Friend lets her toddler wreck my house. Advice? - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 19 Old 01-28-2011, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
earlyworm's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 34
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I'm not sure if this is the best forum for this question as the kid I'm asking about isn't my own.  But I'll give it a shot.  


I'm not even a mom *quite* yet.  I'm due with my first in a month!  :D


Anyway, I have a friend who has a 17 month old daughter.  They live on our street and so she stops by sometimes while they're out walking.  Her daughter is a sweet wonderful kid and I like her a lot, but she tears my house apart and her mom does nothing!  I don't like to step in and discipline someone else's kid, but what I end up doing is following her around as she pulls books off of shelves and splashes in my dog's water bowl, and generally goes like a tornado through my living room taking everything out of it's place and dumping it on the floor.


I have a chest full of wooden blocks, and a bunch of kid's books/toys/stuffed animals that I try to get her interested in, but her mom does nothing to redirect her to these age appropriate toys.  She just laughs as her kid does whatever she wants and says things like, 'oh you're not baby proofed yet??'...  ARGH!


Then when they leave, she never offers to help pick up all the stuff scattered around my house.  I've already tried to minimize the time they spend over at my house, but what on earth can I say or do about this?  Anything?  


earlyworm is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 19 Old 01-28-2011, 08:01 PM
LynnS6's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,447
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Congratulations on your upcoming little one!


I think you have a couple of choices:

1. Tell the mom this drives you crazy and you know you're not babyproofed yet, but you aren't going to need to be for a few months and could she help clean up/redirect her child please?

2. Take full advantage of your pregnancy and say "Oh gosh, it's really hard for me to bend over these days and pick things up. Could you please help?" (Yes, it's the passive aggressive approach.)

3. Babyproof. Trust me, your child will do all these things too, so this little girl is giving you a good idea of what you will need to babyproof in a few months.


The mom is being rude by not helping keep her occupied/from destroying your house. This behavior of the mom's probably won't change, so you might want to think about how much time you'll want to spend with her, especially when you have a newborn.

creddy likes this.

Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#3 of 19 Old 01-28-2011, 08:10 PM
heartmama's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the bat cave with Irishmommy
Posts: 5,982
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Couple of thoughts-


In a perfect world she would stay right on top of her toddler to prevent this from happening and she would also help clean up.


But in the real world I bet that visits to your house are the highlight of the daily walk for this mother and toddler. And considering all the really dangerous things babies do at 17 months, I doubt the mother thinks a few tossed books or splashed dog water is a big deal. Probably, she thinks she is doing you a favor by letting you see what you are in for. While that isn't her job, it isn't a bad idea to start taking notes.


You mentioned wanting her to re-direct the baby to age-appropriate toys...this is lesson #1--babies ALWAYS want to play with anything but the age appropriate toys! So while the mother SHOULD be teaching baby to clean up the books and splashed water and redirecting to the age appropriate stuff, I bet this mother is picking her battles, and right now just keeping the baby out of danger is all she thinks about. She might honestly not think these things are a big deal.


I was once a young stay at home mom with a 17 month old and it was so LONELY, I was always ecstatic to visit neighbors. My ds probably left many a mess in his wake. I honestly did not always notice since our own house was trashed from his constant activity at that age! So I would cut her some slack.


I would just try to put away any breakables, and grin and bear it until you've babyproofed for your own toddler.

creddy likes this.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
heartmama is offline  
#4 of 19 Old 01-28-2011, 08:11 PM
Tjej's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: a beautiful place
Posts: 1,562
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

If you are willing to risk it try establishing boundaries with the child (like either buy a couple of gates and stay in one room or stand in front of the bookshelf and redirect before the kid gets there).  Or only get together at their place or neutral territory - that helps.


People have very different parenting styles.  Count yourself doubly blessed when you find a mom whose style is 90% like yours and savor those playdates!  You will have this conflict for the rest of your toddler mothering years - you have to decide how you want to proceed and find a way to either let it go or find people who will parent like you.



Tjej is offline  
#5 of 19 Old 01-28-2011, 08:32 PM
ElliesMomma's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,173
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

eh, i blame that other mom.

the question is how can you gently discipline HER?


i get that SAHM of a toddler is monotonous and all. but if someone did this to me on drop in visits, i think i'd start not answering the door.

ElliesMomma is offline  
#6 of 19 Old 01-28-2011, 11:56 PM
Viola's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Nevada
Posts: 22,646
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)

I'm sorry, that sounds really frustrating.  I don't know how comfortable you would feel interrupting the conversation you are having to ask say something like, "Oh hey, can you stop her from pulling out those books" or "maybe you can play with the blocks with her" or something.  I would say those things to my sister about her kids making messes in my house, but I think it's harder when you aren't that close.  I think asking her to clean up is probably a losing proposition, since the child will still be there pulling out other things.


In general, when parents have had playdates at my house when the kids were younger, they'd help clean up before they left and try and get the kids involved.  But they were older at that point, like in the 3-7 range.


The comments about things being babyproofed would irritate me, frankly.  You can't totally babyproof so that nothing is moveable, and if you could, you'd just have to have something else for her to do. It just sounds like the mother is trying to put the entertaining and cleaning up burden on you. With my first, I did babyproof pretty well--we hired a company to come and do it for us, and a lot of it was wasted because she wouldn't try to get into the things that weren't in the same room where I was, and our house was generally neat back then.  But we would get invited to the home of friends, and their house was really cluttered.  The first time we went over there, they said they had babyproofed.  Well, every table they had was covered with stacks of things: tons of books, a number of stacks of quarters, all sorts of little knick knacks.  Some of the books had been moved from the table to behind the couch, but toddlers are good at getting at things.  It is rather tiring following your child around and keeping her from touching all their stuff, but since it was breakable or a choking hazard, and we didn't want her to scatter things, we followed her around.  So I feel for the mother, but on the other hand it isn't really neighborly to stop by your house and leave a mess for you to clean up, especially when you are due in a month.  I hope you can get this worked out.

Viola is offline  
#7 of 19 Old 01-29-2011, 09:05 AM
pianojazzgirl's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Montreal
Posts: 4,308
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think this is totally on the other mom.  IMO it's definitely her responsibility to stop her toddler from wrecking your stuff.  Unfortunately though, you can only control your own actions.  I guess you've got 3 choices: 1. stop having them over, 2. talk to the mom and tell her you want her to make sure her babe doesn't get into everything and/or help you pick up afterwards, or 3. decide you'll just let it go - put important stuff up and away when you know they're coming over and be prepared to do some clean up after they leave.  There's no wrong answer - it's up to you!

AngieSuperbabysmom likes this.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

pianojazzgirl is offline  
#8 of 19 Old 01-29-2011, 09:18 AM
tinuviel_k's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,290
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow, I would NEVER ever let my toddler trash someone else's house! If my little one did make a mess I would sure as heck clean it up! Your friend's behavior is just really rude, no question about it.

I would talk to her about it next time she comes. Maye say something like, "I really enjoy your visits, but I'm finding it really difficult to pick up after our daughter when you leave. Would you mind helping me pick up her messes before you head out?"

It could be that she reacts badly to this (embarrassment, entitlement, or...?), but she needs to hear it. And maybe it will help her think twice on respecting her friend's home. If sh finds it impossible to redirect her child or to help clean up perhaps you can suggest meeting elsewhere.
AngieSuperbabysmom likes this.
tinuviel_k is offline  
#9 of 19 Old 01-29-2011, 09:38 AM
redvlagrl's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 1,001
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post

I think this is totally on the other mom.  IMO it's definitely her responsibility to stop her toddler from wrecking your stuff.  Unfortunately though, you can only control your own actions.  I guess you've got 3 choices: 1. stop having them over, 2. talk to the mom and tell her you want her to make sure her babe doesn't get into everything and/or help you pick up afterwards, or 3. decide you'll just let it go - put important stuff up and away when you know they're coming over and be prepared to do some clean up after they leave.  There's no wrong answer - it's up to you!



You could always ask if it she could please keep her daughter in the living room (or wherever the other toys are) because you are worried that she might get into something that she shouldn't. After all, your house isn't babyproofed!


(Hi Kate!)

Leila, mama to Eleanor (10/08) and Emmett (4/10)

Visit my blog!

redvlagrl is offline  
#10 of 19 Old 01-29-2011, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
earlyworm's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 34
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks so much for the input!  I really do feel like this is my friend's issue (but she's making it mine!) so it's good to hear that a lot of you moms wouldn't let your kids do this in another person's house.  (I certainly wouldn't, and I wasn't allowed to as a kid myself!)  I wasn't sure if I was expecting too much out of a little one, but it's not really the baby, it's my friend.  I don't really see her changing her ways, and this is not the only 'parenting style' issue we clash on.  I'm just going to do damage control for now while they're over, but after I have my newborn in a few weeks, I'm going to insist that she keep her kiddo on lockdown while they're at my place.  I don't need to be dealing with all the mayhem while I'm figuring out a new baby!  Thanks for giving me a little boost of confidence to say something to her, I hope I don't chicken out.  ;)

earlyworm is offline  
#11 of 19 Old 01-29-2011, 02:13 PM
ssh's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,680
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

You don't need 'all the mayhem' now. I'd meet her at the door and say " I'd love to visit with you and your child, but I'm really not up to picking up after your toddler right now, with the pregnancy and all. I'll try to drop by your house sometime instead." and shut the door. If that's too much a simple 'I'm not up to company, right now." works.   It's very rude to let your toddler trash some ones house without cleaning it all up and mean to make more work for a person who is 8 months pregnant.


I always picked up after my DD when she was a toddler. If getting into things was too much temptation we picked her up and held her or put her in a back pack.

ssh is offline  
#12 of 19 Old 01-29-2011, 07:33 PM
peaceful_mama's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: #12 Grimmauld Place
Posts: 5,002
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

I feel very sad for this child.  Mama is not doing her any favors by teaching her that it is perfectly fine to destroy someone else's house and then not help clean up.


NOT that I am saying a 17 month old should know this!  Not at all!


I am saying, as someone who has raised 3 past 17 months  ;) with one more on the way to that point  ;)  that none of this behavior is inappropriate for the age of 17 months---YES, this is all NORMAL behavior!  BUT it is my job as Mommy to teach my little 17 month old people that a doggy water bowl is not a toy for them.  Your knick-knacks are not toys for them.  Etc.  It is MY job as Mom to show them what *is* OK for them.  It is also MY job as Mom to provide an example of how to behave when invited to somebody else's home by helping to clean up the mess.  Maybe the toddler will help, maybe not, either way they benefit from seeing the example that we clean up before we go home.


I imagine in a few years, this mother will be posting somewhere wondering why her little preschool/kindergarten child doesn't get invited for playdates.....

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
peaceful_mama is offline  
#13 of 19 Old 01-30-2011, 07:01 PM
ABMama's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 96
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Why not go over to her house if you want to see her? If you are finding it too stressful, then I wouldn't even give the toddler the opportunity to come over and make a mess. I would be taking notes though as another poster said, because that is normal toddler behaviour...and the dog dish is the worst!! I can not count the amount of times mine has been spilled again and again. 

I remember this one time before I had my own kids that my friend toddler came over and she explored my house and pulled stuff down etc...then the toddler started to get restless and tired and so they made a quick exit. I was mad at the time, but now as a mom of 3 boys...I would take that mess over the mess my kids cause any day!!! lol


Just be honest. If she is a good friend and you value the friendship, she will understand. :) 

Mama to 3 wonderfully crazy boys!! jumpers.gif
ABMama is offline  
#14 of 19 Old 01-31-2011, 02:15 PM
Agatha_Ann's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,101
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Oh my mama! If this post was written 11 years ago, I would think you were me! When I was pregnant was DS1, I had a friend with a 1 yr old who would come over easily 5 times a week and my house would be destroyed, while she kicked back and visited, or laughed at him shredding my magazines! I had a hard time, because I kept thinking, "Everyone is a perfect parent before they have kids" and I would feel so judgemental, but guess what? Four kids later and one on the way, I still feel the same. As others have said, this is totally normal behavior for a child this age, but not ok for mom to give her the run of the place and leave you with the results.


AngieSuperbabysmom likes this.
Agatha_Ann is offline  
#15 of 19 Old 02-01-2011, 06:06 AM
mom2happy's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 983
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Sorry to say this; it really sounds like she is taking advantage. She is basically using you and your home for someplace to relax and not have to be responsible for her mess.

It's pretty rude that she said, "you haven't baby proofed yet?"

Unless you are best pals and grew up together, I can't see why she would sound this entitled.

I don't even do this at my parent's houses with my kids, and they love them and wouldn't mind.

My sister used to do this to me every time she came over with my niece. Now she has 2 kids and I have 3. I never invite her anymore. I just can't take care of 5 children.

I even told her how I felt about the mess she left and that I was exhausted every time she came from keeping her toddler out of danger and making snacks for all the other kids.

She would just kind of hang out and sit on the couch talking like a teenager. Not only did she not get a clue- she was insulted. Oh well. It wasn't worth it to her to hang out with me. She would have to worry about taking care of her kids. She was basically coming over to unwind and get a big fat break.

I also had friend who would come over and leave all the work and mess to me. After 3 times, I didn't invite her over again.

I now have all friends who are great moms, fun to hang out with, and we all keep the kids in order. They clean up after their kids and watch them because they are good mothers.

When you become a mom, you will find that it isn't worth the time to have friends who just make you feel resentful around them. Real friends care about each other.

I would say something to your friend and hope she realizes what she is doing. There is really no excuse for it. If she really is your friend, she will still want to hang out with you, if not, you can cut to the chase.


Congrats BTWjoy.gif

mom2happy is offline  
#16 of 19 Old 02-05-2011, 01:49 PM
DevaMajka's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Burnaby, BC
Posts: 10,324
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

The mom should definitely clean up after her lo. Honestly, I can see how with some kids (cough*ds2*cough) it's easier to let them take books off the shelves, especially if mom is sure they won't get damaged. So I don't really judge her for *that* part so much. But yeah, it's incredibly rude to leave your house a wreck. (I tend to pick up frequently if I visit somewhere with ds2).
I guess your main options are to either say something- even a simple "would you mind helping tidy this up?" then something about being 8 mos pg. Or decide you'll deal with it.


Good luck- it doesn't sound like fun!

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)

DevaMajka is offline  
#17 of 19 Old 02-11-2011, 10:22 PM
Dandelionkid's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,605
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 It depends what 'trashed" means to you. If it is just a few books and the water I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. Pet water always gets put up when littles are visiting- just too enticing. Likewise, we have no books near the floor because they got pulled out all the time by my kids when they were toddlers. When all that fun stuff is available you really can't expect a toddler to look at a box of toys for more than a couple minutes.

What would bug me the most is mom not offering to pick-up. I would ask little girl as she is leaving to help you pick up the books. Hopefully mom picks up the hint.

Dandelionkid is offline  
#18 of 19 Old 02-11-2011, 11:38 PM
elus0814's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 793
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)

I've been there. I had a new friend come over once and while she hung out in the living room with me she allowed her two year old to roam the house while my four and five year olds 'watched' her. Then she got into the pantry and dumped a big bag of organic rice out all over the kitchen and into the living room. Then she stood there while my pregnant self held my 10 month old and swept/vacuumed up. Then I suggested we go outside. We all went out but it was super hot and humid so she left pretty quick. Having four kids myself I can understand how sometimes you just want a moment of adult conversation without chasing a toddler but that's something to do in your own house.


If it were me and she came to the door you I would consider:

- be direct and say 'I would rather not have to deal with a big mess'

- say you're in the middle of something and how about you walk down to her house in 20 minutes

- suggest hanging out at your house but outside, if she asks to come inside say you need to do _______ anyway and you'll see her later

elus0814 is offline  
#19 of 19 Old 02-15-2011, 07:20 AM
faithrainbow's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Personally, I would take matters into my own hands and help the little one learn what's ok and what's not ok at your house.  17 months is not too young to know that different things are appropriate in different settings.  For instance, let her touch the spines of the books with her index finger, as many times as she wants.  And put the dog dish up when she comes to visit.  In an ideal world the mom would be doing these things, but since she's not, I think it's fine to teach her child how to act in your house.

faithrainbow is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 19,920

211 members and 19,709 guests
1babysmom , a-sorta-fairytale , acardone1702 , adze'smomma , agentofchaos , agilesheltie , Aimmak , AlaskAnne , AlexisT , americanjuly , AMG , AndrewsMother , Anne Jividen , aylasebmom , bananabee , BarefootBrooke , becky21 , Bjugstad , blessedwithboys , bluefaery , bren94 , Brit33 , brusselsmama , cahwilson , calico_aster , captain optimism , carnelianlight , chickabiddy , chuord , Cindy2015 , Crazybean , crazyms , Cricket VS , Crimson8 , cynthia mosher , Dakotacakes , dani2015 , Dawn's mom , DungeonQueen , element2012 , EllaD , elliha , Emanresu , emmy526 , Ethelpea , FluffyFlamingo , forestfoster , FreeButterfly70 , fruitfulmomma , girlie1125 , gooseberry , greenemami , greenmomma858 , Griffinish , GrowthSpurt , happyhats , hikingfortruth , hillymum , hottmomma , Hybrid Mama , ian'smommaya , IrenaF , itsnat , JamieCatheryn , jazzmom74 , jcdfarmer , Jessica765 , JLUK , JMalik , Joanna48wfwf , joycef , K703 , kanani , Kate&Joey , Katherine73 , kathymuggle , katyeb , KosmicMama , lab , lightheartedmom , lilacvioletiris , lilmissgiggles , LiLStar , Linda on the move , littlebear3 , littlec , llwr , loba , mak127 , Mama Chickadee , mama2004 , mama24-7 , mamabear0314 , MamadeRumi , mandamamma , Maple123 , mckittre , MeepyCat , metafisica , Michelle42 , midwifetobe85 , Milk8shake , Mirzam , missmason , MissMuffet , mnj77 , mommyhood , Momtoo2 , mom_to_ben5 , monamcmona , moominmamma , moss , MsDandelion , muddie , muldey , Mylie , MylittleTiger , NaturallyKait , Nazsmum , neenamommy , newmamalizzy , oaksie68 , orangemomma , Piskito , pokeyac , prosciencemum , pumabearclan , punkers3 , RachelCap , rcb215 , rocky , RollerCoasterMama , rubelin , samaxtics , sammikins , SandiMae , sarafl , Serafina33 , Serenity Now , shantimama , Shevas , Shmootzi , shoeg8rl , siennaflower , sillysapling , simplemama32 , sofreshsoclean , SplashingPuddle , Springshowers , stardogs , SummerStorm22 , sunsetdancer , sunshine28 , sweetjasmine , teacozy , TealCandy , Teles , TheBugsMomma , thewaggonerfamily , thtr4me , Tigerle , TourmalineMama , transpecos , TrishWSU , Turner58800 , Turquesa , TwilightJoy , typebug , villagemamma , VocalMinority , wassernixe , Waterwoman4 , weliveintheforest , Wild Rose , Wolfcat , yarnsurgeon , zoeyzoo
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.