I’m on vacation and I’ve asked the fabulous Aunt Becky to take over for me. Because if there’s anything that makes a vacation more delicious and fantastic, it’s knowing that someone else is doing the work for you while you’re lounging and relaxing! Enjoy. I know I will. xo Marinka
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I have a friend, “Bonnie”, that I’ve known for two years. We’re fairly close and try to get our kids together weekly for play dates. A couple of months ago Bonnie’s husband was rear-ended by someone at a minimal speed. The insurance company paid for his subsequent chiropractic care (which seemed excessive for such a minor accident), but they decided to hire an attorney and sue for additional pain and suffering.
I didn’t think much of this, until last week when Bonnie’s daughter fell in a Kohl’s department store and hit her head on the bottom of a clothing rack. The cut required a couple of stitches, but Kohl’s offered to pay for 100% of the medical expenses, which were significant since they don’t have health insurance.
When I mentioned to Bonnie how generous that was, she just looked confused, saying that it was a big company and it was the least they could do. She also said that her daughter is okay for now, but might have to have plastic surgery somewhere down the road to “fix” the microscopic scar on her forehead.
I love Bonnie dearly, but I’m starting to become concerned that she and her husband are sue-happy. He’s been out of work frequently over the past couple of years and I know they’re tight on money, but what if they’re subsidizing their income by sniffing for lawsuits in every corner?
I’m almost afraid to have her over to my house at this point. What if one of her kids got hurt? I don’t think she would do something like that to me, but how well do I truly know her? Am I being completely ridiculous about this? And if not, how can I maintain my friendship without putting my family at risk? PLEASE HELP!
Deathly Afraid of Lawyers
Dear Afraid Of Lawyers,
There are very few things on the planet that make Your Aunt Becky more nervous than people who actually like polka music, those who claim to love jello mold salads and people who voluntarily put up wallpaper. On actual walls! But opportunists bother me more than all of those combined.
Because you never know when you’re next.
*cue ominous music now*
Your Aunt Becky doesn’t have a lot of mommy-friends, although I strongly suspect that it has more to do with my lack of personal hygiene than anything else, so I’m kind of going out on a limb here when I say “run like hell.”
And by “run like hell” I mean that it’s probably wise to do one of a few things if you want to maintain your friendship with this person.
1) Make her sign a waiver every time you have them over to play. You never know when little Billy will take a tumble off the jungle gym that your husband badly installed. And if poor little Billy suffers a boo-boo, you don’t want to have to hire a lawyer and explain that, no, your husband was NOT drunk when he installed said play set and it was just an accident, honest.
You’ll probably need a lawyer and one of those notary people around each and every time you have them over, because you don’t want to get lambasted by one of those wily loopholes.
And if that’s too much work for you, I’d go with option #B.
B) Play at her house. Sure, it might be annoying to have to schlep your ass back and forth to her house every time Johnny and Jimmy want to play cars, but then at least you’re not liable. Just make sure your kids are up to date on their rabies and diphtheria shots. Because sweet baby Jesus knows that if Jane were to sink her pearly teeth into Cindy Lou-Who, you’ll be paying for that nice new in-ground pool they’ll install with your life savings.
But if I were you, I’d probably go ahead and write it all off. Anyone who makes you honestly question whether or not you should maintain a friendship is probably not worth your time.
And hey, you can always come over to my house.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
How do I get my almost 3-year-old son to talk in an inside voice? He narrates everything he does AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS and it’s making me crazy.
Going Deaf in Austin
Dear Going Deaf in Austin,
Ah, the joys of having a 3-year-old. There you are, simply trying to pee in a public restroom with your child in the stall, when suddenly the kid booms out louder than LAX’s PA system, “WOW, MOMMY! YOU SURE HAVE A LOT OF HAIR IN YOUR PRIVATE PARTS! YOU LOOK LIKE A STUFFED BUNNY! DO YOU WANT SOME CAWWOTS DOWN THERE?” Or at least that’s what I heard happened to a friend of mine one time at the Target she no longer frequents.
Now assuming there isn’t a hearing issue and that all of his well-child visits have been fine, I’d say that this is perfectly normal. As the mother of two boys, I spent many years living with loud and proud toddlers who never, ever stopped talking. Eventually, I learned to tune it out. Much like my dad could completely ignore a nuclear disaster if he happened to be watching Monday Night Football when the missiles hit. I don’t know, maybe it’s genetic.
If you find it hard to do this, however, keep reminding him that he’s being too noisy, as he certainly doesn’t realize it himself. Boys get very excited about everything and sometimes they have a hard time controlling their enthusiasm. Loud talking is also part of his growing independence and a way for him to assert himself and be heard. While it’s for sure annoying, like all things toddler, it’ll soon pass.
Finally, one thing I used to do before we went to a quiet place like the library was to tell the boys to “get their noises out.” While I stood outside the car at a safe distance, they’d yell and scream inside the car and have a grand old time being crazy. It always worked like a charm and they were then happy to use their inside voices for upwards of 30 glorious minutes.
I hope this helps. If not, just wait for the day when he’s a teenager and doesn’t want to talk to you at all.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My husband lost his job five months ago. I am all about supporting him, but when does his “work” day end, as in: when can I start calling him asshole for not helping? Alternately, does my cocktail hour stay firm even now that he’s home?
I’m About To Fire My Husband
Dear I’m About To Fire My Husband,
First the soft and fuzzy part… It can be very difficult when a man loses his job because it’s a major blow to his ego. Often men pride themselves on being the financial provider of their families and it can be quite devastating when they can’t fulfill that role. So your husband may be going through an emotionally difficult time right now.
But unfortunately for your husband, that is no excuse to be a lazy bastard.
When I’m job searching, I’d rather repaint the living room and re-grout the bathroom than actually send out a resume but perhaps your husband is more focused than I am.
Talk with your spouse about how many hours he needs each day for job searching. It may be a full day from 9 to 5. That’s his uninterrupted time to send out resumes, make calls and go on interviews (not his time to see how many new friends he can acquire on Facebook). Anything before and after is wonderful quality with the family. That’s when he’s expected to pitch in with the laundry, dishes, dinner and the kids.
If you can muster up the self-restraint, I would avoid calling him an asshole because I highly doubt that will motivate him to unload the dishwasher but you know your husband better than me.
Finally, because a job loss can be so unsettling for a family, you should keep everything else as consistent as possible. So stay committed to that cocktail hour. In fact, invite your husband to join you for a drink at 5 pm. It will feel like you are on holiday, if you can just overlook all the unopened mail, dirty clothes and dust balls throughout your house.
Sending employment vibes your way,
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My child has a best friend and frequently asks for said friend to come over and play, or to go to their house. The friend is a sweet kid, but the problem is I can’t stand the parents. At all. I don’t want my child to go to their home, and it would be awkward to ask for their child to come to mine. Is it ever okay to discourage a child’s friendship because the parents are big jerks?
Best Friend Buster
I, too, face a similar situation, only the feeling between myself and the other parents is mutual. However, and I never in a million years thought I would say this, I’m “lucky” to be divorced because I just have my ex husband set up the play dates between my daughter and the ickey people’s spawn, and this way everyone is happy.
I know it’s hard as these darn kids, they grow older, they understand more, they have thoughts and opinions and unfortunately, we are left to deal with all that. Shame, I know, since it was so much better when I could decide who she socialized with, and say whatever I needed to whenever the time felt right. Now I have to resort to either speaking a foreign language or using extreme facial expressions and well, I don’t want to brag, but I believe I have now also mastered the art of lip reading.
But, I digress. I’m not sure how old your child is, but perhaps you could drop him/her off at the friend’s home and just arrange a time for pick-up or vice-versa. However if the other mom is like ME one of those types of mothers who loves to come over and chat your ear off because she has no social life is super friendly and a real people person, then you might want to consider divorcing your husband. Besides letting him take your entire Lethal Weapon DVD collection, give him the task of setting up times for the kids to play, too.
If the idea of your kid spending an afternoon in the other kid’s home is part of what bothers you, then arrange to have a play date in a park or something of that sort and be sure to invite other people. At the very least, they can provide a human barrier between you and “those” parents. If they try to talk to you, just be pleasant and about five seconds into their yakking, answer your cell phone and excuse yourself. Naturally, the chances are they won’t hear a ring because chances are nobody will be calling you but do it anyway; this way you get out of speaking to them and also leave them thinking they are losing their minds. Win-win as far as I can see. Good luck.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I have a 4-year-old boy who doesn’t listen to me or to his dad. He acts out in church, in the store, and then in church again. He is really cocky and you can’t spank a child anymore, so what should I do? Please help me.
“Terrible twos” is one of the most misunderstood terms in parenting. We think, okay, this means the age of two is terrible. No problem, we’ll deal with it because it’s two and it’s terrible, but it ends when they turn 3.
You might want to sit down, Ashley, possibly with a glass of bourbon (make mine neat) to help recover from the shock of what I’m about to tell you:
What none of us realize going into this parenting gig is that “terrible two” means two years of parenting hell, minimum, possibly forever if you don’t learn to adapt your parenting.
I’ve been where you are now. I expected the terrible twos and all the authority testing that comes with it as our sweet, innocent baby gained an identity outside of mom and began to spread his wings. But by the age of four, I expected the stage to be over, only it wasn’t and that sweet baby who spread his wings suddenly resembled a cherub strung out on crack. Will. It. Ever. End? (No.)
The key to disciplining a 4-year-old seems to be strict consistency, which is what all the books and experts will tell you. Unfortunately, it’s easier said by experts than done by parents, believe me. However, I did find a rundown of discipline tips that might set you in the right direction, and also some discipline traps to avoid.
My boys are almost nine and six now, and not only have they not stopped testing limits but they are getting more sophisticated at it. What I’m trying to say is you’re allowed up to 2 years of a sweetness in a child and after that, you’ll find yourself frequently reminding that child exactly who is in charge, so you need to get used to it. Parenting is a constant challenge and we have to grow along with our children. Like right now I’m growing gray hair from the stress of raising two boys, one of whom is what is politely called “spirited,” but is impolitely called…well, not even a Mouthy Housewife can say it publicly.
It’s also possible your son simply hates church and shopping. It’s a common genetic trait carried on the Y chromosome, you know.