Clothing: The Last Citadel of Control

2 Jun

Why is the shuttling of clothing between homes such an issue with divorced families/stepfamilies? I’ve seen so many ridiculous situations and I just want to scream, “Can everyone please just grow up and play nice???”

In the interest of peace among households, here are a few simple rules (and thoughts)  we might all want to consider:

For the custodial parent: Is it so hard to send your children to the other parent’s house in clean clothes? Is it even harder to pack a bag of clean, weather-appropriate clothes that match and fit? Do you have to pack the kids’ things in the dirtiest overnight bag you can find with broken zippers or better yet, a garbage bag?  Don’t you think your child would feel better going to the other house with a clean, possibly even colorful or cute overnight bag? Sending your children over looking their best shows your ex that you care about your children’s appearance. 
For the non-custodial parent: Could you possibly purchase a few inexpensive items to keep at your house like extra underwear and socks?  Is it so difficult to repack the clothes that were sent over? Sending your kids back with what they came with shows your ex that you pay attention to detail.
For both parents: Remember that it’s not the kids’ responsibility to keep track of the clothes (if they are under 12), it’s yours. If they come to your house with an overnight bag of clothes from the other house, take a quick inventory and make sure that everything gets sent back. If they accidentally leave something from the other house, send it back at the next exchange. Sending it back clean is even nicer.
Additionally, is it really fair for the non-custodial (EOW) parent  to have to buy a set of clothing to keep at their house? If the non-custodial parent has the kids 6 days out of the month and is paying child support, doesn’t it seem silly to expect that they would have an entirely separate wardrobe for kids that they will probably grow out of before they even have a chance to wear it? The money spent on a new wardrobe could be used for something better like swim lessons or summer camp.
If everyone would agree to the above, problem solved, right? Just remember that power struggles, even over something seemingly insignificant like clothes, are never good for the kids.  Be an adult and play nice.

One Response to “Clothing: The Last Citadel of Control”

  1. KC September 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I know this is an old post but…I don’t send my kids to their dad’s with clothes, and the biomom of my stepdaughter doesn’t send clothes when SD comes to us.

    I tried sending clothes for a few months, but then I had to figure out each week what the weather would be like (and possibly send two or three outfits per day if the forecast was iffy), factor in extra clothes for accidents (toddlers), and figure out what activities they were going to do…and try to determine whether xH would be apalled that I sent *those* socks for *that* outfit. It wasn’t worth the hassle for both of us.

    Now each household has clothes for the kids, and none of us restricts them from leaving clothes that “I” bought at “that” house. It is not uncommon to see any of the kids wear a shirt purchased by me/DH with bottoms purchased by the other parent.

    Every once in a while we do a big trade, usually when the distribution is uneven (xH ended up with all of our daughter’s nice dresses; I had all the shorts).

    I do still send coats when asked, and I try to make sure they go to their other hosue in tennis shoes.

    This is much less stressful for all of us, kids included.

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