I'm in over My Head... with Father of My Child

Updated on December 07, 2016
B.H. asks from USAF Academy, CO
19 answers

What should I do if the father of my child is not returning my daughters clothing. Clothing that I bought with my hard earned money!! He never returns her clothes and when I ask he'll swear he returned them which Is totally a lie! He obviously has a problem with me so he's making her suffer! I'm over all of it I need help in deciding what would be the best way to go about this...

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks to those of you that responded! She is 2 years old. I pack nice things to encourage him to take her out,, she loves being outdoors. In my opinion he's making her suffer by not returning her clothes! It's just she and I. He simply will not help out! I'm newly self employed with two other separate business ventures I do not have the time. That's why I shop for her wardrobe in seasons. I buy in bulk at one time,, I'm not the type to randomly go shopping. I guess as she gets older I'll adjust. I never bought thrifty or as you say unwanted clothing for her. Saturday she was there while I was working and when I got her home she told me because I asked did she bathe. No, however the bigger panties that I'd sent her in were swapped out for a reasonably smaller pair that I'm guessing was apart of his "stock pile" from when she was smaller. I know their hers because I bought them. This is just an example of his character. I don't wanna come off as being angry or b****y. I just wanna solve this issue the best way possible.

Thank you Diane B. You seem to understand exactly what's been going on and you offered some really great tips, I'll definitely start documentation of everything that she's taking with her

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

Pretty simple solution, don't send extra clothes. She'll either come back in what you sent her, or in something that is already at his place (which is either something you sent previously or something he had to buy). This isn't really the hill worth dying on. Both of you need to stop being petty. And you need to stop being a drama queen.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Why are you sending so many clothes to him? Have one plain "visiting dad" outfit (like a white teeshirt and jeans). She either comes back to you wearing that or she'll be wearing something else and all you've lost is a white teeshirt.

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from St. Louis on

Send her back to his house in the clothes he sent her home in. Problem solved.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Just send her over with the clothes she is wearing.
He's obviously built up a wardrobe of things he's kept - so she can wear those things while she's there.
Unless he sends her back naked - you'll get back what she was wearing.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It would help to know how old she is. If she's young and doesn't really know what she's wearing, then you send her in clothes you don't care about. She either comes home in the same ones, or she comes home in something else he put her in. Next visit, she wears those same clothes back to his house, and you're only out two outfits (one she leaves there, one she's wearing).

If she's older, she can take responsibility for packing some of her things, but if they don't come back, you don't keep providing new things. I would email or text him a list of what's packed and what hasn't come back and which therefore is in his apartment/house somewhere (shirts, pants, socks, underpants, sweaters). Make it business-like and matter-of-fact, no judgments or accusations. Say that, since so many outfits are at his place, you are making it easier by not sending any more clothes. Then you will have documentation if anything comes up later on with a lawyer or judge. Keep a running list, and if he says he doesn't have anything, then you can email him a list of 30-40 things that haven't come back. I wouldn't make a big deal of things like single socks or mittens - we all lose those in our own homes. But lots of outfits? That's another thing entirely.

Do not send her with anything important! If he has some special event going on with her, then he can manage that. I gather he is not paying a lot of child support (which you imply he is not because you say you spend your own "hard earned money" on clothes) but be careful that you don't take child support and then say you aren't spending it on her. But you can certainly limit what a child takes on a weekend.

It's up to him to buy more or run a load of wash, period. Stop enabling him. Just don't get sucked in by any manipulation by him - you have to stay calm and not get sucked into his motivation and saying he's got a problem with you. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't, but getting all riled up doesn't help your case at all and it does get him all puffed up with himself if he is trying to get under your skin. The trick is to not let it get under your skin! Your attitude has to be, "Dad's house, Dad's rules, Dad's in charge" - and that means, if he chooses to dress her in ripped sweatpants, then so be it. No child ever died from wearing the same clothes 2 days in a row. She has to work it out with him without you being involved. If you don't get sucked into the drama, he will have to deal with her or she will have to keep track of her stuff (if she's old enough). Your comment should be, "How unfortunate for you" (that he can't find things, that she doesn't have her favorite pink shirt, whatever). No emotion, just facts. Don't explain, don't nag, don't beg, don't get resentful and go buy new clothes, just let it go. He'll either be responsible (if he's irresponsible) or he'll calm down (if he's doing this to get a rise out of you).

This is not your problem to solve - so don't try to.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

How old is your daughter? That has everything to do with this.

If she's a teen, she's on her own. She can pack her own things and make sure she returns with those things.

If your daughter is 10 or older, I can see sending her with an overnight bag - clothes, hair brush, tooth brush, etc - things that she would want to have. Maybe a book or a tablet if she has one. But that's about it. Her dad should be able to keep her entertained.

If she's younger, she really doesn't need anything except maybe her favorite stuffed animal or blanket. Clothes, tooth brush (diapers and bottles if she's a baby) are things her father should already have.

As her mom, you've bought clothes, bottles, diapers, pacifiers, blankets, toys, etc. You learned as you went and you figured out what she needed and what your role, as a mom, was in her life. Let her dad figure it out for himself. He needs to figure out what it means to be a dad - this includes what clothes she needs.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on


Why do you send your daughter with clothes? My friends who share custody already have clothing at each others homes.

Stop sending her with clothes. It's really that simple.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I am not sure how old your child is nor how long she stays at his house.

You can pack little and worn out clothes to make him buy things. If she is older (5+) you can talk to her about remembering her items before she leaves.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

How does your child feel about this? If she doesn't notice or doesn't care, just stop dressing and packing her nicer or your favorite clothes when you send her going forward. Dress simple and cheap, or older clothes, pack just a minimum of the same. If even those don't come back, just send her in what she is wearing and let him find or buy any other items as needed.

If your child is upset about this, then you should talk to her about being responsible and keeping track of her own things when she is with her dad and packing to come home. She can also talk to her dad about how important it is to her to have back her favorite sweatshirt or whatever, and can he please help look for it? She can also decide for herself if her favorites are always "lost" at her dad's place, to not bring them for a visit.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

sounds like a battle of wills between the two of you, and your poor daughter caught in the middle.
how old is she?
what do you mean by 'suffer'?
how long does she go stay with him?
why do you keep sending extra clothes if it's clear he's got a nice stockpile?
and most important, what are you saying to your 'suffering' daughter about this?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Ask him for specific items that you sent and didn't get back. If he swears he doesn't have them then your next step is to tell him that you can't afford to keep buying clothes that go missing so from this point forward he'll need to buy clothes that she can wear at his house and you'll just send her wearing an outfit. Then dress her in cheap sweats and call it a day.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

How old is your child?
Is he not allowing her to wear them there? Or do you mean they've just disappeared?

A friend of mine would send the children in nice outfits her family had given them. They didn't come back - they came back in older clothes that she'd sent as extras to have there (she bought the clothing).

I think in the end she felt it wasn't worth the fight, so long as the kids wore them somewhere.

If it's a problem between you and your ex, and this is going to happen again you think - just keep them at your house and let her wear them with you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Sadly we went through this with our kids. We ended up sending them to the other parents house in clothes that was not their "favorites" or we didn't mind not getting back. It eventually got to the point that they wore whatever clothes home that they got from the other parents house and then we would send them back in those same clothes. So the clothes from "our house" never were worn to the other parents house. Hope that makes sense. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Don't take the bait.
Send her only in the clothes she is wearing. Take a pic before she leaves. Take a pic when she comes home so you all have documentation of her clothes.

Keep a lie of sweats/cheap clothes if she needs them that are only to be worn to dads house.
How old is your daughter?
Stop reacting to him. Document the missing outfits to show you cloth her, and spend child support on her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Pack her a bag of everything she'd need for a weekend, clothes you don't mind seeing any longer & tell your daughter to just leave them there at dads and stop packing her a bag to send over with her.

We only really got clothes from the mom when they were really little, like under 3 & then we just bought our own & she bought hers.

Once the kid gets older they can be more responsible for transferring their favorites or what have you, until then just don't risk it. We had to replace quite a few pair of cool shoes or a great new winter coat b/c they went 'missing' before we eventually stopped letting it bother us, we just replaced, let her/him be petty, soon enough the kids will be big and it won't be an issue.

*We always did buy the coats & kicks tho (I think I had more fun shopping & we didn't resent paying the $ for the trendy cool stuff they really wanted, like she did, win win!) & those go with the kid everywhere, like easy once they hit a certain age!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Obviously you send her in play clothes and he supplies her clothes when she's at his house. Just don't send anything anymore. Tell him you don't have any extra. Problem solved.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Does he return her wearing clothes he bought? If so, I don't understand the problem. Perhaps this is a fight never to fight.

If there are reasons not stated in your post that makes changing this pattern worthwhile, try talking with him, using I statements. Enlist his help in solving this. Be respectful. Perhaps instead of the vague statement, "you don't return her clothes," ask about specific pieces of clothing. Say, "would you look for such and such an outfit." Perhaps, ask that he return her in the clothes she was wearing when you picked her up.

Respect, compassion for his difficulty in sorting this out will help more than anger and accusations.

How old is your daughter? Could she bring those clothes home?

How does your daughter suffer? Does she care what clothes she wears?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I would send her with some garage sale or salvation army clothes or free hand me downs that you expect to not come back. Don't send her to his house with anything nice or with anything you spent money on. How annoying. When I stop at garage sales I see kids clothes for 50 cents. Pick up a couple tshirts and leggings and one jacket. You can find something super cheap that is also cute so your daughter will still be happy. Or just send her in the one pair of clothes she is wearing. My dad was a crappy ex also and liked to make my mom suffer...paying zero child support and never buying us clothes or necessities. I would also encourage your daughter to be in charge of packing her own stuff and if she forgets something there she may never see it again...she is in charge of packing her bag at dad's house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Buy a few complete outfits (undies, socks, sneakers, tops, pants, pj's) for him to keep at his house.
Then you will not need to send clothes with her.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions