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I think ultimately, your child's safety, health, and wellbeing are most important.  Staying at their place doesn't sound reasonable, getting a hotel every time doesn't sound reasonable, and staying with someone else doesn't sound like a great compromise for every visit either.

 

I think your husband needs to talk to his parents and explain that although you guys love them and want to see them, its too difficult.  It will only get worse as your baby walks more and more and grows into toddlerhood.  I know there is no way my kiddo would have stayed on the couch once she was 6 months old.  at 21 months, i'm lucky if she won't throw a tantrum having to stay in the same room.

 

their feelings will get hurt, but they need to know that their home isn't safe for your child and its not fair to put your child's health at risk or force her to not be able to get around as she grows.  It also isn't reasonable to spend money on hotels or to stay with someone else just to see them at every single visit.  Unfortunately, fewer visits might be the only option until their home is safer for a child.  They might balk or drag their feet or insist that you are blowing things out of proportion and just being a worrywart, but it is definitely not unreasonable to kindly explain the situation, especially if you make it clear that you honestly want to help so you can see them more often.

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#5 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post

I think ultimately, your child's safety, health, and wellbeing are most important.  Staying at their place doesn't sound reasonable, getting a hotel every time doesn't sound reasonable, and staying with someone else doesn't sound like a great compromise for every visit either.

 

I think your husband needs to talk to his parents and explain that although you guys love them and want to see them, its too difficult.  It will only get worse as your baby walks more and more and grows into toddlerhood.  I know there is no way my kiddo would have stayed on the couch once she was 6 months old.  at 21 months, i'm lucky if she won't throw a tantrum having to stay in the same room.

 

their feelings will get hurt, but they need to know that their home isn't safe for your child and its not fair to put your child's health at risk or force her to not be able to get around as she grows.  It also isn't reasonable to spend money on hotels or to stay with someone else just to see them at every single visit.  Unfortunately, fewer visits might be the only option until their home is safer for a child.  They might balk or drag their feet or insist that you are blowing things out of proportion and just being a worrywart, but it is definitely not unreasonable to kindly explain the situation, especially if you make it clear that you honestly want to help so you can see them more often.


This is wonderful advice!


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#6 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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If you do end up staying there, I'd suggest bringing a pack n play so you have a clean place to change baby and let her sleep. We always put out a blanket on the floor for baby to play on (although I don't think I've seen a problem as bad as what you are describing), and watch him like a hawk since no-ones place is baby proofed.

 

This is more and more difficult now that he's crawling etc.


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#7 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by texmati View Post

If you do end up staying there, I'd suggest bringing a pack n play so you have a clean place to change baby and let her sleep. We always put out a blanket on the floor for baby to play on (although I don't think I've seen a problem as bad as what you are describing), and watch him like a hawk since no-ones place is baby proofed.

 

This is more and more difficult now that he's crawling etc.



Come to think of it, I wonder what the cost of a hotel would cost vs a one-time cleaning service? We hired someone to do our house when we moved in, and it was around 100 dollars-- the previous owners had left it filthy. That might be less than a 3 day stay at a hotel.


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#8 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 10:12 AM
 
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What about paying for a maid service to come do a deep clean, instead of paying for a hotel.  You could offer it up as a "present".  I agree that you are probably going to have to say something.  I can totally commiserate though because my dad, uncle, and grandfather live together and it's awful.  All the furniture, carpeting is at least 30 years old and so musty..ugh, i can barely breath when I'm over there.  They never clean...it's gross.  I had to stay there once for three weeks with my son while we looked for an apartment...let me tell you, I was out looking everyday. 

 

Maybe they just need a push. 


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#9 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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I have this same problem with my mother's house who also lives an hour an a half away.  Very stressful situation.  I requested that we make one room in her (small) house baby safe, and after much angst and resistance she agreed.  I helped her, and it took an entire day of going through/redistributing crap and moving furniture to get half of her second bedroom clean enough so that I could put my son on the floor to play.  We also put a futon in there we could sleep on.

 

Is something like this possible for you guys?  To continue, when we visit we usually stay with my grandma but in order to do so we have to clean the bathroom/floors and get the room ready ourselves when we get there.  Perhaps that is an option for you guys.  Would your ILs be offended if you cleaned their bathroom to meet your standards?  If you vacuumed?  If you let them know what the issue is would they be open to help in resolving it?  Otherwise, like PPs I think the visits need to diminish...and if they ask why let them know that until your child is older its simply too stressful.

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#10 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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I think offering them a cleaning service as a gift is a good idea,it it's a one time gift otherwise you'll have to do it each time you visit and they won't really understand that their home is so dirty it's wont safe for the baby.

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#11 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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They only live an hour away? That's not far enough to warrant an overnight imo. I'd go in the morning, spend the day & then go home.

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#12 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

They only live an hour away? That's not far enough to warrant an overnight imo. I'd go in the morning, spend the day & then go home.



Agree with this. 

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#13 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

They only live an hour away? That's not far enough to warrant an overnight imo. I'd go in the morning, spend the day & then go home.


 

This still leaves the problem of spending the day at their house.  Based on the description, i'm not sure I'd want kiddo spending just an hour there, much less a whole day.  Besides, spending 3 hours in the car might not be feasible for all people anyway for one reason or another.

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#14 of 19 Old 12-26-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

They only live an hour away? That's not far enough to warrant an overnight imo. I'd go in the morning, spend the day & then go home.


I agree with this.  We live 1 1/2 hours away from my parents, and usually just go for the day.  Sometimes we plan to stay the night or weekend, and then my mom tries to make sure she sweeps or vacuums up the worst of the pet hair and dirt from the floor (they are farmers, so there is plenty of both).  She doesn't always get the bathrooms done, though.  Mostly, I just plan for the kids to get dirty.  However, the situation isn't nearly as bad as the OP described; not sure I'd want my baby or even older children on the floor in that situation.

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#15 of 19 Old 12-29-2010, 11:40 AM
 
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I agree that if they're only 1.5 hrs away then just drive home!

 

I also second maybe hiring a cleaning and/or organizing service for them. Okay, I admit it, I've been watching the show Hoarders lately bag.gif (we don't have tv at home but are on holiday in the US so it's a special treat for me to indulge in American tv), but man I have been impressed with how quickly a room filled with junk and gunk can get cleaned to spotless if a few people work really hard for a couple days.


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#16 of 19 Old 12-29-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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A bit of a vent:

 

I have the same problem with my ILs. They haven't cleaned their bathroom since DH and I got married - October of last year!

They have A LOT of pets, don't sweep or vaccuum, chainsmoke.

They refuse to come visit us, ever, despite having two working vehicles, and being well-off and in good health. I drive the 1.5 hours to visit them every few weeks (DH doesn't drive). They're still complaining about making the same drive to our wedding last year, and don't understand why we didn't just have it in their town (none of our other guests live in that town, and many of our guests were students who didn't have cars to drive out to the country!).

This is more an etiquette/hospitality complaint than a cleanliness one, but when we're there we're never offered anything to eat or drink. Not water, not coffee. I have never had a meal there. Despite driving 1.5 hours each way, they usually suggest we go out and get ourselves fast food. When I have people over to my house, I try to at least offer them coffee or tea or water. If I knew they'd come a long way, I might try to have a snack or meal ready. So it's expensive for us, too, because there's the cost of gas AND food.

I may just be honest with them about my concern, especially about the secondhand smoke. We may also take the insurance off the car, because we're living somewhere with great transit and everything we need in walking distance. If we didn't have a car, they'd have to come see us.

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#17 of 19 Old 12-29-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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my parents are like this too.  i can't imagine them welcoming a cleaning service.  every time i visit my family i try to do basic cleaning (clear off stove top, get moldy stuff out of fridge, etc) and it just freaks them out.

 

i would just suggest they either visit you.  or what i eventually had to do was to drive the 2hrs meet at a restaurant and then drive back.  hell for me and my toddler (dh bailed on me after just a few trips).


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#18 of 19 Old 12-30-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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If it were me, I would say something about the cleanliness. With my DH's Grandma for example, her place isn't filthy, but she has relatives that live there that she allows to smoke in her house. DH and I both told her that we love her and want our child to visit with her, but we won't bring her into a home with active smokers. DH and I don't like going there ourselves and I'm definitely not bringing a baby there. We set it up so that she would come to DH's parents house and we would all get to visit there together. It had the added bonus of allowing us to avoid all the other random relatives that are around her place we don't like redface.gif

However, if you don't want to tell them or can't for some reason, then just tell them that their place isn't babyproofed and you don't expect them to babyproof, so you won't be staying the night there anymore and then I would try to do more day trips and when you want to stay longer do a hotel or look into the other relatives places you mentioned. And once they are able to travel, invite them over a lot smile.gif When you are there, try to spend time outside or out somewhere at a zoo/park/mall/etc. so you aren't having to hang out at their icky house the whole time. Again, if explanation is needed, just mention babyproofing.

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#19 of 19 Old 01-02-2011, 04:10 PM
 
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We have a similar situation but it is my brother & his wife. Their. House. Is. Filthy. Not just cluttered or messy - but filthy. I remember when we were there for their wedding, seeing a pile of used teabags about 8 inches high on their computer desk. Their kitchen is filthy, they don't wash their hands between changing diapers and cooking meals. And seriously? Their kids are sick all the time. I think they are healthy 2 weeks out of the winter, and only slightly more the rest of the year.

 

If their kid spits up on upholstered furniture or a rug, they don't clean it up. Ever. They let their older son run around the house after eating, and he is a sloppy eater with food all over his hands and face. THey don't make him wash after dinner, and he just smears food everywhere. And they don't clean it up, ever. There is rotting food sitting on their countertops, in their sink, behind their sink. Their version of "clean" does not even approach our house on its worst day, and we are not neat freaks! We come across as severe germaphobes when we are with them because their filth is just disgusting to us. Don't get me wrong - we otherwise like them and really enjoy their company! But their house is another story.


Anyways, it's a problem. We have a pass on staying at their house since they don't have anywhere for us to sleep with the kids, but we have the same problem of not wanting to visit them b/c we don't want to deal with our kids in their filth. And we are both pretty grossed out at having to eat food that comes out of their kitchen - both because of the condition of the kitchen and their hygiene habits. Literally - we watched my SIL change their son's very messy poopy diaper and then go right back to cooking without washing her hands.

 

So...I have no answers. I don't feel guilty about being grossed out by them, but I am endlessly frustrated that I don't know what to do - I don't want to just not visit them! They are my family and I love them. We stay in a hotel, and try to visit during good weather so the kids can play mostly outside. We always take them out for at least one meal, and limit our visits to an overnight - but it is over 3 hour drive.

 

I have full empathy for your conundrum. I personally have chosen not to address the situation with them. They know they are slobs - SIL's mother has "jokingly" threatened to call CPS because of the condition of their house. Yet, they think she's exaggerating. Somehow they don't see it for what it is. They make their choices, and it would be so insulting to them if I tried to hire a cleaning service. Plus? A cleaning service couldn't really begin to tackle the problem! We just try to tactfully set the visit up in a way that avoids too much contact with the interior of the house, and give ourselves options for eating out and elsewhere. So frustrating! Good luck...

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