View Full Version : Kind of off topic, but need advice & suggestions.
07-29-2004, 12:32 PM
I have this problem, it may sound like I am being petty, but it is driving me crazy & I am not sure how to handle it.
My mother & father in law watch my 2 sons, age 3.5 & 1 while my husband & I work. They come to our house in the mornings & are there when we get home in the evenings. They are absolutely wonderful people & we couldn't ask for any better for our children. The only problem I have involves my mother in law & our laundry . I have specifically told her I like to do our laundry b/c I am kind of picky about things & have even hid the laundry in my closets before to keep her from touching it. My husband knows better than to touch the laundry. I like to go through everything, pretreat stains & soak whites overnight. I am very careful about checking clothes before I dry them to make sure I don't set stains in. Anyway, my mother in law will throw things in the hamper with throw up, food stains, mud you name it without tring to rinse it out. It makes it so much harder to get stuff out after it sits in for a while. Plus, I have found several things mildewed after being wadded up & thrown in the laundry like this. If she would just set these things on top of the washer or somewhere I could see them when I get home it would help. This whole situation really wouldn't bother me so bad except for the fact a lot of the clothes involved are my kids nicer clothes. They have tons of play clothes, but for some reason she will pick out the nicer things for them to play outside in or to feed my little one Blueberry Buckle in (with no bib on, but thats another rant). I have moved there nicest clothes to the back of the closet hoping she won't pick them out, but that hasn't seemed to work. Also, when she decides to wash a load of clothes she doesn't check for stains, pretreat & she dries everythign to a CRISP which I never do. I have to go back behind her & do my best to get the stains out if possible. I just don't know what to do. She is so sensitive & I don't want to hurt her feelings, but this is causing me so much more work. I like to buy my kids nice things to wear & I like to take good care of their clothing but I feel like I am fighting a losing battle.
Please give me suggestions or let me know if I am being petty.
07-29-2004, 12:39 PM
I don't think you're being petty at all, but I'm the same way about laundry. That being said, I'm also pretty outspoken & wouldn't hesitate to tell my MIL to STOP IT! ;) She's not the sensitive type & wouldn't mind though. Honestly, I personally think you should just ask her not to. I don't know a sensitive way to say it other than just telling her that even though it's a nice gesture you'd prefer to do your own laundry. :)
07-29-2004, 12:43 PM
Why not set out a few outfits for each son each night so that she doesn't have to pick stuff out herself? Lay out enough so that if they get dirty, there are one or two extra just in case. That way, you can pick what you want them to wear, and she will have it "spelled out" for her at the same time.
As far as her tossing stuff in the hamper, either tell her that you'd like to try a new system in leaving them on the dresser at night, or just go through the hamper yourself when you get home. I would specifically tell her that you find it kind of therapeutic to do laundry and would prefer that she leaves it for you. Kind of play it up as an escape. I know it sounds warped, but it really is for some people. ;)
Unfortunately, I think you're going to have to pick your battles. Not only is it hard to get good sitters, it's hard to find in laws that you can handle seeing everyday ;).
07-29-2004, 01:07 PM
I can relate, because I have a VERY finicky dryer, so I don't let anyone use it but me (including DH). I have told this to MIL time and time again, but she still does laundry for me. One of the last times she put stuff in the dryer from the washer, she ruined my favorite pair of overalls for my son, and when I told her, her reponse was, "Well, he has enough clothes anyway!". Excuse me??? Isn't this MY decision? These weren't horribly expensive, and I was stunned she did not offer to replace them, as I'd told her NOT to help with laundry and she did anyway. and I told her that my dryer eats clothes (you have to buckle all the overalls, and snap every onesie, and with overalls especially you have to check them out of the washer, to make sure they stay buckled). Then she went whining to my DH about how she feels everything she does is 'wrong' and she's just trying to help, maybe she should just go home, etc. Did I mention this was a few days after my second son was born?
Anyhow, I'd say, hide the nice clothes. Kind of a pain, I know, but that ought to work. Maybe you have a guestroom closet, or something? Or I like the idea about laying out the clothes every day. Or just be frank. She probably puts on the nice clothes because they make your kids look really cute, but just explain they are for special occasions. And I'd put a laundry basket in the kids room(s) that is empty every morning, so you can inspect all the clothes every night, and just reiterate, dirty clothes go there, please don't do any laundry while you are here. Does the laundry room have a door you can shut, sort of 'out of sight out of mind'?
I'll have to figure out what what I'm going to do pretty soon here. My MIL will be here for a week after #3 gets here. With all the Hannas I've bought and all the junior cowboy Gymbo layette line my mother plans on buying (too cute!), there is no way I'm going to let her near the laundry!! I'll even be in the house, but I swear she waits until I'm showering to go ruin my clothes!
07-29-2004, 01:10 PM
I totally understand, both the concern about ruining clothes and the fact that your MIL is sensitive. DH and I are so picky and hate to ruin clothes by shrinking them (your statement about drying clothes to CRISP made the hair stand up on my neck!).
But it sounds like you need to talk to her. Perhaps you can try to be laid back about it, not make a huge deal. I put a bottle of Zout or spray-n-wash by the dirty clothes basket and asked our sitter to please treat any clothes that are stained ASAP so that they are not ruined.
07-29-2004, 01:29 PM
Maybe if you set a special basket on top of the washer and ask her to just put anything used and dirtied that day in that basket? Then you could go through it when you get home? Maybe if you don't want to be direct you could say you want to wait until there is a larger load or something, so you want to do it at the end of the day and add yours and your DHs clothes from the day to it as well?
07-29-2004, 03:21 PM
I don't have any suggestions, just wanted to tell you that I don't think you're being petty.
I'm really anal about the laundry too and it ticks me off to no end when DH does it. I can't imagine my MIL doing it. She's worse than he is!!
And I can't tell you how many bibs I've had to throw out because they've been found wadded up somewhere with mold and mildew growing on them. Sigh....
07-29-2004, 09:39 PM
Well...I'm going against the norm here..but here goes!
Let me preface my opinion by stating that I am EXTREMELY picky about the kids clothes, my house being clean and in order, etc...I mean extremely picky! LOL!!
I buy expensive clothes for my kids..and I too, like to pre-treat anything that has possible stains etc...when I just had my last c/s and was in the hospital for 5 days, DH had strict instructions to not go near the girls' laundry!!
So...this is coming from a VERY anal person! My kids go to 'daycare' at a neighbor of ours homes..they are the only kids there. Well, I learned a looooong time ago that my kids would come home wearing everything on their clothes from food to mud to paint...etc..OMG, it killed me..but WORSE, sometimes they would come home in different clothes..and I might never see the clothes that they had on again..(my daycare provider has 4 of her own kids..LOL)..it was very frustrating for me Miss 'Type A'...last year I actually went to target and bought Rachel a bunch of clothes just for daycare..they even had there own drawer. So, again, I feel your pain.
All of this aside and looking at the big picture...does it really matter if their clothes get stained in the grand scheme of things?? Not really, what matters is that they are being loved, being played with, having fun and just enjoying being kids...When they grow up, they're not going to think 'thank god my clothes were stain free' their memories are going to be of catching bugs, playing in the mud, baking cookies, whatever, with their grandparents..and that's what's important. Thank your lucky stars that your in-laws take care of your children so you and DH can work...We were faced this year with the possibility of not having our provider again, and all I could think was 'if we bring the wrong person into our home, our family would be scarred for life' It took me a loooooong time to get to this point, and don't get me wrong...the stained laundry still gets me..she actually lost one of Ava's Baby Lulu hats this spring..I mean it's a $28 hat!!!! But...my kids are loved and have fun..and DH is under strict instructions that the lulu hats are not allowed over there!(LOL)
Try some of the other suggestions...maybe make a drawer in your sons' dresser a 'play clothes' drawer that she can grab anything out of and you don't care about...But, personally, I think you need to let go of this and be grateful that you have wonderful, loving people caring for your kids!
07-30-2004, 10:37 AM
Believe me, I am not ungrateful for all that my in laws do for us & our children. It is a wonderful relief to be able to go to work & not have to worry if my children are being treated right & loved. I could not ask for better. They are just wonderful people. I don't want to hurt my mother in laws feelings or make her feel unappreciated- that is why this situation is so hard for me to confront. That being said I also do not want every new outfit I buy my children stained so that I am continually buying things for special occassions, church etc. I think common sense dictates that you don't put a nice, expensive outfit on a one year old & then feed him spaghetti without a bib. Then after eating, take the outfit off & throw it in a hamper. Or take the tags off of a new outfit & put it on a 3.5 year old for him to paint in. I spend so much time trying to salvage my kids clothing, I just don't think it's fair to me. I don't like to spend all my time at home pretreating, soaking & scrubbing. I would rather spend this time with my kids. But if I see a stains on their clothing I feel obligated to attempt to get them out. I mean I can't continually buy new clothing just so it can be ruined. I do thank my stars every day. I know there are more things in life to worry about that stained clothes.
That being said, I think I will start setting out my kids clothes in the morning & have 1 designated hamper for the dirty clothing for each day. I do try to go through the dirty clothing every evening & pretreat, but I just get so disgusted. I also will probably make room in my closet for the kids nicest things so they are out of site & designate a specific drawer for clothing that can be painted in & stuff like that.Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I appreciate your help!
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