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My DM stinks. Is she lying about why?

(63 Posts)
MilchMama Fri 22-Aug-14 06:02:26

I've namechanged for this.

A bit of background to start off.

To all intents and purposes my DM and I have a good relationship. She left my step-father a few years ago for another man, which caused a bit of an upset in the family. Since she's been with OM, she has radically changed her personality - enjoys different things, acts and speaks differently, moved country, looks different. If that's what makes her happy, it doesn't matter a jot, although I suspect she has had long-term problems with loving herself and always trying to please the man in her life ... But that's a story for another time.

OM clearly favours the "natural" look in women. He writes things on Facebook about how women shouldn't shave their "bush", for example, so he's quite overt about his preferences. DM stopped dying her hair, stopped using shampoo and conditioner, and also stopped using deoderant. (He also doesn't use these things as far I know.)

At first, she was really proud of the fact she had freed herself from the "constraints of consumerism" and waxed lyrical about how much money she was saving by not buying into the beauty industry's marketing cons. Both DSis and I sort of laughed along, but pointed out that without deoderant, she was starting to smell a bit. She assured us she didn't, that only old sweat smells, and that as she showered twice a day and always changed her clothes (not we saw any evidence of this when we were around her), she did not smell. She had previously been fanatical about appearance, by the way.

Fast-forward a few years. The smell has got worse. So bad, in fact, that their whole house stinks when you walk in. The family all talk about it behind her back (not in a bitchy way though). She works in quite a professional setting, and I can't believe that her colleagues won't have noticed it.

I slept in a bed she had been in for two nights the other week (staying with family). Even though the sheets had been changed, the smell made me retch sad One of my teenage cousins refuses to give up her room for them anymore because the smell is so hard to shift.

I spoke to an aunty of mine to ask whether or not I should tell her. She advised doing it very gently, and perhaps leading with a question about her health, so I didn't embarrass her too much.

The response I got was very weird, but maybe DM was just highly embarrassed. She told me that yes, she knew she had a problem, but that no one had ever mentioned it to her before. She said the menopause was causing her so many problems that she was in hospital for tests. I immediately felt awful for saying anything, and gave her a hug and said it wasn't that bad anyway. She asked me not to mention it again because she felt so dreadful.

So I haven't. But I've seen her once since, and the smell was definitely better. So my question is, does this happen in the menopause often? I know I was very sweaty during puberty, so I can quite imagine the hormones doing horrible things during menopause, too. What kind of tests could she have been having? Or is it more likely that she lied when I asked to save face? I can understand why she would have done, because I would be mortified, too, to be told I smelt. But if she is actually ill, I want to know.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 22-Aug-14 07:02:59

Yes the menopause does make you extremely stinky. Not sure about the tests as my doctor wouldn't even test me for the menopause and told me I was too young. I've been through and out the other side now.

TobyZiegler Fri 22-Aug-14 07:13:06

She's not ill she's going through menopause, menopause can cause body odour problems.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 22-Aug-14 08:29:51

I'm peri menopausal and sweat like a pre pubescent teen nowhmm

It sounds like the doctor is doing standard tests but actually hygiene sounds looks it's her problem Wrt smelling. If she doesn't change her clothes it won't matter how many times a day she showers. Buy her some pit rock?

MilchMama Fri 22-Aug-14 08:57:08

Pit rock? I've just Googled. Is that a really good deo then? I'm not sure presenting her with deo would go down very well even though she herself is queen of passive-agressive actions disguised as concern

Glad to hear no one thinks she's properly ill. I suppose she may have exaggerated a bit to guilt me into never mentioning it again. I am a little sensitive to her lying to me as she's done it a lot in the past.

Ledkr Fri 22-Aug-14 09:04:09

I disagree that it's the menopause.
Yes the menopause makes you sweat more and it's more pungent but it's her not washing that's causing the issue.
I'm menopausal and my room, house and any rooms Ive slept in don't smell!

Ledkr Fri 22-Aug-14 09:06:58

It also could be that in her new hippy lifestyle she's using non biological washing powder Eco nonsense which will not get sweat out of clothes.

hairypaws Fri 22-Aug-14 09:13:24

I'm 44 and now on hrt for menopause. Obviously when having hot flushes you do sweat but a good deodorant and regular showers sorts that out. Is it a stale sweat smell or something else?

She could well have other health things going on.

The menopause can cause all sorts of problems - some of them quite serious, others just difficult to live with - and can make you feel absolutely ghastly. If she's having tests in hospital I dare say she does at least feel 'properly ill'.

One of the less serious problems is that you sweat like a pig and yes, if she's not washing regularly, using deodorant or changing her clothes very often she will smell.

The OM sounds creepy posting on FB about how women should have their pubic hair.

It doesn't sound like you ike your DMum very much.

SecretSpy Fri 22-Aug-14 09:20:40

I had a family member who used to apologise for their smelly feet.
They had an advanced (fungating) tumour that they were hiding/in denial about sad so while that is unlikely I would still be taking a keen interest.

DoItTooJulia Fri 22-Aug-14 09:32:40

I don't think it's the same for everyone. I lived with my mum as she went through the menopause and she didn't stink.

It sounds like your mom is difficult. I would talk again to your aunt and see if she can help you help your mom.

Good luck

sweetnessandlite Fri 22-Aug-14 09:40:55

and THIS is why it's good to be well-groomed and clean. Nobody really likes the smelly, hippy, lentil eating, (let's save the planet by not using soap) look.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 22-Aug-14 09:48:26

It's a natural crystal deodorant, goes down well with lentil weaverswink

Won't work if she doesn't shower or change clothes though.

Bunbaker Fri 22-Aug-14 09:57:42

"I disagree that it's the menopause."

Same here. I know loads of people who have been through (myself included) it or are going through it and none of them smell or were smelly at the time. It is either a real health issue, or more likely a personal hygiene issue.

Is it possible that it is a mental health problem? Often people with MH issues don't pay attention to personal cleanliness.

I also agree that it sounds like her clothes need a good wash with a decent washing powder. Washing machines get very smelly if you use low temperature washes with non bio powder all the time, and this small transfers on to clothes.

MilchMama Fri 22-Aug-14 10:00:55

Yes to non-bio liquid stuff for the washing machine. She wasn't having any of it when I suggested bio powder might be better for the machine/clothes ...

I love my mum very much! But things have been difficult for a while. The affair, OM, change of lifestyle, the endless lies ... I wish I could see things differently, as I am often told by her and her mum (my gran) that I'm oversensitive and that it's my fault things aren't easier.

OM is a bit creepy, yes. He tries (with my DM) to get a rise out of me by talking "dirty" at the dinner table or in front of my DC - double entendres and the like - which I do my best to ignore. It's things like "Oh, I love pussy cats. Just love stroking pussies and feeling how soft their fur is. MilchMama, wouldn't you like to get a pussy cat at home?" It freaks me out, but if I say anything, they both giggle and say I've got a filthy mind and he was just talking about cats, for goodness sake.

But I'm going off on a tangent.

I think you're right. She smells because she doesn't wash herself or her clothes properly or use deoderant. It's an old-sweat type of smell, by the way. Maybe she is sweating more because of the menopause, but really, normal hygiene should at least sort out most of the problem.

Next time we speak I'll gently ask her about the hospital tests and see if everything really is ok or if it's a big lie.

1sneezecakesmum Fri 22-Aug-14 10:04:13

You can certainly get sweaty with menopausal hot flushes but it's ridiculous to say that washing, clothes changing and a good deodorant will not keep you smelling fresh!

Something very odd happening with your DM. Maybe a family conference to see if she is depressed or something?

1sneezecakesmum Fri 22-Aug-14 10:05:21

X posted. But the OM sounds vile. sad

kernowmissvyghen Fri 22-Aug-14 10:06:29

Neal's Yard lemon and coriander deodorant is remarkably effective and very eco friendly. If DM is into lentil weavery a little parcel of neals yard nice things might go down ok possibly?

They do herbal remedies and essential oils as well as bathroom stuff, so you might be able to sneak in the deodorant with some herbal remedies for menopause without risking too much offence...

SuburbanRhonda Fri 22-Aug-14 10:06:29

It's not true that non-biological powder doesn't get clothes clean.

W use it - I have two teenagers and a DH who cycles 50 miles at a time in Lycra gear.

Everything comes out of the machine clean and fragrant.

And we eat lentils wink

SuburbanRhonda Fri 22-Aug-14 10:07:09

* We

divingoffthebalcony Fri 22-Aug-14 10:09:06

I think the "hospital" thing was maybe thrown in to garner sympathy and get you off her back because she was so embarrassed. Whether the menopause is a factor is irrelevant - if she isn't using deodorant (or shampoo, or soap) she's going to have big problems with body odour.

Her partner sounds quite controlling. The armchair psychiatrist in me wonders if he encourages her poor personal hygiene to alienate her from her family, friends and colleagues?

kernowmissvyghen Fri 22-Aug-14 10:14:01

Non bio powder at 40 or 60 gets clothes lovely and clean and fragrant - the liquid non bio at 30 or 40 is useless ime.

Next time you go to stay, maybe you could surreptitiously put DM's washing machine on the famous 90 degree mumsnet service washsmile

starfishmummy Fri 22-Aug-14 10:15:21

i would be wondering if all this lack of interest in her appearance/personal hygeine is because she is deppressed?

ImperialBlether Fri 22-Aug-14 10:18:48

Is she the kind of person who would have told you about the hospital appointments? If she is, then I guess she's lying and using it as an excuse.

I agree with the others - her husband/partner sounds vile.

iamEarthymama Fri 22-Aug-14 10:19:46

Suburban you are much nicer than me!
I have been grinding my teeth reading this thread.
Of course there is no need to smell if you are menopausal but also there is no need to be quite so superior about your choices re laundry products.hmm
I used Rock Mineral before menopause then switched to Tom of Maine's deodorant. I have a benign cyst in my breast and want to keep it that way.
I use Ecover 'nonsense' to clean my clothes, I add a touch of essential oil to my washing and it smells lovely. I have psoriasis and if I use anything else my skin flares appallingly. I guess I should use Real Laundry Products though so as not to offend Normal people.
The fragrance of fabric conditioner seems so fake to me now. But do you know what, I don't sneer at people who use it even though it makes me sneeze.

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