Every once in a while, we get a question that stops us in our tracks. Because it is so heartbreaking and so deserving of the very best advice. Today’s questions was one of those questions for me. And I decided to seek out the wisdom from two of the wisest and kindest women I know. Except for you, obviously. Gretchen Rubin and Kati.
As you probably know, Gretchen is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project, and she has transformed the way that people live their lives. And her response, as you will see, is perfect.
Kati, on the other hand, is someone who one day will have a New York Times bestseller, because her life has been incredible and she’s a wonderful writer. We first met years ago and never in my wildest dreams (starring a Thelma and Louise-era Brad Pitt) did I imagine that I’d have so much in common with a born-again military wife. But we had motherhood and humor to bond us, so I turned to her. (Also, I like knowing that if I ever piss her off she’s doctrinarily obligated to turn the other cheek.)
So, enjoy! – Marinka
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Let me start by saying I am a military wife and I am proud of my husband for serving our country….BUT I am a new mommy to a beautiful baby girl born in January and I have become a stay at home mother and housewife.
I cook, I clean and take care of our child. Before becoming pregnant I was a full time student. I had gone back to college to better my life and was enjoying it.
I don’t mind being a stay at home mother or housewife but it seems to me that my dear hubby uses the fact that the military keeps him at work for crazy hours as a reason to not want to help with the baby much or gosh forbid pay his wife a compliment or a sweet word.
Is it wrong for me to want a girls night out? Or say I need a break? We got stationed 3 hours from my home town and I just want to go there and hang out with my female friends for a day without having to jump to my husband and daughter’s every need. I would settle for a break at the coffee shop with a book, if a girls night out is too long.
I get irritated – why can he fight for our country and not for his marriage? We’ve been married for a little over a year and he has become too comfy and lacks the sweetness I fell in love with. I feel like a horrible mother and wife for wanting to get away for a weekend, a day or even a couple of hours to myself. Don’t I deserve it?
You NEED to tell your husband how you feel (respectfully, calmly and rationally, only the most fabulous of divas can make martyrdom look attractive) and work out a strategy together for you to have regular guilt-free and worry-free time for yourself. Sadly, they don’t teach our soldiers in boot camp how to read minds or to understand the female psyche, so you have to be proactive and very open with him about your needs. Our wonderful heroes often need to be taught how to be present and active in their home lives, and it’s up to us to be their instructors.
Then, you need to TAKE that time. Make it a priority. No matter what’s going on in life, at his job, in the world, take time for you. Some days it may just be a hot bath with a book, other days it’ll be a shopping spree or coffee date with a friend. Whatever it is, take it and don’t feel guilty about it. You’ll be a happier, healthier mom and feel a whole lot more loving toward your husband too. And if it’s at all possible, go back to school – even if it’s part-time – now before that adorable baby girl saps the last of your working brain cells.
Suppose you’re the product manager for Summer’s Eve. Yes, THE Summer’s Eve—the people famous for selling douchebags of the non-Jon Gosselin variety. And suppose one day you decide that in order to move your new products, you need to make vaginas fashionable. You know—because female sex organs are just so totally last year.
That’s why you launch a new campaign called “Hail To the V”, starring a hand pretending to be a talking vagina. I repeat: starring a hand pretending to be a talking vagina. As well as a website where interested parties can take vaginal quizzes, learn about vaginal power and download buttons that say, “THAT’S VAGINAL!” I don’t know about you, but I can not WAIT to ask my 65-year-old mother to Bedazzle that on a t-shirt for me. Then we’ll laugh and laugh and treat ourselves to some of the Summer’s Eve products specifically made to “pamper our vaginas.” No more Brillo pads and lye soap for MY bearded oyster, baby! My vagina’s puttin’ on The Ritz! We’s all fancy ‘n shit up in the Panty Hamster now!
But all kidding aside, I certainly don’t have a problem with this whole Vagina Power campaign. Sure, it’s tacky, disgusting and pointless, but so is everything Summer’s Eve makes. I mean, do you even know a single woman who actually puts “Douchebags!” on her shopping list? Because God knows if they did, the only thing they’d bring home would probably be wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt and a piece of crap Bluetooth. And maybe some jorts if it’s one of the classy variety douchebags.
That said, what I definitely do have a problem with is a vagina that’s racist. Like the the vaginas in the following commercials you may not believe you’re watching sober. The first stars an African-American vagina, the second stars a Latina vagina and the third is a vagina of the white-bread honky variety usually found in states with lots of cheese and talk radio listeners. Gird your loins and take a look, my friends. It’s something you’ve definitely never seen before.
Here’s “Lady Wowsa”:
Here’s “Leopard Thong”:
And here’s “BFF”:
Still with me? Or did you and your Wunder from Down Under just pass out from seeing so many ridiculous ethnic stereotypes being acted out by a f—ing hand vagina? I mean, WTF, Summer’s Eve? Paint with broad strokes much? Get your artistic sensibilities from Sanford & Son? For the love of God, your creative director makes Mel Gibson look like the president of the Malibu Multicultural society. It’s 2011, you idiots. We don’t DO this crap anymore.
I guess we can at least take solace in the fact that they’re not trying to reach the Jamaican market or we’d be treated to a hand vagina with dreadlocks and a spliff in her labia. Or the Asian market where the hand vagina would be balancing chop sticks on her clitoris and doing math problems. Or even worse, a French vagina who sticks a beret and a baguette in a place they really don’t belong—unless the vagina is under contract with a niche porn producer named Le Pervy Jacques, of course. Viva la vaginal difference, mon freres.
But at any rate, after seeing those commercials, me, my vagina and every other vagina I know will most certainly avoid Summer’s Eve and their vagina pampering from now on. Because not only are their products useless, but their ad campaign also happens to be borderline racist.
No, Summer’s Eve. That’s asshole.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I can’t get my 3-year-old to eat any vegetables. NONE. I’m worried that she’s suffering from malnutrition. Any ideas to get her to try some?
B is not for broccoli at my house.
I think we all know that when it comes to proper child rearing, you should be as honest as possible with your kid. And when that doesn’t work, lie your ass off.
I assume you’ve tried the… “Oh my gosh! You must taste this delicious bite of green beans. Aren’t they cool – they look like rocket ships from Mars! They are so delicious. If you don’t eat them, mommy is going to gobble them up.”
And at that point, I’m sure your kid looked up at you and said, “They’re all yours mom. Enjoy! I’m going to finish off this bag of cheese doodles.” (And by the way, I recently learned that cheese doodles are not in fact a dairy product so let me give you a heads up on that one.)
So once that approach has failed, it’s time to get a little more crafty. Maybe try preparing a few meals with hidden vegetables as recommended by Mrs. Seinfeld. Also, try soups and casseroles (with a few vegetables secretly thrown in), veggie burgers or carrot cake (put the emphasis on the CAKE part). Now I am still personally traumatized by my 8th birthday when my dad made me a carrot cake in lieu of a chocolate cake so this technique may not pan out. The next year I got a carob cake. So close dad. So close.
And remember that kids’ tastes do change so keep offering your child all kinds of different vegetables. I’ve offered my pickiest daughter broccoli 437 times and I’m still hopeful that someday she might actually eat it.
In the meantime, I give her a Flinstones vitamin and hope for the best!
This post was sponsored by the mighty fine folks over at Hillshire Farm. And they have a humorous new campaign that pokes fun at what may be our secret motivations behind making a great meal for our families. Take a look…
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
The second my boyfriend and I are finished having sex, he rushes to the shower. I wish he’d stay and cuddle with me, but he told me that this is just his way. Is there anything that I can do to change him?
Eh, A Little Sweat Won’t Kill You
Dear A Little Sweat,
Look, we hate to blame the person seeking our advice, but this is mostly your fault. Because if you didn’t unhand-cuff your boyfriend immediately after sex, he wouldn’t be running to the shower. So keep those restraints on until you’re done cuddling and your problems will be solved.
Or just beginning.
I assume you’ve already considered and dismissed the possibility that he’s married and wants to get rid of any sexual evidence before returning to his wife and kids, you harlot. And you’ve probably tried the old standbys of keeping a gallon of body sanitizer next to the bed and throwing yourself gracefully, yet forcefully, across him, pinning him down with your thigh?
If that doesn’t work, I suggest taking a page out of parents who’ve been sleep-training their children and letting him cry it out. When he gets up to take a shower, grab his arm and plead with him to stay. He will probably insist on going to the shower, with promises to “be right back!” but try to hold on a little longer. The first day, a minute or two; the next day five minutes. Within a month, he’ll be by your side for a glorious post-coital hour. Either that, or he’ll be having sex with someone else. (Let us know!)
Or you could try the honest approach. Tell him that you’d love to spend some time together before he jumps into the shower and see if he’ll accommodate you. Otherwise you can always join him in the shower.
Don’t drop the soap!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Every birthday and holiday that rolls around, my son gets a few bucks in his cards, and I’ve been stuffing it in his piggy bank. Three years have gone by, and it’s added up to around $150 in small bills. I tucked the bank back in the corner of his closet and forgot about it. Today, I popped it open and found that the money is gone. We don’t have a lot of guests, we are fairly new in a big city without nearby family, and I’ve never had a playdate here. The only people that have been in my son’s room are:
1) the housekeeper, “Helen”
2) the babysitter, “Barb”
3) the babysitter’s 10 year old daughter, “Sticky Fingers”
I don’t think it was Helen. She came highly recommended and her whole family has worked for a good friend of mine in one capacity or another for almost 20 years. I don’t think Barb did it, either. Her references checked out before we hired her, and I don’t think she would risk losing her job. This leaves me with Sticky Fingers… for one, she’s a kid, and kids do stupid things. They are easily tempted. I teach high school, and boy, do I know how kids lie. I’m without a confession (she denied it) or hard proof, just my gut. Do I fire Barb for not watching Sticky Fingers more carefully? Keep Barb, but say Sticky is not welcome? Is the cloud of suspicion just so thick, that I have to fire everyone and start over?
Sincerely, Chump Change
Dear Chump Change,
Let me start off by saying that I know first-hand the emotions that come from having something stolen from you. Theft leaves you feeling completely violated and helpless, and it can take some time to recover from something like that.
That said, I think that, if you like this babysitter, you will have to get over it.
The truth is that you’ll never know who the bandit was. And even though my money is certainly on Sticky Fingers (that thieving little so-and-so), I kind of feel badly for her. I mean you, of course! But also her. Okay, mostly her.
You see, I am not surprised at all at the idea of a 10 year-old stealing. I am a little saddened by it, however. Call me “soft” or “ridden with childhood trauma,” but I happen to be of the belief that, if a kid is taking things, that kid is in need of attention or love. (Or, you know, in this case, money.) This certainly doesn’t justify her actions, but I think that if you put yourself in her shoes for a moment, you’ll actually be helping yourself in the end.
First, you need to make it clear-respectfully but terrifyingly so-that any misdeeds are absolutely not tolerated in your home. And if you do that well enough, the fear instilled within the young girl should be enough to keep her hands steady. (If not, laser beams, blow horns, dobermans, and booby traps will.)
Second, consider how you might help keep those hands of hers occupied while her mother is working. Surely she can’t enjoy having to tag along with mom. Do you have books or arts and crafts appropriate for someone her age? Or a closet with a window? Basement? Garage? Just spitballing here…
So. Do you love Barb or what? If so, you’ll simply have to figure a way to make it work. Just be proactive about keeping your belongings safe, lay down some iron-clad ground rules, and keep that girl busy.
(But if it happens again, fire that woman and her jerky kid without a second thought.)
And if you’re looking for some mid-summer fun to keep your kids
out of your hair entertained in an educational fashion, be sure to check out The Mouthy Housewives’ Tip of the Week: Surviving Summer Vacation!