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Mother in law is coming to help clean... HELP!!!!!!!!?

Here's the 411... I am a messy, disorganized person at the best of times. Well, we moved in here on December 1st. A quick move where everything was thrown in the nearest box, taped up, then dumped in the LR of our new place. I'm still going through boxes of crap. Add to that the fact that my husband has been sent away for training a majority of the time we've lived here and I get the privilege of taking care of our two young kids (3 and 2) all by myself. I am a stay at home mom and I take classes online. The house is a mess, but there's honestly only so much I can do. Plus, I love my kids, but they're little terrors... sweet and loving, but terrors. They still haven't figured out the concept of cleaning up after themselves yet. They try but usually make a bigger mess. Well, my mother in law is coming over tomorrow to 'help' me clean up. How should I deal with her? She's never been the only one responsible for keeping a whole house clean. Her mother still comes by daily to


help clean up... oh yeah and in her household there are five adults and three children. Not one adult and two children. She's very condescending and critical. I doubt that I'll survive tomorrow... any suggestions?

Update 2:

I didn't quite realize how late it is... she'll be here this morning at 10 a.m.

Update 3:

charlie made a good point... um.. yes, there is... 1) she doesn't make an effort to see or spend time with our two kids (once every month or two and we live 15 miles apart), but spends a lot of time with the other 3 (who live with her), and 2) she's never been wholly accepting of me. She picked out her ideal daughter i law years before I met her son and she's never really warmed up to me (the 'chosen one' was his junior prom date and my MIL showed me their prom pix the very first time I met her)

14 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Your family is more important than a perfectly clean home. Your house is non of your MIL's business. If you can, hire a maid to help you, but your MIL may just be nosy and then pride herself by assisting you. Your moving boxes can wait. Decline politely if you can. Maybe your MIL can take the kids for a couple of hours - her treat and you can get organized. My mom helped me do that after our move and it was double the work for me, because I like things organized differently. Again, this is not your MIL's business. Oh, and a recommendation for storage bins: Get the bin warehouse - look it up on - that shelving system will hold 12 31gal storage container - throw old toys in there, Christmas deco, etc and label each container - that will get your house organized very quickly. Keep your focus on a happy family life - that matters most.

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  • 1 decade ago

    beg a friend to have the littlies for the afternoon for a few hours, go home and work like crazy to make the place LOOK better, not sort everything, just give the illusion that you are more organised than you are, Hide the boxes somewhere and take 3 or 4 and put them in the kitchen, when she gets there make her a coffee and sit down and say this is what you need help with. get her to help empty kitchen cupboards and wash dishes etc, jobs that will keep her confined to one room. Once shes been there a couple of hours make her a cold drink and thank her, and tell her you appreciate the help, hopefully she will see that as a sign you are finished for the day and go!!!

    everyday take 1 box and deal with it, that way its not a huge chore that takes hours on end, that way you will be organised in no time, i was a mom to 3 littlies under the age of 4, i know what its like, its constant maintainance, but you have to start from a good place to keep it. Once you get yourself organised it will be easier to keep on top everyday-and no more visits from MIL!!! Good luck

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  • 4Him
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I know she's been there and gone, but this may help someone else. I came from a home of squalor, and am now a neat freak. I even clean under my stove and refrigerator WEEKLY, for which I get teased mercilessly. [They just don't see my kids sweeping food under my appliances like I do] Well, I obviously didn't start out this way. It took a lot of time. But there are things you can do to make a room look more organized/ clean than it really is. The first thing is to vacuum/sweep. A room will instantly look cleaner if the floors are neat. Also, open the window coverings, but not all the way. Enough to let the light in, but not show the dirt. Keep a trash can discreetly in EVERY ROOM. It may sound odd, but it helps with the little ones. Speaking of the babies, NOW is the time to get them helping-otherwise they will never change while they live with you. Kids want to do EXACTLY what you are doing at that age. And guess what, if it looks like you are having fun taking the empty plates to the sink, they will want to do it too. If you make it a game at this stage, they will pick up on the idea. We did "who can get ? picked up first" with our kids, and it worked beautifully. While I do have messy days still, the only thing I worry about is when my husband does laundry. He takes all those warm clothes out of the dryer, and dumps them on the sofa. And I hang everything up as it comes out of the dryer, so I am not ironing socks & underwear all day [sarcasm, not reality]. Anyway, start small, with one or two "triggers" that you can use to create a habit. Then move on. And NEVER let trash or food pile up. Kids that age will stuff it [and everything else] into their mouths, and that would not be good.

    Another thought- The thing that started my change- Pretend that you are having a guest over every day. One that you admire enough to be humiliated if they saw your home the way it looks when it is messy. My grandmother [English] used to pretend that the queen came for tea every day. She never had a messy house. It wasn't immaculate, but it was ALWAYS cleaned up. No one ever said that adults can't have fun and enjoy their lives too. Pretend, make up games, laugh and play as you clean with your babies. Make it fun, they will remember Mom as a free spirit, happy and full of life. The more organized you get, the more time you have for you, and for them. My biggest success in becoming an organized person? That pressure on my chest went away [the one I would feel when I feared someone would catch me being messy] and so did my depression. I firmly believe that most messies are depressed perfectionists. I was. If I didn't have 3 days to properly go through a room, as I somehow believed I would magically be able to give myself- without interruption from 3 kids/dogs/husband/phones/life, I wouldn't touch it. Then reality set in and I had to realize that throwing away the junk mail, and the empty envelopes will help me find papers on my desk! Then if I put the bills in one place, I can pay them in 5 minutes instead of the 2 hours it normally took, because I couldn't pay them if I couldn't FIND them! Dishes are easier to do if they are all in the kitchen, and you don't have to look in the sofa cushions or the sand box for that missing fork. You won't have smell the rotten banana peel under your kid's bed if you don't allow eating in the bedrooms. These are all common sense things that add up to common sense cleaning. And an added bonus-if you can start this, it will make your self esteem soar because you are achieving something, and you are succeeding.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Put a mouth guard in and bite hard!!! No really though, just take it one step at a time. I know how you feel I have 3 kids (2-5-8) and while they try sometimes they are not very good at cleaning up all their messes. I am not the best house keeper either, and my family and friends give me crap about it all the time. I look at it this way, it is my house, it may not be perfect, but if they don't like it they can shut their mouths or leave. I know that is easier said than done, but jsut bite your tongue, and make sure that she knows that you appreciate her help. If she does decide to make condescending remarks just let it go, she will be leaving sooooooon. Good Luck

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Pretend you’re not in – hide in the back room until she goes away and then pretend you forgot she was coming...........


    My Mother-in-Law use to be very condescending and critical and was always “coming around to clean”.

    Anyway last time she came to clean was almost ten years ago because I basically put my foot down and told her how I chose to live was none of her business and I liked living in a comfortable, causal mess.

    The house of my Mother-in-Law is very regimented. You simply cannot relax in her house. The minute you finish drinking a cup of tea, you have to wash, dry and put away the cup. Where as at my house, the empty cup may sit around for a few hours until this gets done.

    So I just told her, she had her way and I had mine and I wasn’t interested in living or being like her. I also told her that the condition of my home was none of her business.

    My husband backed me up on this, so it would help your cause if your hubby backed you up 100% too. Although, given that your hubby has not been at home, consider yourself fully in charge.

    You really have to gather the courage and stand up for yourself and your rights in your own home. No need to be nasty to her, but you must be firm. Otherwise she will walk all over you for the rest of your marriage, and that could be a very long time.

    My Mother-in-Law sulked for about 6 months after this talk but when she realized she could not get her own way and that I would not back down, she came good. Now she comes to visit but does not "help clean" and does not stick her nose in unwanted places.

    You could also suggest she spend the day somewhere with her grandchildren - special day at the zoo - whilst she is out with them, do a big clean up.

    Good luck.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You and I must be related somewhere along the line. My mother in law doesnt clean her house either. She pays a cleaner to do everything, yet she will be critical of my place if something isnt put away or if she sees dust. Like yours, shes very condescending and says things I would like to pretend I didnt hear.

    As for children, mine is 9 and still hasnt grasped the 'tidy up' concept yet, so good luck in that area.

    If I were you, I would let her come around tomorrow, but not to clean. My mother in law uses the "I'll help you" line to snoop. Maybe I'm paranoid, but she's given me good reason to be.

    The only reason, I find, that my housework isnt complete is because of my work load (work full time) and them coming home to children who will eat up the remainder of your day.

    My suggestion would be, take her up on her offer, but instead of cleaning ask her if she would take the kids out for the day. Take them to the movies, park, picnic, swimming... whatever. If the house is empty and your by yourself, you will get through those boxes in half the time it would take if she was helping. That way you dont have to answer her questions on what you want to keep or throw out, or where you want things to go.

    Best of luck with it all, but getting everyone else off your back to get on with things is usually best. Just imagine the sense of satisfaction you will get in knowing you did it all by yourself !!!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Wow! Your Mother in law WANTS to come and help? And you are unhappy about that?

    You sound overwhelmed so why not just accept the help and be appreciative.

    I took care of 5 young kids by myself and worked full time, but my house was never a mess.

    I wish my Mother in law would want to come to my house and help me out with something, or just to visit.

    Is there something else between you two that you havent mentioned?

    Edit~ Okay, thats better. You do have a negative history with the woman. She sounds like my MIL alot!

    It IS your house and you can choose to live however you want, and to choose who helps you around the house.

    I would fear that she would use your messiness and need of help as a form of ammo against you.

    Tell her you are going to do it your self in your own time, but thank her for the thought .

    My MIL still displays pics of the ex all over the house. Also pics of the ex's kid, new wedding photos, and feels the need to discuss her achievements whenever I am around.

    I feel for ya sister!

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    l know how you feel since l'm a messy person also. l also hate people meddling in my own house and feel l'm the only one responsible for the upkeep and everything....and hate the idea it's the in-law who will help me.

    My MIL stayed in our house when l gave birth to my youngest. There were a lot of changes when l returned and was not really pleased at all. l talked it over with my husband. He appreciated the help his mother did and told me to just take things as they are as my MIL will be leaving soon.

    Years later, l realized l was so insensitive of her feelings with all the help she extended. l try to put myself in her shoes. l'll be a MIL too in the future.

    Just try to be nice (l know it's difficult). Kindly tell her the areas in the house where she can work on. The rest is all yours.

    Good luck and happy cleaning.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, the fact is if you wanted your home in order, you'd do it. You have the time to come here, you have the time to clean. You just don't care about such things and that is fine, it's your life. And your children learn what they are taught, they come in the world empty vessels. You filled them with the messy bug. You can either tell her you like your house the way it is, let her come clean it, or get your house in order and tell her she isn't needed. Your choice, your home.

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  • Kat G
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I agree with Lisa M. Your mother in law is doing a nice thing and you act as if you are doing her the favor. I think you should get off the computer and clean your own home.

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