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Are we really that unreasonable?!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
My Hubby and I have my stepdaughter on Wednsdays after camp and, depending on the alternating schedule, either bring her back to her Mother's house after dinner or keep her until Thursday morning when she gets on the camp bus. Last week she stayed over, so last night, she was going back to her Mother's house. Last week, I washed her two bathingsuits and two towels in her bag, as they get used daily and therefore washed nightly, and had them ready in her bag Thursday morning for camp. I honestly don't remember what I did the week before that- she went back to her Mother's that night, but we were home anyways, so I might have thrown her laundry in with ours and had it washed before she went back to her Mother's. Anyways, last night, we had my stepdaughter again. We had plans to go out to dinner and she was going back to her Mother's last night, so I saw no need to wash her bathingsuits and towels- her Mother would have them, and her, all night. Her Mother called my Hubby- she wants the bathingsuits and towels washed, 'cause she's not doing laundry tonight and by the way, she has a date, so she'll "let us keep her" and extra hour (until 8:30 instead of 7:30). My Hubby said, fine, no problem with keeping her late, but we're out, we weren't even gonna be home at all, so we won't get a chance to wash the bathingsuits and towels. Her Mother then stars asking if "We could at least rinse them and hang them to dry?" and my Hubby again tells her, "No, we are out and we will not have a chance to do it." Then, my stepdaughter's Mother gets angry and flips out and says how it's "Our responsibility and we're supposed to take care of HER daughter when she's with us and our responsibility is to make sure that her things are washed for camp tomorrow." Are we really being that unreasonable? I mean, seriously, I do the laundry, and whenever possible, I make sure I'm doing laundry when my stepdaugher's here on Wednsdays (which, by the way, requires going to the bank to get quarters for the machines downstairs and hoping nobody's using them and there have been many nights I've been up until 10 or 11 doing laundry because of this), but lst night, we had plans to go out to dinner and her Mother was gonna have "possession" of the bathingsuits and towels all night anyways, so I didn't wash them, so it's not like I didn't wash them just to cause trouble for my stepdaughter's Mother- we wanted to go out to dinner. We can't be seriously expected to stay home every time to make sure it gets done before she goes back to her Mother's house, can we? Aren't we supposed to be spending time with my stepdaughter, first and formost?
post #2 of 24
You didn't sound all that unreasonable to me. But at the same time, I'd probably laugh at the silliness of the request, vs. get stressed about that. Seriously, were you supposed to be washing things in the sink of a restaurant?.. *hugs*
post #3 of 24
I dont think you can be expected to do that!

but I have a question...why two bathing suits for one day?
post #4 of 24
We get lots of nutty 'requests'.

I find the best way to deal with it is to mildly raise that it could be difficult, but that you will see what can be done (if you can find a place open on a Sunday night in July with ice skates for sale, for example - or in your case to see if the nice restaurant can refer you to a nearby laundromat and let you hang the suits to dry...). Then you see if in fact that can be done and - oops - it can't, but you tried.
post #5 of 24
I've personally never seen the need to wash bathing suits/swim towels daily. Rinse the suit off when it's removed & hang to dry, toss the towel in a drier or hang it up to dry.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
I've personally never seen the need to wash bathing suits/swim towels daily. Rinse the suit off when it's removed & hang to dry, toss the towel in a drier or hang it up to dry.
I do that too... if it's only used for a few hours, we just rinse it and hang to dry... washing 1-2 times a week depending how hard the things get used, how long, etc.


I don't think you were being unreasonable... you should be allowed to make plans too. One of the downfalls of two homes, I guess.

I wouldn't let it get to me though... you already know the Mother can be unreasonable.
post #7 of 24
No, you are not unreasonable. She is the one that is. DH's ex does that a lot. We often just say we will do it if we can, and then just tell her we never got around to it. We do mean that we will do it if possible, but we won't go out of our way or change our plans to make it happen. kwim
post #8 of 24
You're not being unreasonable at all. If there are two bathing suits in play, can DSD have one at your house and one at her mother's? My daughters go to camp over the summer and that's how me and XH manage the bathing suit/towel issue.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by betterparent View Post
I dont think you can be expected to do that!

but I have a question...why two bathing suits for one day?
Her Mother says to make sure she never has to put on a wet bathing suit. (I suspect it's more along the lines of, she wants to show off that she bought my stepdaughter a whole bunch of bathing suits. She has at least two more at her Mother's house (her Mother didn't wash them Tuesday night, apparently).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
I've personally never seen the need to wash bathing suits/swim towels daily. Rinse the suit off when it's removed & hang to dry, toss the towel in a drier or hang it up to dry.
Me, either. If it was us sending her to camp, we'd wash it if it got really dirty for some reason, or either weekly or twice a week, but not every day! As for towels, she's got a whole bunch of Princess, Hannah Montana, High School Musical and Hello Kitty towels at her Mother's house (plus two of ours we're waiting to get back!!!), so I'm not sure why it was such a big emergency to get them back cleaned and washed that night. But... that's part of the strangeness- my stepdaughter's Mother also has my stepdaughter change her underwear when she changes into clothes in the morning, change everything again (including underwear) after her mornings swim, another complete change after her afternoon swim, and a bath, jammies and new underwear for bed. Washing the bathingsuits nightly doesn't surprise me. (And we've had my stepdaughter for a week at a time, many times. There is no medical or physical need for her to need to change her underwear so often. I just hope it doesn't mess her up psychologically, so that she thinks she's "dirty" if she doesn't compulsively change and wash.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post
You're not being unreasonable at all. If there are two bathing suits in play, can DSD have one at your house and one at her mother's? My daughters go to camp over the summer and that's how me and XH manage the bathing suit/towel issue.
She has at least four bathingsuits in play (and two bikinis she won't wear to camp) at her Mother's house and three from our house. My stepdaughter won't wear any of ours to camp, because they are all bikinis (which she asked for at the end of last summer) and she's been told by her friends that bikinis make her look fat (because she has been getting a bit of a belly). Anyways, it's not like the kid only has two bathingsuits and they're both dirty- she has at least four she will wear and several more she could wear.
post #10 of 24
Wait... so her Mom has her wearing 2-3 different outfits a day!! Wow...
post #11 of 24
OP, it isn't you who is being unreasonable.

She's a piece of work, that one.
post #12 of 24
I think mom is definitely being the unreasonable one. If she expects the towels and bathing suits to be washed every single time they are used, then she needs to be the one to do it. It's her issue, let her own it.
FWIW I wash our swim suits with the rest of the laundry, on the weekends. Unless she is swimming in a cess pool, I am pretty sure skipping one washing of her swim suit will be OK and not cause her to catch cooties or anything.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
I'm not sure why it was such a big emergency to get them back cleaned and washed that night.
Because it's not about bathing suits, towels, or laundry. It's not about your SD, you, or your DH, either. It's about power or control, and her sense that she's lacking some. Because I mean, really, would anyone ever bicker about something as trivial about suits and towels if there wasn't something under it?

Strive for that teflon state of mind! As long as you're secure in yourself that you didn't do something wrong, you can let her fuss however much she needs to and you don't even have to respond. Easier said than done, I know. With practice, though, it does get easier.
post #14 of 24
Ahh, laundry. Laundry issues are famous around here. "Why aren't you using the detergent I use? Her laundry does not smell consistent." "You returned clothes to me with one slightly wet balled-up sock in the bottom and now I have to re-wash the entire load."

Laundry is great shorthand...it's a great stealth way to get a jab in, even though superficially it looks like you're discussing something very neutral and unemotional.

Much sympathy to you.
post #15 of 24
That's crazy! I would just file that in the "unreasonable requests acceptable to ignore" category. I wouldn't even fight over it - just be like "if we can we will but we're out" and then ignore her. Sounds like there's some compulsive behavior there. I'm on the total opposite end of the spectrum - picturing my daughter's damp suit and towel sitting in her bag not even hung to dry. Yikes - now I feel bad. But seriously, I wouldn't even think twice about it. I have coin laundry too, and if you're not already doing laundry on Weds then I wouldn't even go out of your way. A simple rinse and hang to dry seems fine.

Totally off-topic: that's really messed up that her friends would make fun of her weight - esp at such a young age. That would really bother me and I would want to talk to her about her feelings about it and shore up her confidence. I wonder how much her mom's obssession with clothes plays into any insecurities she might have. It's really terrible how early body image and beauty begin to affect girls these days.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Laundry is great shorthand...it's a great stealth way to get a jab in, even though superficially it looks like you're discussing something very neutral and unemotional.
Uh huh! And the best part about it is, it can usually be completely done in "girl language". SO many times, my stepdaughter's Mohter (Okay, okay, I'm guilty, too, once in a while, when I run out of patience, but very rarely!) says something either to me directly or to me through either Hubby or stepdaughter and my Hubby won't have a clue of what's REALLY being said- it'll just sound like an innocent comment to him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post
Totally off-topic: that's really messed up that her friends would make fun of her weight - esp at such a young age. That would really bother me and I would want to talk to her about her feelings about it and shore up her confidence. I wonder how much her mom's obssession with clothes plays into any insecurities she might have. It's really terrible how early body image and beauty begin to affect girls these days.
Her Mother grew up being the "not so bright but pretty little girl" (no exaggeration, she really did) and her Mother is one of those women who think they only have to be pretty and know how to get what they want (material possesions and people to do her bidding- think Sharpay from HighSchool Musical and you'd have a pretty good idea of my stepdaughter's Mother's personality). My stepdaughter's very close to growing up thinking if she doesn't have a new outfit every weekend or if she has a couple extra pounds around the middle or, if, God forbid, she's not pretty enough, then she's not good enough, she's nothing. My stepdaughter's been willingly going without dessert from age 3 1/2 because "I don't want to get fat." I can imagine what's going through her head with her little belly chubbyness now, even if her Mother's NOT saying anything, she must be wondering if she's skinny enough for her Mother. We've been working on the body image self esteem for years now, probably the only reason why she's not a complete mess by now.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Uh huh! And the best part about it is, it can usually be completely done in "girl language". SO many times, my stepdaughter's Mohter (Okay, okay, I'm guilty, too, once in a while, when I run out of patience, but very rarely!) says something either to me directly or to me through either Hubby or stepdaughter and my Hubby won't have a clue of what's REALLY being said- it'll just sound like an innocent comment to him.
Ah, yes... I see myself in this. As in, I *know* when DSD's mom is saying/doing things just to irk me... because I know how the passive-aggressive bitchy girl game is played. DH has no idea. Really not something to be proud of, I know.

As for the topic of hand, yes of course she's being ridonkulous. If I was feeling particularly bitchy, I might just forget to take the bathing suits back at all. Mom can stay up late washing the ones at her house if it's so important. But then, we don't send clothes back and forth anymore. Our clothes stay at our house and vice versa.
post #18 of 24
Freaky. I would never wash anything that much. I would rinse and hang myself and just hang the towel. I would also state my laundry policy and let her know that any differences she would like she can take care of herself.

...and I have a washer and dryer in my house.
post #19 of 24
Wow. That is nuts.

I'll admit, I'm a little obsessive about the laundry, but we are definitely in the "just send it back dirty - we'll take care of it" camp. I buy the kids nice clothes, and I don't like them to go through the dryer, partly to keep them nice, partly because I resell when they are outgrown. So DSD's mom and I have done the passive aggressive laundry thing. She's offended that we don't want her to wash things, I used to get offended when she baked DSD's clothes in the dryer (after repeated requests to either not wash at all or if she must, not dry).

Lately, both parties have been bringing clothes to pick-up, but that will of course change come fall. Last week, DSD's mom dropped her off instead of us picking up, and she didn't have time for DSD to change. She was all "I don't care about those things." Okay lady, you win. You are a better person because you don't care what your kids' clothes look like (Oh, and for those of you that are thinking "control issue with regard to stepdaughter," I am this way about my clothes and DS' clothes as well).

So I understand how laundry can become a thing.

But if you only have her for a few hours, requiring that you wash (especially when she has other swimsuits at her mom's) is a ridiculous burden. And really, how dirty is a swimsuit going to get? Doing two loads of laundry for a 4-hour visit is an unreasonable request.

And the body-image thing... speaking from someone who has BTDT and racked up the bills for treatment, your dsd is set up perfectly for an eating disorder. Poor kid. At least she has you to model healthy behaviors.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
I would also state my laundry policy and let her know that any differences she would like she can take care of herself.
We've found the broken record technique to be effective at times like those. Speak calmly and evenly and refuse to react... the more berzerk they become, the calmer you become...

"Can you wash the swimsuits before you bring them back?"
"I'm sorry, I'm not doing laundry tonight."
"She needs her suits washed and I won't have time to do it."
"I'm sorry, I'm not doing laundry tonight."
"You picked her up and it is your responsibility to take care of it."
"I'm sorry, I'm not doing laundry tonight."
You obviously don't care about your daughter if you can't even be bothered to do a load of laundry for her."
"I'm sorry, I'm not doing laundry tonight."

Eventually they get bored and hang up or walk away... okay... sometimes they give you the finger first... But you don't get sucked into an arguement about something that obviously isn't about you, and you don't say anything you regret.
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