Wednesday

House of Clutter

OPINION
I have been nannying for 2 yrs. I started this job (part time) about 3 wks ago. I interviewed with the mom in a coffee shop, which I thought nothing about because I felt safe and figured she didn't want strangers in her home. But I think I know now why she suggested we meet there; her house is a complete mess! I don't just mean some dust and a few dishes in the sink either. I mean, I think its borderline dangerous for these kids to live in. I have found pizza smushed into the carpet, candy wrappers everywhere, dirty clothes all over the floor, moldy cereal bowls under the beds, newspapers and magazines all over, the bathrooms look like they've never seen a scrub brush, and it smells horrible!

My question is, do I ignore it or bite the bullet and clean it up? I don't have a list of chores to do and I'm sure that MB is paying me as much as she can afford so I doubt I could ask for a raise to start cleaning, but I can't work like this. The kids are awesome and to tell you the truth, I'm surprised because of the nasty living conditions. If I wasn't already working here and not already crazy about the kids, I'd probably call CPS. What should I do? - Neat Nanny

100 comments:

RBTC said...

it sounds like you may have to do a good deed and clean the place to your satisfaction - and then incorporate cleaning into lessons to teach the kids - cleaning is a discipline, maybe you can help the family - it sounds like they are open to it ;)

MissMannah said...

Do NOT clean her house! That is not your job and the family will just junk it up again. Yes, it is good to teach children life skills such as keeping a clean home, but it is not good if you have to teach it to the boss. You have three choices here:

1. learn to ignore it
2. clean it up and be stuck cleaning their house as long as you have the job, very unlikely for higher pay
3. find a job for a family that doesn't live in a dump

LittleMiss said...

I wouldn't clean the house. There is no harm in asking if you wanted extra money but I wouldn't expect it. They couldn't pay me enough money to clean all of that. I don't mind picking up after the children, tidying up or running a dishwasher, but this is crazy. If you think you can tolerate it then ignore it. Honestly, I could not work under those conditions. It's a safety issue and a toxic environment. I am concerned and feel sorry for the children. I would start looking for another job asap. Good luck.

wow said...

Run and call CPS!

Beezus said...

If this were me, and I have worked in several very messy houses, I would probably just clean where I was spending most of my time in the house and have the children help me organize their rooms.
I personally have a very hard time being anywhere if the kitchen is a complete disaster, especially if I am required to prepare the children's dinner.
So I would most likely end up tidying the kitchen just because rotting food and such is very unsanitary.
If the kitchen has more than simple clutter and is reaching more into the grime territory, which is what your situation sounds like then I would begin by just wiping counters and maybe washing some or most of the dishes-that alone might make a big difference! If it's a lot of clutter like papers,mail,boxes of stuff, than I would not go digging through it or throwing things out as that would have obvious consequences.
If the children are old enough they would probably enjoy helping you clean their
rooms! Picking up toys, and showing them how to make their beds would probably make them feel great! No one likes to sleep or play in a dirty room.
Bottom line, it's up to you! Everyone has a different idea of clean and dirty so if you think you can still spend adequate time with the kids and tidy up, more power to you! But if you truly do feel that it is unsafe for you or the children and this house would need more more like a hoarders type renovation/deep clean then don't take it! Also keep in mind that if you clean this women's house too much she may feel insulted.

I always think about the spiders that may be lurking in the loads of clutter in my MB's house. Just there always watching and waiting for me to make one false move and stumble into their webs and run far,far away!
Sorry for any typos, I'm in a rush :)

Village said...

I think you have two choices. Either clean the areas you use, or leave. The bait and switch would bother me enough to tilt me toward leaving, plus the pig stye. It's. Never. Going. To. Go. Away. Everyday you arrive to . . . that.

MissWi said...

IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO CLEAN IT!!!!!
and if you did clean it, chances are it would get back to the state its in now.
Call CPS...or quit...seriously. I see no other options. In my eyes there is no "talk" you could have with MB cuz people who keep their homes like this think its ok because of their mental state. Ever see HOARDERS? She is probably in the same mental state as those people.

Nashville Nanny said...

I agree with the PP. If the house is so filthy that it is a danger to the kids, you have a moral obligation to call CPS. If you really care for the kids as much as you say you do, then you somewhere deep inside of you, you know this isn't healthy, safe or right for this family. Do the right thing, OP.

By the way said...

My aunt got CPS called on her for something much like this and they took it very seriously and her kids were high schoolers at the time so I'm sure you can get in more trouble for having little kids involved.
They continue to check up on her and such.

Side note...I no longer associate with this relative...not exactly good for a nanny career

Manhattan Nanny said...

I suspect there is a substance abuse problem here. You can't fix this. It isn't just a matter of tiding up. Clearly deep cleaning is needed, and it will be an on going problem. Filthy conditions, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms make this a serious health issue.
For the sake of those children, please quit and call CPS.

CleaverJune said...

I 100% agree with Nashville Nanny!

I personally have it in every contract that I sign that I am a mandated reporter (due to my previous career.) I take the care and safety of the children I care for VERY seriously. If this place is as bad as you make it out to be, you really NEED to speak up. Your job as a nanny is to not only play with, nurture, and have fun with the children you work with - but to keep them safe and protect them. Even if it is from their parents.

If the situation really is a health hazzard, or like an episode of "Hoarders," you need to contact your local child protection services/law enforcement. The health and saftey of the children is more important than your job.

What you may not know is that you can make a report annonymously. You can go in, speak to the correct person, file a report, etc... and do it without giving your name.

You said that if you didn't already love the kids, you'd call CPS. Think about what you just said... if you REALLY love them - you WILL call CPS.

Back to your actual question - No, you don't clean the house. You should tell the parent that you love the children, but you are both concerned about their health and your own. You tell the parent(s) exsactly what you told us... "I can't work like this," and tell them WHY you are concerned.

The right thing to do, is the right thing to do - that doesn't change. You need to report the dangerous situation to the appropriate authorities. No one says doing the right thing won't be difficult, but the right thing is what is best for those children.

pancake said...

Keep in mind that calling CPS is a serious matter. It will disrupt this women's life and they could possibly remove the children from her. Ask yourself is calling CPS really worth that? Is it really as bad as you think it is? Are you maybe just a bit of a neat freak?

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Your solution is to ignore the filth while seeking a different job. I am sure telling you to never ever ever take another job without an in-home interview isn't needed, is it?

And yes, if you truly feel the kids are in any sort of danger due to the filth, call CPS. It can be done anonymously, and if social services doesn't think there's an issue, they will close the books on the investigation.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Pancake:
If the OP objects to "moldy cereal bowls under the beds" which can attract insects and rodents, she is a neat freak?

It isn't only a physical health issue. As they become older this will have a huge impact on their development. Will classmates moms let their children go there for playdates? (Assuming the mom is even willing to invite them) Will they be teased? Will they be ashamed? Will they come to feel angry and resent their parents for not caring?

CPS does not remove children from families unless they are in danger. In most cases they work with the family to correct problems or help them get needed services. A visit from a social worker might be just the wake up call this family needs to start providing decent living conditions for their children.

EastBay Nanny said...

Call CPS for moldy cereal bowls under the bed and a stinky bathroom? Really? Candy wrappers and dirty clothes? I so feel for all the parents who read this blog right now!

Give me a fucking break people! OP, if there are more intense details to change my mind, perhaps you can elaborate. But as far as I read, you all must wear glass slippers. The scenario you describe is LIFE for many moms who must prioritize and dads whose wives are overburdened.

I've personally made more calls to CPS than I can remember, but NOT for this silliness. Stop judging, recognize that being overwhelmed is a normal state for most any mom and do what you can to help. I have no problem tidying up and assisting in whatever way is needed when I'm on duty. Family life is fluid, needs and priorities are ever changing. I don't clean bathrooms or unpack a carload of rotting babyfood and diapers. But my MB warns me of what I might find if I try :)

Grow up ya'll! Or try raising some kids on your own! Think of it as a career move!

la said...

Thank you! this is pretty much what I was going to say!

Kimm said...

Actually one cane legitmately call CPS and report a situation like this.

Continuous filth is a huge issue especially when there are children involved.

Perhaps the parents reading this blog should take this post as a warning if they keep their house filthy.

I"m saying this as a mom and a former nanny.

Rhiannon said...

Eastbay Nanny, As a nanny and a mother, I can assure you that this is not normal. I couldn't imagine forcing my daughter to live like that.

OP, whether you call CPS or not, you should absolutely not clean this mess. And if it seriously is dangerous, then call.

Lacey said...

OP:
CPS is so backlogged with cases that it would be a shame to call them for something such as this. If you call them, they may not have time to help other children who are being legitimitally abused/neglected, etc. Let CPS focus their attention and time on the cases where a child is truly in danger.

I grew up in a messy house as a kid and came out alright. Today I am a bona fide "neatnik" and can't believe my parents were such slobs. However, I completely understand that working full-time and raising a family is tough and not being able to afford a maid may be tough on the mother. She sounds like a single mother to me....

Anyhow, if you cannot stand the mess, I would leave and find another position.

Just do the right thing and do not get an agency involved here. This will not only disrupt the family dynamic, but karma sucks.

EastBay Nanny said...

I've known plenty of married/ partnered moms with piggy husbands who do zero to assist with housework. One piggy husband is worse than two little kids. Impossible to keep on top of the cleaning in these households for moms who work. Rhiannon, how do you make it work?

Bethany said...

The thing that sticks out to me is that, OP says the house is dangerous for the kids to live in.

That to me goes beyond a little mess, or nanny being picky.

If the children are in danger because of the living conditions, OP should report.

As to your question, it is not your job to clean her house.

Future nurse :) said...

My main concern is the age of the children. If there is a little one in the home who still puts everything in their mouth, then what is a problem becomes a HUGE problem. If you do decide to continue working for this family and there is a little one around please make sure you are up to date on infant/child CPR. It has changed in the last few years. Other than that I feel like your hands are tied. If you clean up you run the risk of the mother feeling like you are judging her. If you call CPS there is a high chance that no one would respond to this (at least in a timely manner) because they see this as being low priority.

nycmom said...

As another person whose job involves knowing when to call CPS and when not to do so, I just don't think we have nearly enough information to make a determination as to the appropriate course of action.

Yes, the house is filthy. OP makes a comment about it being "borderline dangerous," but no further evidence to support this. Certainly if the kids are toddlers or younger and potentially ingesting this garbage, safety is a real concern. If they are older, it is just plain disgusting. I grew up in a home similar to that described by OP and I agree it is quite traumatic, embarrassing and awful. But it was not inherently dangerous.

If OP tells us there are real health risks -- unsupervised children, exposed sharp objects, inconsistent electricity, fire risks, lack of weather appropriate clothing, insufficient food, lice/bed bug infestations, etc -- I would certainly feel there were grounds for calling. But a call to CPS is serious business and can cause significant family disruption for years. Although it is unlikely the children would be removed in this case based on what we know, it is a serious allegation. Since the CPS failures in recent years, almost all calls are investigated extensively in extent and duration. Unfortunately, the skill level and judgment of CPS workers varies along a huge spectrum so you can't even be sure the assigned Case Worker will be invested or competent.

OP, if you truly believe you would call CPS if you were not working in this home, then you should do so. But you sound uncertain in the rest of your post.

If the parents are loving, involved, appropriate, good providers, not physically/emotionally/verbally abusive, you see no health risks beyond the mess and you feel the family is a generally healthy unit, I would be unlikely to call CPS. But only you are actually present and only you can truly assess if there is real risk to these kids. If there is real risk, calling CPS is an obvious and necessary action.

Regardless, you should not assume cleaning duties and if you do not feel CPS is necessary, you should leave this job. After you secure a new job, it would be worthwhile to share your concerns with the parents IMO.

Hellcat said...

Uggh @ all of the recommendations to call CPS. Depending on the state you live in, children are removed from their homes for much less than living in filth every single day. That is so traumatic to the children as well as the entire family. Don't even get me started on the horrors that children suffer while in "state care." Before you go dialing CPS on everyone, perhaps educate yourselves on the "child protection industry"

Hellcat said...

And to "suspect there is a substance abuse problem"? Why?? Did you read the same thing I read? I see no hint of that whatsoever. That is the same crazy thinking that some CPS workers employ when apprehending children with zero evidence.

katydid said...

OP, you said it yourself that you would call CPS if you hadn't bonded with the kids.

If you care for these kids you would do what is needed to protect them and ensure they are living in a safe environment.


You are a mandated reporter.

You can legally be held reponsible for not reporting.

Yes you don't want to rush to report.

But you said yourself, in any other situatiou you would report?

I think you have your answer on the reporting issue.

Do not start cleaning her house.

Do seek other employment.

MariMari said...

I have a sister that works for CPS.

Believe it or not, not all CPS workers are horrible monsters seeking to destroy families for years.

I know for my sister the hardest thing for her is going into a home when it's too late and finding out that everyone and their mother had thought about reporting , but talked themselves out of it or let someone talk them out of it.



Susannah said...

1. To call or not call CPS is your call. You know the situation first hand. You know the risks posed to the children. You know what your ethical and legal responsibilities are.
I'm sure you can conclude the right thing to do for your situation. Don't worry about the opinions of members on this board.


2. Do not start cleaning the home.

Susannah said...

Just as a bit of general knowledge to fellow nannies and other members an extremely filthy home is a reason to report.

There need not be physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse occuring to make a home "unfit" or "fileable"

At least in my state.

I would urge all nannies to read up on the statutes in their states/countries.

katydid said...

I think we should have an entire post dedicated to the legal responsibilites of nannies and when to report.

It's an important topic that isn't discussed enough.

TheDevil said...

Everyone wants you to keep your mouth shut.

Then when the kids are carried out it body bags the same people blame the nannies and neighbors who said and did nothing.

EastBayNanny said...

Please view this website for DEFINED abuse. http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/signs.cfm

I do not see dirty laundry, newspapers or (God forbid!) moldy food?

Find Out said...

I would call and ask CPS what qualifies as neglect, abuse, or a dangerous environment before you make a report. I think usually it would be any type of physical, sexual abuse, neglect (children left alone or in dangerous situation, not feed, or bathed.)
A messy house does not warrant a report to CPS but a filthy home maybe unsanitary and hazardous conditions. Call and ask or speak to someone who may know like a social worker.

OceanBlue said...

Eastbay you are ignoring

The food encrusted into carpets.

Rotting and molding food is a health hazard.

Dirty clothing, depending on what they are soilded with can be a hazard to.
Is there clean clothing for the kids?

People have been reported to CPS for having filthy homes. That is a fact.

I'm not saying OP should report because I don't know what the house looks like.

But it's not accurate to say that only cases of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse can be reported.

OceanBlue said...

OP,

Don't start cleaning the house.

EastBayNanny said...

I'm not saying you can't report anything. Anyone can report anything. These are the federal guidelines which indicate child abuse.

We have over 20% of US children living in certifiable poverty. This is not to say that poverty indicates neglect. But if y'all are worried about messy houses and think food smooshed into a carpet warrants a call to CPS, then I'm hoping you'll be sure your senator votes to buffer the social service departments that will be inheriting masses of children living among piles of dirty laundry.. Sheesh.

world's best nanny said...

Don't bother calling the CPS, call the CDC..lol.

Deal with it.
Discuss with parents
Clean it yourself

ericsmom said...

No way don't clean it yourself OP! Not your problem.

ericsmom said...

OP just use your best judgement.
We do not know how bad it is in the house. If you feel it warrants investigation report it. Better safe than sorry

Rhiannon said...

Eastbay Nanny, I work part time and I am responsible for vacuuming and kitchen duties on my days off and I am lucky to have a partner who takes on a lot of the at home duties on the days that I work. My daughter comes to work with me.

If I were alone, I think this would still work because no one would be home making messes while we were at work, so we would just clean as we go (like we do at work). However, I can't be positive that everything would be as neat as it is now.

However, the thought of my daughter living in squalor because I want to put off vacuuming or walking 15 steps to the trash with the leftover pizza... That makes me sad. If this woman is this overwhelmed, maybe she has post partum depression. Or maybe just depression in general.

Sounds like the mom needs help. But not in the form of Nanny just taking over cleaning. She needs help to get rid of the things she doesn't need, to clean the house and get a fresh start, to teach the kids how to help around the house, and if there is a husband involved, well he should be more involved! But these things need to be accomplished with the help of a professional. Not the OP.

And just one more thing, I grew up in poverty. Technically, my family is barely above the poverty line now. Our home was never filthy as children and it isn't filthy now. I have run into this prejudice before. Poor = dirty. This is not true.

In my experience, having money to throw at cleaning people breeds dirty people because they tend to not ever have to clean up their own messes. Poor people don't have much and have to take care of what they have. And we rarely have any help cleaning up after ourselves.

Maybe the MB should send the kids to daycare and spend the nanny money on a cleaning person. Because if she can actually afford a nanny, then the house should be clean.

BKmommy06 said...

OP,

As previously mentioned, you are a mandated reporter and this is a responsibility that must be taken seriously regardless of how much bonding you have done with the children.

Also as previously suggested, if you're unsure on whether this warrants a report, its perfectly ok to call and consult with someone. You do not have to give your name or location for an inquiry-based call.

I have had to call CPS for a similar reason (messy house, child was dirty, had sores from bug bites that originated in the home). My biggest fear was reporting the situation and the kids being removed. That is NOT what automatically happens. Instead, CPS investigated via a home visit. The mom was given social service resources and was paired up with a local home organizer from a nonprofit.

Our society tends to make negative assumptions on what happens when CPS is called when in fact CPS is there to help families. This particular family needed help and that is what they got.

Good luck to you OP.

EastBay Nanny said...

Good point Rhiannon- poverty does not = dirty, however kids are more vulnerable in their environments when poverty dominates their world- would you agree? This doesn't mean all poor people live in filth (or even more filth than some privileged kids). These families sure as hell don't have resources for housekeepers, though! And any or all of the complaints of the OP above are common.


I was a single mom for most of my daughters life. I went to UC while on welfare, and then grad school several years later. My house was a disaster constantly. I have no doubt some of you all would have called CPS on me if you had looked through my windows! Ridiculous! My daughter was surrounded by adults who loved her, was involved in kids theater, lived on the edge of a gorgeous state park in one of the most affluent communities in the country. My kit hen sink had dishes piled for days, flies and on one occasion a horrible rat infestation. Laundry was always piled (no washer and dryer in house) and at one point I just stopped putting it away because it was more efficient for me. My daughter was home alone after school, sometimes with friends, making candy wrapper messes constantly. I'm sure any inspector would find dried up food smashed into something somewhere. Big. F- ing deal! We survived! Life is much easier now. I happened to link up with a domestic God that could not imagine living how I lived while I was raising a young kid alone, away from the house 10-12 hours a day and dead exhausted whenever I was home... I did what I had to do. I'm proud and have deep compassion for moms who struggle alone or who struggle with jerks for partners who are there to use moms up for the last drops of nurturing they have to give.

I really fear the politics of most of you above in your high horses making stink over a stinky bathroom and piles of laundry. It's creepy.

ericsmom said...

Its really creepy that you think its okay to have moldy cereal bowls piled under the bed. Sorry, no excuse.

If you want to live like a pig as a single person so be it. Please don't have kids and live like that. You can teach your kids to help with cleaning up. If you start at a young age you can instill values in them

ericsmom said...

Also there is a huge difference between messy and filthy.
I watched a little girl couple years back who had a really disgusting house. I felt bad for her because she was hospitalized with a bad bacterial infection. I think from the home. I would never eat there. You would take a dish out of the cabinet and it woudl be dirty. Garbage overflowing. I would never sit on the toilet. It wasn't just clothes all over it was filth

CleaningBusinessOwner said...

I get paid $35-$50 an hour to clean houses. Make sure you don't have to nanny while cleaning. Or, it will be unproductive & impossibly frustrating. And make sure you're paid what someone else would be to clean. Supplies to clean homes are very expensive. I spend $20 an hour on the supplies. Then you have to consider: your time, the gas & toll (if any). If you provide the supplies & are paid $20 an hour or less, you'll be PAYING to work! Make a short single page cleaning contract. Clean when Mom takes them out for the day. Good luck!!

OMG said...

Tax payers picked up the bill so you could go to college, while your child was forced to live in a horrible rat infestation. Shamfull.

EastBayNanny said...

Yes! But get this! It was UC's rat infestation (not mine!) and on top of receiving your tax dollars while going to college UC paid for a hotel for my family for 6 weeks!!!

VacavillePoliceSuck! said...

I will NEVER EVER call CPS or the police over child neglect again. And I'm a mandated reporter. I reported neglect to the Vacaville,CA police & CPS in 2004. The police & CPS decided my complaint was unfounded. The person we called on, called the DA & was able to LISTEN to & IDENTIFY the caller(me). Yes, you heard that correctly. The police played my call to this mother, so that she could identify me!! I was threatened with a lawsuit bc the neglect was unfounded & the police said it was harassment. WTF? Seriously.

A year later, police arrested the mother. She was (still) on drugs. There was no food in the house. Transient drug addicts were staying in the home. Graffiti was spray painted on the interior walls. Do you think the police or CPS ever apologized to me? Of course not. I was in the right, to be concerned. This woman was very clearly on meth & her kids paid the price. A year worth of suffering could've been prevented. But the cops decided the call was "harassment." How so? Simply because the mom said so! So stupid. Its such a messed up system. Don't believe that when you call CPS & the police that you have a right to privacy. Because obviously you do not!!!!!!!!!!!! Also many, CPS workers have little to no education. Some are on power trips. I mind my own business now. If a child is neglected, that's not my problem. I'm not going to risk getting MYSELF in trouble over someone elses problems.

lol said...

Foster homes often mean older kids sexually abusing the younger ones. That's simply a fact. Living in filth? Oh well, its all they know. I bet they have better immune systems that we do. Lol

EastBayNanny said...

Vacaville- your town sucks all around LOL! But seriously, thank you for adding your story to this thread. Totally completely exactly realistic scenario. But did she make her bed and do her dishes? What about her bathroom?!

YouHaveTheRightToRemainSilent said...

CPS is there to help families???? And so are the police. When they suspect you of a crime, they are there to help you. So make sure you tell your story to the police, so they can help you!!!!

NOT! They are not there to help you. They are there to charge you with crimes. If they come knocking on your door, remember....

WHATEVER YOU SAY WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU. And no, you don't have to be read your miranda rights before they apply.

Lyn said...

EastBay, good for you for doing what you had to so that you could provide a better life for your child. You don't see that sort of motivation very much.

lol said...

I wouldn't live in Vacaville again if you paid me. We bought a house in a much better city. Great schools & no gangs! Vacaville is nasty.

When we called, the mom was a NEAT freak, so the house was spotless. She was on meth, hello!

CallItWhatItIs said...

How hard is college when the tax payers are footing the bill? Motivation to live on the dole, nice.

EastBayNanny said...

Thanks Lyn! I know for a fact there are many stories like mine. However, 10 years later and it wouldn't be possible now. The cost of living is much too high and tuition is many times what it was then.

So OMG and friends, be at peace in knowing that the fraction of a fraction of a fraction... of your tax dollars that contributed $600 per month toward my life while in school will never again help another in my shoes through college.

Though I do believe in miracles so, who knows?

Lyn said...

There is no shame in taking help when it's needed. That's what those programs are there for.

EastBayNanny said...

Callit- you tell me! How hard was college for you? And for full disclosure... student loans and grants footed the bulk of my bill...along with VA dependent educational benefits due to my father's death via the Viet Nam war.

christine said...

I read all the comments and I didn't see one that suggested talking with the mom about the state of the house. I wouldn't have any problem being honest and up front with this woman. OP- just tell her how you feel about working in her home and ask if there could be a solution. I would be prepared for her to be defensive but I think it could be done kindly and with respect.

I'm not sure if I would call CPS... a dirty house is awful but not especially abuse or neglect. You describe great kids so maybe it hasn't had any negative effect on them.

EastBayNanny said...

lol- hilarious!- duh! I know! let's send a few meth heads to OP's job with her! win-win-win for everyone!

JustAnotherDayInParadise said...

People still live off of welfare, while attending college. The COL goes up every ten years. That hasn't changed. Since the inception of welfare, women have used it so they can avoid work & attend school instead. Nothing has changed. I know women that did that in the 80s & 90s.

EastBayNanny said...

Paradise- a whole lot has changed. How did you get through college?

MissMannah said...

I am shocked and appalled at the anti-college sentiments presented here. I hate school as much as the next person and I am currently having a really hard time with it. But I still go because I want to better my life and that of my family. Isn't that the American Dream in a nutshell?

EastBayNanny said...

Mannah- You go! And don't give up even though I know you will feel like you have to! You can do this!

Birds of a feather I suppose said...

EastBay... you allowed your kid to live in filth because you were too tired to clean your disgusting shit hole of a home? Wow. And then you want a pat on the back for living off the rest of us for your college education?? Give me a break.

EastBayNanny said...

*sticking my tongue out* nah nah nah nah nah nah

EastBayNanny said...

Actually from you Bird, I would prefer a kiss on the ass :)

webs said...

@ericsmom
Why does it always take you 2 posts to say something? It's annoying.

Try said...

I would recommend trying something.... can you tell mom that you think she has a lot on her plate and that you would like to help her?

Tell her that she deserves a home that doesn't stress her out. So you would like to propose a deal.

Have it cleaned professionally once, rent a carpet cleaner from home depot of needed, and that you want full rights to make sure the kids respect your organization instructions.

Tell her you don't feel safe working in the conditions and that you are not coming from a place o judgement but instead recognize she is overwhelmed.

Just cleaning it won't do it. It's just going to get messy again.

Not in high school anymore said...

Sad to see grown women acting so insecure and childish. Seeking foolish approval from strangers. So desperate and lame.

:) said...

Yes it maybe sad but also entertaining. Heck this is better than a soap opera or lifetime movie. And sometimes you get a good laugh too.

EastBayNanny said...

By telling my story I am not seeking approval. I have learned continuously that approval will not come, as most on this thread illustrate. I believe that by telling my story I am bringing to light the harmful and ignorant biases of people like you. I don't give a fuck what you think about me, but I care very much about women and children and won't be silent on an issue that is important to me. Judging a family because of their housekeeping to the point of calling CPS is an issue I choose to speak to.

well said...

@:)

Hey, shout out to Lifetime movies they're my guily pleasure lol!
It does get a little crazy on here sometimes. This is a serious issue though and i hope the OP lets us know what she decides to do.

no more drama said...

stop hating and JUDGING others people! get a freakin life!!!
put your big girl panties on.

EastBayNanny said...

oh, well.. I don't wear panties... makes it much easier between tricks ;)

Pick a Hat said...

Interesting. I'm going through the exact same thing...phase two! My job began in a very filthy house 18 months ago. I totally organized the children's rooms and kept the kitchen sparkling clean everyday. When there were hours in the day I was without children I cleaned other areas.I tried to be a good example. I did other little things to make the house cozy: cooked, picked vases of flowers in the garden with the little girls to put on the kitchen table, often had a fire started in the fireplace in the autumn and winter. Kept fingerprints off the walls, wiped down the children's bathroom daily. But as much as I tried nothing changed unless I initiated it (and usually finished it). So at my one year review I addressed the mess very respectfully, making clear I told them there was no judgement but I thought their son (who has many sensory/OT issues) would really benefit from calm order.

I then suggested that my title be changed from Nanny to Household Manager...with a substantial raise. It was a win! So now I organize cleaning, repair, shopping while the children are in school (I do some, and arrange to contract big heavy things out.)I went from 35 to 40 hours per week. I also got a raise of 18,000.00 per year. I'm still a nanny #1, but I also keep an order in the house that is easy for me and not so easy for them.

Now, why do I say, "Phase Two"? Because new things are getting out of hand. Messes that are clearly not everyday family messes(walking in to HUGE parent hobby/project messes that need to be cleared before I can do my job) are greeting me nearly everyday. So, it's time for another sit-down with DB and MB to become more specific about their expectations and my considerations. But it can be handled graciously and kindly, yet with a clear boundary. I don't mind organizing and cleaning (and I think it is positive modeling for the children). But I know this is my personal preference, and doesn't work for others. you have to consider what feels ok to you and then work clearly with those feelings!

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

MacAttack said...

You need to do your homework & ask questions before you call CPS. In the mean time give the children a extra hug. Clean if you want, but be prepared for it to remain the same. If it gets too much for you start looking for a new job. Do what you can and best of luck.

Relax said...

Someone is way too sensitive on here lol.

Village said...

Wow, I have been away from this thread awhile. It has really degenerated.

Moving on, I think this sounds like depression. All mom does is work, has demanding kids because all kids are demanding, and no husband, no help, no fun. Work and isolation with kids. And we all can't be natural organizers.

I have read all the comments to date, and I vote for the ones who are suggesting talk to mom. And I like the action suggestions.

This is my NEW advice to OP. (It's all free.) I'd talk to mom and sympathize first. I am so sorry you have to work so much. How can I help you. I have a suggestion for ordering the house. First, can you afford to have the house deep cleaned once, and the carpet cleaned once? If you can, the children and I can keep the house orderly, and you will be able to come home to an happy home that can be a comfort to you. And I'm guessing you will need a lot of trash bags. If she won't do it, then she maybe into hoarder territory, hen I think you have to leave. But don't report her. She has enough problems. It sounds like the worst that can happen to the kids is enhanced immune systems, and that's not a bad thing.

Just wondering said...

Sorry. I forgot we can't post as anon. OP- What have you decided in reference to cleaning the house and calling CPS?

MissNina said...

In agreement with Village about the advice and how the thread has degenerated.

Rhiannon said...

Oh man, this has gone off the deep end. I just want to put it out there that any single mom who made it through college and then grad school is awesome. I'm sorry you had no help for awhile with your home.

I could do what I currently do as a single mom and be okay. But I couldn't have done it going through school.

And everyone talking about her taking from everyone's tax money, you're all ridiculous. She went to grad school with that money and that is quite an accomplishment. At least she didn't give up and quit and waste the money she was given! And now, she most likely has a job and is paying taxes right back into the system.

Whatever said...

Blah, Blah, Blah.

Brooke said...

Wow this thread is crazy!

UmassSlytherin said...

I have not been here in awhile, but I am glad I saw this post.

I will say to OP: don't call CPS unless the children are really in danger. If you wish to call them to add drama to your own life: that is a really bad reason.

Some people are messy. And adults who are messy usually don't change. So unless you want to clean up after these people, leave this job. But calling CPS? Think carefully about making such a serious accusation based on a messy house.

Dr. Juris said...

I come from a dirty home. It was embarrassing, I could never have friends over, and it's still dirty to this day. I thought I had seen it all, until I went over to a fellow law student's apartment. She had two dogs that pissed/crapped EVERYWHERE and she wouldn't pick it up or clean it. The smell was enough to make you gag. She also had a roach infestation. There were roaches in the sink. Roaches on the walls. ROACHES IN THE CABINETS ON THE DISHES.

There are a lot of levels of dirtiness. I thought I had experienced dirt. Then I experienced true filth.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest: CPS functions differently in different states. I agree that this sounds like depression, and probably being overwhelmed. However, you are not a housekeeper or a therapist. Do not clean this woman's house. It wouldn't matter anyway, because it would be disgusting again in less than 24 hours. You really have to step back from the situation and ask yourself if the children *TRULY* are suffering as a result of this environment.

Looking back, I'm not sure if I'm scarred by living in my house. Obviously I wasn't able to be nearly as social and I think my relationships with my peers might have reflected that. Going back to my house now, my allergies are out of control. I sneeze a gazillion times a day when I'm in there. It's also made me more aware of keeping my surroundings clean (yeah, I can get messy, but I vacuum, do my dishes, and keep my kitchen/bathrooms spotless).

Also, I'm not quite sure why this devolved into a personal attack on the welfare system.

UmassSlytherin said...

Regarding using school to avoid work, I went to school with a great many people who were just like that. Rich kids who had parents that put them through undergrad, grad school, and beyond. They wanted to avoid having to pay rent, buy food, support themselves.

From my personal experience, the people I have met on welfare are far less lazy than the people who were going to school on Daddy's dime. I hate welfare threads on here. It really shows how ignorant people are and how sheltered their lives are, that they can spout about things they have absolutely no experience in. It's sad.

lol said...

EastBayNanny, be proud for all you've done.

The nanny-nanny-boo-boo thing? Ok, I spit out my morning cup of joe but am glad you didn't let the negative nellys upset you!

OP said...

To cleaverjune, your post hit me the hardest, that if I really loved the children I WOULD call CPS. But after reading alot of the other comments, I'm worried I'd bring more stress to MB's life. The kids are young, all under 10, but none crawling. They really are happy kids but I think at this age most kids don't really mind the dirt, but it could affect them later. I'm sure I'm not nit-picking, it really is bad. I don't really want to take on the task of cleaning w/o extra compensation so what I was thinking I could do is, I have an aunt that owns a very professional cleaning business, I've already talked to her and she's offered to help the mom for a much reduced rate. I'm going to try to approach MB and ask her if she's ok with this. As for the level of mess, I do believe its boarderline hoarders, so hopefully she'll be ok with my suggestion. I've heard it's difficult to get those people to change but maybe this could be a new start for her? I will let you guys know what happens. Thanks for all of your suggestions!

Heads Up said...

The topic is not on welfare or college.

TheDevil said...

Good for your for deciding not to call CPS!

You've met the approval of the somewhat professional nannies on the board!

MB might love you too!

MB actuall needs professional pyschological help, but psychologists don't really help people they are out to get everyone and get them on drugs and might even call CPS, so that should be avoided.

I hope your auntie is up for a long term cleaning gig.

TheDevil. said...

What is up with using school and work as an excuse to live in filth?

I'm looking at you EastBay

EastBayNanny said...

@ lol- spitting up my morning coffee is always a sign to me that it's going to be a good day :)

I'm proud of all moms who work to reach their dreams and who help others in small an big ways to reach theirs.

I work for a slobby set of parents. One is a lawyer, the other is a PhD. They have twin boys who just turned 1 and a 4 year-old girl who loves collecting snails. I clean for them (the kitchen, living room picked up). And I switch out the endless stream of laundry and try to get at least a load put away each day. There is dog hair 2 inches deep, high chairs encrusted like you wouldn't believe. Strawberries smooshed to the floor along with days of cheerios baby food bombs. Sink full of dihes. Toys scattered, the bathroom smellls (but mostly from mold). Some weeks when I arrive I feel like calling MB's family and saying- hey! Get this dear relative of yours some assistance. (DB takes a pass at cleaning which I'm certain is not without consequences). The other day I before driving their car, MB cleaned it out for me- 2 garbage bags full of trash, diapers, food, probably some dead snails.

Anyhow, so what? Surviving twins during the first year is enough! Moms do the best they can in whatever situation. I choose to stay because I'm treated like the professional that I am. I'm respected, kids are amazing, oh and I'm paid very well. This family prioritized quality child care for weekly house cleaning (they come monthly instead). I do whatever I can to help while there and I'm proud of my MB for kicking ass despite her limitations. Finishing a doctorate program with infant twins and a four year old? Prioritizing what matters? My kinda people!

I don't for a split second believe that she is less capable as a parent or that the kids are disadvantaged. Maybe it's easier because parents are white professionals who own a house in the most expensive place in the country. But I know better. Moms prioritize all day long no matter where they live.

OP- I'm really glad that you wrote your post. I do not assume that you brought the idea of CPS because you are ignorant or judgmental. My earlier comments were in response to those who have proven they are.

To these Lyin Ryan's I say again: CPS is not appropriate in situations where parents prioritize differently than you do. Or look differently than you do. CPS is for abuse. Abuse is abuse. It's adults bullying and threatening and touching and harming. It's for not feeding, changing, bathing, caring. Nannies are not the moral police. As soon as a family shows priorities that I can't get behind, I leave. All of the nannies here who can't work for a slobby family without judging them this way should leave ASAP. Your family needs a better fit. Be responsible for yourself and leave.




looking the same direction said...

@TheDevil LOL! You can take the person out of the gutter but you can't take the gutter out of the person.

cleanIt.com said...

The priority SHOULD be your child & the environment you are raising them in, not school. How selfish. Your child is only young once. Clean your damn home, lazypants.

dear OP said...

OP, I saw your update and just want to add that you need to be careful in how you approach mom. You might not want to say I already spoke to someone. You might start off by saying, hey, I know someone who professionally cleans and she does really reduced rates ie $30 as a favor for people I (you the nanny) know. She is really good, would you be intersted in her coming in to do a one time cleaning? And then I can build an organized home on top of that as you are so busy? I love organizing but cleaning is not my specialty. I can organize the kids toys and clothing etc. I was also thinking I would like to teach the kids to maintain organization as they prepare themselves for the teenage years to come. How do you feel about that?

Or something like that. To be honest, I have nannied for many families and literally throw trash bags of crap away when they hoard junk from birthday parties. My rule of thumb is, if I find a random piece I toss it. I then do containers and label them in cars, dolls, soft toys, etc. I have only 1 tiny random bin. And usually toss the small odds and ends in there. Over time I just throw away things piece by piece.

I do have to say, you would need to make sure that person is there while mom is there if she is hoarder. True hoarders don't like it when people touch their stuff. So maybe you can throw away small bits and pieces of things like empty food containers, and trash bags etc every day until that lady comes.

Please let us know how it goes!

MissMannah said...

OP, I think you've made the right decision. Please update us, I'd like to know what your MB says.

Bethany said...

Op,
Sounds like you made a good decision for the situation you are in.

Hopefully things work out for everyone involved.

If in the future don't hesitate to make a report if it becomes needed.

katydid said...

I think you've come up with a good temporary fix it will make your work environment more comfortable , and will be more sanitary for the kids.

But, if mom is truly depressed or a hoarder she will need to have professional help to overcome her illness, and in the meantime the illness could start to manifest itself in other areas.

Hope all goes well . Do update.

xhoarder said...

My husband & I are reformed hoarders. We had our house, garage, cars & storage filled with stuff. My therapist asked me to take photos. I did not want him seeing our house like that. So I cleaned it. That was four years ago & I have not looked back. Everything is organized. There is no clutter. Even the junk drawer is organized. When we bring in something new, I donate one-two of the old. So clutter never grows. Its rare but hoarders can be reformed by a cleaning. Ill never go back!! I started by keeping the kitchen sink clean. I cleaned one small area of a room @ a time. I envision how I want it & get it there. I even fold my undies now, lol!!

I think its a great idea to talk to the mom. Be clear you're not judging. Just say you want to help her. This may be the turning point for her, you never know! :)

Help the kids not hurt them said...

I know what I would do OP. I would talk to Mom and ask her if she can afford to hire some help to clean the house up. I would then go one room at a time with the kids help and do their rooms, teach them to clean . We teach children right. We read to them and help them with home work so why not teach them how to clean. Maybe if mom has someone come in and clean one time and with you there to have the kids pick up their dirty dishes and such it may stay half way decent.
I have seen kids torn from the parents and it is not pleasant. I know plenty of kids that were raised in dirty houses. They survived. Unless these kids are eating rotten food or not getting fed or have no clean clothing to wear I think someone may be making a mountain out of a mole hill. You need to talk to mom and since you have bonded so tightly with these kids so quickly you should try to understand how devistated they are going to be when they wind up in a strange home with strange people because moms house keeping sucks.