Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My son is in the 8th grade and is generally a good kid, however he has become mouthy. Nothing too bad (no cussing or nasty things), but he is condescending to both his father and me. Already this school year we have been fighting about homework and that’s when he gets mouthy.
He could care less about homework or doing well in school. I am pulling my hair out because I can’t make him care. I have hired a tutor and tried taking away privileges. His homework is posted online so I check to see what needs to be done. I remind and encourage him to do his work, which I know is the reason he won’t take responsibility for his own work.
I worry that he will end up failing this year because I am not “supporting” him. I never do his homework for him, I only check to see what needs to be done and remind him on a daily basis. I feel like he is barely staying afloat and I am his life preserver. If I take the preserver off, he will surely drown. Please help!
Harried by Homework
From what I hear teenagers suck, so the sooner we accept that the faster serenity will come, especially if serenity comes in a martini glass, which for me it does. But even if they suck, we still love them and want the best for them.
I know the media likes to blame the advent of helicopter parenting on our insecure egos, but between you and me, I like to blame school technology. Do I really need an email every time my 4th grader takes an Accelerated Reader test? I have to wonder whether all of the internet checks and balances promotes too much mommy involvement and hampers life’s lessons in personal responsibility.
Your son is in 8th grade now. Sure, ask if he’s finished his homework, but perhaps it’s time to stop tracking his assignments so closely. If you don’t believe your son is capable of learning responsibility, how will he believe in himself?
Assuming you’ve ruled out any learning disabilities, your son has probably reached an age where it’s time to let go a little more. Now, I’m not too sure about a “sink or swim” approach. I think I’d lean more towards a “do well in school or face castration!” approach. That usually scares teenage boys into submission, especially if you whisper words such as “eunuch” to him while he sleeps.
If that approach seems a bit extreme to you, I guess you could do something very sensible, like a mature conversation about the importance of education, defining your expectations (Are Cs acceptable, nothing below a B?), how you’re willing to help him and how you’re not, and consequences for irresponsible, dunce-y behavior. And let’s not forget an enticing reward for success, such as keeping his testicles!
This whole parenting thing is tough, which is why I’m convinced God gave us alcohol. I hope I’ve given you some ideas of what to do, or at the very least prevented any further bald patches on your gorgeous head.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
The route for our nightly dog walk takes us down a street that has four houses of dogs that bark. They aren’t in a row, but scattered down the street. About a month ago, the woman in the last dog barking house (she has yap-yap dogs) came outside when we walked by and gave us a dirty look. Then a couple of weeks ago, she was outside when we walked by, so I smiled and said hi. In return, she gave me a dirty look and said, “Oh, she’s walking her dog again.”
She has now rudely complained to me that her dogs bark every time I walk by. I find it really hard to believe that my dog is the only dog that her yap-yap dogs bark at. By the way, my dog is very well trained and doesn’t participate in any of the barking.
Am I wrong here? Should I do the mature thing and change our route?
Who Let the Rude Dog Owner Out
My most recent experience with dog ownership was our frantic, high energy lab mix that once chased after a one-armed jogger at the beach and nipped at his heels for the entire length of the shoreline, so I may not be the best judge of dog etiquette.
However, my mother knows all when it comes to man’s best friend. This is the woman who once gazed at my newborn daughter and said, “She’s so beautiful. She looks just like Lilly.” Lilly happens to be her dog and yes, she meant it as the greatest compliment one could bestow on a newborn baby.
So after reading your question, I immediately gave my mom a ring. She claims that some canines can dislike certain dogs, so it’s possible that these neighborhood dogs do have a problem with your pooch. Of course, I don’t know if my mom can be trusted because she also insists that her beautiful dog Lilly never barks except when my family comes to visit her, which just can’t be true.
Now that we have established that my mother is probably a liar, let’s review your options. Change your nightly walk, which sounds like the best idea since there are four houses with barking dogs and you can find a quieter street. Or torment this rude dog owner by walking your dog multiple times by her house every day and giving her gift wrapped dog muzzles for the holidays. Your choice. I hate dealing with mean people, so I would take the high road, or rather the quieter road.
Good luck to you.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Back in August, my recently divorced/everything is about me best friend since 3rd grade (we are in our 30’s now) forgot about my birthday. No call, no text, no nothing. We always do something on each others birthday. I’ve been upset about this and holding a grudge ever since even though I’m usually the one to forgive and forget.
Well, today is her birthday and guess what? I didn’t say a damn thing to her. I’m curious to see if she will say anything in the next few days about how I forgot her birthday, so I can tell her that she has a lot of nerve. Do you think I’m wrong or is she really being the selfish bitch that I think she is?
Dear Birthday Betrayal,
Man, does this conjure up painful memories for me. I was 16-years-old and my parents completely forgot about my birthday. No cake, no presents, no nothing. The entire day was awful, especially when I was chased around by a weird Chinese guy who kept yelling, “No more yanky my wanky, the Donger need food!” Then, to make matters even worse, I gave my panties to a geek. A geek! Thank God for Jake and his Porsche or I’d still be in therapy.
Anyway, what your friend did was completely thoughtless. No argument there. However, as someone who is horrible at remembering dates and even knowing what day of the week it is, I do implore you to give her some slack. Maybe she’s just too busy playing marathon games of Spider Solitaire to remember her parents’ anniversary again, Mom. But more likely, with her recent divorce, she’s just a bit overwhelmed.
Therefore, I say the nice, mature thing to do is just let it slide this once and take the high road. As Gandhi or Dora the Explorer famously said, “A true friend loves you even if you’re a jackass once in a while.” Give her a call or send an email wishing her a happy birthday, and I bet she’ll immediately remember she forgot yours, sincerely apologize and all will be better.
That said, I’d really like to end this answer here because I have some hot, sexy Swiffering to do, but I feel it is my Mouthy Housewife duty to say one more thing: I suspect that you might not want to continue this friendship anyway. You say she’s “everything is about me,” that you’re “usually the one to forgive and forget” and then call her a “selfish bitch.” I understand that you’re upset, but still—think about whether or not this is a friend you want to keep or if you’ve maybe just outgrown each other, which is completely understandable.
At least that’s what I told Long Duck Dong when I missed his 50th birthday last week.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I just found out from my seventh grader daughter (who has shown no interest in boys) that my fourth grade son has a crush on a girl in his class! I don’t know whether to be relieved that he has no weird Oedipal tendencies (I have a few ‘different drummers’ on my side of the family tree) or ticked off that some 9-year-old tartlet has stolen my son’s heart. He actually asked me the other day “When did Dad first tell you he loved you?” I was speechless, which is a rare occurrence indeed.
How should I respond to this budding romance? Nip it or humor it?
Whatever Happened to Mama’s Boy?
Nine years old, huh? That’s what we in the Big City call a “late bloomer.” I’m not even going to try to guess what’s going on with your crush-less daughter, but I would recommend that you keep an eye on it, and unless she starts crushing and soon, report back to us for further guidance.
I think it’s sweet that your son has a crush and that he’s seeking your advice. He looks to you and his dad as role models and that’s wonderful. So although you may be tempted to respond with “Daddy said he loved me after he finished college and his mother was dead and buried” to his question, I’d suggest humoring him with the truth.
Don’t lay it on too thick. When my kids hinted at the crush-word, I went all out. I started with a brisk discussion about different types of love, segued into all sorts of feelings that people may have towards each other, peppered it with “you’re absolutely normal” and other statements of healthy validation and finished and warnings about safety that may have done permanent damage.
I’m guessing by their never mentioning any crushes since and avoiding all eye contact with me means I overdid it.
So in the grand tradition of “Do as I say and not as I do,” I suggest that you answer your son’s questions honestly and let him know that you and his dad are available if he wants to chat more about it. And keep an eye on his beloved. My cousin met his future ex-wife when he was eight. You never know.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Are there any lonely housewives out there?
Let me tell you something. I’m sitting here at my kitchen table with only my three cats for company, all of whom are sleeping. The kids are in school, my husband is at work, and I just got up to get a pillow to sit on. This dining chair is making my butt numb.
Does that sound lonely to you?
If you answered yes, then obviously you can’t hear the voices in my head. They are awesome and we have very exciting conversations. We’ve solved world hunger. We’ve restructured the entire PTA organization. We frequently kick Stephen Hawking’s bahookie in theoretical physics. How could I be lonely?
As Forest Gump would say, lonely is as lonely does. And he’s not the only one who philosophizes on the topic of loneliness. It’s not necessarily a bad state of mind to be in, as the following quotes (and my brilliant commentary!) prove:
An artist is always alone – if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness. -Henry Miller
Now go get those finger paints!
At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self. -Brendan Frances
If you report yourself to the mall’s lost and found, you’ll never be lonely.
The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself. -Mark Twain
This is why I love wearing yoga pants. I’m so comfortable with myself how can I be lonely?
It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise. This is true of men as of dogs. -Eric Hoffer
I have friends who I get along with, who I know get very uncomfortable being alone…whereas I could be alone for months.” – Viggo Mortensen
Be alone. Be sexy.
So the answer to your question Eric is both yes and no. We housewives may be lonely, but it’s only because we’re artistic, united, comfortable, loud, and very sexy, in a dirty, unshaven sort of way.