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kristah1000 03-16-2013 04:11 PM

I wasn't sure where to put this, so feel free to move if its in the wrong place smile.gif

I visited a friend a few weeks ago, and can't stop thinking about the state of her home...and can't figure out what to do or how to help her. She has 2 kids, a 3 year old and a 5 month old. This was also not a surprise visit, we planned to have a play date with 5 days notice. Basically, in the very short time I was there I saw:

A crazy amount of clutter. There are some rooms you can't walk into and there are toys literally covering the floor, as well as other random household things.

Piles of dirty dishes, garbage overflowing.

Cat litter everywhere. On the stairs, in every room, on the counter.

Cat hair everywhere.

Piles of dirty clothes in the living room. Now she is in the process of going through and getting rid of clothes so I also wasn't super alarmed about this.

Dirty floors and counters, for sure hadn't been cleaned or scrubbed in a while.

The thing I was most concerned about though: their bathroom. The toilet had feces all over the back of the lid and the seat. There is a potty on the floor and it was full of stains, looking like it was just dumped and not washed. Litter box is in the bathroom and not cleaned, it had definitely been a while. The tub had a layer of brown grime in it. There was dust everywhere, covering the floor and register.

Some things this friend has told me:

She had only bathed her baby 3 times by the time she was 10 weeks old, not sure if she does it more often now.

She told me up front that the bathroom hadn't been cleaned in a while.

She stays in her bed most of the day with her baby.

She doesn't have time to shower most days.

WWYD? I don't live close enough to go over and clean, and I can't afford to hire a cleaning service. I have been there a few other times and while it has always been very cluttered and somewhat dirty, never quite this bad. Any suggestions? I am worried about the 3 year old, and the baby who will soon be crawling...

philomom 03-16-2013 04:28 PM

Is this a new friend? Tell her the home is not okay. Ask how you can help. Maybe she will respond to that. If not, can you talk to her spouse? She needs help and fast. No child should be subject to that amount of filth at any age. Not when we have running water and soap handy. My grandma, who grew up at a poverty level always preached that it didn't take money to have a clean home.

And really, it might not be out of line to CPS if she is unwilling to clean up for her children.

velveeta 03-16-2013 04:50 PM

Is your friend depressed, do you think? I would speak with her sincerely and try to brainstorm together what to do. She needs to know someone cares about her and the situation.

skycheattraffic 03-16-2013 05:02 PM

You've described my house except a lot more intense. I have piles of clean laundry all over the sofa, the bathroom isn't in great shape (but useable and sanitary by most standards) and the toys are everywhere. I'm about halfway through a major declutter downstairs in an effort not to end up with the house you describe. I'm expecting baby #2 in July and DH and my mon both were off work for a week at the same time to help me get as far as I did. I'm not trying to make excuses for your friend but she sounds like where I would be in a year if I didn't get the help to make a real change in the way I keep the house. Does your friend express dismay at the state of her home? I must admit, I've had a friend or two over when my house was in no shape to host anyone but I did my best to pick up the living room and hoped their toddler wouldn't venture much further during the visit. I always apologized about the state of the house but it was overrun with clutter and it was nearly impossible to do a thorough clean and keep it tidy with my 2 year old hanging off my leg. I guess what I'm saying is that there are two possibilities here: a) she feels bad about the house and would love an opportunity to change it or b) she's indefferent to it/has given up all hope of change. If the former then she'd probably appreciate you coming over to watch the kids so she could get some decluttering/cleaning done (or find another way you could help her find this kind of support). If the latter then any mention of the topic would likely feel like an attack on her as a mother. You know her better. Do you have any mutual friends or can you approach her loved ones to ask what they think is her opinion on the subject? I think how you move forward has a lot to do with how close your friendship is and how open she is to help. I wish I had more advice. I just wanted to say that some of us have an issue with being overwhelmed and aren't happy with the state of things but need some real tangible support (and whole lot of internal motivation) to make a big change. All hope is not lost. I went from a notorious, dirty dishes everywhere mom to never leaving anything in the sink dirty except the rare overnight soaking. I had to let go of a LOT of items and it was a LOT of hard work where I had my one child occupied by a caregiver for a week straight. I can't imagine doing it with two small kids and no substantial outside help. Try to figure out where she stands and if she's motivated, find some way to line up some real, elbow grease type help for her - whether it's childcare or cleaning. Good luck. She's lucky to have a caring friend like you smile.gif

beanma 03-16-2013 05:34 PM

Maybe she has postpartum depression?


I think the bathroom is what puts it over the line for me, although the cat litter everywhere is pretty gross, too. 


I might open a dialogue around postpartum depression and getting enough omega 3s and how it's so hard to be motivated when you're depressed, etc. Does she have a partner?

kristah1000 03-16-2013 05:35 PM

Thanks for the quick replies smile.gif

I have known her for a while, we worked together a few years ago and have kept in contact, mostly via phone because we don't live in the same city. Depression I think might be an issue. I know she had PPD with her first and was on meds, not sure if she is still on them or not. (The first time she was diagnosed I was the one to call her Dr because she told me over the phone she wanted to shake her baby greensad.gif. She still doesn't know I was the one who made the call to her Dr.)

I know that some of the things on my list really aren't a big deal. I am also not perfect with the dishes and you would probably find laundry on my floor too if you came at the right time smile.gif. It was more the combination of everything. I also know her DH does nothing around the house, and she doesn't have many other friends. She doesn't have a ton of support from anyone (and kind of latches on to me, calls every day for at least an hour which is another issue altogether). I am afraid to call CPS because I don't want her kids to be taken, she is a good person and loves her kids to pieces. It would devastate her. PPD might be an issue again, but do I call her Dr this time? There is no threat to harm her kids, but is that something you would call a dr for?

I would love to go over and watch her kids, however I have 2 and honestly don't think it's a safe place for them to DS is crawling and would be into everything. Plus I live over an hour away from her, so not really practical for a play date....unless I came and took all the kids outside. Might be a possibility to consider.

I know she was embarrassed about the bathroom, and I don't think is happy about the house but can't seem to find time to do any cleaning. I personally think her DH needs to either clean himself or take the kids so she can but he doesn't seem to care about the mess. He has a man cave type room to himself that is equally as bad and doesn't seem to mind.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that they have mice, and couldn't afford to call professionals so were trying to get rid of them with traps...I don't know how that is going, she hasn't mentioned. I know I need to talk to her about this, but is is so not an easy conversation to have. Has anyone done this with a friend? How did you start the conversation? I want her to know that I think she is a good mom, but also that her house is unsafe, at least in my opinion.

Alenushka 03-16-2013 05:54 PM

I had two small kids once upon a time. Business at home and  full university load. My house never looked that way.


Depressed or not, this is not acceptable. You friend can hire a cleaning service and have them clean, or, perhaps a cheaper option, hire a mother's helped to be with kids while she and husband clean on the week end.


 You are asking about your friend on MDC< but some of her other friends or relative would just call CPS. She is endangering the lived of her kids, pets and entire family with this filth and hoarding.

BellinghamCrunchie 03-16-2013 08:00 PM

She sounds overwhelmed and depressed.


I think I would call CPS. Its hard to know which way it will go, but it might be a wake-up call to the husband, and to her, that help is needed. Our neighbors had CPS called on them (for a reason unrelated to cleanliness of the house) and when the CPS worker saw the condition of the house, she said gave them 30 days to clean it up. Which they did. CPS also recommended (well, insisted) that the mom receive care for her depression. The outcome is that the house is cleaner, mom is getting treatment for depression, and living in a clean house is making everyone feel better. They are less isolated now that they feel they can have guests over without being embarrassed about it, which is also helping with the depression.


I know people have horror stories about CPS but in the few instances I have seen, its been really positive, and the families have liked their CPS workers, and were kind of relieved to have a plan to make things better.

Escaping 03-16-2013 08:13 PM

I would never call CPS on someone for having a dirty home. We've all been there (maybe without the feces) and I've never seen CPS help in cases like this, just make things worse.

Polliwog 03-16-2013 08:28 PM

I'm a foster parent and also worked with at-risk families for years. I would talk with her about my concerns. Focus on the parts that are truly hazardous to her family. I would strongly encourage her to start seeing a therapist and get help with either the house or child care so she can address the most pressing issues. If that doesn't seem to work, I would let her know that I was thinking about calling social services. I would encourage HER to be the one to call and ask for help instead of you doing it. We did that with a lot of families and it shows that she's being proactive in wanting to improve their lives.

Polliwog 03-16-2013 08:28 PM

Originally Posted by Escaping View Post

I would never call CPS on someone for having a dirty home. We've all been there (maybe without the feces) and I've never seen CPS help in cases like this, just make things worse.

I have. Many, many, times.

philomom 03-16-2013 09:33 PM

Originally Posted by Escaping View Post

I would never call CPS on someone for having a dirty home. We've all been there (maybe without the feces) and I've never seen CPS help in cases like this, just make things worse.

No, we haven't all been there.

I attended college with a newborn and part time job and my house was never filthy.

All feces must be dealt with in the right way or its a health concern to anyone who enters the home.

Rodents in the house can spread even more filth and disease. Mice have no bladder, they pee on everything they walk on. To subject children to that unnecessarily is beyond gross and negligent.

CPS will help these kids. They deserve better!

Escaping 03-17-2013 07:36 AM

Originally Posted by philomom View Post

No, we haven't all been there.

I attended college with a newborn and part time job and my house was never filthy.

All feces must be dealt with in the right way or its a health concern to anyone who enters the home.

Rodents in the house can spread even more filth and disease. Mice have no bladder, they pee on everything they walk on. To subject children to that unnecessarily is beyond gross and negligent.

CPS will help these kids. They deserve better!


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


This lady has a potty training 3 year old, a 5 month old and pets. Sounds to me like she's overwhelmed, maybe she hasn't slept in 5 months (or more) and cleaning is the least of her worries. She doesn't need a threat from CPS, she needs a maid, or at least a helpful friend or family member. If someone is a cable guy just passing through a random home and sees something like this, I can understand calling some kind of authority if one is really concerned, but to call on a friend without any sort of discussion or offer of support, I'd find a little offensive... Especially if the friend who called was another mom. (Remember, the question was "what would you do?" This is my answer smile.gif). I'd start maybe with speaking with her partner. Tell them these aren't acceptable living conditions for children or pets and if they don't start taking care of it, THEN a call might be warranted. 


CPS isn't going to come in and do anything EXTRA, that a friend couldn't do. They're not going to send a maid or help with cleaning up. If they see a problem, which it sounds like there is, they'll just remove the children until the mess is cleaned up. I can't imagine having her 5 month old removed from her care is going to improve her morale and help her clean her house. If someone took my 5 month old, I wouldn't grab a vacuum, I'd just go insane. Not productive, but that's what would happen. 


...and mice DO have bladders, they're actually very clean animals (unless they're in someone's home, I agree that's gross). We used to have mice in our cottage when we closed it up for the winter and when we came back you could see they're very organized little critters if left undisturbed for half the year. We installed ultrasonic rodent repellers and that solved the problem. They just need to be placed properly.  


So "what would you do?":

-Speak with her partner, ask if there is any depression going on or if she's just overwhelmed. 

-Contact other close family members of hers like parents or siblings, maybe they can help clean up or throw together some money for someone to come in once a week.

-Offer to watch her kids and/or pets so she has some quiet time to clean up her house or at least take care of health & safety issues.

-Find some local PPD resources which are really helpful for moms even if they don't have PPD. OP, I see you're in Canada, I'm not sure what province but Ontario has several programs which are really helpful and not at all judgmental. 

-If nothing else works and you really feel the kids are in imminent danger, then I'd think about calling CPS.  

pek64 03-17-2013 08:03 AM

I agree with Escaping. That's a sound plan. Giving your friend a safe place for her children to be while she focuses on cleaning could go a looong way. And talking with her partner is a great idea. Some men do help out when they are being watched by someone outside the home. Maybe if your husband talks to him, it would be even better. Men speak to men differently than a women do.

philomom 03-17-2013 08:11 AM

Honestly, a maid service is not gonna help this woman. Her home is probably too far gone for most house cleaning services. They'll want extra up front just to be able to make paths and clean up extra hard to get down to a regular routine of cleaning. A friend of mine owns a house cleaning service and shes very wary of taking these situations on because there's no upkeep by the homeowner between weekly visits by her employees.

And really, heath of children vs. offending a friend? Children should win out every time.

Yes, talk to your friend candidly about her unacceptable living conditions but be prepared to call the authorities! This kind of filth usually indicates mental illness.

kristah1000 03-17-2013 09:54 AM

I talked to her again last night, and the subject of cleaning was brought up. I casually mentioned that having 2 young kids I find it hard to keep my house clean, and actually cleaned while I talked to her (I suggested that she do the same, since we talk most days for quite a while, why not kill 2 birds with one stone? But she told me it is her time to relax). She talked about going through each room and purging some of their stuff. She was in the process of cleaning out one of the rooms but kept getting interrupted though by the baby, and eventually gave up. I think right now she is so focused on purging their things that she is neglecting the day to day stuff that needs to be done. I think it's way too big for her to handle on her own. I asked her if her husband would help and she said no, that he doesn't even clean the litter box (apparently not even while she was pregnant).

I am not sure that talking to him would help, he seems to be very much of the mindset that it is the woman's "job" to keep the house clean. She mentioned that it had been several weeks since she had cleaned her breast pump and parts and the other day she told me she finally was able to get some bottles washed, that they had been piling up. I may try to contact her mother, she might be able to help pay for a cleaner.

As for the kiddos her 3 year old is in day care full time (she is on mat leave for the year but they opted to keep him in day care because she didn't think she could handle both of them, probably the best thing right now). I can offer to take her baby, but like I mentioned I don't want to take my kids to her house, there is literally no where to play that is clean. It might be best to wait a few weeks for when it gets a bit warmer, then I can take them for a walk outside.

I will look into some programs for PPD, and suggest them to her if I find anything. I want to at least try before I report anything, I feel like she wants to change but it's just too huge of a mess. I think I am going to suggest that she stop purging and take a day to clean the bathroom, it's honestly keeping me up and night it was so awful...I think it needs to be more of a priority than the purging.

Freedom~Mama 03-17-2013 10:30 AM

I know this situation needs to be remedied but I really feel for her.  I had my kids close together, dealt with a lot of PPD and an abusive husband (now Ex) and there were definitely times when my home was just like this (except for the feces).  It is hard when things pile up and you just start to feel depressed and hopeless about it.  It definitely sounds like she doesn't know what to do and needs some help.  Would she allow a few people (friends or family) to come over on a weekend with some dumpsters and just help her to power clean/purge?!

Escaping 03-17-2013 10:40 AM

You're a good friend for trying do what you can to help first. The conditions sound pretty bad but I can empathize with the poor mom.  My house is nowhere near what it was before I went on mat leave. My husband is also of the opinion that "domestic tasks are a woman's job" but he fails to take into consideration that my job used to pay for the upkeep of the house, which is way too big for one person to take care of (in addition to a new baby). I've had to cut out all my spending because I'm now living off a tiny fraction of what I used to earn.

Would she be open to rehoming the cat? Maybe you could help by sourcing someone looking for a cat. 

BellinghamCrunchie 03-17-2013 10:52 AM

Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

 I would let her know that I was thinking about calling social services. I would encourage HER to be the one to call and ask for help instead of you doing it. We did that with a lot of families and it shows that she's being proactive in wanting to improve their lives.


That is what happened with the family across the street. I called CPS with the mom sitting next to me, with the mom's agreement. She didn't want to make the call herself.


They assigned a "community navigator" to the family, who meets with them once a week. The mom also calls the cps community navigator for support and guidance whenever she wants to. It has worked out to be a blessing for the family. There are things they have to do, like keep the house clean, and the community navigator assisted in finding other homes for the pets, with the plan that the pets can come back when the mom feels like she's ready to handle taking care of them.


It is a scary process. Once you invite CPS in, you can't uninvite them, and they will insist that you make changes. There's no going back. But the changes have been good, and the workers have been supportive and understanding. Plus the neighbor children (mine included) can now play over there. Before CPS got involved, I only allowed their children to play here, and would not allow DD to go over there.


There's usually more going on in these situations than a parent who is too overwhelmed to find time to clean. It would be good for the family to have someone who can help them figure out what else is going on and come up with a plan for dealing with it. If you have the time to do it, I agree that it would be better to have it come from a friend than from CPS. But something needs to change. If she wasn't asking for help changing on some level, she probably wouldn't have allowed you to come visit in the first place.

Alenushka 03-17-2013 11:03 AM

We have not all been there. I always have two cats . At some point it was two cats, two kids under 3., college, job and a husband with a busy job, I got various help when needed. My mom died I felt super depressed, but you know, spending a day in bed  and  watching your family swallowed by filth helps no one.

Freedom~Mama 03-17-2013 11:26 AM

^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.

Escaping 03-17-2013 12:31 PM

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?

vermontgirl 03-17-2013 02:58 PM

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. 

Alenushka 03-17-2013 08:29 PM

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.

Fillyjonk 03-18-2013 12:46 AM

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.

Viola 03-18-2013 01:39 AM

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.

erinmattsmom88 03-18-2013 04:15 AM

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.

kristah1000 03-18-2013 08:09 AM

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!

mamarhu 03-18-2013 09:48 AM

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.

philomom 03-18-2013 01:21 PM

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.

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