29 Mar
Ewww! It Smells Like Mother-In-Law In Here!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m allergic to my mother-in-law. No, for reals. She wears a very strong perfume and it gives me headaches. I hate hugging her because then my shirt is left smelling like a Grandma instead of the young, hot housewife that I am. (OK, that part is not for reals.)

When she stays at our house, the perfume invades every possible room, and the kids’ clothes and beds smell like Grandma, too. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but she can be hypersensitive and difficult to talk to. Suggestions?


Zyrtec Doesn’t Cover Mothers-In-Law


Dear Zyrtec Doesn’t Cover Mothers-In-Law,

Oh, the poor mother-in-laws of the world. Can’t they ever catch a break? They meddle, they nitpick, they harangue, they have inconvenient hot flashes. What a bunch of Chico’s wearing jackasses. In fact, I’m seriously considering telling my boys to never get married just so I don’t have to ever worry about some woman begging the Internet for advice on dealing with her crazy mother-in-law’s Barry Manilow obsession.

Sigh. It’s hard out there for a MIL.

But all kidding aside, I completely empathize with your problem because I loathe heavy perfume and cologne, too. And don’t even get me started on that Axe Body Spray crap that smells like white, hot douchebag death. Seriously, anyone who wears it should be immediately set aflame, then sprayed down with a fire hose until their top layer of skin is completely removed. DIS-GUS-TING.

Now where was I?

Ah, yes. Stinky-In-Law!

I’m not going to advise you to give her a new perfume that you like better, because she’s going to wear what she wants to wear. I’m also not going to advise you to ask your husband to talk to her for you, because that’s probably not good for anyone. What I am going to advise you to do is tell her that you and the kids have just been diagnosed with a sensitivity to perfume and your house now needs to be fragrance-free. (Yes, that’s a little white lie, but with the headaches, you probably are somewhat allergic to it.)

If she’s a smart MIL, she’ll realize that’s most likely not true, but that you’re saying it that way to spare her feelings. And then hopefully she’ll stop wearing the scent, everything will be all better and the two of you will be entered into the record books as one of the world’s first MIL/DIL success stories. Hooray!

Good luck,

Wendi, TMH




12 Responses to “Ewww! It Smells Like Mother-In-Law In Here!”


Comment by Smelly Melly.

Good advice! I almost wish my MIL smelled like old lady perfume. Instead my in-laws smell like old potatoes. Whenever we go out for a visit, we return home smelling like we’ve slept in potato sacks. Bizarre.


Comment by keliah.

My husband is allergic to perfumes. He can’t even walk by the places in the mall with the candles and lotions. Forget perfume counters. Our mothers knew of this, but we didn’t enforce a no perfume rule until recently. That’s because we noticed our children seemed to react a bit and we thought they may have gotten his sensitivity as well. So we had to do what Wendi suggested, only it was true for us.

What we’ve found is that the perfume smell is still on them, usually their coats, but it’s less since they aren’t putting any on themselves directly. It helps. No one took it personally because it applies to everyone. We don’t use perfume or anything in our house either.

Good luck!


Comment by Plano Mom.

My husband gets nasty headaches when exposed to perfume of any kind. And he is a total bastard when gets headaches. So… a perfume free house is a happy house.

Zyrtec is going about it all wrong, by trying to be nice about it. Be a bitch, and tell MIL it’s because of her perfume.


Comment by Erin@MommyontheSpot.

It once was suggested to me that I burn sage after my in-laws left. To get rid of the scent . . . and the bad vibes.


Comment by Ygirl.

I crack open the windows before my IL’s come to get a fresh air flow thru the house….then I plan on all my kids getting a bath right after they leave. What is it with old people and their love of heavy doses of perfume!?! My MIL KNOWS that I have asthma and am sensitive to smells but can’t put two and two together. We never go to their house anymore because of the scented candles she insists on burning all day long.


Comment by annie.

or you could do like I do, stop inviting her over.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

I got kittens and my least favorite inlaws don’t come because they are allergic to animals with fur. BEST INVESTMENT EVER!


Comment by Rojopaul.

P.S. Dear Mother-in-Law,

Please don’t try to tell me how to raise my kids – I’m married to one of yours and believe me there’s much room for improvement!

ha ha


Comment by amy.

VERY good advice. Nice way to get the message across. I too am severely allergic to some perfumes but mostly just the cheap stuff and most aftershaves.

They make me severely nauseated and give me a killer headache. And it happens like WHAM!

Cue to boyfriend (now hubby) who knew he was going to get some that night and doused himself in aftershave. I had to leave within moments, poor guy. Needless to say he is now thankfully scent free.


Comment by radtec.

Honesty is the best policy. Tell your husband to ‘man up’ and tell mom that the par-fume gives headaches and please go ‘bare’ next visit. If she shows up wearing it, throw up on her shoes and offer her a towel and washcloth to promptly go shower. Keep bright colored plastic clothes pins handy and have everyone put one on their nose…there are lots of options! Have fun with it. šŸ™‚

Oh, and the sensitivity to smells aren’t ‘allergic’ reactions. You have a response alright, but not one of the immuse system kind! (your science lesson of the day)


Comment by When Grandma Is Full Of It | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] I never said Grandma is crazy or stupid or a liar. Maybe she is cool. Iā€™m just saying her idea is wrong and it is okay not to believe it. You […]


Comment by Keyla.

In our family, my grandma lathers on the perfume to go to a function (or even a simple family dinner) instead of showering or bathing… it’s terrible. When she hugs us and her stink lingers on us – we call that “being grandma’d” as in “Eww! i just got grandma’d!” It doesn’t seem to matter what we tell her, she just keeps lathering it on!

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