I know for some of you this is going to sound petty, but for a bunch of you single parents it may come as a bit of comedic relief to read this and realize you are not alone. Divorced parents fight about clothes a lot– it just never gets to the point that anyone raises this issue to a judge, mainly because let’s face it the price of going to court could buy your child’s clothes for about a decade.
So, what are you supposed to do when you buy your child nice things and never see them again because they have disappeared into the black hole that apparently exists at your ex’s house? Well, for one you should call that person out on it. When I see that a week’s worth of jeans that fit have been replaced at my house with a week’s worth of jeans that are too small, I call my ex out on that bullshit. Same goes for socks, underwear and t-shirts that are two sizes too small. Does it sound trivial? Not when you calculate that a week’s worth of clothes may be about $425.
When you share custody, it generally means that you should share the responsibility for buying clothes for your kids at your respective places. Shifting that burden onto your ex is not cool. And if the grandparents are buying your kids nice things, you have an extra responsibility for making sure they get to see their grandchildren wearing those gifts. I know it sounds weird, but you may want to mark the clothes on the inside tag, and ask for special items to be returned.
Now, asking kids to track their clothes sucks. They are not the ones who chose to live in two homes, so as best you can, keep them out of this type of squabble. Just nicely send an email/text reminding your ex to pack a bag for the next exchange, and if that person refuses, offer to start doing all the clothes shopping as long as s/he reimburses you for half, and if that doesn’t work well maybe you implement self-help measures to reimburse yourself (as long as you aren’t violating a court order or agreement.) That should quickly put an end to this ridiculous game of shifting responsibility.
If you feel like you are ready to blow your stack, reach out and talk to some other divorced parents. You will quickly learn that this is a very common problem– and here is the real point they should all make to you: if your only gripe is about the kids’ clothes, then overall things are not that bad.
Remember, keep it all in perspective. You got divorced for a reason, and be thankful you are not the one living in a house with a black hole. 🙂
By Regina A. DeMeo