Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

neglected house my grandchildren live in

(69 Posts)
gingernut31 Thu 18-Feb-16 10:43:34

hi,looking for advice about the state of my grandchildrens home.
my daughter is a stay at home mum and her husband works,my oldest grandchild attents nursey 5 mornings a week and my youngest is at the crawling stage.
their living room carpet should be red but its covered in black patches and sticky,theres half eaten biscuits on the clothes thats ment to be drying on the radiators,food under the sofa and mold on the window panes.
the kitchen is strewn with dirty pots,oven and cooker covered with burnt on food and the fridge has moldy food in it from december last year and is just a disgrace.bedrooms have mold on ceilings as does the bathroom and the window frames are covered in black moldy smelly gunk,the whole house smells.
i had my grandchildren for a few days recentley and was heartbroken when they had to return home to that filth.
i have tried speaking to my daughter and son in law about it but all i get is if i carry on interfering they will stop me going down.
im really worried for their health and safety,my grandson is always saying to me that he wants to come to my house,i just want to take them from there and bring them home with me till they sort their house out but worried they will stop me seeing my grand children
any advice much appreciated

grannyactivist Thu 18-Feb-16 10:59:51

There are many reasons why your daughter's house might be in the state it's in, but I do wonder if perhaps your daughter is depressed.

In your shoes I think I would try to find a non-judgemental way of offering to do a spring clean for her. Maybe say you'd like to do it as a Mothering Sunday gift for her as she has her hands full with the children. Or, if you can afford it, offer to pay for a cleaner for a while. The most important thing is genuinely to try and not pass judgement, but to be part of the solution in a way that she can accept. If she understands that you are concerned for her and you want to help she may feel she can accept it.

I appreciate it's hard seeing your grandchildren in this state, but as many of us on here who grew up in similar households can attest to it's not likely that any lasting damage will ensue. Your grandchildren are loved and cared for and that's much more important than the consequences of a bit of dirt and disarray. flowers for you, because it's hard to be on the sidelines wishing things were different.

bikergran Thu 18-Feb-16 11:03:37

I would say if they have always lived like that then there isn't much that can be done...but! if your DD used to be clean and tidy(as tidy as you can with little ones about) then it sounds more like some form of depression/given up etc as it may have got so bad that she has given up nd cant face the big clean up.

bikergran Thu 18-Feb-16 11:04:30

great minds granny

Elrel Thu 18-Feb-16 11:07:10

You are already showing your grandchildren a cleaner tidier home. Don't do anything that ends your seeing them. Are they reasonably clean and adequately fed?
Is your daughter well? Can you do a little clearing/cleaning in her kitchen each time you're there, will she accept this? Could you help her fill some black bags, clear her fridge, buy her some new pans? It sounds as if she is giving up, depressed maybe. The house must have got into that state gradually over months, was your daughter ill in pregnancy?
Do they own the house? How long has the mould been there? It could be the landlord's responsibility if it's rented.
I hope your get some suggestions from Gransnet to improve your grand children's environment.

Elrel Thu 18-Feb-16 11:08:56

I took so long over my post that you've all said it for me! Depression sounds a strong possibility.

Synonymous Thu 18-Feb-16 11:44:23

As Elrel says! smile But I am going to say it anyway.

gingernut above all else please listen to your daughter and son in law and really hear what they are saying. I think it seems to be on the lines of 'mind your own business' in that they are actually telling you not to interfere. If they decide that they cannot manage to have you come to their home any more because you are causing them stress then you will have untold stress of your own that you will find difficult to manage.
This is a time when you have to cultivate blindness to what you see about you when in their home because it is their home and not yours. Never criticise and be very discreet in how you talk to your family.

I can remember just how difficult it was for me as a stay at home mum with two small children because I was just exhausted all the time. It takes quite a while to recover from having babies and since we are all different we also take different lengths of time to recover. In my case it was discovered that I had an underactive thyroid and it took a long time to feel better.
My very dear MIL would turn up give us all lots of love and attention, roll up her sleeves and get cracking. All in that order too! She never criticised and never uttered one word about 'filth' and in fact was a real blessing to us all. If she had criticised or lectured me in any way I know that DH would have shown her the door and I would have descended into the pit of depression.

The lady you are visiting is your own daughter and therein lies a danger in that you may feel that your relationship to her gives you a licence to overstep the bounds which would be there with anyone else. Please be aware that you do not have a licence to say what you like. You may possibly be allowed to help as my DMIL did but only if you do it lovingly and keep it buttoned!

I read your post out to DH who laughed and said to console you with the thought of all the antibodies they are building up. grin

Just relax and enjoy your family!

Jalima Thu 18-Feb-16 12:01:52

Oh dear, I remember a post before the same as this, was it you gingernut? sorry things have not improved.

I would not worry about a bit of dirt but I would worry about the mould spores.

gingernut31 Thu 18-Feb-16 12:09:54

Their house has not always been like that no, until their 2nd child arrived it was clean and tidy,I was a single parent to twins and never let my home get like that,maybe she is depressed as suggested as when she had her 2nd child she was put on anti depressants but stopped taking them after a few months,I have offered to help and I've never criticised, my grandson who is almost 3 was even saying err disgusting when he went into the kitchen with me to feed their dog(there's a bolt at top so kids can't get in)while they were away on their honeymoon and I looked after my 2 grandchildren,I did mention once about there being no bedding on my grandsons bed for a number of days which she now makes sure there is, my intentions are to go down after dropping my grandson at nursery in the next few days and just to start help with the cleaning and saying I've just come to help for a few hours as I know you've been busy with your wedding.

Jalima Thu 18-Feb-16 12:12:36

Perhaps it has got so bad she doesn't know where to start and if you help her she may become more motivated to carry on.

pensionpat Thu 18-Feb-16 12:13:06

People are very varied in the way they want to live and the level of clutter/dirt that they will tolerate. I agree that depression could be a factor. Also the whole idea of cleaning might be too overwhelming to contemplate. Any comments from you can be seen as pressure so be very careful.

Synonymous Thu 18-Feb-16 12:17:06

Well done ginger that will be a real help I am sure. smile Just make DD a cup of tea and have a happy chat with her first making sure to say very little about what you are actually doing.

Luckygirl Thu 18-Feb-16 12:40:41

I used to be a SW and visited some pretty messy places. I remember one where the little boy of about two was on the filthy floor eating a fried eg from a frying pan with his fingers - I consoled myself with the fact that at least he was getting an egg!

I also remember him treading on something in his bare feet and his Mum saying "Oh no, he's trodden on that bit of chewing gum again!" Sigh.

I concur with what others are saying here ginger - tread gently in order not to alienate them, but be very aware of the possibility of depression. Does the health visitor not go round? Could you confidentially tip her the wink that all might not be well?

Rhonab Thu 18-Feb-16 15:08:33

I'm so glad this isn't just me, although yours seems a worse state it must be said!

My daughter is also a stay at home (she does teach a handful of yoga classes now) mum (of one perfect wee girl who even sleeps for a couple of hours during the day and goes to bed for the night around 7) although her husband works long hours and sometimes every day.
She doesn't do housework so when we go over, which isn't often, the house smells stuffy, there's invariably washing draped over all the radiators (also in summer when the heating is off!!!), piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen etc etc etc. It was much worse in the previous house which was big, draughty and damp with 2 rabbits kept in the kitchen to add to the aroma!

When they moved into this house we offered to take the wee one out a morning a week (we already do a lot of babysitting in our house) to let the daughter get on with the housework ... still awaiting a reply over a year later.
I actually want to shake her into some kind of action, but kind of blame myself because I didn't make her do anything when she was still at home.

I don't think confrontation is the way to go, and I wish I knew the answer! I feel so sorry for my Sil having to come home late at night after working umpteen hours and tidy the house.

amberdogxK9 Thu 18-Feb-16 17:03:52

as Jalima says the really pressing thing is the spores from the mould. If you can tackle that it would be a good first step. wear a face mask and don't use bleach. Lidl have Cilit Bang mould cleaner at the moment at £2. I am sure that would make you and your daughter feel better to get that done as part of a mini Spring clean.

gingernut31 Thu 18-Feb-16 17:23:43

I'm hoping that after its all been tackled it won't get as bad again,fair enough if my daughter and son in law want to live like that but my grandkids have no choice :'(

FarNorth Thu 18-Feb-16 17:44:23

Insisting on the mess being tackled could cause ill-feeling, as you've found, and lead to a falling out.

If your daughter needs anti-depressants but isn't taking them maybe she'd be interested in trying St John's Wort?
It can be bought from Boots and online from, and other retailers too I expect.

I have found it effective to give a bit of a mood lift and I wish I had had it when I was a young mother. It has to be taken regularly, every day, to maintain the effect and it takes about 3-4 weeks to kick in.

Av1dreader Thu 18-Feb-16 17:50:59

Very difficult situation. My DD is a very busy professional woman ,with a one year old. She keeps her house spotless. When she was at work one day her parents IL visited their son and the baby. My DD's MIL did the ironing which was on the worktop. My DD was gracious to MIL who I am sure had the best intentions, but DD was not happy, felt that it looked as if she wasn't coping. I asked if she would feel like that if I had done it. She said yes she would, I was surprised at that as we are very close, and she keeps a lovely home and no one doubts her.
Maybe the Posters DD has got so bogged down with the mess she doesn't know where to start, or she may be in dispute with her partner over sharing the household chores so has given up. Perhaps go for a coffee and then offer some help to get her started, but it's not worth falling out over she needs you in her life more than anything else. The weird thing is when she lived at home she was very untidy and her room was a tip.

gingernut31 Thu 18-Feb-16 19:20:42

Yes she does feel that her husband should help and she gets frustrated when he leaves things about, I know a lot of it is she can't be bothered anymore,I know for a fact my daughter would be happy for me to help her, it's her husband that's not happy about it, I've come up with the idea of just doing a little at a time so it doesn't look like I've been there helping, it's going to be a slow process but maybe it will give her the motivation once one room is tackled., I'm certainly not going to risk falling out over it

Av1dreader Thu 18-Feb-16 19:41:59

That sounds like the best idea to be supportive to your daughter and give some help to get things started. Maybe her husband is resistant to you helping because he knows that he should be doing more. Best wishes

pollyparrot Thu 18-Feb-16 19:58:41

My son and DIL's house is pretty minging but that's their standard not mine. We all have different ways of living and it's important that we don't impose our own standards on other people.

gingernut31 Thu 18-Feb-16 20:33:05

I'm not expecting it to be spotless just hygienic,seeing mouldy tomatoes in fridge and rotting food where kids play can't be good at all

pollyparrot Thu 18-Feb-16 21:04:33

Are their living conditions making them ill?

Eloethan Fri 19-Feb-16 00:27:03

It sounds awful and I would be very worried too.

Untidiness is not the end of the world but rotting food and mold everywhere must surely be a health risk and not a cosy or homely environment for anybody, especially children.

The fact that the house was previously quite well looked after does indicate that your daughter is depressed/unwell and is just finding everything too much to cope with. I not sure what the answer is other than, as you said, you doing small amounts to help her without it looking like there has been a big clean up. (Make sure she is happy for you to give a hand). She is maybe lacking in confidence, energy and motivation at the moment, and criticisms will only make her feel more useless and miserable. So it's probably best that you resist the very natural urge to express your worries (even through facial expression) but instead try to remain upbeat, calm and friendly.

I wondered whether she and her husband are having relationship problems. I also wondered why he is so opposed to you helping out, given that he's unwilling to do so himself. Does he not care that the house is filthy or does he feel that it's your daughter's "duty" to sort things out on her own?

I really hope things get better for you all.

gingernut31 Fri 19-Feb-16 08:26:59

My daughter and sil only got married last week so can't really see them having relationship problems,my grandchildren have had a cough and snotty noses for months now and after seeing what the house is like with the moldy ceilings and possible bacteria from the moldy food it's probably caused by that, they use to have a family nurse for the 1st year of my grandsons life so the house was pretty tidy but a little after she stopped coming I noticed a difference.even their little dog is kept in the kitchen with the door locked and isn't house trained,she's never been the tidiest person even when she lived at home but never ever as bad as this