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To tell her she really really smells...

(17 Posts)
TreaclePumpkin Wed 24-Apr-19 10:36:30

I will start by saying that my MIL is a lovely lady. Dotes on her grandkids (DS1 is 2.5 and DS2 is 5 months) and always willing to lend a helping hand (even when I don't want her to hmm, but that's another story).

Anyhoo, I don't know why, but recently she has taken to wearing a lot more perfume than usual, like a whole lot. It's really overpowering / nauseating. The fragrance itself is fine - I don't really care about the type of scent - it's just the strength of it.

She will carry DS2 for a few minutes and he will stink of it for ages. Currently writing this as I breastfeed him with a perfume induced headache and I'm 95% certain it's making my face itch. I don't get hay fever and this itching only seems to happen after I've been around her for a bit.

I don't know what to do about this, but I really can't continue this way. It's making me feel ill. The kiddies don't/can't complain, but I wonder how it affects them too.

If we only saw her occasionally, I would probably let it go, but she comes over 2/3 tines a week minimum.

I really want to ask my husband to tell her to stop wearing it or tone it down, but i don't want to offend her (or him).

WIBU to lie and say the baby has an allergy and the doctor has advised no perfume around him? Perhaps elaborate a bit so perfume isn't singled out, but other scented things - like bath products etc, He has had a bout of dodgy skin, though that seems to be because of CMPA. But I could say that until he is tested fully, we've been advised to avoid a number of things.

Or should I just speak to her about it, as kindly as I can? I really really don't want to upset her or make her few uncomfortable. But I'm currently hiding in my bedroom to avoid her for a bit right now. I've left poor DS1 downstairs with her.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 24-Apr-19 10:40:35

Ask her nicely to please not wear perfume when she comes to visit as you've discovered that you have a reaction to the smell and it's making you ill. Just be as gracious and polite as possible. You can do this.

RuffleCrow Wed 24-Apr-19 10:42:02

Just be honest. Say you like the scent but it's a bit overwhelming so could she tone it down a bit when she comes over.

EvaHarknessRose Wed 24-Apr-19 10:47:46

She might be trying to mask another odour if she has an issue.

saraclara Wed 24-Apr-19 10:50:43

Don't lie about your baby. Just say that you seem to be having a reaction to perfume suddenly, and that it's giving you a headache. So would she mind not wearing it for a while.

JaneJeffer Wed 24-Apr-19 10:53:10

Has she been drinking? I know a recovering alcoholic who used to douse herself in perfume but I didn't realise why at the time.

Chamomileteaplease Wed 24-Apr-19 10:58:39

It's fine to ask her to stop. You have very good reason to. Just ask it very clearly and in a kindly tone smile.

Yekrats Wed 24-Apr-19 11:01:50

As people get older they can suffer from decreased levels of zinc which can impact their ability to smell things (both themselves and others).
She won't know she smells so much to you as to her she smells the same as always (now that she has put it on a lot more). You will have to let her know. Zinc can be bought from loads of places and may help improve your problem!

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Wed 24-Apr-19 11:01:51

I work in a school. Students are not allowed to use body sprays, deodorant sprays or perfume sprays in class because so many of them tract to it. It’s fairly normal to have reactions to things like these

christinarossetti19 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:05:47

Simply say, very nicely, that you're afraid that the perfume that she's been wearing has been giving you a headache and other adverse reactions and would she mind not wearing it when she visits please?

Say it now - the longer you leave it, the more difficult it will be and tbh she's more likely to be hurt that you didn't feel able to mention it to her.

boatyroo Wed 24-Apr-19 11:07:14

I thought you might be my partner writing this about my mum. Our children are even similar ages.
If she comes in my car the seatbelt smells of her perfume for ages. My baby smells of her perfume often and I have to change his clothes after we've seen her.
I actually bought her the perfume for her birthday so I did wonder if she was trying to show me she likes it by wearing loads. It only started a couple of months ago. She's mentioned other people commenting on how nice it is which I suspect might be them trying to hint it's too strong but not sure and I keep chickening out of saying something!

longwayoff Wed 24-Apr-19 11:10:14

Tell her. She won't know about it unless you do. It's perfectly reasonable and not unusual for some people to react as you do. It's not offensive to her to mention it.

Babuchak Wed 24-Apr-19 11:13:51

Just say that you seem to be having a reaction to perfume suddenly, and that it's giving you a headache.

exactly that. If you all get on well, it's ok!

AnnaMagnani Wed 24-Apr-19 11:14:57

Just tell her you like the perfume but it's giving you a headache so would she mind not wearing it.

Perfume causing headache is very common.

prawnsword Wed 24-Apr-19 11:19:43

Totally relate, some perfumes give me a wicked headache (recall a Christina Aguilera one sprayed on my wrist at the airport & had a migraine from Syd-Perth)

Can you identify it as a particular fragrance she is wearing? I’d just be honest that you’re having a reaction to that particular one, which is unusual as you usually love her perfume! Maybe find out what name it is vs the lovely one she usually wears, to soften the blow. I would avoid using the word ‘smells’ entirely.

If you say no perfumes at all, it sounds risky - thinking the truth will come out accidentally at family gatherings when others are wearing perfumes & it’s no problem...

If you explain it in a nice way it shouldn’t cause offence...some perfumes have certain ingredients which can cause reactions & to can’t help that. Once you know your sensitive to it, you notice it clinging onto clothes & anything they’ve come in contact with.

If anyone has any insight as to what chemical(s) cause this or what perfumes set you off would love to know !

fluorescentorange Wed 24-Apr-19 11:23:28

She may not be wearing any more than usual, I have noticed as I get older, i only need a tiny squib to smell like a posy, any more and I give myself a headache. I would appreciate it if you were my DiL and you told me.

TreaclePumpkin Wed 24-Apr-19 13:06:23

Ok, I'll do it. I'll just be honest and tell her as nicely as I can.

@Yekrats @fluorescentorange - I did wonder if it was an age related thing in some way. I feel like my own mum is headed in a similar direction to MIL, but nowhere near as bad (yet). And I would just be able to tell her directly.

@prawnsword you make a good point re family gatherings etc!

I guess it's an honesty is the best policy kinda day! Thanks all x

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