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Setting guidelines for living with my adult daughter and grandson

(58 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.

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.