I have never seen inside the ex's apartment and now house. I have however, cleaned the house she once lived in with my husband before we put it up for sale. And OH MAN! It was gross. My stepdaughter would tell us little snippets of information that let us know she might be overwhelmed as a single mom being that housework was obviously not a priority. For example, my stepdaughter got lice and two months later she tells us that she doesn't have sheets on her bed. When asked why she told us she hasn't had them back on since her mom washed them because of the lice outbreak.
And then there was the staph infection. My stepdaughter ended up in the hospital for a few days with a staph infection on her leg. This happened during our court battle to modify custody so I had plenty to say about how I thought she got staph. Super judgemental about the ex's level of parenting and cleanliness. But what it really came down to was getting my stepdaughter to wash her hands more and to actually soap up and wash in the shower not just get wet.
I say all of this because even though I will admit I was totally curious what her house was like I did not ask my daughter when she came back from spending the night. I am turning a new leaf and to be honest it has been a lot less stressful not hating the ex-wife. However, my curiosity was relieved anyway completely without my prompting.
When I was unpacking Anna's bag from the sleepover I asked which clothes were dirty. That was when she told me that she didn't take a shower at the ex's. I said ok and thought nothing more of it. But then Anna told me why she didn't take a shower; she was scared. Scared? I asked her. Yes, she said because her shower was all black and moldy even on the walls and it was too scary. Inwardly, I was all about the smugness but said oh, okay that's alright. later I told my husband that it looks like his ex's cleaning habits have not improved with age.
So, when my husband found out yesterday that his daughter might have another staph infection and has to go on a round of antibiotics he became a little upset. Without even thinking about how tenuous my newly form alliance is with the ex he let her know that Anna said her bathroom was dirty! I immediately cringed and was all no, no, no, do not say that. He was all like, what? what did I say? I died. It was going to go back to stepmom against biomom.
Come to find out all the enamel is gone from her bathtub and shower walls so that no matter how much she cleans she can't get the mold out. I am ashamed and not so smug anymore. Now we just have to concentrate on what taking a shower actually means and singing Happy Birthday while washing hands. That will also include getting the kids to consistently wash their hands without having to be reminded.