May I Vent?

May I Vent?

Rachel Allison

My daughter and I had a conversation recently that made me crazy.  One of her friends has three teenage daughters.  A few months ago, the fourteen-year old, Mary, spent the night at my daughter’s home.  She slept on the floor with sheets and blankets provided by my daughter.  After the young girl left, my daughter realized that during the night Mary had wet the bedding and the carpet beneath.  Recently Mary spent the night with another friend and the same thing happened. Because of a church assignment, my daughter has had regular opportunity to associate with Mary, and she has become very aware of the smell that accompanies her. Other friends complain of the smell, but apparently they aren’t associating the smell with their friend…at least not yet.

It has become more and more apparent that there is a major problem with cleanliness.  Out of concern for the future taunts and ostracism by friends, my daughter talked to Mary’s mother.  At first the mother denied knowledge of the situation, but as the conversation continued, she admitted knowing about the problem.  Apparently both her fourteen and twelve-year old daughters wet the bed nightly.  The mother said she has tried to get her girl’s to quit stuffing their soiled clothes in drawers or closet corners, but it still happens.  Her concern with the soiled mattresses is having to spend the money to replace them. Her excuse for not protecting the mattress was that the plastic gets torn, the girl’s don’t tell her about the tear, and the mattress gets soiled again.

The wetting of the bed is not the issue I want to vent about.  Some of my children have been older bedwetters, but during those weeks and months, I was SO aware of cleanliness.  Sheets and night clothing were washed every morning. The mattresses and mattress protectors were checked every time the bed was remade for any tears or foul smell.

The issue I have is with Mary’s mother.  If she is not even aware of the repulsive urine smell that surrounds her daughters or apparently their bedroom, then something is terribly wrong.  I can’t even fathom such a disconnect. Would this woman be just as oblivious to her teenage daughters’ problems if she stayed at home full time?  But she has admitted to my daughter that she loves her employment, and would much rather be at work than at home.  As a result, long hours are spent away from family and the frustrations that they cause.

So my question is, did problems at home cause her love of the workplace?  Or did her love of the workplace cause the problems at home?   This bedwetting issue could stem from a physical problem…if so these young girls will out grow it.  But if it stems from an emotional problem…a problem that is being ignored…then my heart goes out to these girls and the hurt and humiliation they are experiencing.

  • Anastasia
    Posted at 17:33h, 17 July

    At this age, most children have outgrown bedwetting. I’ve heard of people having these issues with diabetes, or if there is a genetic history of having very poor pelvic muscles. If it is the diabetes, her daughters should be looked at immediately for health/longevity reasons. If it is atrophied muscles, doing Kegel exercises can work miracles. These excersises are not only easy to do, but there is no equipment required and it will also be a boon during sex/childbirth later in life.
    I am a bit confused about your automatic linkage between the mother being employed and her daughters bedwetting habits…are you implying that the mother only goes to work to avoid helping her children? If so, I’d point out that poor parenting is poor parenting, regardless of *where* it takes place. If she truly is a bad parent, she would find an excuse to leave the house anyway. Both she and her husband/partner (who wasn’t mentioned) should certainly take much more interest in their childrens health…and this should happen even if *both* work full time.

  • MomOfFiveIn5
    Posted at 15:06h, 18 July

    Not to be an alarmist… but bedwetting can be a sign of abuse. Something to keep in mind. These poor girls need someone to help them, especially if their mother is aware & doesn’t care enough to do anything to help thme.

  • Krystyna
    Posted at 17:02h, 18 July

    If Mother lives with that smell everyday, she might not even realized it…She might be already lost due to severity of it.

  • Meagan
    Posted at 15:39h, 27 July

    Temporary Solution (I know you said that bedwetting isn’t the biggest issue, but it still sounds annoying): Put a tarp on the bed and then tuck it in like a fitted sheet, those are sturdy and that should solve the ripping problem. A plastic inflatable bed works too, and then if she spends the night again, encourage her to take a shower in the morning.

    Long-term solution…
    I think that problems at home must have come before the career, or else most of the latchkey kids out there would smell this way. Why do the daughters feel that they need to hide their sheets in corners, does their mother deal out severe punishments for wetting the bed? I had a dog that had a bladder problem growing up because she was scared to death of what my parents would do to her if she did wet. And why do they constantly rip their sheets, shouldn’t the fabric sheets be on top of the plastic? If so, must be some serious tossing and turning going on. Staying at home would be wonderful, but it doesn’t sound like it would magically turn her into a devoted mother who works hard to help her children because she has already decided she doesn’t want to be there. It takes two parts to be a successful homemaker, opportunity, and a strong attitude that what you do matters. Most career moms if they were too busy and had this problem, would have gotten professional help by now, so Mary’s family is definitely different. It will take a lot of listening and getting to know this woman if you really want to know the truth. Just keep doing the best you can to reach out to this family and continue to be an example to her and her daughters is my advice.

  • Susan
    Posted at 21:01h, 24 November

    There’s neglect and/or abuse going there, mentally, emotionally, and/or physically. Though there are physiological reasons for some people from birth to never have proper bladder control, that can be addressed and solutions implemented; the problem is the psychological problems in this family, mother included.

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