My mother's mess, how do I tell her to clean!

ELIZABETH - posted on 10/06/2009 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My Mom watches our 1yr old daughter and we pay her for babysitting. She is a chronic horder and literally has trails in her house. We told her that when Emma started to walk she needed to have the house clean and free of clutter. Well now my daughter is running through the house and getting into everything and she has already hurt herself getting into my Mothers stacked clutter. I feel like we pay her and she should keep her house picked up so our daughter doesn't get injured. I feel like if she doesn't pick up then we are going to have someone else watch her. Please give advice on what you would do!!!???!!

23 Comments

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Norma - posted on 10/08/2009

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This is a complicated problem and I can't give you a good answer in the small time and space allowed here. Hoarding is frequently a deep-seated problem with a psychological basis, although sometimes it is simply a matter of being. My suggestion would be that you check the web sites below and contact them to see if you can locate someone in your area who has been trained / certified in the area of hoarding. As a daughter for the time being I would accept her for who she is now. Hopefully she'll change via counseling. It seems to be dangerous for your child to be in your mom's cluttered home. I would find sitting elsewhere.

Source(s):

National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD) certification program http://www.nsgcd.org



National Association of Professional Organizers http://www.napo.net

ELIZABETH - posted on 10/07/2009

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Quoting Linga:

My mom has been a hoarder since I was a child. She buys and buys and buys! She has clothes and shoes in her clostets that still have the tags on them! She wants us to come and help her, but I find it overwhelming and stressful because she wants to sit down and go through every little item before making a decision on it.

I am not a hoarder. In fact, I am a minimalist because I can't stand the way i grew up! Even though my mom is very organized with her immense possessions, her place is starting to get too cluttered.



That is how I am now too, I throw away things that we still need. But every couple of months I go through the house and throw things away that we haven't used. Most of the time it is pretty much worthless and if we need it, it is worth it to buy it again if by chance I need it.



 



My Mom thinks that she will need all of these things one day and it will save her money. But she has a 5 bedroom house and 3rooms are filled with crap. She still have about 20tape players in her one room and she thinks one day she will fix them. No one will evem by a TAPE player haha

ELIZABETH - posted on 10/07/2009

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Thank you everyone! I wish this was an easy task. She has always been a "shit lover" and I know that when I was younger it was bad and I was embaressed for my friends to come over. My brother is only 18 and he doesn't really give a crap what the house looks like. My Dad works all week in GR so then it looks worse because he is the only one that cleans up. We have talked to my mom and she knows she has a problem and then disregards it. My mom makes like living hell for anyone who mentions this crap in her house. Thank you and tomorrow my Mom is coming over to watch Emeliza because it interferes with her sleeping schedule. To make things worse she also never leaves her house because I think her crap is comfort! Thank you again for all of your comments I think my husband and I have reached an agreement and it is safer to find another babysitter who will come here for the couple of hours a week we need them!!!

[deleted account]

My mother is a hoader also. Luckily there are no small children in her home. However it is a big problem ... perhaps you could offer to help her get some stuff out of the house .... sometimes you need a push to get this type of task done. I feel for you cause whenever I go to my mom's I look at all the stuff she has and know that unless she takes care of it (doubtful) it will ultimately be my responsibility. Good luck, your daughter's safety is paramount and if mom cant get the clutter out, maybe you need another day care arrangement. Laura

Kareena - posted on 10/07/2009

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Hi Elizabeth,
My kids intervened with me, I thought my son was being extremely unreasonable, I cried and got angry with him It took us a while to get back to square but we have. He took his pregnant wife somewhere else to stay.My house was immaculate when he was young and then I recieved a brain injury I didnt know why I couldnt clean up It is very distressing to me. I have done it and I have had help but it continuously piles up around us. I have a skip bin outside which has been sitting there for months. I have been trying to save things for my grandson who they will probably not let visit anywayI have bought my younger children things my older children missed out on but Ive got to tell you it is a mess they dont use a lot of it and it is no fun because I want them to clean up all the time before we play so we never seem to get to. My friend rang me the other day when I was cleaning up and it made it so much easier. I did it while I was talking on the phone I didnt have to stop I didnt look through things and I could do it without feeling like I had to stop and look at the person I was speaking to (and he couldnt see my mess)so he wasnt judging and condemning me.My daughter is gentle but she packs a mean punch too I know what Ill be doing today. My husband tells me not to let them upset me but Ive noticed how happy he is when things are clear and clean he has been very patient with me and I would like to do it for him and me and not cut my nose off to spite my face with my children and go back to them drawing in the dirt with sticks

Victoria - posted on 10/07/2009

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I am reading this post and realizing that I am actually becoming a hoarder, and I am grateful to see myself here. I have always been a person who 'keeps things for my kids'... and the older I get the more I realize that my kids don't really need or want these things. After reading this I am realizing that they may see this in me as well, and the last thing in the world I would want is for them to keep my grandkids from me over something I could clearly change.



If I were the mother of the person who is concerned for the welfare of my child, I would find it beneficial for them to tell me point blank that until the clutter was cleaned up, my grandchild would not be visiting. Something like that would certainly light a fire under me and would force me to make a decision about what was important to me.



I liked the way that the one family did an intervention where everyone was there and things were eliminated either by trashing, sending to charity or actually distributing amongst the children and grandchildren.



Somebody mentioned the common thread that hoarding happens because of someone losing something that was important to them at some point in their life... I lived through a house fire as a child where everything that was familiar to me was gone, and also have gone through a divorce and the loss of my parents who also tended to hang onto things, probably for the same reason... the fire.



I am grateful to have read this today. Will spend some time decluttering.



In answer to your question... I would talk to your mother honestly about the mess, offer to help her clean up, and tell her that until things are managable, your child will have to be cared for elsewhere.

Linga - posted on 10/07/2009

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My mom has been a hoarder since I was a child. She buys and buys and buys! She has clothes and shoes in her clostets that still have the tags on them! She wants us to come and help her, but I find it overwhelming and stressful because she wants to sit down and go through every little item before making a decision on it.



I am not a hoarder. In fact, I am a minimalist because I can't stand the way i grew up! Even though my mom is very organized with her immense possessions, her place is starting to get too cluttered.

Margarita - posted on 10/07/2009

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Well 1st off "hoarding" is a disease and you have to treat it as such. Some where along the lines when she was younger or when you were younger she had a "loss" of something. I tell you this because I have dealt with issues like this with my mother and other ppl.



The only thing I can tell you is you need to do an intervention with her and let her know that you love her and you want to hewlp her becasue this is where all the respitory issues are ging to come in. She may not know it yet but she is going to be iabetic, have hb pressure and eveything uder the sun.



You may want to help her one day at a time. and help her "organize" everything. I know it is going to be a huge chore. Everytime I or my children [who are 21,19, & 16] want to go out there and help her she will call us 3 hours before we head out there to tell us that she is not "feeling good". My mom hasn't seen my kids since my sons graduation [the 21 yr old] She is always making excuses.



But Liz she needs an intervention.



I am rooting for you and keep me posted,



Margarita ☺

Melissa - posted on 10/07/2009

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My mom got the same way, now that all us older kids have left the house. This is what we did. We considered her mental and physical status, which was below standard on both for her age. All us kids presented our case in the best intrest of all involved, the grandkids, the sis. left at home And Her. The house in no way would even pass a fire or health inspection we added for good measure... In the end she saw the reason in it, then we were able to set a date to get family and friends over to unpack the house. she looked like sants deciding whst went to who and wwas able to donate rest to her church for a yard sell which equally added joy her. Now gald for the room and glad for helping ohters, we're all glad we did. Now we even get to take a load off when we visit,and those visits tend to be longer!! Be Blessed, Melissa

Sylvia - posted on 10/07/2009

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For all these people whose moms are hoarders, were they this way when you were a child? What do you remember about it from your childhood? How did it affect you? And do you have hoarding tendencies now?

[deleted account]

First off, your child's safety is most important. Immediately make other arrangements for her daycare. Then, calmly and gently explain to your Mum that you have chosen another caregiver until your mum finds time to childproof her home. As Susan mentioned, your mum can see you daughter in your home. Be clear but firm that the clutter piles are a hazard and you will not risk your daughters health. However, remember that hoarding is an illness. Don't be harsh with your mother, and offer to help her.

[deleted account]

My mom was a hoarderf or most of my life. We just didn't understand that hoarding is an illness. If you watch the program dealing with this subject matter, you will see that hoarders don't understand what they are doing. The control of the "stuff" is more important than just about anything, even family. You just have to decide that the environment is too dangerous for your child. Having your mother come to your house would be most beneficial. Just point out the positives about this new arrangement (baby doesn't have to be woken up, baby doesn't have to go out in the cold, baby is in own house with own things, etc.). Best wishes to you.

ELIZABETH - posted on 10/06/2009

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Thanks for all the comments, i know what I need to do. Im very intmidated by my mom and I never say no to her because she can make you feel really crappy about yourself. I will probably give her some BS excuse for changing her babysitter. I know that she will be completely heartbroken and I also know that children can get hurt anywhere. I keep a clean house and Emma knows how to get hurt. Thank u again for all of your comments and now I know I'm not the only one out there in this same exact situation.

Danielle - posted on 10/06/2009

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My mom is the same way. She goes to garage sales and buys all sorts of junk and just piles it up anywhere in the house. She doesn't even bother to clean the dirt off of things that may have been sitting outside or in a barn or garage or something for years. The living room is literally one big pile about 8 ft high of random dirty stuff, clothes, trash, animal food, plant fertilizer, etc. She wanted to watch my baby but I had to tell her that she couldn't do it at her house unless she cleaned up and baby-proofed first. So far it hasn't happened and probably never will... my daughter has to go to daycare instead. It's tough to do, but you have to think of your child's safety.

Lindsay - posted on 10/06/2009

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If you think your mom is a good sitter, I'd have her come to your house.

[deleted account]

You need to find someone/somewhere new. You are risking your daughters health and well being by leaving her there! Especially if you are paying her, I think that she should want better for her grandbaby!!!! What would happen if there was a fire??? - Would the fighters be able to find your daughter in all of the ****???? GOOD LUCK!

Jessica - posted on 10/06/2009

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If your mom is a chronic hoarder, most likely she won't clean up if you continue to have her babysit.I suggest finding someone else till she figures things out. Your daughters safety should be the most important thing. God forbid she got into something and choked or injured herself on the clutter! Your mom would feel absolutely horrible if she caused your daughter harm! I am sure your mom wants to watch her grandchild, but if you don't give her any incentive to clean up then she wont. Def get another babysitter and see if your mom cleans up her act. BTW... my mom was similar with the clutter, and my daughter found one of my moms medications on the floor and ate it! We had to go to the ER and have her stomach filled with activated charcoal and pumped!!!! Doc said she could have died if my mom hadnt caught her after the fact.Please take my advice and protect your childs well being.

[deleted account]

I feel your pain. My mother is the same way. There is no room for us to spend the night and there is too much stress involved in keeping my son out of the stuff that is piled up. He once dumped an entire bag of bird seed on the kitchen floor and started eating it! Who stores bird seed on the kitchen floor? I have offered numerous times to help her clean and organize the house. We have cleaned certain areas in the past but within months it's piled up with new junk. I have concluded that my mother isn't going to change so I accept things the way they are. We never stay over for a visit. I always make her come to my house. I would tell your mom that if she wants to continue babysitting her granddaughter then she needs to do it at your house because her house isn't child friendly.

Jillian - posted on 10/06/2009

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I would simply tell her that you are looking for someone else to watch your little girl. You can even just tell her that it is so she is around other kids for interaction.

[deleted account]

Hard to tell your mom something like that. =\ It is a seriously problem, hoarding. Bring it up how cluttered her house is and offer to give her a hand. If she doesnt there is wonderful baby sisters/day cares out there. Maybe if you do bring her some place else she will realize that it is a problem and pickup. Good luck hun.

Sharon - posted on 10/06/2009

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Hoarders are sick.



You don't see it or don't want to. But they need more help than "you need to clean up."



Do not leave your daughter with her. Get a new sitter - maybe that will be motivation enough for her.

Susan - posted on 10/06/2009

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Can she watch your daughter at your house instead? If she's been a hoarder for life, she isn't likely to change any time soon...

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