Family Fracas

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by goldenguru, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    My daughter called today for advise in regard to her mother in law. Since I have the best in laws EVER - I don't have any real life experience to share. Here's her struggle with her mother in law:

    Gently put - mother in law's house is just plain unkempt. I mean - dog waste on the rugs (yes solids). Whole bowls of cereal spilled into the furniture and never cleaned up. They have lived in their current house for over a year - and well - it has NEVER been vacuumed. One day daughter was visiting and there was a large butcher knife on the floor. Add dirty unwashed dishes - trash that spills all over the floor and I think you get the picture.

    My daughter just doesn't want to take their now crawling child to the house for more than an hour because they can manage to keep baby occupied in their laps for that short time. Much longer and the baby wants down to crawl/explore.

    mother in law gets offended that they don't come over much. And don't stay long when they do.

    She tries to meet up with the in laws at the mall or restaurants - but just doesn't know how to handle things like the holidays that require being in the house.

    I know I sound like a snob - but believe me my house hasn't made any magazine covers. I have a 100 pound house dog. She sheds. Most days I wouldn't eat off my kitchen floor. So, it's not like I have raised neat freaks.

    Poor daughter just says it's unsanitary and unsafe. I don't know how to advise her.

    I would appreciate other perspectives. And thanks in advance.
  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Just say no. Buy mother in law a gift certificate for a cleaning serive for Christmas. Offer mother in law a 'day off' at dds house so the baby 'can be in her own element'.

    Keep making excuses and mother in law will finally ask the the hecko is going on. And daughter's H is the one to address this issue - NOT daughter.

    There are times when a daughter in law can address certain issues with her mother in law, and this is not one of them, in my opinion. I think that daughter's H needs to talk with his mom about the condition of her home and its relevance to the safety of HIS child. And if mom gets angry, oh well - she will only get to see her grandkids at her son's home. And that's that.
  3. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    "daughter's H needs to talk with his mom about the condition of her home and its relevance to the safety of HIS child. And if mom gets angry, oh well - she will only get to see her grandkids at her son's home. And that's that."

    I was going to say the same thing Jog. I had an uncle that ummmmm also had an unkept home simular to what golden is describing.It was pretty disgusting. Although the family for the most part opted to celebrate holidays elsewhere we at times would go to the uncles house and do all that we could to get through it. I would never sit on their couch though, Eeeewww!!!

    Safety for the baby first to include mom and dads sanitary expectations of the environment that their lil darling will be crawling in.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Is there any reason why mother in law's house is in that state? Is she disabled or anything?

    I may be a bit defensive here because except for the animal waste you could be describing my house at any given time. I cant do much cleaning if it involves bending, sweeping, vacuuming, lifting...etc. I cant seem to "motivate" anyone here into helping me either.

    I do the best I can but it leaves so much to be desired. If I get a really good day or two I will clean like a mad woman but it puts me down for the count for weeks.

    I thank my lucky stars that Keyana's mom couldnt care less what shape this house is in. We make sure the baby is safe and taken care of. She is fed, her clothes are clean, and she is loved. I always put a clean blanket down on the floor when she was an infant for her to play on. Of course, what does that matter when the dog and her laid on it together and I think the dog was her best friend and toy as a baby.

    If daughter cant handle it, then her H needs to talk to his mom. They can do the visiting at their house. This will be a touchy subject though. Best it come from him.
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    If there is dog waste on the floor then I don't care if she was the queen of england, my baby isn't crawling there. mother in law can come to daughter house and what's wrong with the son? Your daughter's husband should be the one to speak up. At some point I would have to point out that babies crawling amonst spoiled food, butcher knives and dog feces sounds like a horror movie about babies living in neglect.
    Yuck. No way, no how.

    Of course, that's in my humble opinion.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Tell them to bring a Play Pen -
    and then leave it there -

    Fran had my thought EXACTLY right down to the crown!
  7. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    My suggestion would be for your daughter to invite the in-laws to her house. I think that is the only way to handle it. Telling mother in law about the condition of her home won't change things. I like Starbs idea about a playpen when they do have to go there for holidays. If they don't want the playpen, is your daughter ready to throw a family holiday meal?
  8. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Not being a jerk here, but has this been a change from the way your daughter's husband grew up? The only reason I ask is that you mentioned in your post that this is a new house to them (a year) and it hasn't been vacuumed since they moved in.

    If she used to keep a fairly clean house in her old house, and this one has (no pun intended) "gone to the dogs", there may be some sort of depression or even some dementia starting up.

    If this isn't common from past homes, dear son needs to talk to his Dad and Mom about getting a full blown physical done for Mom.

    Either way, son should talk to them. I like the playpen idea, but if they leave it there it'll just get dirty like the rest of the house. Also, the idea of hovering just a few inches over the mess grosses me out.

    My youngest sister has fibromyalgia and is in the middle of a relapse. I've just made it a "nervous habit" to straighten up while visiting. It gives her a break and lets her relax. Maybe dear daughter can "develop" this kind of nervous outlet as well!

    Good luck, this doesn't seem like there's an easy way to handle this one!

  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Yeah, mental illness entered my mind as well. That's a great question for sister in law - he should look into that.

    Also, when easy child was little and we'd visit my then mother in law, I always brought along a play pen for her. mother in law refused to put up any items out of easy child's reach that could be potentially hazardous or get broken so the only way I knew to keep both easy child and the fragile items safe was with a playpen. Our tolerance only lasted about an hour each visit anyway.

    Regardless of what the issue is behind the pig-stye, it is truly up to dds' H to address with his parents/mom. If it comes from daughter in law to mother in law, it could cause a real rift in the relationships.
  10. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Unfortunately, this is not a change in the way sister in law grew up. This house is new because they were evicted from the last place due to rent non payment.

    I don't know about the depression/mental illness. I don't see it -

    Single mom. 4 kids still home with her. She works full time. So her hands are full. I know her teenage daughters do not life a finger to help her.

    I agree with you all that sister in law needs to handle it. That much I have told my daughter.

    I like the playpen idea - especially since the baby is into everything. I will suggest that.

    The idea of 'hovering' is futile - it is way past straightening up.
  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    NOT an issue a daughter in law should tackle. Just don't go over. Invite to your house.

    My very best friends won't come to our house because they have a toddler and we have 3 parrots. I understand. They can bite and have bird dander than you could spend 24/7 cleaning up. I don't take offense.

    I am a nervous clean freak. I couldn't go there either. If there are health issues that prevent them from cleaning, that's another story. I might pitch in and get a cleaning service. But, having teens in the house and no mental illness...nada.

  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm with the others ~ no way no how would I let my baby crawl around in a mess like that. I can't even imagine eating anything cooked in that house but I'm rather picky about things like that.

    I agree that your daughter should tell her husband that his family needs to come to their house to visit. It will probably cause hurt feelings, though.

  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Just was wondering, what is sister in law's feelings on this matter? Is he as opposed to bringing baby over there as much as your daughter?

    I know that there have been times when I've bitten my tongue about my mother in law to H because I knew it would cause HIM hurt feelings. Obviously this is a different situation altogether, but I was just wondering. There is definitely something about dealing with IL's that is very touchy at times and we often have to walk a very fine line so as not to hurt anyone's feelings.

    ps: In the case of mental illness or physical ailments that prevent mother in law from cleaning her home, certainly that's a consideration. However, those factors still do not make it okay for baby to be exposed to dangerous elements and filth, possibly infection and diseases, that could be hanging around the house in the form of animal waste or bacteria ridden foods. If mother in law were a reckless alcoholic, would we even be having this conversation? I doubt it because bottom line: Is baby at risk? If yes, you stay away. Not meant to offend anyone, but JMHO.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    GG -

    I'm going to go way out on a limb here and I'm a heavy bird so when the limb breaks - watch out.

    This is your daughters Sister In Law right? Hubby's sister. And she has 4 kids - so it's probably not easy for HER to get everyone up, dressed, and out. She's making it easy on herself, but sounds like she's craving having family visit. Maybe in her mind her desire is to be the Christmas Hostess?

    Your daughter and son have 1 child, small, manageable - sweet. And I'm guessing in sister in law mind it's a lot easier for them to be mobile. Do you think that there is a chance that she's going to clean the house for the party? IF NOT - COULD THIS WORK: ?????

    She has teenage daughters? A nasty house?? Works all the time?? Probably worn to a frazzle? And has YOUR daughter for a wonderful sister in law.

    What if - (IF being the operative word here) What IF your daughter got her sister in law kids to help HER organize and clean the house and surprise sister in law for a Christmas gift? Do you think your daughter could pull that off AND get a play pen? She could be the boss, bring cleaning supplies, maybe even order a carpet cleaner from the grocery store - and get the kids to work while her husband took his sister out for what I'm sure would be a well deserved meal and silence???????

    It was a thought - since Christmas is for giving - or maybe plan to do that in the Spring or as a belated Christmas gift for the NEW year - New years, clean house?? Teens have list of chores and your daughter would check in with them?

    Just thinking out loud. I really love to clean - I wouldn't be able to sit in there, but it sounds like she needs some no-question type of help.
  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Star, I believe it is the mother-in-law's home that is a stye, not the sister in law. The "sister in law" in the prior posts refers to the Son-in-Law. Maybe I read it wrong, but that's my understanding. haha
  16. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member


    The home is my daughter's mother in law. So, I'm not so sure how that offering to come to her home and help her mother in law organize/clean would be received/perceived.

    If I called and offered to come help my mother in law clean her home before a family gathering the offer would be most welcome. But, as I stated in my first post, I have a very close wonderful relationship with my mother in law.

    For whomever asked how my Son in law feels- He actually is less inclined to go be in his moms home than my daughter is. Which is why mother in law calls my daughter and not her son. My sister in law has stated over and over that he will never live like he did growing up.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    ---OH sometimes I'm so detail oriented. lol
  18. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    If that were my in-laws, I just would not go at all. Your daughter is a saint for going at all! If she can speak with her mother in law and she can figure a way to say it without being judgemental, she should just come out with it. But that's me, I would say something like, we would love to come over more often, but (baby's name) is getting into everything now and I just don't want to let him crawl around in this filth. I say what I feel and generally don't make bones about it. If she gave me a hard time about coming over, I'd simply tell her the truth.

    My home isn't in any magazines either, but I won't go to someone's house if it's filthy. Messy is one thing. Filthy is quite another. I generally find ways to avoid going. If my shoes stick to the carpet, I am so out of there. This has happened.
  19. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    in my humble opinion (and maybe I am just easily shkeeved) if there is that much food and feces on the floor, Lord only knows what is airborne in that house. I would not bring a small child with a tiny immune system there, playpen or not.
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Plastic Bubble?