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In-Laws Slobs, Could Be Mental Instability

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My husband and I are expecting our first child. This will be the first grandchild for his mother and his father. My in-laws keep telling us that they will take care of our baby when (and if) I go back to work.

The problem is that we do not want my child in their house. In the three years we have been together, they have never cleaned their house. The floors are dirty, the bathroom disgusting, and dust is everywhere. The house smells. I can barely tolerate being there.

We do not want our child exposed to their filth and do not plan to take our child to their house. We think it would be fine if they came to our house and took care of our child, but definitely not their house. How can I tactfully tell them all this?


Disgusted daughter-in-law

Dear Disgusted daughter-in-law,

The health and safety of your child is the top priority. If your in-laws really do have such unsanitary living conditions, then do not take your child there.

However, the one to tell them is their son. Your husband should explain that a newborn can easily get sick and needs to be in a sanitary environment. He should say that the obstetrician or pediatrician agrees that the baby should only be taken care of in your home until the baby is older. You could also discuss the unsanitary home of your in-laws with your obstetrician and enlist his/her help in the matter.

You may have to reconsider having your in-laws as babysitters. An unclean, contaminated, and unhealthy environment could be a red flag that there is some emotional or mental instability. Encourage your husband to have his parents get a medical check-up. He should also privately alert the physician of his concerns before his parent's appointment.