Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

3 Bumps

My MIL and daughters birthday

So here is the story in a nutshell. I could really write a book about everything, but i'll keep it simple.

My MIL is a hoarder - and not just a "pack rat" - a hoarder. Her home is a trailer and there is only a 6" trail to walk in inside of it. Her stove is electric and there is only one burner open to cook on. The rest is covered. No table to eat on, no couch - i do not know how she sleeps. Her yard is even hoarded up with 42 apple trees, and numerous plants and other trees....and junk that has overflowed. Even her van is hoarded up. She is very very obsessive, not just about things, but people. Babies is one thing she is obbsessive about. When her sons other didn't want her there when their son was being born, she got very very angry, went off on the rest of the family, and then didn't see the baby for over a month because of it - and she would've gone longer without seeing him had it not been for the mother, she caved and took the baby to her mils home.

Anyways, my husband and I have been having a dilemma. Whenever his mother comes to our home (or anyone elses home for that matter) during parties or holidays, she takes the bows from the presents, the wrapping paper, boxes toys came in, napkins, balloons, toy pamphlets, etc. She even digs through the present and asks if they will fit (clothes or shoes) or if you're going to keep them. She also gets mad if you do not wait for her when you start the party. She is always 1 hr or more late, and she gets angry if you do not wait. My husband and I have gotten to where we do not wait with our daughters birthday for ex. (its not her party, its our daughters special day) She gets angry and gets angry if you throw the paper away. Since my family is there, she doesn't say much about it or show much emotion. but she grabs handfulls of napkins and stuffs balloons in walmart bags then heads for door.

Our problem is, I want to put a stop to it. Hoarding is an illness. She has had it brought up to her ever since her 7 kids were small and would bring it up to her then. Now that most are older, they bring it up, and she just is in denial. They have a feeling like they are hard on her and they are being mean. I do not allow addictions in my home, smoking is outside, drinking is not allowed, drugs are not allowed, and so on. I feel like her problem is somewhat of an addiction as well, and it causes me and others to be extremely uncomfortable. I do not want to feed her illness - and she refuses to get help. I feel like when i do not say anything, i am condoning it and saying it is ok. My husband has mixed feelings, but says he sees what i am talking about and is only worried about making his mother feel bad and ashamed. I want to say something to her about how it is not allowed in my home anymore. Should I, what would you do, and how do i go about it?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 6:58 PM on Dec. 31, 2010 in General Parenting

Answers (5)
  • Hoarding is a mental illness. She needs to acknowledge she has a problem and she has to want to get help and want to change. If you feel her house is a 'danger' to her, or that it is not fit for her to live in you could contact adult social services and see what they can do. Or you could try contacting the Hoarders tv show--- maybe they could help, or give you places to contact. Good luck!

    Answer by MizLee at 7:17 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • It is not an addiction, it is a mental illness. No amount of bitching and anger is going to change it. She needs therapy with a trained professional that specializes in her type of illness. If it was an addiction you would be enabling her, but it isn't an addiction, she can NOT control the impulses. It's like cutting off their oxygen.

    Answer by luckysevenwow at 8:19 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • I have a friend that is a hoarder, it is not healthy in any way. My friend asked me for a ride then proceeded to bring 3 plastic bags full of trash to sort through on the way! She offered me candy from said bags! I do not allow my dd to go in her place. Mil's can be a touchy subject when they are healthy! You need to do what is best for you and yours. And she needs help, make the call to social services.

    Answer by Noosa at 8:22 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • I would have a party for your daughter without telling your MIL so that she can enjoy her day. No child should have their birthday ruined because grandma won't control herself. Hoarding may be an illness, but being an hour or more late and then causing a stink because she is not treated as the center of attention is not, it's flat out rude. Invite her over for a "private party" or something, but don't have all of the party favor trash she's going to try and cram in a bag and take home with her. And, yes, do call social services so she can get some help.

    Answer by scout_mom at 8:28 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • u need to get her help. NOW she has 7 kids and they need to find her some help. someone should take her away for a while and the other people should clean out her house. yes she'll most likely be upset about it but at least she will be in a safer home.

    Answer by knagsmom at 8:29 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.