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Can't Win

frustratedbonusmom's picture

So SD ( 9 yo)  came to visit for the weekend, she had her crocs and pair of white tennis shoes that she brought. The white shoes were sitting on the floor and I looked down and thought to myself why did she bring her old white shoes from the summertime, when we bought her a new pair of shoes? So we took SD and my daughter to the fair, I see SD walking around with shoes untied, I said to her let me tie those for you. So when we dropped her off to BM when it was time for her to go home, like an hour later she was blasting DH's phone all upset because apparently the shoes were Nike Air Force One's that apparently cost around $125, and BM wanted DH to buy her replacement shoes. She of course sent him pictures of the shoes. Really the only thing that looked dirty on the shoes were the shoe laces. DH asked why she brought the shoes and why we were not made aware of the expensive shoes that she brought, BM stated she did not know SD brought the shoes. 

At this point I am thinking do we just buy her clothes and shoes to keep here so there are no further issues. She is only here a few weeks during the school year and 6 weeks or so in the summer, but I would much rather buy her things than have an issue when items are sent home and BM is not happy with the condition.

Same thing happened first summer she stayed with us (DH moved into my home), she had a pair of tennis shoes she wore to camp. Shoes were apparently dirty by end of summer. I took SD to store to buy her a new pair of shoes, multiple stores did not have them so I was going to have the one store order her brand new pair of shoes and sent to her home so that she had them for new school year. SD and DH both told me do not order the shoes because the BM will not be happy if I send her shoes to her house, of course I said okay I will put they are from you and not me, I was still told not to order the shoes. 



ESMOD's picture

If she is there often enough where the clothes and shoes won't be outgrown before a reasonable number of wearings.. Maybe it would be reasonable for her dad to provide some amount of stuff for her to use when she is there.  Certainly.. for the 6 week summer visit.. he could get her outfitted for that time period.. and the clothes would likely carry over to a few visits in the school year.. until outgrown.


1.  It is BM's responsibility to know what her daughter has packed for her visits to see dad.  

2.  Barring specific calling out of a special use item (like she is sent with a nice dress for church) he should be able to assume that the child can wear what she brings for "normal" activities that will result in "normal" wear and tear (including getting a little dirty from wear outdoors).

3.  Since normal wear and tear is expected... it would be nice for him to ensure clothes and shoes are clean.. or as clean as reasonably can be accomplished prior to them going back to mom (like washing the shoe laces or a sponge off of the shoes). 

4.If he engages in abnormally "dirty" tasks.. like it's buckets of mudpuddles where she will be walking.. gardening.. etc.. he should ensure she is wearing old clothes and shoes suited to that activity.

It's not his (your) job to know the inherent value of every item of clothing she brings.  Her mom should not send her with things that she deems to important... that she didn't know is not an excuse.. she should know what her daughter is packing at that age.

frustratedbonusmom's picture

Thank you, we do buy her clothes in the summer and then at the end of the summer let her bring those clothes home for the fact that she will possibly outgrow them. I have no problem buying her clothes, shoes whatever. In reference to #3, as I stated the only thing that was really dirty were the shoe laces, and I said I would send her new shoe laces, but was told that would cause a problem. Thank you, and I absolutely agree, if something is sent home in worse condition I am happy to replace, however, I did think they were her old shoes so thought nothing of it. I appreciate your helpful feeback! It is nice not to feel attacked and just get useful information like you gave to help me in the future! Have a nice day!

lieutenant_dad's picture

Don't forget that BM could be lying. Those COULD be brand new $125 shoes OR they could be $10 thrift store shoes. BM could be trying to extort cash or trick your SO into buying a new pair of shoes that BM would never buy for SD. 

My stepbrother's mom used to sell any clothes my stepdad bought him. My stepdad started cutting off the tags, but then she'd just thrift them or sell at a flea market or yard sale. So my stepdad gave cash and his ex would just raid my stepbrother's wallet. As soon as he stopped buying clothes, she complained that he didn't contribute. Sometimes there just isn't any winning.

ESMOD's picture

I do think that you need to make an attempt to stay out of the conversation.  If she  has an issue with something that happens during his visitation.. she should contact him.  He, of course, may need to talk to you before he responds to her.. but as I always say.. they had the relationship with the "crazy person".. so they get to deal with them..haha.

And his response to his ex needs to basically be:

"Hey EXW, it's your responsibility to know what out daughter has packed.  If you have bought her things that you consider especially valuable, my advice would be to not allow those things to leave your home.  We will assume anything you send with her is able to be used normally and for a 9 yo child, that means normal wear and tear may occur.. including things getting dirty.  If she isn't responsible enough to know what items can't get dirty.. and therefore can't be worn certain places?  then you need to keep those items with you.  If she isn't responsible enough to care for an item properly without your supervision? you keep those items with you. I already pay child support that pays towards things like her clothing.  I would not have been inclined to buy a growing 9 yo 125 dollar shoes, but if that was how you chose to spend money, it's the risk you take when a 9 yo gets her shoes dirty. Again, next time, please don't send her with things that you consider overly valuable"

lieutenant_dad's picture

Such a silly thing for BM to get up in arms about. Shoes, especially white ones on kids, get dirty. Unless they were brand new and immediately destroyesd, she needs to cool it. No 9 year old should have a $125 pair of shoes, and if they do, the parent who bought them either has to accept that they'll be treated like shoes (i.e. get dirty from normal.use) or make sure they are only used for special occasions. 

If your SO wants to avoid this in the future, then yes, buying her a pair of shoes and some outfits when she arrives for her 6 weeks is a good idea (less of an issue during the 1-2 week visits during the school year). This would be especially true, as ESMOD indicated, if you all are taking SD somewhere to do something that might "ruin" clothes she brought from BM's house.

But, I also assume that your SO pays CS. If he does, then BM isn't the only one who bought those shoes. He contributed. His CS is calculated to help pay for things like shoes and clothes. BM gets the privilege of choosing how she spends that money, but she also has the responsibility of making sure she can afford what she spends it on. If she chose $125 shoes, that's on her. Your SO already paid his share for them and doesn't owe her more.

frustratedbonusmom's picture

Thank you, yes he does pay CS and yes we buy her clothing, shoes ect. that we allow her to take home.

I agree $125 for shoes for a 9 yo is ridiculous!

notarelative's picture

Shoes that are worn get dirty. 99.9% of the time dirt can be cleaned off. If you don't want shoes to get dirty, they need to be placed on a shelf and never worn. 

BM has a track record of being upset about something being dirty after a visit. She needs to be ignored about this. She's going to be mad about something. If you buy SD shoes for her visit, the complaints can turn to 'you won't let her wear what she brought'. Ignore her.

shamds's picture

How about her parents teach her how to clean and wash her shoes. Kids in malaysia are taught from when they start primary school/elementary to wash their own white school shoes and they're much younger than your stepkid.

Tell biomum "NO" to the shoe replacement

frustratedbonusmom's picture

Thank you, I like that idea. Of course he has to be the one to tell her because apparantly I was told by others on here that I should not be telling her what to do it has to come from DH. 

ESMOD's picture

Maybe if he is the one in the line of fire from BM.. he will be more inclined to figure out a solution.

your response to her should always be deferring back to him.

"oh.. I didn't notice what she had packed/worn.. you should give DH a call"

"Oh.. DH takes care of SD's things.. you may want to ask him about it"

try to stay out of the back and forth with a BM looking for conflict.  Tell your DH you don't want to deal with his EX.. and he needs to take her calls and field any questions directed at your household.

maybe then.. he will pay attention so that he doesn't hear BM's complaints.. or he tells her to pound sand.

AlmostGone834's picture

Unfortunately this is the US of A where kids are not taught anything and nothing is expected of them.

stepmomnorth's picture

Wow, $125 shoes for a 9 year old. That's something. I have 3 bio kids. At that age their feet were growing so much I was constantly buying them new shoes. Plus they all literally dragged their feet on the pavement so much they would actually wear though the soles on the bottom. They are kids!!! They run and play, they don't need expensive white shoes that aren't allowed to get dirty.

All of this is fairly common sense..of which bio mom doesn't seem to have any. Thus.. I would have your partner lay it out in simple terms . Really it's wild that it even had to be said that don't send expensive shoes that they don't want to get dirty. Probably if I was in this scenario I would actually change nothing. Have her wear whatever shoes she has when she plays and get her new inexpensive ones if needed. Send bio mom a super brief note to not send expensive shoes if she expects them to stay perfect because the kid will be playing. Have the text come from your partner. Or... Just ignore and have the kid play as usual and try to keep the shoes *fairly* clean. 

missgingersnap2021's picture

Your DH needs to find hs balls and say to BM "They are shoes and she's a child! They will get dirty!" and leave it at that. And definilty let hm repsond. I am going on 8 years and have NEVER EVER once had to address anything with BM!