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Setting guidelines for living with my adult daughter and grandson

(57 Posts)
Sinika Thu 19-Sep-19 22:00:52

My adult daughter has lived with my husband and I since her son was born 2 years ago. Our entire house has been completly remodeled to our needs. Our daughter lives in the finished basement and before she moved in we remodeled the bathroom. She works three 12 hour days, is a really good mom, but the dad is worthless and no help!
My dilemma is that she is a slob! The bathroom is always dirty and she has laundry that has been sitting on top of the dryer for two years ( thankfully she had a separate laundry room in the basement). she leaves dishes in the basement, and she has all her stuff she came with in the crawl space ( which she needs to go through). I like a clean house and I'm constantly cleaning after her and the baby. We watch him three days a week. We need help on how to discuss this with our daughter, but my husband is an avoided and is fearful that she will move out.

Doodle Thu 19-Sep-19 22:47:26

If I had a two year old and worked 3 12 hour shifts I would be a slob too.

MiniMoon Thu 19-Sep-19 23:11:12

I used to work three twelve hour shifts. They were hard day's/nights. I still managed to do laundry, wash up, walk the dog and cook meals for a husband and two children.
If I hadn't done it, then nobody else would.
There is the crux of the matter. You clean up for her. If she had her own home she would have to do it herself.

Tangerine Thu 19-Sep-19 23:15:15

Perhaps you could try helping her to get her surroundings shipshape as things may have got so bad that she doesn't know where to start.

Then, having got the place nice and clean, ask her to maintain it.

It also depends on how you get on with her generally? If she is a reasonable type of person, perhaps you could try a calm discussion.

paddyann Thu 19-Sep-19 23:39:05

is it her space,does she pay rent for it? If you agreed that she had this space then its up to her how she lives in it .As long as its just untidy and she and her child are happy I'd leave well alone /

LondonGranny Fri 20-Sep-19 00:02:21

I don't know what a crawl space is...and why does she have to go through it? Is it the only way into the basement? Seems really grim to me unless I've got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

Coolgran65 Fri 20-Sep-19 00:08:31

LondonGranny I think the crawl space is the attic area, but stand to be corrected. Could be an American term.

Coolgran65 Fri 20-Sep-19 00:11:00

And she has to 'go through it' ....... as in.....Sort it out

ElaineI Fri 20-Sep-19 00:25:32

Perhaps you need to discuss things - maybe your standards are different from hers and neither is wrong but you need a bit of give and take. 3 x 12 hour shifts are very hard going so someone doing these may not be able to do much more on the work days but you could help her organise washing and cleaning on her days off. As long as things are clean and baby is catered for then other things you might consider important may not be. Minimoon if you worked for 12 hours there is no way you could walk the dog, make meals for husband and 2 children, do laundry, wash up etc on the days you were working 12 hours because you would not be in the house but at work so on those days someone else would have had to do these things. Maybe you organised these things but not quite the same.

Loulelady Fri 20-Sep-19 01:19:55

If the mess is in “her” basement then ignore.
If she is leaving mess in shared areas then you need to ask her to clear up after herself.
I understand that as a tidy person, it distresses you, but as long as her son is clean, fed and happy, the rest is her choice.
Avoid going in if it bothers you. Don’t clear up for her.
My adult daughter is messy (at 28 she shows signs of reforming!). However she looks great, is great, and she is galloping up the career ladder at a rate of knots in a very competitive field. I let it go. I’m no longer the boss of her.
She doesn’t live with me, admittedly.

Grammaretto Fri 20-Sep-19 05:44:36

Are you worried about vermin? I would find a cleaner with no emotional attachments. Surely you've done your fair share of clearing up after children!
Your current arrangements sound untenable.

Sara65 Fri 20-Sep-19 06:25:37

One of my daughters lived with us for a year with her then toddler, she is a slob, and I found myself doing ironing which had been hanging around for weeks, now , living in her own home she’s worse!

Her present relationship is shaky, I’ve always said if she ever came back, there would be some conditions, couldn’t live like that again

ClareAB Fri 20-Sep-19 07:19:49

If it's her space and not shared by you, then either leave it, or, if it really bothers you, and you have your daughters blessing, tidy it up.
Different people live differently. And, although you're her mum, and she's living in your basement, she is an adult and it really is none of your business how she chooses to keep her home. L
et it go!

BradfordLass72 Fri 20-Sep-19 09:02:01

I had a friend who complained bitterly that her daughter was untidy.
She was constantly going upstairs to her daughter's part of the house and washing up, folding laundry etc.

Daughter owned the house and had made a 'granny flat' for Mum downstairs.

Then I met the daughter and she complained bitterly about her mother's interference and assumption that she could just go up into her home and do domestic work, leaving little notes to point out where daughter was at fault.

That situation ended in a horrible blazing row which resulted in mother moving out into her own place, losing contact with her two grand-daughters.

Davidhs Fri 20-Sep-19 09:13:43

3 12 hour shifts hard, that’s rubbish, all my life I’ve worked 12 hour days and more, that’s what you do when you run your own business. I will concede that night shifts are hard and I could never do that.

She is a slob, in your words, as long as she is otherwise OK do some tidying put a load of washing in on the days you look after the child. Otherwise leave her to it, it’s her space let her slum in it.

I do really wish I could have done only 3 shifts a week!.

Sara65 Fri 20-Sep-19 09:19:02

I think it’s very hard, if you’re tidy by nature, to live with someone who isn’t. I don’t recall my daughter ever being so untidy before she left home, I live in hope that she’ll change, but I’m not holding my breath!

knickas63 Fri 20-Sep-19 09:27:50

I would be honest with my daughter - but is a slightly jokey way. The conversation would be: 'Baby. This place is a shit tip. Do you want some help?' then - she would either get on an do it herself, or accept my help. If she accepted my help we would come up with a plan to try and keep it up. My eldest daughters house permanently looks like a bomb has gone off! She is an excellent mum, but would rather be on the floor playing Lego with her 3 boys then doing housework. Can't say I blame her! Once in a while I will help her have a blitz. She gets a bit overwhelmed by it all. Perhaps you daughter does as well.

Shazmo24 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:25:52

What's in her space stays in her long as it doesn't migrate into your space it's up to her.
She's an adult & shouldn't be tidying up after her either

jenpax Fri 20-Sep-19 10:26:57

I am with those who say that unless it DIRECTLY effects you then leave well alone! It is different of course if she is using your living areas, but as I understand it she is living in self contained accommodation in your basement.She is an adult and not your responsibility so don’t make an issue of it.

jaylucy Fri 20-Sep-19 10:29:27

If you are constantly cleaning up after her, why does she have to bother doing it herself ?
Why are you going into her personal areas of the house? Is she not entitled to privacy?
You can very well insist that she keep the shared areas of the house clean and tidy and you could always set up a rota for it, but otherwise leave her to her own devices - she is an adult, not a child!

4allweknow Fri 20-Sep-19 10:42:38

If she pays rent then the accommodation she has can be treated within reason eg no health hazards, damage to the property, as she wishes. If she is freeloading then you need to speak with her about the mess. Perhaps suggest helping with a massive clean up but define who is to do what or you may end up doing it all. Also set a timescale. If she isn't cooperative just give her the local rental newsoaoer and tell her you will start charging for babysitting. Having 4 days from work she must surely have time to clean up behind her. Think she needs a bit of a wakeup call.

Saggi Fri 20-Sep-19 10:46:50

Doodle..... working 36 hours out of a 168 hour week is not an astronomical task! I worked 45 hours a week with two kids... of which was in and out of hospital 34 times in the course of 12 years.... a shift working husband of the old fashioned sort, who thought the housework was ‘my territory’.... and still managed to keep a clean , reasonably tidy house and garden!, .... with no washing machine until the youngest was 3.... so that included mounds of terry nappies!! So she works three days , what the hell is she doing the other four days! I tell you what she’s doing... she’s relying on mummy and daddy to pick up the flack! Please Sinika ... take my advice and sit down with this daughter explain to her the facts of life... her child is hers to look after, keep clean, entertained and in an environment where he can thrive. Grandparents are there as back-up and shouldn’t be ‘used’ in this manner. Be firm with her.... you’ll all benefit in the end... especially your own daughter.

TrendyNannie6 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:54:52

If she is making your living area untidy then yes that’s different you should say something, you obviously have different ideas of how you should tidy up, as long as her child was well looked after clean etc I think I would leave it, I wouldn’t go tidying up her things, I wouldn’t interfere it’s her life

Hetty58 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:58:57

My daughter and grandson lived with me too. She simply wasn't quite well for the first few years after she had him and was having cognitive therapy. She split up with the father. She just wasn't able to clear up, do laundry etc. so I did it. I resented it at the time.

She got her own place when he was two (although often he was here) and by then she managed much better.

Nowadays, she has a new partner, two more kids, she works, is happy and manages just fine!

EthelJ Fri 20-Sep-19 10:59:18

I agree with others. If the mess is in her space leave it. Presumably it's her home and up to her how she lives. What you term mess might be homely to her. We all have different standards of what we feel. Comfirtable with. Or maybe she would rather spend her spare time playing with her child than tidying up.
If the mess encroaches on your space then you should mention it to her. She shouldn't be messing up your home and making you feel uncomfortable.

Septimia Fri 20-Sep-19 11:03:32

My reaction would be that her space is her problem, but shared spaces are different and consideration should be given to the other people who have to use them. Perhaps a joint tidying up effort periodically in those parts of the house?

LondonGranny Fri 20-Sep-19 11:11:05

Thanks for the clarification smile

Here's my twopenn'orth. Three twelve hour shifts could be more onerous than it sounds, depending on whether it's night shifts or very stressy work. Also being a single mum is a hard job in itself.
If she's untidying your space, then put your foot down. If it's her living area, well, if someone came into my workroom (which is a right old tollypossle) and tidied it up, I'd be pretty hacked off as despite it looking disorganised, I know exactly where everything is.
Was your daughter an untidy child? If she was previously neat but now isn't, that might indicate that she's permanently knackered.

GoldenAge Fri 20-Sep-19 11:14:32

Sinika - it sounds to me as though you baled your daughter out two years ago - you remodelled your house, presumably at some financial cost to yourselves, to provide a private place for her and your grandson. She works three 12 hour shifts but you don't mention whether she pays you any rent for this. Frankly, if she doesn't, then you are colluding with her sloppiness because you've spent money on providing her with her own flat and are still supporting her. This is sending her a message that she can basically do as she wants in 'your' home. If she does pay rent then there's a strong argument that whatever she gets up to in her apartment is her affair. However, dirty laundry all over the floor, dirty plates and left-over food are signals to cockroaches and mice of a welcome environment and as the flat is a basement flat there's an even greater chance of this happening. At the same time, your two year old grandson, while being very nicely mothered by your daughter, is growing up in a sloppy home and this will transfer to his way of thinking. I don't think there's anything wrong with speaking to your daughter about general cleanliness and tidiness and your worry about vermin which will spread throughout the house, and likewise I don't think there's anything wrong with speaking to your husband and telling him that if he is so worried your daughter will leave, then he should use his own pocket money (if he has any) to suggest paying for a cleaner for her for three hours a week.

GabriellaG54 Fri 20-Sep-19 11:30:20

Does your daughter cook in your kitchen and taketo coomed meal downstairs to eat?
Is the laundry on the dryer dirty washing, washed and dried but not ironed, damp as it hasn't been dried?
What is 'crawl space'?
I gather you're in the US/Canada.
I hope you sort her out and make her aware of her luck in being able to stay with you and have you to look after her child.
It's your home, your rules and she must respect it.

GabriellaG54 Fri 20-Sep-19 11:32:04

taketo coomed take the cooked 🙄😊

Sara65 Fri 20-Sep-19 11:39:50


I’m a bit with you, if we go somewhere and she asks whose car, I always say mine, because I don’t want to get typhoid, she’s a real messy girl, we all go on at her, but it’s water off a ducks back.

Davidhs Fri 20-Sep-19 11:50:49

We all have our own standards when it comes to living conditions I like a house to be “lived in” which means basically clean and tidy. Anyone living with me or sharing, lives by that standard, so anyone obsessively clean or untidy will very quickly get “told”.

If I had a daughter with a child living in a separate area, what she does in her space is her affair, but stray into my space she does it my way. Most important to me is ensuring she is as happy and safe as she can be, so I would do nothing that might upset the relationship.

M0nica Fri 20-Sep-19 12:10:43

Three 12 hour shifts is a 36 hour working week, with 4 days at home when she can do all the housework etc. Does't strike me as unreasonable.

When my children were between 9 and 13, I worked a 5 day week which, including travel time, was a 12 hour day. We had a large old house and I managed to look after it and children. It was not that onerous, just required planning and I had time to follow outside interests.

From the sound of it her accommodation is entirely separate from yours, so there should be no reason to go into it. You should not be doing any housework or cleaning in her accommodation. To begin with it is an intrusion into her private life and secondly, I suspect, you have always rushed round and cleaned and tidied up after her so she has never had any reason to be clean and tidy because she always had staff (you) to do it for her - and you still do.

Look after your grandson on the days you have him in your own accommodation and do not go near her accommodation, certainly never go in it unless explicitly invited over the doorstep. One of two things will happen: either your DD will suddenly realise that the staff have left and are not going to be replaced unless she pays contractors to come in and she may gradually pull herself together and start caring for her home. Alternatively, she may be one of those terminally untidy people and the flat will reach a state where either it is a fire risk or it threatens the safety of your GS. In which case you notify the relevant authorities and let them deal with it.

Esspee Fri 20-Sep-19 12:37:45

Is the OP coming back?

sodapop Fri 20-Sep-19 12:47:44

I agree with MOnica allow your daughter to live as she pleases in her own accommodation. If the mess spills out into shared areas or becomes a hazard then take appropriate steps to deal with it. I worked full time doing shifts when my children were young so just had to adjust and plan my house work etc accordingly. You have done a lot for your daughter already Sinika now it's time to take a step back and let her cope on her own.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 20-Sep-19 14:02:45

If you are sharing a bathroom then you need to tell your daughter to remove her dirty clothes, or you could simply move them down into her laundry room If not, the matter is more complicated.

Perhaps I misunderstood, and it is not dirty clothes, although if clothes have been lying in one place for two years they can't be all that clean now.

A crawl space is not designed to act as a storage room. It's function is to allow air to circulate under the house, so tell your daughter nicely that in order to prevent rot or vermin, you and she will need to move everything that is in the crawl space somewhere else. Tell her, you will help with this.

You say she is working 36 hours a week in three twelve hours shifts, so it is only reasonable to help her with this.

Dirty dishes will attract mice or cockroaches or both, both unpleasant and a health hazard.

If however she refuses to clear any of this away, you will either have to ask her to move, thus damaging your relationship with her, or put up with her habits, but you are certainly entitled to ask her not to encroach on your part of the house with her mess.

As your daughter she can hardly be surprised that you have different standards.

M0nica Fri 20-Sep-19 17:16:11

I have just been re-reading your OP, and I noticed a strange sentence We need help on how to discuss this with our daughter, but my husband is an avoided and is fearful that she will move out.

Hang on, she is an adult woman with a child. Surely both you and your DH should want her to move out and set out on an independent life, rather than still living at home.

I suspect she is an only child, and you both have spent your whole lives running round looking after her so that she is in a state of learned helplessness. Unable to live independently or do anything around her flat because she doesn't know how to because she has never been allowed to.

I would also you give her an ultimatum to get rid of everything in your 'crawl space' (this is a new word and concept to me). If it has been there two years without being touched, none of it is needed and can all go to a tip. Also after 2 years in a basement much of it will be damaged beyond repair by damp and vermin.

Coconut Fri 20-Sep-19 17:17:48

There should always be ground rules in shared accommodation, family or not. She has to accept that you are clearly poles apart in this area. You shouldn’t have to clean up after her that is so wrong.

LostChild Fri 20-Sep-19 17:24:16

Personally I would ask her to be respectful of your space and shared space. Let her keep her space as she feels comfortable. Toddlers are a full time job on their own without such long shifts.

Hithere Fri 20-Sep-19 17:33:14

Not everybody has the same definition of cleanliness and organization.

Sussexborn Fri 20-Sep-19 18:28:52

Obviously not many viewers of American fixer upper type programmes. They seem to have shallower footings than in the UK and literally space under the house that you can only crawl in. Perhaps to do with the houses tending to be timber rather than brick.

Jaye53 Fri 20-Sep-19 18:42:55

Crawlspace? Sounds awful. If its filthy get a cleaner in. You should not be cleaning her space for her.

Tedber Fri 20-Sep-19 19:31:07

I don't understand the question "we need help on how to discuss this with our daughter"?

Maybe I am just a straight talking northerner but I would not need to ask for advice on how to approach any of my daughters.

I would say this place is a s**t tip so get it cleared up!

GabriellaG54 Fri 20-Sep-19 20:53:51

I'm with you on that but the OP is frightened worried because her DH wants the daughter to stay.
Obviously, he's not the one sorting the sh** or looking after the GC so I'd ignore his views.

Davidhs Fri 20-Sep-19 21:36:04

Hang on a while ladies the OP states the daughter has a young child and a worthless man, she is quite likely struggling with the relationship and may well be depressed too.
When her circumstances improve and she can afford a decent roof over her head of course she should move out, until then I would help where it is needed. Lots of GPs help out with child care and it’s much more convenient in the same house

LostChild Fri 20-Sep-19 22:00:04

David, I've always had this saying

Tidy house = Tidy mind

I've realised recently it is the other way around for me

Tidy mind = Tidy house

Turns out I clean when I am happy

M0nica Fri 20-Sep-19 23:30:26

David OP's husband doesn't want to discuss the issue with his daughter in case she moves out, so there is no question about making her leave, but what ever her present problems, they should be working towards that as an object as she gets herself sorted, it is odd that a parent should be worried that a AC might leave home. That is what AC are meant to do.

Davidhs Sat 21-Sep-19 08:08:28

I’m not sure what AC is. Of course children are meant to leave home, most girls want to, the daughter here is not coping for whatever reason and wants to be at home. We don’t know what country they are in and the social support system may be very poor, so if the daughter is depressed or mentally ill, her and the child could be at serious risk.
As a father I would put their safety above all else and would do nothing to make them want to leave however untidy they were. I don’t understand what “crawl space “ or what the “basement” is, it doesn’t sound very pleasant, they seem to be content living there at present

Anja Sat 21-Sep-19 08:18:45

Say nothing!

sodapop Sat 21-Sep-19 08:26:00

Not sure its a parent's role to keep adult children safe Davidhs there comes a time when they need to take responsibility for themselves and their children.

Fflaurie Sat 21-Sep-19 08:50:48

David, did you have children to look after and a home to look after, or did your partner care for the children, house, meal, washing and ironing etc? My husband also used to do 12 hours shifts, but did nothing at home, I didn't expect him to.

stella1949 Sat 21-Sep-19 09:33:49

I worked 12 hour shifts for years - and I did four per week, not three. Once the shifts are done , you daughter has four entire days off . If she can't be bothered to clean up after herself I'd be having a serious talk with her. Shape up or ship out !

LostChild Sat 21-Sep-19 14:29:25

Guys I have 5 children, work, study and keep a clean house all with fibromyalgia. That doesn't mean OPs daughter should automatically be wonderwoman or even care about having a perfect living space.

phoenix Sat 21-Sep-19 14:54:03

OP? Where are you?

justwokeup Sat 21-Sep-19 15:23:15

Four 'days off' with a two year old is not spare time. Yes, some people are naturally tidy, clean etc, but some, like Davidhs says, just aren't able to do that. Perhaps the 'worthless' dad (seems that's okay!) could contribute to having a cleaner? If not, get a cleaner for your whole house as a gift to both of you. Try to be kinder to each other.

GagaJo Sat 21-Sep-19 15:34:18

Sinika, I'm in exactly your position, except my daughter doesn't work AND we share the space, because UK houses, mostly, don't have basements, although I am thinking about having a loft extension so I can get away from 'family matters'.

The difference is, I work 4 X 12 hour days, plus one half day and I'm 54 years old.

I don't cook or do laundry on those days but I do help clean up after my grandson goes to bed, even though NONE of the mess / kitchen duties are made by me.

If my house (and it is MINE, she owns an apartment she rents out, because it's too small for her and grandson) is trashed, I create holy hell. I understand it gets messy. She's a slob, grandson makes a mess too. BUT it needs cleaning up daily. I won't accept less.

I more or less ignore her bedroom. It's her personal space. But I do complain if my grandson's room is a mess for more than a couple of days. And common areas (kitchen, living room, dining area, hall, stairs) are to be tidied daily.

It is a balance between what I want, what is reasonable and what I can tolerate.

I MISS the days when my house was a spotless oasis of tranquility. I came home from work and destressed. Now I come home and cuddle my grandson. Give him a bath. Put him to bed. Go down (at 9pm, after a 5am start) and help tidy/clean. BUT he won't be tiny for long and I want to enjoy this time. So I'm tolerating this situation. It's all a compromise.

sarahanew Mon 23-Sep-19 18:29:44

Let her keep her living space as she wants. Don't clean up after her. If she wants her area clean, she'll do it if no one else does