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Am I right or wrong?

JacksGal's picture

Two of my three skids are a mess. We've had numerous discussions with BM about their dirty clothes and smell. The schools have all had discussions with BM about them going to school dirty and smelly.

BF and I have made it painfully clear to them that we do not find this acceptable. But yet, they manage to still walk around like that at times. Yes, they do get spoken to and yes, we do make them go back and shower again, get out of the car and go back in to brush their teeth or put on deodorant despite their claim that they used it already. (obviously lying about that!)

A few months ago I told BF that I was not going to go places with them anymore when they smell. (i.e. straight to dinner at a diner or pizza place after picking them up for the weekend.) I'm tired of other parents getting a whiff of them and looking at me like I'm the bad parent. The few times I caved in and went at BF's begging, it was horrible.

Well, a few weeks ago we go off to visit an old college friend of BF's. BF makes it very clear to the skids that they are to wear clean clothes and they must shower, use deodorant, etc. BF really wants me to go meet his friend. Begs me to please come. I don't want to disappoint him so I agree to go.

We get half way there when the oldest, who isn't smelly and dirty, notices that SD13 is wearing a dirty shirt. No, I didn't check her before we left, I put that responsibility on BF a long time ago when I got nowhere with this. By this point, I had also become painfully aware that one of them obviously did not put on deodorant. Turns out it was the same child who was wearing the dirty shirt. Yes, BF did yell at her for the dirty clothes, but he should have double checked before we left the house.

We did not have our own car and his friend met us at the station when we got in so there was no time to go to a drugstore. I was mortified, but BF wasn't getting too upset, so off we go to a restaurant. We stand in a crowded waiting area and this kid is stinking. People near her are obviously offended. I'm getting looks like I'm a bad parent again. BF also allowed her to sit next to his friend through the whole meal despite my very intent looks at him when we were sitting down.

When we got back home and had dropped the skids off with BM, I told BF that never again was I going out in public with these kids while they continued to stink and wear dirty clothes. I would never allow that with my own child so I'm certainly not going to take the blame for his kids bad hygiene.

BF seems terribly hurt that I'm objecting to going places with the kids. I don't think I should have to subject myself to the looks or to the smell. Nothing ruins a good meal or movie like BO. Am I being too bitchy?

sbm014's picture

I don't think you are wrong they are not your kids - technically in my mind you don't have to go anywhere with them...would that be being a bitch? Yes. But in your case I think you aren't completely being a bitch kids need to know hygiene and apparently your BF is only taking it serious to an extent, which would bother me a lot.

Bojangles's picture

Well someone needs to make your BF realise that his kids are going to end up socially ostracised if they do not improve their hygiene and it's his job to crack down on it. In refusing to go out with them you are acting out the kind of rejection they will experience in the future if they make it unpleasant to be around them. Better for the children to get a bit of tough love and be forced into the habit of keeping clean than end up humiliated one day when some less tactful stranger, maybe even a boy they fancy, tells them they stink.

I experienced this problem to a lesser extent with my stepchildren - they were erratic in their showering/bathing and certainly didn't wash every day as I was brought up to, but there were only one or two occasions when one of them was actually noticeably smelly to be around. Trouble is, if good habits aren't instilled early on it's even harder when they get to be teens. BM never enforced daily washing and when he was an EOW and a night in the week Dad making everyone wash was not top of DH's list of priorities.

Orange County Ca's picture

First I would not have sat with them. The embarrassment of your BF in front of his friend would have driven your point home. Then I would do and say exactly what you did.

Do, however, make sure you're not over-reacting to what perhaps your exceptionally sensitive sense of smell is picking up. You didn't mention if his friend found the kid smelly. And do make sure that you are not imagining the reactions of strangers in the crowd.

If you're sure that the kids are in fact smelly then stick to your guns and tell BF that you're simply not going to be seen with them in public again. You didn't mention their ages, I'm hoping that as they grow their peer group will straighten them out. If that isn't effective one might want to consider counseling as there may be mental issues, either retardation or simply as the result of the divorce.

JacksGal's picture

They're 13 and this is not something only I have noticed. Four schools have brought this up. As far as their peers pointing it out, we're already past that stage, they don't have any friends. BM and her boyfriend have been known to go days without showering or even changing their clothes. Even the skids will tell us that they know that Mom's boyfriend stinks. BM blamed her washing machine last year for the clothes being dirty. She's had the kids doing their own laundry since they were 10. They don't do it and she doesn't make sure they do or even make sure they are clean before leaving for school. Last year after a meeting at school, she bought new pants for one and told him it was because the school thinks his pants were dirty when they're not. They SO were dirty. He wipes his hands on his pants all the time. His jeans were brown where he wipes them off. Nice lesson Mom... don't teach the kid to stop wiping his hands on his pants, don't point out to him that they ARE dirty, teach him that's what clean looks like.

BF tried to get them into counseling. The Dr. for the oldest one called child welfare on BM after a few sessions. The second kid, well BM told the skid that the Dr. was a quack, bad and wrong so BM pulled the skid out at the same time the Dr. dropped skid because of BM's interference. Both younger kids have emotional issues but not properly diagnosed because BM doesn't want her kids labeled so she won't cooperate with mental health professionals. School has labeled one as emotionally impaired and have him in special education. The social worker has told us the other one is severely immature, but she isn't in special ed. Neither kid will take the bus and they evade the questions as to why they won't. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why.

As far as his friend, he didn't say a word, but he is a very polite man. I don't know if BF has talked to him since, but you'd have to have sensory problems to have not smelled that. I don't think I was imagining it. It's hard to miss someone a few feet away wrinkling their nose, looking around, looking at the kid then at us and adopting a very disapproving look, then whispering to the person next to them and having that person immediately look at smelly skid(s). I've seen the same thing happen more than once. Am I looking to see if people notice? That I probably am doing. Hard not to when I know if I can smell it, others can too. BF does smell them too though and doesn't deny it.