Separate wardrobe of clothes for stepchild?(50 Posts)
DSD (nearly 7) comes to us nearly every weekend, and for periods of school holidays. She is lovely, my DS adores her, and all is generally amicable with her DM.
DSD comes with a bag of clothes which are returned (washed) with her. We have PJs, dressing gown, spare underwear and a spare change of clothes here.
However DSD's DM has now suggested we buy DSD's clothes (including coat etc) for when she's at our house. Apparently they get a lot of wear here.
DH is unhappy as he pays exP more than statutory maintenance plus school fees, school uniform, trips, swimming, ballet etc. It leaves him very little to contribute to our home and DS and he is very conscious of this.
He therefore thinks she's BU and has said he'll deduct the cost of buying new clothes from the monthly payments he makes.
I think this will only lead to bad feeling and we should just get some changes of clothes for DSD, but he thinks otherwise. Is DH BU or should I just but out?
My DSS and DSD are here e.o.w and more than half the holidays. We have coats, wellies, pj's and a full wardrobe of clothes for them here. My two DC have a full wardrobe at their dads - they go in what they stand up in and return the same way, only carrying special teddies and favourite stuff (books they are mid way through reading etc). I don't know if our set up is standard or not, but I do know that all the DC feel like they are at 'home' wherever they are. As much as I can tell, anyway.
We are very low income households so it's not that we have lavish salaries to spend on this, but we shop at charity shops and get hand-me-downs and just hang onto things for the little ones to grow into. There are ways around it, and you could start adding to stuff bit by bit if it's too much of an expense to lay out in one go?
If your DSD would like it I think it's a good idea. But if it makes her feel bad not being able to bring her own clothes then talk to her about it, and see if there's a middle ground with her mum. Maybe offering to replace things as and when you can afford to and sending new stuff back to mum occasionally?
It's really hard to get the balance right. I know it doesn't always feel good for the kids whatever the arrangement is - you have my sympathy. It's one of those things that seems to get emotional however you cut it. But more stuff is generally easier in my experience. Good luck
It is a bit much to get a second set of everything as she'll be growing fast anyway. She'll need only one coat surely. Having said that, we have bucket loads if clothes and a wardrobe for each DSC. But they lose stuff everywhere and also have favourite clothes that they want to wear all the time.
Maybe a comprise is to take DSD to a cheaper shop and have fun buying some nice outfits that won't totally break the bank. She'll be coming in an outfit anyway.
I'd spend £100ish on a small, simple wardrobe of H&M or supermarket brand clothes, TBH, and from now on pick up the odd sale bargain. It's not worth the bad feeling to argue about.
(And it is quite nice for DSD in the sense that it reinforces 'two homes' rather than 'home plus dads's place' )
My ex absolutely decided after the split that my DC would only have new clothes at his. So he duplicated everything. Personally I found it quite sad that 1 child would have 2 complete wardrobes of clothes - the waste quite upset me. At the time I was the main home where DC stayed so full duplication in both homes was not necessary. I was paid maintenance and spent it on sufficient clothes for the DC. So clearly it was an issue for that parent. In a strange way if it helps them deal with whatever issues they have and protects the child against any harm then go with it. But as other pp have said there are lots of ways to be economical. I get some great bargains through my local facebook selling page (eg unworn branded shirts for £2), then DC gets new clothes as well.
I think the issue here is that the clothes do not belong to the parent but the child. If they have a particular item of clothing that they like to wear, why should they not be allowed to take it between houses. They grow so fast it seems like both parents would be buying clothes that wouldn't get the right amount of use because of silly clothes to particular house rules.
Plus for a child the logistics of moving between houses can be difficult and things are often forgotten or left behind.
A solution would be to talk to the Mum and see if there is a particular reason she feels this way, ie are they going through clothes a bit, or is stuff getting lost in transit for example.
I think a reasonable compromise would be pyjamas, toiletries, spare footwear and 2-3 outfits at yours so there is less to be moved between houses. Like what you are doing. DH needs to talk to DM and if he cant afford to duplicate clothes because he is overpaying on maintenance then end of issue, he cant afford to, so if she insists, then a reasonable deduction will have to be made.
My DB had to do this as he would buy expensive clothes for DS and they would go back to his DM and she would wash them really badly (mixing colours etc) so they would be ruined. Either that or DB would never see them again and his DS would turn up in clothes which are too small.
As his DS has got older it stopped as he decided what he wanted to wear!
I watched BIL hump clothes, bedding, toys, car seats and DC's backwards & forwards for years. What a PITA, especially as his DC's got older and started with sport etc and didn't get picked up from home.. When I left XDH, roughly half their stuff stayed for them to have at Dads. He then replaced as required. So did I. Uniforms were with me, and occasionally I would have to remind XDH to return them as he picked the DC's up from school on a Friday and I collected them on a Sunday, but generally it worked well. DC's are grown now, and have said many times how good it was for them to not have to cart all their possessions around with them.
We had this a couple of years back.
DSS's mother was constantly demanding extra money for clothes despite DH overpaying maintenance (four figures a month for one child) and paying half for all sorts of other things.
It was a mystery as we assumed that maintenance included money towards clothes.
DSS had PJs, underwear, socks and a couple of changes of clothes at ours.
In the end, DH just said he would buy clothes for when DSS is with us. He took him to H&M and Primark and kitted him out. Also bought him a second coat, although I cannot remember the rationale for this but his mother insisted he needed one.
She still gets in touch now and then to say 'I bought new trainers for DS at the weekend, can you send me £32.45 please?' and I have asked DH to ignore these requests.
Sounds a nightmare to me - what if she decides to wear "your" clothes on the day she's going back to her mum's? You'd have to strip them off her and put her back in "mum's" clothes to send her back wouldn't you? Which isn't very nice for a child to be told that their clothes aren't really theirs but belong separately to each of their parents. But if you didn't do that, the clothes are just going to get muddled up.
Could you suggest instead that you or DP take DSD on a cheap shopping trip to charity shops or Primark or similar and stock up a bit to cover at least one spare outfit to add to her wardrobe, so you keep at least one change of clothes at yours, and maybe a cheap coat to keep at yours too n case she turns up without one?
But I agree with you that I see maintenance as being supposed to cover that sort of thing, or make what is a fair contribution towards it already. My ex pays me maintenance and I wouldn't ever ask him to pay for clothes, unless there was something very specific they needed only for a holiday or something he was doing with them. Otherwise, I'm RP so it's my job.
As a child I would have loved to have a wardrobe of clothes at my dad's. It would have then felt like home rather than hotel. I hated packing to go to his every weekend and then unpacking when I got home. There was always a sadness about it (I know that sounds very DM sadface, but that's how it felt)
I would buy a simple, cheap (Asda?) couple of outfits, pyjamas, underwear etc to keep at yours. As another posted said it is not worth arguing over for the sake of £1-200.
I am pretty sure I have read that like dolkapots' experience, a set of clothes at each house helps the child to feel more settled.
Of course there would have to be some flexibility if they want to take "favourite" items to and fro, but if communication is open, then surely it can only be a good thing?
My DC have clothes they keep at each house, but they're free to take them to and fro as they please.
The OP says they already have PJs, underware, etc at theirs.
Thanks for the responses - particularly the idea that it helps a SC feel more settled. DH and I discussed it again and agreed that we'd take DSD somewhere inexpensive to get some more clothes at the weekend. I am going to go half on the cost with him.
DH texted this to his ex who responded:
"Great. She likes Boden/Joules. I can get the extra if u pay me back?"
DH doesn't realise that Boden and Joules are both really expensive, and to keep the peace I haven't told him. (Although it did really irritate me).
So he's responded that he's looking forward to taking DSD shopping and letting her choose. Hopefully that's it all sorted.
"Great. She likes Boden/Joules. I can get the extra if u pay me back?"
So she wants you to give her a pile of cash so she can take her daughter shopping on/at Boden/Joules? Wow.
She's six. Does she even know what labels are?
What a cheek! Good for you for staying calm and sorting it out.
Ha ha ha. Nice try. Ebay, then!
Enjoy your shopping trip, OP. I'm sure DSD will be happy to choose some (inexpensive) clothes to have at her dad's house.
I have a friend whose taste in clothes is very, very different to that of her exDH. Their children have two completely different wardrobes.
I would have a wardrobe at yours tbh. But no need for labels and brands . Buy in your budget.
You have already said she has pjs/ a spare pair clothes etc there, so it's not a huge amount to add to have enough for weekends and some holidays. 4/5 changes will be plenty to allow for daytime getting muddy and new evening clothes out etc.
Somewhere like h and m is a good start. Get 3 tshirts, 1 trousers, 1 skirt, 1 dress, tights and socks. Extra underwear. Another jumper/ cardigan. That should be adaquate for now including what you already have.
I can see the costs. But you do have her 2/7 days ever week so that is about 1/3 of the time, and much be annoying both sides constantly packing luggage to and fro. Get a coat in bigger size, in will only be winter winter a few more weeks so she can wear next year also then
Also if your son is younger, buy her coat/ wellingtons/ some other basics in unisex colours so they an be past down later to him also
he's responded that he's looking forward to taking DSD shopping and letting her choose
- that's a very good response. Avoids it simply being a demand for cash, allows your DH to decide what he can afford, and gives DSD some input into what clothes she likes to wear.
You and DH have the right attitude: it's about what's best for the child. So no battles between parents over what clothes live where or go between (kids get attached to a random jumper and want to where it constantly type thing). The clothes belong to the child so while she has mum things and dad things and it helps that you've set a pattern of sending things back to mums washed, but she shouldn't worry about it. I've seen awful stories on here about step kids being made to change the second they arrive at the other parents, or like someone already mentioned, kids being bought new clothes by NRP but RP keeps sending them in old badly fitting clothes and keeping new clothes at their house.
ClaudoftheRings Same situation here.
We reluctantly bought DSS full set of clothes, shoes, coat etc even though we pay more than enough maintenances to cover. Unfortunately just caused more problems as when DSS net home in such items they never returned, also gave his mother an excuse to moan that she didn't like what we had bought him!
We are back in the same position again now where when DSS visits he comes with clothes on his back nothing else even if it's a school night.
Thankfully now our DS is very big for his age so when DSS visits he can use DS clothes, we've just learnt to make sure he's returned home in what he came in!
I wish it could be different but it just depends on the relationship with DSS mother.
My DC have clothes at their dads house. Not a full wardrobe but a couple of outfits so I dont pack for them staying as they go wearing a set of clothes and come home in a different set of clothes- kind of rotating them if that makes sense.
My BF has a couple of drawers at hishouse for them too so he keeps a couple of sets of clothes/pjs/undies also. It means that my kids dont have to pack bags when they eithet stay with their dad or come with me to stay at BFs.
She likes Boden/joules haha!
I'm sure she'd prefer a tshirt from a supermarket with her favourite cartoon character on!
We have seperate wardrobe at ours for DSC. Partly because we get to pick the outfits, secondly because DM doesn't seperate whites so DSC clothes are always abut grey and thirdly we pick her up from home & drop her back at nursery a few days later so saves leaving bags at nursery/making a trip to drop them off.
We also pay £150 a week maintenance (this is double CMS recommendations) but otherwise DM can't afford rent in a nice area of town which is important to us all.
We're all perfectly happy. DSC is 4 xx
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.