Ask Toi: How do I handle my ex-husband when I’ve asked him to clean his home before the kids come for their visits?

Back story for my readers is they have a custody order to split time. It’s been working. The problem is the kids are old enough to verbally state that not only is the home unclean but its more or less on the hoarding side. There are bugs running around and the kids no longer want to visit until he cleans. She the wife has asked him to clean it up and he the father has suggested that its his house and the kids must still come over.

My answer is simple:

If simple communication between you and your ex-husband isn’t working, you must get the courts involved. Here are my rules when it comes to houses.

One if you are a dirty person it should only affect you. When there are children involved every house may have some clutter. It’s not okay to have so much clutter and dirt and bugs running around. That is a health issue. Now I am not going to act all holier than thou and act like I have never in my life seen a roach or two, but the way the house is being described its unfit. If its unfit the kids shouldn’t have to come and visit in that mess. He needs to clean up his act. His kids well being is and should be the most important thing to both of them. It is his space to do as he pleases. He can’t have children in an unclean home. She should go and file an emergency junction to have a court appointed person go and do a welfare check of the home and if it deemed nasty and unfit he needs to clean it and have it checked before the kids can come over. Simple and plain. As a parent you shouldn’t have to have the courts in-between this. His kids have expressed their concerns to their father and his response to his children are, you are going to be in here however I have it. Wrong answer. I couldn’t imagine my children telling me they were in an unfit home and not speak up and try to work it out only to hear my ex husband say this is his space. I am going to side eye him quick! This is simply unacceptable behavior and response. 

Now before everyone get in their feelings. I see a few things to look at. Was he always this unclean?  Could it be that as wife was able to manage that home they once shared?  If he is going through some depressive state and is unable to see this as an issue, this needs to be evaluated. If not having your children come and visit you doesn’t prompt this man to clean, the children are the only concern.  It needs to be cleaned sooner or later. I don’t get how people think any human can operate with that much clutter and uncleanliness around them. Momma go and get this fixed asap! One of the worst things about co-parenting is learning boundaries and coming together for the sake of the children. It’s important to remember that if you have a child with someone you are bonded for life. Even if your marriage doesn’t last, you will forever be in some form of commitment to the children and the other parent. Keeping communication and a warm heart to speak when things aren’t okay is necessary to make sure that the child gets as much as they can from both parents!

Self Love

Self love will look different, sound different, taste different, etc to different people. Self love means by the very definition is about loving yourself.  The broadest definition of self-love is learning how to care for you, what you need, how much you need, and being okay to not limit how often you love on yourself. How you achieve the goal will be the unique marker for each individual person.

If you are in a relationship and you are finding that the person that YOU selected isn’t loving on you the way that you want, do some things about it.  For instance, if self-love looks like you taking some me time, that’s what you need to do. In relationships we all need our own time but when you don’t have enough self love and aren’t being active in your self love, the second your mate isn’t doing what he or she needs you get upset.  What you haven’t recognized is that you may not have loved on yourself and therefore what you lack isn’t love from an outside source but from yourself.  Your personal love cup is empty.

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This is a new journey that I am taking.  When you start to love yourself even the mundane everyday interactions that you tolerated before will cause your eyes to open.  You start setting limits on how much time you are in one place because you see that the person or location no longer serves you.  This is the by-product of loving you.  Our society always seems to put more on an emphasis on what others do, how they do, and when but not enough on what you require, how often, and when.  Change the way you look at yourself.

When you self-love you can see your flaws, work towards making them better, but still embrace them. Self love isn’t always a come to Jesus moment either.  Self love also involves making some drastic changes and changes that sting and hurt in the beginning. For instance, how can you love on you but don’t care what you consume?  These type of bad habits have to stop when you love on you more. Tap into what YOU need and not what people have set limitations for what THEY think you need.  If a part of you needs to finish school so that can be a goal that you cross off for you, than do that.

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I was walking in the store this morning.  I heard a woman tell the cashier how her husband doesn’t like it when she reads.  First thing that came to mind was what in the unholy hell is that?  How can a man tell his wife that he doesn’t like her reading. Then I stopped because I have no idea what is going on in their home, if it’s a cultural thing, or if she really is in an unsafe environment.  What I did hear is that she said that what he wanted didn’t stop her. She gets up early almost an hour before he does and reads anyway in another room.  She takes books to her job and uses her lunch time.  She uses her E-reader to read and he thinks she is web surfing.  I could go in on her oppressed like home, but she did something about it that made her happy in spite of the environment she was in. What about you who aren’t living in an oppressed environment.  Are you willing to get up early, stay up late, change your schedule, make yourself temporarily uncomfortable to give YOU what you need?  I mean apart of the process of self-love is learning how to tune out the negative thoughts that come from you and those who you seem to want approval from.

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Self love should be the first love you master and re-master over and over again.  This will take loveless relationships and end them fast.  You can’t dip yourself in love and allow someone to give you less than what you give yourself.  Maybe you need to re-check your self-love meter.  If you compromise on you than don’t go off on someone else who does what you allow them and you to do to yourself.  Have you ever been asked what makes you happy but don’t have an answer to give?  I am not talking about winning the lottery.  I am talking about the type of things that make you happy that money can’t buy yet when asked you go blank.  Your self love bank is empty and you need a refill.  What makes you happy? What are your passions?  What makes you at peace when the world is going to hell in a handbag?  I am going to clue you in even as a wife and mom although I love my titles, it’s going to have to be more than changing some diapers and loving on my husband to make me happy.  Relationships change and kids grow.  Simply and only being caught up in either title will leave my self love meter empty.  Why do you think the divorce rate is high when couples get into the empty nest phase.  One they may have not put in enough energy in their relationships or themselves.  However it rolls out to be, self love is the MOST important love you will ever encounter.

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Cleaning Up

Now I know some people are either on team resolutions or they feel like it’s the dumbest thing ever to do.  With that being said, we still need to take the time to finish some loose ends.  If you are against resolutions that’s fine but to be truly successful you must have the mindset of making goals even if its daily and making it happen.  Nothing happens by accident.  Things that you want and need out of life do not simply just fall out of the sky. You have to work hard.  It has to be in your mind and heart and often times will need a little elbow grease to take off.

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We just celebrated and are still celebrating the holidays.  It’s also time to change focus. Yes the new year is coming, it comes the same time every year.  What I have been doing is tying up loose ends of 2016.  Making sure the things on my vision board that I actively been working towards achieving are all lined up.  Checking over the family goals and seeing what I can put in place NOW not waiting until January 1st.  Yes I know the new year is coming in a matter of days, but honestly the mindset for change has to be renewed daily.  There is at least one thing that can be done daily to reach your attended goal. No one is perfect so that means with goals there is going to be good and bad days.  The bad days aren’t the end all be all, failure is only when you don’t make any moves.

So what are you needing to clean up besides some holiday decorations?  I am focusing on paperwork.  I am a stickler for organization and to be honest its honestly just a down send when you have papers all over the place.  It’s not necessarily a trait that my husband and I share.  So often times it takes me going in and making sure things are very organized to get things done.  I plan on making sure I know where I stand in the most important areas of life.  Paper in the way is usually in the form of bills, or things for the kids.  So my plan is to reorganize it all so a plan can be in force.  You don’t know where to begin if you don’t know what is on the table to get done.

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Another area that I am always tweaking is relationships.  It  is so much harder to navigate holding onto dead relationships.  Regardless if its romantic or not, some things and people need to be let go.  If the relationship is making you negative, hurt, or angry re-evaluate the level by which you have placed the importance.  Sometimes we do things out of habit or comfort.  Sometimes it may take you being uncomfortable to make change.  When I was dating my husband in college he was my first.  You couldn’t tell me there wasn’t another man greater than him.  I wouldn’t have believed you.  It had nothing to do with sex.  I was totally infatuated with him.  I wasn’t willing to see what was out there.  The men that I dated after him became a comparison game.  It wasn’t until I decided to knock this behavior off.  How could I know for real if my ex-boyfriend was my dream guy if I wasn’t willing to take the breaks off and try.  So I did.  I can say that when my husband and I came back together this last time that it was because he was the ONE.  I had to venture out and do some self-love, travel, enjoy my days of being single.  I had to stop looking at being single as a death sentence.  I met some great men that have and will make great husbands but they weren’t the one for me.  Also dating even when you are wanting to settle down doesn’t have to be looking at everyone and evaluating when you will get proposed.  I was never that extreme but there are some that first dates turn into interviews for rings.  Stop. You put too much pressure and not able to find out all you need to know about a person. Do you know how many men are great for giving rings but it doesn’t mean they are the ones that make great husbands.

What about some of the bad habits.  If you picked one bad habit to stop, that in itself can cause great change.  We all know about the outward ones like bad eating habits, etc.  They are great ones to change but the ones like lying, talking about folks in the name of prayer for my church babies, or keep up drama.  These are the things that a lot harder to break especially if you have “always” indulged.  However these bad habits evoke the most change.  These changes help to place you in the right place in your life.  These are the ones that make the difference in your life.  Once you make several of these changes, it will bleed into other areas too.  It changes how you respond to others, it causes you to definitely be more calm, and it in general will be the stopping place for why some people can’t excel. Take more inventory to your inward person when you keep trying your hand at positivity and it seems to not work.

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As we embark soon on 2017, began now to put an action plan in place for your goals.  Don’t just let this year come and go with the same excuses and lack of plan like in years past. Make the difference between a normal resolution and jump into life changes,

Ask Toi: How Do I Tell my Wife About Her hygiene?

Okay to my male readers let me just say I am so glad that you stop by and visit with ToiTime.  I know a lot of my topics seem to be more generated towards women however I do try to mix up a few male perspectives but not acting like I know what’s it like being a male but getting men to speak for themselves.  This answer will be very detailed with things you may not want or need to know.  However when a man reaches out to me about things he needs to understand and in this case on such a sensitive topic I have to dive in.

Now for one I was always taught that you can smell yourself before someone else.  A few weeks ago I had a wife write in about a husband.  Ladies and gentleman how you smell affects intimacy.  How you smell affects how close someone wants to be around you. Please stop using the excuse if you loved me.  No the real is if you loved yourself you would clean yourself better plain and simple.  This is not a cookie cutting blog so to pretend that an adult is funky and to make an excuse for it won’t happen here.

Although there are medical reasons as to why a woman may not be as clean as she needs to be the end result is often time in the delayed response.  I have heard things like someone can’t help the way they smell.  Nope that isn’t always the case.  It usually has to do with the lack of handling business that is the culprit. It can come in the form of not washing or even just not going to the doctors to seek help and it went unchecked but still is noticeable.  Even homeless people know that they smell and some don’t want to be that way that is why we who are able-bodied and can do for themselves have to do it.

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For you kind husband to seek help in discussing a hard topic has to be hard.  No one wants to go to a spouse and tell them that they smell.  I would definitely talk to your wife when things are calm. Try to do it as soon as possible.  The more upset that you get will make it harder for you to speak to her.  Also be honest use words like I noticed, is there anything going on that I can help…

Know that no matter what you say she may come off defensive.  She may need to see a doctor.  She may need to change how often she is taking care of her hygiene.  We can go back and forth on product choices but at the end of the day she needs to find the products that work for her body and use them.  Let her know that you love her and that you want to be closer to her but the body odor is making that hard to do.  If she doesn’t correct it I know some other blogs will tell you that you are supposed to give a person time but in reality on body odor the amount of time it takes to enter the shower is not that much time. Some people can make things bigger than they need to be.  If my husband told me I smelled I would be mad at myself but I would be hitting that shower fast.  This husband isn’t dealing with someone who occassionaly smells sweaty we are talking about someone who just isn’t handling their business on the regualar.

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There are a few things that as ladies we need to be aware of:

  1. During that time of the month be vigilant in showering if you need to more.  Invest in adult wipes that can aid during the day. Change your pad or tampons regularly.  Also if you choose to keep your vaginal hair long then understand that hair holds odors and during that time of the month blood too.  Powders don’t mask odors.  Do not use powders in the place where simple washing needs to be done.  Also dry your vagina so that you aren’t having water, in areas that can hold smells as well.
  2. Make sure that if you are a heavy sweater that if you need to make changes in your underwear to combat that then do so.  On the same lines please do not wear the same bra daily.  Bras are to cover our breasts and if you sweat under your breasts and keep wearing it often all you are doing is wearing a sweaty bra that is holding odors as well. Nothing good can come from this.
  3. Throw out old underwear.  This should be a given but if you are grown holes in your drawers is not the business.  That hole is making it easy for more sweat and then the cycle of sweat and smells start over again.

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These are just a few things that women need to be reminded.  Some women scare me. I know for a fact that women aren’t as on top of their game as they should. How do I know go into a public bathroom. Women leaving pads without wrapping them first or disposing them properly, women using the bathrooms but leaving their “presence” behind,etc. We are not perfect however if you are constantly having hygiene issues please get help before a husband has to write in.  Once a husband has to write in this means that things have gone left.  No man wants to sleep with a funky woman unless they are desperate and if so that speaks more of them than the funky woman.  You can’t expect initmacy in a funky situation.  Every reader reading this knows this.

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Lastly while we are on topic I mentioned it briefly above but we can’s use the committment to make excuses for where we aren’t.  You can’t tell someone if they love you they have to put up with your flaws.  They do but you have to be accountable for your actions as well.  Love covers a multitude of sins but let’s be vigilant in checking ourselves too.