Co-parenting can be messy, especially when your ex is being petty or taking out their frustrations with you on your kids. Other times, maybe they actually aren’t trying to start any drama, but you’re just feeling extra suspicious because of past behavior. One Redditor was wondering if she was in the wrong when it came to her ex’s demands that their daughter be sent to school with dirty clothes in her backpack — and surprisingly, a lot of people sided with the dad on this one.
In the popular “Am I The A—hole?” subreddit, a mom explained how she has “repeatedly refused” to bring their daughter to school with dirty laundry, despite her ex’s explanation that his new wife is sensitive to smells.
“We have an agreement to return clothes bought by the respective house, back to that house,” the mom wrote. “Since handoffs are twice a week and consist of one parent dropping her off at school and the other picking her up, our daughter’s backpack is often used for the few things she takes back and forth.”
It doesn’t seem too unreasonable, especially if she has duplicates at both houses so doesn’t need to bring too much back and forth. However, she does need to bring her laundry, which the mom usually washes first. This is a problem, as the dad’s new wife can’t stand the laundry detergent.
“He’s asking I pack her clothes in her backpack dirty so that his wife won’t be put-off by the scent,” the mom explained, then offered some valid points why she doesn’t want to do this. “I figure they will wash it again regardless so why should they cares?” she wrote. “And I refuse to send our daughter to school with dirty clothes.” I mean … it kinda makes sense. If they want the clothes sent dirty, that means they are planning to wash it. So, why does it matter if they wash it dirty or clean?
And we totally get not wanting to send the daughter to school with dirty clothes. That could make her whole backpack stink, plus it’s more than a little embarrassing.
The mom goes on, “He’s now offering to send me some of their pre approved detergent so as to not offend his wife’s sense of smell.”
If this was simply a petty matter of offending someone’s sense of smell, she might not be TA. But many Redditors agreed with the dad, pointing out that there are definitely other reasons.
“YTA I am allergic to certain smells,” one person wrote. “Usually perfume/colognes but also the plug in room scents. It gives me a killer headache and nausea. It runs in my family. Let step-mom supply the detergent. It’s a win all around.”
Another commented, “I have to buy scent free laundry detergent because of my allergies. YTA OP.”
Some people told the mom that this isn’t a “control” issue. “Yeah OP YTA,” one person said. “It’s not hard to switch your detergent, and this is an actual health issue not a control issue.”
Others thought that this actually was a control issue. One person wrote, “Because if the wife were legitimately sensitive, the request would be for unscented detergent. It absolutely happens that ppl call cps on parents that dress kids in dirty clothes. Plus, it’s so sad lugging dirty smelly clothes to school. So gross. How stigmatizing for the daughter. The ‘tell’ this is about power and control is that a request for unscented hasn’t come up.”
“Not necessarily,” someone else countered. “I like my laundry to smell nice once washed (blue outdoor scent usually good for me) but lavender and vanilla scents cause me to have reactions (nausea and head aches). Just because someone is sensitive to certain aromas, doesn’t mean they are sensitive to them all.”
Some people called out the dad for not dealing with his daughter’s laundry himself. “Why’s stepmom dealing with the child’s clothes? Shouldn’t her father being looking after her?” one person commented. “Also they could supply their own clothes so mum doesn’t have to send her with clothes? Not saying that someone can’t be allergic but why’s this a mum problem and not an ex problem?”
Exactly — if he doesn’t have his own clothes for his daughter at his house, he should at least be doing her laundry. The dad could rewash the clean clothes in the preferred detergent at home so his new wife wouldn’t be bothered by the smell, but instead he’s insisting everyone else go out of their way, which is more than a little annoying.
We don’t know all the details of the situation, but people did point out that if they are offering the preferred detergent for free, it wouldn’t be that hard for the mom to wash the daughter’s clothes with it.
“I mean if they want to go so far as to give you their preferred detergent clearly someone has a legit issue,” they wrote. “Either way it’s free. Don’t know if this is something I’d make an issue out of tbh. Pick your battles wisely this ain’t worth it.”
Agreed. The mom should just use the provided detergent so her daughter can take clean clothes to school and everyone is happy. Co-parenting is tough, but not sweating the small stuff can make it just a tiny bit easier.
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