Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’m in a moms group and one of the other mothers kindly invites me to their annual summer party. The problem? These people are cheap. Last year they asked everyone to bring their own meat to grill and this year they are asking every adult to pay $5. I mean, I’m cool with bringing a side dish to share, but I think they are being ridiculous. Am I wrong? Should I say something?
Potlucks are for Pussies
Dear Potlucks are for Pussies,
Not a fan of BYOM parties? Neither am I! Of course, that’s mostly because I’m fearful I’ll get into a car crash on the way to the event, thereby causing the five pounds of raw steak I’m holding on my lap to somehow infect my private parts with Mad Cow disease and then I’ll wind up quarantined in Kansas City until the USDA discovers a cure for human udders and debilitating cud addiction.
I know. It’s a wonder I ever leave the house.
Now I assume that everyone reading this knows the three words I’m going to say in response to your question. Ready? Here we go: In this economy…blah, blah, blah…not everyone who wants to host a party can afford to pay for food and drinks for their guests. (Well, not unless they have amazing sponsors like JVC who helped us throw a party so swanky, we didn’t even have to use lame-o drink tickets. All you can swill, baby! That’s how we Housewives roll!)
Anyway, if the ickiness of forking over $10 to cover costs outweighs the joy of socializing with these people, don’t go. You’re certainly under no obligation to attend what you consider to be a tacky affair. (Although I’d strongly advise against saying something to the hostess about her perceived cheapness unless you want some discount potato salad shoved down your skort.)
Next time, offer to host—and pay for—the BBQ all by yourself. This will either show the other moms a better way to throw parties, or make them seethe with resentment because they think you’re showing off by serving cocktail weenies and pickles for 50. Personally, as long as I like those involved, I’m happy to go to any party anyone’s nice enough to ask me to attend.
I mean, as long as I don’t have to carry meat on my lap.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Is there anywhere I can go to learn about Blogging Etiquette and the do’s and don’ts? I’m new to blogging, but I’m rapidly falling in love with it.
Congratulations on getting bit by the blogging bug! And please say goodbye to whatever free time you had.
The good news is that you are off to a good start by being named Jenn. Because although you don’t have to be a Jennifer to have a blog, it certainly doesn’t hurt.
As for etiquette, there are tons of rules, but unfortunately, they have not yet been codified. Apparently, our government has been too busy with a few wars and the sucky economy. I know. I’m upset, too.
But here are a few good places to start: Scary Mommy and Playgroupie. Both have excellent guides for new bloggers (with some tips that even us seniors can learn from). Other than that, everyone has their own etiquette rules.
Here are my top 5:
1. Don’t blog anything you don’t want the entire world to know.
2. If you write a post inspired by another blogger, link to her. If you’re talking about another blog, link to it. (Unless you’re writing about someone you can’t stand behind their back, like I’ve done, in which case it’s totally fair to say “I’m not linking to her because I don’t want to send traffic her way.”)
3. If you’re compensated for writing a post, disclose it. More about that here.
4. Proofread your posts.
5. Write really interesting/funny/important stuff.
That’s it! Happy blogging!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My husband’s birthday is coming up. It’s not a significant birthday and my book club is the same night. I really want to go to the book club because I actually finished the book and loved it. My husband says it’s fine and we’ll celebrate the night before. Is it okay if I go or am I a bad wife?
Dear Bookish Betty,
I guess it depends. Is your husband the passive-aggressive type that will tell you, “oh sure, go ahead and do that honey,” and then get angry if you do, because even though he said it was okay to go, if you really loved him, you wouldn’t go?
If he’s that type, don’t go, unless you enjoy passive-aggressive marital merry-go-rounds. It’s not my idea of fun in a marriage. I prefer fun marital games such as, I cook and you do the dishes!
If he’s not the passive-aggressive type, then it’s up to you whether to skip out and go to the book club, or celebrate his birthday on his actual birthday. I think the Golden Rule would apply well in this situation. Would you be hurt? We’re all getting up in there in age and there comes a point when a big celebration for your average odd-numbered birthday just doesn’t matter. It’s one of those things that sort of sucks about being a grown-up: We get death, taxes, and unexciting birthdays in exchange for cursing and alcoholic beverages. Maybe it really doesn’t matter to him.
But before making your decision, I think we should interpret the man-speak that is screaming at me from between the lines. When your husband says, “we’ll celebrate the night before,” you know what that means, right? It means in exchange for skipping out on his actual birthday, you are expected to perform odd and kinky sex tricks the night before. If these tricks involve excessive amounts of lubricant and a morning-after treatment of hemorrhoid cream, I’m of the opinion that no book club is worth it. I don’t care if I made it through the Iliad and could interpret the hexameters so well that it left the book club members not only speechless, but scrambling for a plaque to inscribe my name and greatness in their own poetic hexameters. NO. However something like that may be right up your (ahem) alley, and if so, please seek immediate professional help – none of the Mouthy Housewives have any experience with proctology and would be unable to help you further.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My daughter is six and does absolutely nothing around the house. What is a reasonable chore for her? And at what age should chores start?
I’ve Given Birth to a Freeloader
Dear I’ve Given Birth to a Freeloader,
I know you submitted this question a few weeks ago and I’m sorry that I’m just answering it now. I was busy supervising my 3 month-old twins as they paint the trim on the deck. I believe in starting chores as early as possible. All the better when they are too young to complain about it.
I think some us have a tendency to become personal assistants to our young children. We scurry around preparing snacks, picking laundry up off the floor and wiping their faces. They sit there on their royal behinds practically shouting out demands with a weak “please” sometimes thrown in.
Well ladies, it’s time to take back our self-respect. In my opinion, 6 year-olds should certainly be bringing their plates to the sink after each meal, putting their laundry in the hamper and cleaning up their toys. When my kids (ages 3 and almost 6) show a serious lack of interest in cleaning up their playroom (even with my help), I tell them that anything left out will be tossed in the trash. Kind of puts a fire under those royal tushes. And honestly, I’d be thrilled to throw away some of the crap, so it certainly is not an empty threat.
There’s also no reason why you can’t have your 6 year-old start some regular chores in exchange for a small allowance. Putting out the napkins and silverware for dinner each night? Maybe cleaning fingerprints off some of the windows? Making his or her bed? That sort of thing.
Just make sure you consistently require them to do it. It’s important to get started when kids are young (age 3 is not too early) because at that age, they actually like to help. You want to establish good habits for when they no longer think “helping mommy” is super cool.
Of course, you’ll always be cool to me.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
A woman in our office who is pretty high on the food chain has recently begun taking the antidepressant Lexapro. She’s always been a little moody, and I’m happy to report that the bad moods are now gone, ONLY TO BE REPLACED BY EXTRA SPECIAL HAPPY MOODS. All the damn time. She’s a manager and should know better, but she now squeals like a girl at the slightest provocation and acts like a six year old after a day of slurpees, ding dongs, and ring pops.
I care about this woman and can see clearly that she’s damaging her credibility by acting like a manic grade-schooler. Is there a way to tactfully remind her to act her age? If not, can I switch her Lexapro to something less offensive, like maybe Xanax??
Liked Her Better When She Cried
Dear Liked Her Better When She Cried,
Before I begin to answer your question, I must first disclose that I personally don’t have any experience with the use of antidepressants. This is simply because I’m high on LIFE, baby! LIFE! (Well, life and the open printer cartridge I sniff like an unstable Doberman whenever I get upset. Lexmark Black Ink #1, I can’t quit you!)
Anyway, I point that out because while there are certainly psychological changes going on that I can’t begin to understand, I also believe the problem with Missus Happy Pants may not be due to her medication; rather, it’s due to other people’s reaction to her new personality.
For whatever reason, most workers seem to deal better with bosses who are assholes than ones who are fun and happy and wear pink cat sweatshirts. Maybe this is because it’s easier to respect someone who acts all serious and stern than someone who tells fart jokes and giggles. Don Draper vs. Don Knotts, if you will.
I say as long as she’s still performing her duties and has a handle on managing everyone, don’t bring up the medication issue with her at all. It’s just going to do is get her upset (if that’s even possible), plus she may think you don’t care about her new found happiness. Chances are that if there really is a problem, her family and close friends will advise her to go see her doctor for a medication adjustment. (Or sign her up to be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.)
Therefore, my advice is to just lay low and try to enjoy Little Mary Sunshine. Because given the choice, it’s always better to work with someone who acts likes a Slurpee than someone who acts like a jackass.