Dear Mouthy Housewives,
We’re pregnant with our first child and just found out it’s a boy. We now have to decide whether to circumcise him or not. My husband wants him circumcised because he is, but I’m not sure. How can we decide?
Possibly Snip Phobic
Dear Possibly Snip Phobic,
It’s perfectly normal to have a bit of hesitation over snipping your son’s penis. I get stressed out over a trip to the beauty shop to get my hair cut and nobody is restraining my arms and legs during the process (Yes, this is really how the quick circumcision procedure is done in hospitals).
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the benefits aren’t strong enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns and the AAP leaves the decision up to parents. Damn. So much for trying to pass the buck.
Most experts agree that it doesn’t improve personal hygiene because it’s pretty easy to wash under an uncircumcised penis. And there’s no need to clean beneath the foreskin until it retracts on its own, often by age 5. Some experts believe that circumcision can decrease the risk of urinary tract infections (although newborn boys have a very low rate of UTIs compared to girls). There are also surgical risks and pain associated with procedure.
In the end, if your husband feels strongly about this, you may want to get your son circumcised. But then you absolutely get to pick your son’s name. And what college he goes to. And who he marries. That seems like a fair trade.
But don’t feel like everybody is doing it. Circumcision rates have fallen dramatically in this country. In the 1980’s, 80 percent of male newborns were circumcised. Now only about 40%. So do your research and then have a serious conversation with your husband.
Good luck with your decision,
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’ve been asked to sit on the PTA board at my daughter’s elementary school. I’m not certifiably insane, so of course I don’t want to, but I don’t want to upset anyone, either. How do I get out of this predicament?
Dear PTA Peggy,
As everyone knows, “PTA” stands for “Parent Teacher Association.” The PTA (or PTO) is a group found at most public schools, and it’s where parents and teachers come together to work for the welfare of the children. More information about it can be found here.
Now, simply joining the PTA is a no-brainer. You pay your dues, you attend a couple of meetings, you hide in a bathroom stall with a cigarette when they start looking for bake sale volunteers—no big whoop. But becoming a member of the PTA board? That’s when we start separating the Type-A wheat from the Slacker Mom chaff. Because serving on the board is when “PTA” can start to stand for “Please, Take Advantage.” (Or maybe I’m just still bitter about losing the Vice President of Carnivals election to that slut Missy Rogers.)
But listen, if you’re not interested in being on the board, just politely decline. You don’t owe them any explanation as to why you don’t want to become an uber volunteer. However, before you say “no,” maybe just listen to what they have to say. Since they’re most likely asking you to be on the board because they think you have something valuable to contribute to the school, it’s at least worth a few minutes of consideration.
And if you still decide not to do it, no harm, no foul. There’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. After all, your time is your time and you can do with it whatever you want.
At least that’s what I tell myself when I’m hiding out in a bathroom stall sending nasty text messages to that slut Missy Rogers.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’ve been dating this guy for about 2 1/2 months now. He is absolutely wonderful, sweet and thoughtful. Every day I have known him I’ve been grateful for having found such a great catch. But….his table etiquette is horrendous. He inhales his food like someone is going to take it away any second, eats with his mouth open, and chomps his teeth the whole time he’s chewing (with mouth open of course). It drives me insane! How do I bring this up and tell him nicely that this bothers me?
Signed, I love you but…
Dear Love You But,
So, here’s the thing. I could suggest that you tell your guy, “Hey, did you see that there’s a new and fun table manners class being offered at the Y? Wouldn’t it be fun if we enrolled?” Or that you should gaze into his eyes and whisper, “I adore you, but please close your mouth while chewing,” but I won’t.
Because unless he’s been looking for Mommy, he’s not going to appreciate it and he’s just going to resent you for criticizing him. And I think that we can all agree that it’s so much better being the resentful party in the relationship. Not only does it give you the higher moral ground and lots to complain about to your friends, but it can also lead to health complications like high blood pressure from holding in the rage.
The question that you need to answer is– can you live with him the way he is? Is his wonderfulness overshadowed by his eating habits? If you can accept that you will never change him and love him anyway, mazel tov. Otherwise, unless he’s the hunger strike type, move on.
Today one of our favorites mommies, Anymommy, is guest Mouthy Housewifing for us. If you don’t know Stacey, you’re in for a real treat! And if you do know Stacey, you’ve long stopped reading this introduction, and are now enjoying her guest post!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I don’t have kids, so I’m turning to you. A close friend recently told me that when I visit her daughter, my goddaughter, and bring her a present, I should bring a small present for her older sister too. (They are 8 and 5). My friend was very uncomfortable telling me this and reassured me that she didn’t think that I should get either girl a gift, but if I decide to give one to my goddaughter, then I should think of her sister, too.
What do you think?
Godmother to the Masses
Dear Godmother to the Masses,
I certainly see your point. It’s not your fault that your friend picked a crappy godmother for her older child. Why should you have to pick up the slack for the stingy godmother? It’s not like you can just wave your wand and turn mice into presents. Besides, that will teach that kid to be born first. We can’t really blame your friend either, she is a victim of these equality for all, socialist times. No one fails! All godmothers are created equal, comrades! She just wants every thing to be fair for her daughters to foster togetherness and discourage sibling rivalry. As a mother of four, I disagree with that philosophy. Things aren’t always fair, sometimes people lose and kids don’t always get equally awesome godmothers. Your friend’s desire to keep things equal for her girls may back fire horribly in ten years when your fifteen-year-old goddaughter is prettier than her sister and her super cute seventeen-year-old boyfriend refuses to take older sister along to the ball. You could tell your friend that you disagree, fundamentally, with her parenting philosophy, because parents LOVE to be told by someone without kids that they are doing it wrong. But, you did call her a “close” friend, I am guessing that you’d like her to continue to speak to you.
In that case, here’s what you should do. Follow your friend’s suggestion and don’t bring a gift at all when you visit. Kids have way too much crap anyway. Trust me on this. There are plenty of occasions for spoiling your goddaughter without ignoring her older sister. Her birthday. Graduation. Marriage. For now, give her the gift of your time.
Stacey, Guest TMH
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’ve been married to my husband for 18 months and we’re both in our 50’s. I could really use your advice concerning his ex-wife. She still thinks his family is her family. She attends every family gathering, seems to be in cahoots with my mother-in-law, and they don’t get why the situation is uncomfortable.
My husband and I refuse to have anything to do with the family until they prune the Ex from the tree, but my mother-in-law won’t accept “our” family unless we accept who she chooses to have in hers. The rest of the family won’t take a stand either way.
Should we stand our ground and stay away until there is a funeral to go to? Or should we kick some butt and tell the ex-wife she’s been paid dearly to move on with her life, so move on?
Dear New Bride,
With the help of tarot cards (which strangely resemble Uno cards from the top of my fridge), I sense you have underlying resentment against the ex-wife, perhaps based on the money she received in the divorce. Could this be the source of your “uncomfortable” feeling?
Now, one thing the tarot cards aren’t clear on is your strong desire to be around your in-laws. Unless they serve expensive French wines at every gathering, I don’t understand this territorial war over familial rights.
Exactly why are you picking this fight? Is it because your in-laws are such lovely people that you want to build a bond with them without the complications of past relationships? Or because you want to prove which female of the three has the power in your husband’s life now?
If it’s the former, the tarot cards suggest spending time with your in-laws outside of family gatherings: invite them over for dinner, visit them on a random Saturday, etc. As they get to know you better, especially in a more relaxed environment, they will probably want to spend more time with you than with the ex-wife. She will most likely pick up this vibe at family functions and begin attending less frequently.
If it’s the latter and you are simply engaging in a three-way power struggle, then the orgy tarot card comes up, which I interpret as meaning you are all screwed. No one can “win” this fight, and when it comes to issuing ultimatums to family members, honey, the only tarot card left is the Fool.