Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am a divorced mother of a 3-and-a-half-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. I left my ex-husband when my son was a year old because of multiple Anthony Weiner-style indiscretions.
However, I am now very happily re-married to a wonderful man and am pregnant! Needless to say, my ex is still single and he has been continually nasty ever since I began my relationship with my now husband. He takes small issues and turns them into arguments that last for days, he screams at me over the phone and sends horrible text messages or emails over what amounts to petty issues. Here is an example: He refuses to call any other number besides my cell even though he has all my other numbers. Because of this I have missed speaking with my son when he is with his father. This is especially a problem when I work in the evenings, because I have to keep my phone on vibrate. How do I handle this?
Mrs. Blissfully Happy – except for being divorced from Anthony Weiner’s nasty cousin Asshole Weiner
Dear Blissfully Happy,
What the &%$#?! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I have to say I blacked out there for a bit due to the overwhelming odor of your ex’s douchebaggery. I’m fine now thanks to my smelling salts or, er, Jack Daniels. (Same difference.) Now, I have to wonder: Is your ex trying to win The Asshole Limbo Contest? Past winners include Michael Lohan, Mel Gibson, and Ike Turner. The top prize being a Cuisinart blender and a Chicken Soup for the Asshole Soul encyclopedia set.
While he may soon be the proud owner of a new kitchen appliance, I’m not quite sure that is going to help your ex’s manipulative and controlling manner. And, quite frankly, I don’t know that there is a whole lot you can do to get him to be more of a human being based on his past behavior. You could try to talk to him, explaining that it hurts your son when the toddler doesn’t get a chance to talk to his mommy. It’s important to keep the best interests of the child at the forefront of every interaction that takes place. Perhaps, your ex will choose the happiness of his child over the chance to make his ex’s life hell?
It’s obvious from your leaving him in the first place that you realize the only way to deal with a bully is do what you can to take care of yourself and your family. For the moment is it possible to speak with your supervisor and let him/her know that when your son is with your ex you will need to answer your cell phone? Or is there a way you can schedule an exact time for your son and ex to call you and then you can have your cell phone in hand and ready? This will at least help you have a chance to speak with your little boy for now.
However, I’m still quite concerned about how limber your ex may be (continuing the limbo gag here) and the lengths he may go to sabotage your connection with your son. His jealous, mean-spirited behavior is not healthy for you and, most importantly, NOT for your child. If he continues to leave hurtful messages, send ill-spirited emails, or take out his anger out on you I would suggest that it is high time you got his visits supervised. Contact your local family law court. Abuse of any kind should not be tolerated. And you definitely don’t want your child to learn this kind of negative behavior.
Some of you might know that the BlogHer conference took place a few weeks ago in San Diego. Both Mouthy Wendi (MW) and I flew in on our private jets and had the opportunity to interview the very funny and very talented Wendi Mclendon-Covey while we were there.
(I KNOW! THE OTHER WENDI!)
MW worked in Hollywood before, so I can only imagine that she was rather calm, cool, and collected about the entire thing. I however, promptly began to freak the hell out. What would we ask her? What if she upstages our humor? And will this microphone pick up the sound of my stomach growling, because I could go to TOWN on a Hillshire Farm breakfast patty right about now.
Long story short, after being drugged and coerced by friends (kind of), I convinced MW (again, our Wendi, not THAT Wendi…Jesus, this is confusing) that it would be hilarious to fill the interview with sexual innuendo. ABOUT SAUSAGE!
Get it? Hillshire Farm? Sausage? THE JOKES WRITE THEMSELVES!
Well, as it turns out, the jokes EDIT themselves as well, because this is the final product of our interview, and every single one of my side-splitting sausage propositions has been removed. I am an embarrassment to my friends and family. (Speaking of which, the context for discussing my husband’s preference for sausage was also removed…HE DOESN’T REALLY HAVE A CONDITION. Omfg.)
Thanks again to everyone at Hillshire Farm, for sponsoring this post, and especially to Wendi Mclendon-Covey for being so personable and funny. I hope you’ll forgive me for the sausage talk. Ahem.
And for those of you that haven’t yet seen Wendi Mclendon-Covey’s amazing “slinking” skills, check out Hillshire Farm‘s latest commercial.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
A friend recently made an off-hand comment that I’m a helicopter mom. It really upset me because I consider myself a responsible parent, but I certainly don’t hover.
At least I don’t think that I do. I don’t let my 10 year old daughter go out by herself, I wait with her for the school bus, and I watch from a distance when she goes to the store that’s two blocks away. I trust her, but I’m worried about the world that we live in.
Is this a mistake? Am I a helicopter mom?
Dear Cautious Mom,
Welcome to my world. I’ve been called a helicopter mom, too, but unlike you, I embrace it. Of course I like to think of myself as one of those sleek shiny helicopters, with high cheekbones and no cellulite or stretch marks. See? Your friend was practically calling you Angelina Jolie and you got offended. Go apologize to her right now!
We live in a terrifying world and unfortunately we’ve all heard of too many horrible things happening to children. To children with wonderful parents who did everything right. It’s unfair and it’s maddening and I’m never going to let my children out of my sight again.
Except, somehow in all this madness, we need to raise our children in a way that will let them function in society. And that includes going to the store by themselves, walking down the street without their parents, learning how to make a margarita for their mothers and even taking public transportation.
Please give me a moment. I need to uncurl from this fetal position I seem to be stuck in. Although I’m pretty sure that it doubles as a yoga pose.
I can’t tell you if 10 years old is too young for your daughter to be outside unaccompanied by a (carefully screened) adult. That depends on your daughter’s maturity, responsibility, your comfort level and too many other factors to list. But I can share that when my daughter was 10, I was not even thinking of letting her go to the store without me. For one, she had no money, so what exactly was she going to do there? And also, I didn’t think that either she or I were ready. I can happily report that now that she’s 13, she does run errands by herself in New York City. Last month I even got an urgent text from her asking me to report to the local Abercrombie & Fitch promptly with my credit card because her allowance money wasn’t covering the purchases.
So trust your instincts. That and your relationship with your child should guide what is age appropriate for her. Even if it involves a bit of hovering.
It’s Mouthing Off! Our occasional feature where we mouth off about something that caught our attention this week! We hope you enjoy reading and please, hold your applause til the end.
Last week a friend of mine was at the middle school with her daughter Megan for student orientation. After getting her class schedule from the front office, the two of them went to find Megan’s locker and were shocked to see a group of moms busy decorating their daughters’ grey metal lockers with (wait for it) this:
Yep. That’s $21 hot pink leopard locker wallpaper and a $26 motion sensor locker chandelier. We promise we’re not making this up.
(Oh, and that sound you hear right now? That’s all of the mothers who raised kids in the 70’s and 80’s screaming in unison “WHAT THE F—? A CHANDELIER? FOR A FREAKIN’ LOCKER?”)
Now, if memory serves, back when we were in middle and high school, nobody had $50 locker decor. And, more important, nobody’s mother made a special trip to the school to decorate their locker. Hell, nobody’s mother made a special trip to the school unless someone broke an arm or got caught in the broom closet with Mr. Moonbath, the hippie art teacher who smelled like patchouli and overripe cantaloupe. Parents just didn’t feel the need to get overly involved back then. But obviously that’s changed.
Maybe it’s just me, but this superficial decorating seems indicative of what’s happening more and more with parents. The coddling. The helicoptering. The monitoring of every single move. Listen, I know it’s really, really tough to let your little girl go off to middle school without you, but isn’t that also the perfect time to let her spread her wings and express herself a little? Starting with well, her locker?
Old gum. Rotten fruit. Broken hairbrushes. Smelly socks, dog-eared pictures of teenage werewolves, and the word “Buttface” written in Sharpie. That’s what a kid’s locker should have as its decor.
Save the chandeliers for the middle-aged women on HGTV. They’re the ones who really need them.
(Images from LockerLookz.)
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My daughter is 7 and has a few friends at school that she likes to play with after school or on weekends. All of the parents have no problem with my daughter coming over to play and they only have good things to say about her. The problem is that I don’t really like to host kids over at my house. There are a few reasons for this:
First, I have four rambunctious dogs and two cats. The dogs get too excited while the cats aren’t nice (nor do they always use their litter box, much to my dismay.)
Second, I am not an overly tidy person. My house is clean enough for me and my family, but it could use some work for “strangers.”
And finally, I’m just not the hostess type and I’m okay with this fact. I don’t intend to change.
My problem is that one parent keeps pushing for a play date at my house. She has stopped inviting my daughter over and, instead, keeps mentioning the kids playing over here. I need to know how to get her off my back about it while not divulging my issues. I don’t want to offend her because I do like the mom and I don’t want to cause any problems with the children. I even thought about coming up with some phobia, but not sure what would fit.
Martha Stewart Doesn’t Live Here
Dear Martha Stewart Doesn’t Live Here,
In the very pressurized and etiquette laden world of Mommy and Me meetings and scheduled progeny play dates it is, in fact [just looking up the bylaws here, one minute. OK. Got it.] against the law to not reciprocate when it comes to hosting, penalty can be equal to: The Silent Treatment, The Rumor Mill, or Public Shunning. Even Hannibal the Cannibal knew all about quid pro quo. So, perhaps we should discuss a different strategy?
First, let’s address the pets. While I understand it has to be very difficult to have people over when it seems like your home is already a 24-hour animal party, it’s important to be able to put the animals away, perhaps in another room(s). Because unless your animals are descendants of Cerberus (I once had a dog who was) and are all on a career path to guarding the gates of hell, you should sequester them every once in a great while, for a few hours, so that you can reciprocate a play date.
Second, as to your cleanliness standards, a wise…no, wait…a waif-like girl once said: “I’m horrible to live with. I don’t clean. My clothes end up wherever I take them off. I forget to flush the toilet.” And she was in Transformers 1 and 2 and on the Maxim Hot List! While we can’t all be Megan Fox, it does show you that success isn’t predicated upon cleanliness. A lot of other mothers have similar anxieties about how clean their houses should be. But in reality, most parents don’t really care if their kid has a friend whose house isn’t perfect or tidy or uncluttered. As long as Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller aren’t permanent residents on your couch, I believe even the most neurotic of moms would let you slide (and, yes, I am talking about me).
Finally, with regard to the hostess duties, I’m not sure what kind of highfalutin’ fancy pants play dates you attend, but the majority that I’m aware of don’t require much except your kid, a glass of water and maybe some cheddar Goldfish. But then it’s always possible that I’m hanging with the wrong crowd, and by wrong crowd, I mean not with Bill Gates’ kids.
Basically, it’s only fair to share the responsibilities and wreckage that comes with kids’ playdates. And while we all certainly want to put our best foot forward, sometimes just putting out an unshaved leg with non-manicured toes is all it takes for everyone to be happy.