July 31, 2008,
E.M. asks from Mishawaka, IN on July 24, 2008
Sister with Horrible Living Conditions
My mother and I would liKe to confront my sister and her living situation but don't know how to go about doing it. She is 7 years older them I am so she was having babies while I was 13 so my hands were pretty tied to help them. We did what we could without going overboard because we didn't want to see her children lost to the system of foster care. We probably should have, looking back on it they would have been better off. I was at her home today to take my niece home after spending the afternoon with her trying to help her nurse her newborn. She went home from the hospital yesterday. I was blown away from the mess and smell coming from their house. It was horrible. I've noticed the smell of my sister before and knew things must be bad but not like I saw today. She has never been one to keep up with things. I remember growing up when my sisters shared am room my older sister's side was neat while her side was horrible. We've tried to get her to change but it is awful. My dilema is I can't see letting another generation grow up this way. I hate to see my niece and her new baby in this situation. We don't have the space to bring them into our home we live in less thn 800 square feet now with 5 of us. I pray that my sister would change her ways. No one wants to go over to their home because of the way they live. My 9 year old walked up to the door and the first thing she asked me is why is it so messy. I didn't know how to respond. I know it hurts my niece. It has went on to long and something needs to be done.I feel so guilty for letting this go on so long. My sister gets very angry whenever anyone mentions it. Their uncleanliness has been the elephant in the back of the room for far to long. I know this post is long but I thank those of you who have read it. I pray someone has some ideas. HELP
J. answers from South Bend on July 25, 2008
Can you help her clean her house? Maybe at first do a major cleaning over a weekend. Then help her once a week for a few weeks. Show her that it can be done. It is so overwhelming for her to even get started. My sister is also like this. I also have a tendency to let my house get too messy, but hopefully never to the point that you're describing.
M.E. answers from Mansfield on July 25, 2008
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D.K. answers from Indianapolis on July 27, 2008
You HAVE to do what's best for everyone even if that means turning her over to CPC (Child Protective Services). I would warn her and tell her you're NOT doing it for any other reason that it IS what's best for everyone....her, niece, baby, etc.
Sometimes, things get bad enough, it FORCES change. This seems to be one of them. If she gets mad, too bad. You're doing what is RIGHT and that's the most important thing.
Tell her, give her a deadline and if she doesn't comply, do what you have to do. This way, the ball is in her court and if she doesn't do what needs to be done she has no one to blame but herself!
Make sure your niece knows too. Maybe she can get out ahead of time and find a friend, someone from church, etc. to move in with so that she won't get her child taken away if she can keep things clean & in respectable and acceptable conditions for an infant and any other adult.
1 mom found this helpful
J.W. answers from Dayton on July 25, 2008
E., I know how you feel. My sister is a now single mother of 5 and lives in such a mess. I dont let my kids go over there because of the smell and mess. The only advice is maybe your family can offer to help her clean up. If for some reason you feel like her children are in danger you should call childrens services. I know it is hard to do but maybe she needs that wake up call. Good luck
E.M. answers from Terre Haute on July 24, 2008
Can you offer to help her clean it once, and then it be her responsibility from then out? Can you explain to her the health hazards of those living conditions?
Most importantly, you've got to look into the best interest of the children... not the mother (your sister). If those children are living in sub-standard living conditions and in harm, then I think it is your responsibility as an adult to report it. Your sister is an adult and can make her own decisions, but those children need someone looking out for their best interest.
I know it's a tough decision and I'm sorry you and your family are going through this.
C.F. answers from Indianapolis on July 25, 2008
Hi! I don't know if I am repeating someone's advice to you but have you tried or can you try getting a maid service to come in and do the necessary cleaning it would take for her to be able to keep up with it in the future? I would suggest that if you can afford it. Its not really too much for 3 or so hours. It could be a one time present or early Christmas/b-day present! Then she could see the light at the end of the tunnel of which she sound like she doesn't even want to see! If it's more than a 3-5 hour job then maybe family could pitch in with the cost? Then you or someone she trusts can present it to her with love and understanding!
J.G. answers from Cleveland on July 25, 2008
If there are children in the house, the nastyness needs to stop... and if you can't get your sister to change, maybe it is time for the neice to find somewhere else to call home with her baby. There are programs that will base housing on income (Sect 8 housing) and then your neice will only have to worry about her and the babies mess. Eventhough if your neice is old enought to have a baby, she should be able to help with the cleaning up issues too. And something isn't done and you can smell the house before you get to it... which if I read correctly you can, then that little babies lungs are taking in all of that nastyness and it will cause problems later for it. Someone needs to stand up for that little guy & protect "him" - if "his" mom and grandma won't then I guess it might be your job to!
I know my house is far from perfect... there are days I don't get to the dishes, the laundry is only done on the weekends and I only clean out the old food in the fridge on Sunday nights - so sometimes there is a moldy thing or two in there, but I do try to keep up on it between working full-time, going to school full-time and trying to be a wife and mother of 3 young ones. But my house doesn't get to the point where you can smell it - let alone outside... except maybe the trash cans beside the driveway (which are outside). If it is that bad... she didn't just forget the dishes a day or two - they have been there awhile.
Please find the strangth in you to help out that little baby... I know it will cause propblems with your sister. But maybe if you talk to her you will see she just don't know where to start, or maybe she just never learned how to clean... and with your help she may find a way of leaning or see that the dirtyness can actually hurt something she loves and be willing to change.
S.T. answers from Youngstown on July 25, 2008
sorry to her bout the childeren but they r the most impoartant and she gone have to get upset because it has to be done tell her if it was just her you wouldnt so much as care but ur goal is the chilern some one can take the lil ones and as a new mommy gift get her a maid and to do the whole house and show her how to clean and some tips to keep it going. and the reson i say the whole house because she is already set in her was and then it too big in her mind she feels is nothing that she can do the a child and new born by her self she sleepy and everything in between i think that we be a great thing to do or somthing along those lines becuase onec she see how to do and keep a clean house that may help and say i like this i wont to be better at this hope it helps if not i think u know what u need to do
A.B. answers from Toledo on July 25, 2008
Child protective services (at least in our county) won't remove children from a dirty home. They come in, tell them to clean, and check back. That's it. My brother and his wife live in horrible conditions. They have been turned in multiple times, and that's all that ever happens. We no longer visit at his home, and if we do stop by, we stay outside. This is their choice, and so be it. We can't change people. However, there are options for your niece and her new baby if she wants out. Good luck.
L.F. answers from Fort Wayne on July 25, 2008
I am in agreeance with one of the other ladies about the talk with the niece and telling her about keeping the house clean. The other lady is correct in what she says. Anyone who smells the house or sees inside the house can call Protective Services and they will take the baby. Your neice can see if she can stay somewhere else if she isn't willing to keep the house up and take care of a mom that should be taking care of her and helping her. Your niece has to do something or she will loose her baby due to uncleanliness and health people have a legal obligation to report anything like that.