Author Topic: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'? ... :/ Update #19  (Read 15612 times)

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Zilla

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I guess, if I were asked to help someone clean up a cluttered house, and I saw dirty silverware and stuff on the floor, I too would toss it. I do at my house. If something can't be easily cleaned, it goes. My kid is 2, sometimes he hides things. Those things become gross. Gross things go in the trash.

To me it shows that you and your family have a disregard for your things. If it isn't important enough to put a fork in the sink and wash it, it isn't important enough to keep. I don't think you can ask for compensation. You didn't take care of your things, why would stangers think they are important?

I have sympathy for you. I am not a good housekeeper, but, by your description, I fell that this was a wake up call that things at your house need to change. It's a hard situation to be in. Perhaps you could ask the ladies to help you organize things. You could be there with them and get yourself a system. Your kids should be there too! THey need to know that little elves don't live in the walls and magically appear at night to clean. They are old enough to help. You need the help! Twins and a bad back.  ((hugs))

I mostly disagree. If I found a dirty fork on the floor, I would put it in the dishwasher (or a sink full of soapy water.) Throwing away something because it's dirty seems wasteful to me.

I think the more responsible thing to do would have been for the volunteer cleaners to take some kind of box or bin and fill it with all the little toy pieces and "parts to a whole" so that the family could have sorted it later. Dirty dishes or toys, sink of soapy water. Dirty clothing items, washing machine. It doesn't sound to me like this is a case of the OP "not taking care of" her things. This is a case of the main "housekeeper" of the family being laid up for medical reasons and not being ABLE to keep on top of things. Sure it would be good if the OP's husband could direct the kids to help keep the place clean, and that could demonstrate that the OP's *DH* might not help his kids take care of their things, but it could also mean that the entire family has been overwhelmed. This requires understanding and support.


I think the ladies from the church did demonstrate understanding and support.  If they went there thinking they were just going to dust, vacuum and clean dishes and came into what the OP described, they could have turned around and left.

They didn't.


And I don't think it's all the DH.  There is a 12 year old that should know better and could have gotten direction from her mom.  The 12 year old could have done a "let's get trash" party with her siblings and thrown out the trash on the floor at the very least.


I get that the OP was overwhelmed but now she got a fresh start and can maintain in time for her twins to be born.  She already indicated that she is making the kids pick up, this is an awesome step to take.

MorgnsGrl

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It doesn't sound to me like this is a case of the OP "not taking care of" her things.

I couldn't disagree more. I'm not the best housekeeper by nature and have to push myself to keep things up, soI know how that feels. However, people in that household are regularly throwing garbage on the floor. If that doesn't show a disregard for one's belongings and space, I don't know what does.

It sounds like it may have been difficult for the ladies who were cleaning to tell the difference between trash and non-trash. I can't blame them for accidentally tossing some things the OP wanted to keep.

I guess when the OP said the kids throw "trash" on the floor, I am picturing things like papers, magazines, school work, art projects, etc. I'm not picturing "garbage" (your word, not the OP's.) To me "garbage" is discarded food and a completely different animal from cluttered piles of paper and toys.

I don't blame the volunteers for accidentally tossing some things the OP wanted to keep. I'm sure they did the best they could and made what seemed like reasonable decisions to them at the time.

jaxsue

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It doesn't sound to me like this is a case of the OP "not taking care of" her things.

I couldn't disagree more. I'm not the best housekeeper by nature and have to push myself to keep things up, soI know how that feels. However, people in that household are regularly throwing garbage on the floor. If that doesn't show a disregard for one's belongings and space, I don't know what does.

It sounds like it may have been difficult for the ladies who were cleaning to tell the difference between trash and non-trash. I can't blame them for accidentally tossing some things the OP wanted to keep.

ITA.

Martienne

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I guess that answers it for me. I know we have issues with clutter and mess, but I could never imagine just going through and shoveling up everything on a messy floor and throwing it all out.

I'm not going to respond point-by-point to everyone's posts, but the so-called "wake-up call" for me was in about 2003. It's not that I don't know how to keep house in principle. I don't suppose anyone who's never had to deal with chronic pain can fathom how little you care about anything else when just getting out of bed and going to the bathroom can be an incredibly painful ordeal. My husband, unfortunately, is one of those men who was raised being picked up after by his mother. I can't change anything about how he does things now, he's an adult.

It's just a perfect storm of bad that has taken place in the last couple of years and I accepted their offer of help out of desperation. I warned them of what kind of mess it was. I see now that doing so must have had the opposite effect from what I intended.

Perfect Circle

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My husband, unfortunately, is one of those men who was raised being picked up after by his mother. I can't change anything about how he does things now, he's an adult.


I have to comment on this bit. Yes, he can still learn and take responsibility for some of the housework. It is never too late to learn some basic skills.

You will have six children soon (congratulations by the way) and there is no way it would be reasonable to expect you to do all the housework, especially with newborn twins. So yes, your husband can and should learn now.

Doesn't mean he will be perfect, but doing a bit of tidying and vacuuming doesn't have to be done with utmost skill for it to be effective enough to keep your house tidy enough for you all to enjoy.
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MasterofSquirrels

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I guess that answers it for me. I know we have issues with clutter and mess, but I could never imagine just going through and shoveling up everything on a messy floor and throwing it all out.

I'm not going to respond point-by-point to everyone's posts, but the so-called "wake-up call" for me was in about 2003. It's not that I don't know how to keep house in principle. I don't suppose anyone who's never had to deal with chronic pain can fathom how little you care about anything else when just getting out of bed and going to the bathroom can be an incredibly painful ordeal. My husband, unfortunately, is one of those men who was raised being picked up after by his mother. I can't change anything about how he does things now, he's an adult.
It's just a perfect storm of bad that has taken place in the last couple of years and I accepted their offer of help out of desperation. I warned them of what kind of mess it was. I see now that doing so must have had the opposite effect from what I intended.

Ok. I don't want you to think i am picking on you... But the bolded struck a chord with me. You *can* change his behaviour. How? well, every man is different and responds differently. For me and my DH, it was me saying, "You want someone to pick up after you? You want someone like your mother? Go back and live with her then." I said that to him more times than I care to admit.

You know you have a problem. I admire you for knowing about it, and in taking steps to fix it. You just have to know that it isn't all about you. You have another adult (your DH) that *must* help you. You have older children that *must* help you. Again, I have sympathy for you. I hope you can turn this around.

lowspark

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It's sort of like that old joke about cleaning up before the maid comes. I have a housekeeper who comes in every two weeks and yes, I do clean up before she comes. Well, not actually clean up, but I do pick up. I can't expect her to wipe down the kitchen counters if they are full of clutter. I can't expect her to mop the floor if it's strewn with toys. (I don't have young kids now, but you get the point.)

I think these ladies were in the wrong to just haphazardly throw everything away like that. But honestly, you were in the wrong to put them in that situation to begin with. I do understand when you're sick or hurting and picking up around the house is the furthest thing from your mind. However, you have a husband and a couple of kids who are old enough to help. If you can't do it, then you just need to teach them and make sure they do it. Kids as young as four years old can be taught to put toys away as long as it gets done daily and doesn't pile up till it's an overwhelming task.

Now that you will have twins to take care of, you might want to train the older ones how to help around the house, including not just taking care of their own things, but also helping with all household duties. And by the way, this is not just for your benefit. It's almost more for their own. If they can learn now how to clean toilets, wash dishes, do laundry, etc., they will not only know how to do these things when they are out on their own, they will also be in the habit of doing them, and in the habit of keeping a reasonably clean house.

Teenyweeny

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If you are in chronic pain, it's understandable that you can't do the housework.

However, you have another 5 able bodied people in that household. Your DH, and the 12-year old should be able to keep a house in order, at least to the point where the floors aren't littered with discarded objects/trash. Especially if the littler kids help by picking up after themselves.

Don't let them be lazy! You need help, and support, and you ALL deserve to live somewhere without trash on the floor.

I'd suggest, as a start, that whilst DH is making dinner, the other kids are tasked with putting away toys, bringing dishes/cutlery to the kitchen, and any other reasonable jobs.

Anything not in its rightful place by dinnertime can be confiscated by you and your DH, and the kid gets it back after a certain period. My mum did that with us, "Oh, I see your toys are still on the floor. You mustn't care about them then, so I'll just take them." Worked like a charm.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 10:15:14 AM by Teenyweeny »



NotTheNarcissist

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My husband, unfortunately, is one of those men who was raised being picked up after by his mother. I can't change anything about how he does things now, he's an adult.

Your DH can definitely change. My husband grew up in a similar situation where Mom picked up after him. Just Monday my DH vaccumed the house for me & straightened it up (cleared counters mostly) for company. It is possible for him to change. There is hope OP. Be honest with him. It won't happen overnight but it's worth your investment of time to speak to him honestly about where you are at with this.

I second assigning more responsibility to the kids. After all your sons future wife might face the same dilemma you face unless he is corrected.

BTW, I broke my back a few years ago. There is hope. It does get better. PM me if you want to.

Lynn2000

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OP, you're in a difficult situation right now, but I think you're getting a lot of good advice here. Since you live in your house and see how the things on the floor came to be there, you're more used to them and are able to distinguish good things that haven't been put away, from trash that should be thrown out. To a more or less complete stranger just walking in, who isn't familiar with your possessions, I'm sure it was quite difficult to see that there were good things mixed in with bad. They could have gone the route of picking up every single thing from the floor and presenting it to you, so you could tell them what to do with it (if you were available); but that would have taken a really long time, and not been an efficient way to get the whole house clean. I'm sure they were thinking that if they indeed literally shoveled all the "trash" on the floor into bags and got rid of it, it would be a huge help to you--a "clean sweep" really.

Also, you said you couldn't figure out how to tell them not to do this once you realized what was going on. I do understand that you haven't been well, and you weren't expecting them to act this way. But if you had said, "Wait a minute. Not everything on the floor is to be thrown away. Could one of you bring that bag over to me on the couch and help me go through it?" I hope they would have agreed. I'm not sure how they would have known this is what you wanted otherwise. Something like the toy sorting piles should have been easy to explain--"My kids have been making piles of toys they want to keep and toys to get rid of. Please don't throw away anything from this area here," or "Please let me know when you get to this area, so I can guide you about what's to be thrown away."

I know this has been very upsetting for you and I hope I'm not just dogpiling. I feel like you've gotten used to your situation in some ways, but new people just coming into it, with the stated intention of cleaning, instead saw a chaotic mess and they reacted accordingly; and you didn't seem to be effective at guiding them, so I'm not sure how else this could have gone. :(

I POD the suggestions about getting DH and the kids to help. I know it's much easier to say that than it is to do it. But maybe this situation is exactly the catalyst you need to explain it to them. "The kind ladies who offered to clean the house threw out a lot of your toys/possessions because they couldn't tell them from the trash that was also on the floor. From now on, things must be put away at the end of the day, or they might be thrown out." Perhaps you could at least find some cardboard boxes to put on the floor, so toys and game parts can be corralled in there.
~Lynn2000

Red1979

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I think these ladies did you a huge favor.  Your children (and you) have learned a valuable lesson--if you value something, and it matters to you , you don't throw it on the floor.  You take care of it.

The very first thing you need to do is teach your children to pick up after themselves.  If a 12 and a 7 year old don't know enough to pick up their toys from the floor and put them away, then frankly, they deserve to lose them. 

I understand that chronic pain can keep someone from "keeping house" but there's a difference between dusting and vacuuming versus having toys and trash piled up all over the floor.  Putting aside that it's uncomfortable it's a huge tripping and fire hazard.

Let this be your wake-up call to that your entire family needs to adjust their living standards and to vow that no matter what you do not let your house get that bad again.  If that means the kids and husband have to spend a whole weekend cleaning, well that's what needs to be done. 
--Red
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Sophia

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I can see both sides to this. 

I can easily see the OP's side because I would never have tossed that stuff.  I can see accidentally tossing one item.  I know I once accidentally tossed a remote control of mine.  But, I have been one of those ladies.  I put anything that might be keep-able into boxes and laundry hampers.  She sat up in bed and sorted the stuff into trash and useful  At the end she had a couple of boxes of misc. useful stuff to be put away when able. 

I have never been in that much pain.  While pregnant, I do remember dropping things and thinking, "Well, I guess I didn't need that after all" and leaving it on the floor.  My husband got used to picking up stuff and putting it on a nearby table.  So, if I were in a great deal of pain, I can see not caring where the location of stuff was.

Actually, I can mostly see the OP's side.  But, with my daughter I plan on applying the "feel free to keep everything you pick up", and then keeping the toys that I pick up (at least until they are earned back).  Then that makes me even madder for the OP, because it is almost like they presumed a parental authority. 

jaxsue

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I have had chronic back pain, after I had my 2 boys. I wasn't able to do some housework like vacuuming, mopping, anything that required bending over. At that time we hired a lady (who was amazing!) to come in 2X a month to clean. It cost money, but it was affordable because she worked alone. I had severe back pain, so I know how it is. Not negating that. I know that not everyone can afford outside help; right now I can't afford a housekeeper but my back's okay now so I can do it myself.

That being said, my 2 boys, even as young as preschool, could pick up their toys. We had a rule that every night toys had to be put back into the toy chests. Interestingly, all it took was the "Clean Up" song from the Barney show (dating myself, I know). Kids can be taught to pick things up from a very, very young age. Even a 2-yr-old can pick up a few items and put them in a wastebasket. Baby steps, but important steps.

The OP's DH can learn new things. So what if he wasn't taught (his mom did him no favors) - people learn new skills all the time.

I've worked with people on cleaning their homes, from light de-cluttering to extreme hoarding situations. It can seem overwhelming, and I think that is common, but it can be done.

Red1979

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Some ideas on making the keeping house easier:

My suggestion is to make a big chore chart (they have those plastic ones that use wipeable markers) for *all* the kids and you and the husband.  Give the kids a little reward if they complete all their chores (like a small allowance or a special treat).  Make it a rule if the toys aren't put away and left on the floor, they are confiscated.  If it happens repeatedly the toys "disappear".

For cooking, there are a lot of easy crock pot meals where you, your husband or even the 12 year old can throw it all in in the morning.  (Slow-cooker liners will make clean up a breeze).  You can also do big batch meals on the weekends that can last all week (like large roasts) or you can do double batches of things like casseroles for freezing and using on other days.

For dishes, invest in some paper plates for the days when it's too hectic or busy. It's not the most enviro-friendly alternative, but it will cut down on the dirty dishes.
--Red
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MommyPenguin

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OP, I struggle with this, too.  No matter how much you try to keep on top of them, toys and papers *do* end up on the floor.  Do you have hardwood floors?  One thing I do, ridiculous as it sounds, is I sweep everything into a pile.  It is *so* much easier to just sweep everything up, standing, and then go through the pile, having the kids sort toys into a box to be put away in the playroom, papers to be trashed or given to my husband to sort through if they're his, etc.  You can do this with carpet, too, but it takes a lot more effort.