How do I approach MIL's odor and cursing?

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Nice forum, thank you. Twins may be the answer! After returning from a visit to my 78 y.o. MIL's home, my five year old twin boys carry a "musk-like" obnoxious smell on them from her for days, so we must bathe them once home. My wife assures me she does not use a musk. She does not stay often, but when she does, she claims she did not shower for most of the week as "I didn't do anything today." Also curses like a drunk sailor and she defends that she's a New Yawker and that's how she's been brought up. FIL is quiet and has more class. She left NY in the mid `60's. Last week started a riot and she's upset with me as the boys approached her the other day concerning the cursing and said "Grandma, Daddy says you use ugly language." Their doing this of course could serve to her reduction in cursing! Anyhow, the overall concern is her old-folks odor that I find overpowering. I have allergies and asthma yet her smell, perfumes and cleansers do not affect me - only cats and dogs. Considering "coaching" my boys to similarly suggest to her to shower, wash her clothes, etc. She has always been very intense, easily upset, speaks openly/freely, loudly and is not all that polite, snaps her gum all day - when the bubbles burst there is a cloud of spittle than rains around a little - almost constantly. She has a paper bag as a "spit-sack" for loogies and gum in her car (beater). When I visit I no longer do the "kiss hello." I have a habit of washing my hands 5-10 times per day as well as making an excuse to get to the bathroom to wash after shaking hands with some others. After raising twin boys for almost six years who are still in night-time pull-ups, this musk-like smell has the poop and urine diapers beat. She has been seeing a shrink for decades just to vent - I know she's venting about me and other insignificant issues weekly to him - and I find that activity absolutely hilarious. She seems to go from catastrophe to catastrophe. I am starting to get a little sick about thinking of having to eat something cooked at her house. Imagine her making a casserole. She passes cut-up cheese with her hands down the line during dinner. I upset her recently by telling her "breakfast is a waste of time" since I rarely eat breakfast. Yes, she cannot stand her other SIL. OTOH I tell her she's "too cool" to be seen eating dessert. HELP! :) Thanks very much! JA

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Me, I'd stay away even if it was my parent. I get nausiated when around BO and other bodily functions. Had a hard time cleaning up Mom.
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I share your pain--mother's place just stinks and it's just the old person smell or "sick" urine left in drying cath bags, wet depends, her 2 stupid birds she cannot care for and never cleans up after---years and years of thick greasy dust and cooking smells. She came from the era when you decorated your house once and left it that way for 40 years. My brother's dog rolls in the yard and then comes and rolls on mom's carpet..finally getting me to see why when I am allowed to clean that area of the carpet, it comes up black and sludgy.

She can't really properly wash her clothes anymore, and so just keeps buying new. She cannot/will not clean nor allow anyone in to do it. Thank heavens she washes her hands, but I cannot eat at her place, not even a packaged cookie. Butter is rancid on her countertop (it's been in the 100's here for quite a while)--she herself, smells and if I take her somewhere, I am opening the windows of my car and retching.

She does bathe, but probably now is down to twice a week. She looks clean, but the smell of her place is gag-worthy. I don't take my g-kids there. Once I did and my granddaughter kept her nose covered the whole time. Mother asked her why she was being shy and she said "Your house stinks so bad, worse than Panda's (her dog) poops." Mother was aghast and would have slapped my gdaughter, but she was being honest as only 5 yo's can be.

It's a no-win. She will not allow anyone to touch her "things" so her place is dirty and messy. It will be this way until she dies. She cannot see well, and obviously cannot smell well either. Won't open a window EVER. Gets mad if I take her huge pile of newspapers out to recycle (I was gonna read something in there!!) and tells everyone that I steal from her. Awesome.

Don't get your twins involved. Don't allow that foul language in their presence. If it means you see mom less, the so be it. The "musk" odor can come from the combination of all the things I have mentioned, plus mother puts "air fresheners" in every room--varying scents. The overwhelming power of those is beyond description.
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FF has hit the nail on the head. The things she mentions all contribute. i would also look into things like mold in the house. May be she only goes to the hairdresser once a month and it is partly unwashed hair that contributes to the smell on the furniture. Does FIL small too but looks as though he keeps himself clean. Are there mice in the house? A dead mouse gives off a terrible oder . i realize it is nauseating when you have to be there but why not spend your time looking for problems in the house rather than getting your little kids to do your dirty work.
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JohnJA, guess Mother-in-law smells like an old musty book. I assume her whole house has that smell, so it is hard to tell if the house is giving her the smell, or if she is giving the house a smell.

My parents had that heavy musty smell and it was do to quite a few things. Like not opening up windows to bring in fresh air.... not changing their Depends often enough.... not cleaning up bathroom messes completely.... plus a lot of dust, and the rugs not vacuumed regularly. You think that Mom-in-law would like a gift certificate for a through "spring cleaning" of the house? I know I would be thrilled, but some folks don't like strangers in the house. Aks first before buying a certificate.

Sometimes we are what we eat. Does Mother-in-law use a lot of onions and garlic? It can come through the skin's pores even if Mom does take a bath. I am trying to think what type of food would give off that certain musk smell. Certain type of mushrooms, maybe.

As for the inappropriate language, if this is something new for Mother-in-law to do, then one needs to have Mom's health checked. Have her checked for a Urinary Tract Infection, and maybe it's a start of dementia as in some older folks, that type of language will come out. Or it could be just a bad habit. I grew up in New York, and my parents never used any curse words, ever. Neither did any of my friends.
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Perhaps end the visits.
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I don't think you should be using your young children to pass on your feelings of disgust with her to your MIL, and you should not discuss their grand mother's shortcomings with or in front of them. They should be told Grandma is a grown up and sometimes grown ups use bad words. Impress upon them that you will not tolerate that language from them. It sounds to me like you have a general and overall dislike of her. Where is your wife in all of this? If this is her mother, it is 100% up to her, and not you, to discuss hygiene and good manners with your MIL. I can't even imagine what I would do if my SIL came up to me and said, "You stink, go take a shower!" if you are using your MIL as a free babysitter, stop taking the twins there and find someone else to babysit. That will stop them from retaining odors. It's also possible your MIL knows you find her behavior irritating and that's why she does it. You may do things that irritate her as well. "Too cool to be seen eating dessert"? Not sure I understand that one.
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