With the holidays upon us, some of us Mouthy Housewives are going to visit family. It’s crucial to pack everything one might need. To make sure nothing is forgotten it’s important to make a survival kit…err…..list.
Here are a few things we will be tucking away in our suitcase:
1. Valium – in case the booze is running low or the spouse needs a ‘time out.’
2. Elephant tranquilizer darts and spit gun – for when things get heated but you don’t want to get up because you finally grabbed the chair next to the plate of cookies.
3. Excedrine – for the migraines that come with sitting through another five hours of Aunt Sally describing her bowel surgery…again.
4. Ear plugs – for the plane ride and also to drown out annoying children, who may or may not be yours. Probably yours.
5. Zombie survival guide – because a zombie apocalypse is eerily close to what happens when the in-laws and extended families come together.
6. War and Peace (or any hefty masterpiece) – so that you can call out “I’ll be right there, almost done!” often.
7. Smelling salts – in case of a fainting spells brought on by too much togetherness, um, happiness.
8. Voodoo doll kit – no reason.
9. A shearling coat with a fleece lining to wear indoors because your mother-in-law moved to Florida to be warm but keeps the thermostat at a very refreshing 50 degrees.
10. Your gymnastics trophy from 5th grade so when your siblings start talking about their PhD’s, you have something to brag about too.
11. Your Justin Bieber musical toothbrush because it just isn’t the holidays until you’ve had a Bieber dance off in the bathroom with your Uncle Herbert.
12. Pencil and paper, a calculator and an abacus – because although family-time, holiday travel and preparations can be trying and exhausting, we know how lucky we are and we never stop counting our blessings.
13. And, of course, the gifts! If you’re like us and waited until the last minute, it’s going to be ok, we can give you some help on that too!
Happy Holidays from The Mouthy Housewives!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Over a month ago I threatened my 5 kids that still live at home (I have 8 total) that unless they cleaned their rooms and the upstairs hall we would NOT get a Christmas Tree. The younger 3 girls replied ‘we don’t care—we are getting a tree at Dad’s!’
Now, I have stuck to my guns, yet am crying inside …. I need a tree!
Welcome to Threat Regret. Threat Regret occurs almost immediately after you’ve issued a threat that you know you cannot carry out or the carrying out of which will punish you more than the kids.
Every parent there has experienced Threat Regret. Even me.
Last week I told my kids that if they didn’t fold their laundry by the time I counted to three–ok, ten (thousand)–they wouldn’t be allowed to watch TV and the Good Lord in Heaven help me, I was going to cancel the trip to see their grandparents for Christmas, no matter how much I’d hate missing out on holiday air travel.
Then I had to take it back. Stupid adulthood.
I had to say things like “sometimes, mommy gets very angry and says things that she shouldn’t. What mommy should have done is taken a deep cleansing breath and thought of a better consequence for your self-centered and lazy behavior. Mommy will think of that consequence now and also will start speaking in the first person.”
Then I’d sit around pensively while the kids wondered what I was up to. (Spoiler alert: I was sitting wondering how long I had to sit around looking pensive.)
The point is, if you’re experiencing Threat Regret, admit to making a mistake. I hear it makes children see their parents as humans and not just god-like creatures.
Get the tree and enjoy it.
Or get the tree and insist that it’s yours only. Any time you see one of the kids looking at the tree and enjoying it, yell “avert eyes! avert eyes until your room and upstairs are cleansed!”
And have the kids sweep up the needles.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My mom has no family other than me, which my in-laws are aware of, yet for the past few years they’ve hosted Christmas at their house and haven’t invited her. They live out of state, so my husband and I end up fighting over where I’m “supposed” to go, and I inevitably end up staying with my mom while he travels alone to see his family.
I don’t see why my mom should have to sit home alone on Christmas when she could easily be invited. Her apartment is too small to host a holiday herself, but my husband and I have hosted many holidays at our house and his parents, siblings and the siblings’ girlfriends and boyfriends are always invited. I wouldn’t ever exclude one or both of his parents.
My in-laws also think nothing of discussing Christmas plans in front of my mom when they visit for other holidays, even though she’s the only person in the room who’s not invited, which she finds very hurtful. When I’ve brought up the issue to them in the past, they claimed that they just “didn’t think of her” and she would be invited next time, but she never has been.
They’ve known my mom for years and seem to get along well with her, so I don’t know why she’s not welcome at their house. My husband has said he’s afraid of confronting his parents, so he won’t back me up if I raise the issue again. What should I do?
My Mom’s Home Alone
Dear My Mom’s Home Alone,
I usually try to understand both sides of an issue before I give my brilliant Mouthy Housewives advice, however this time I’m not doing that. Because I absolutely-100%-without- even-a-hint-of-a-doubt think this: your in-laws are being jerks.
Unless your mom is an obnoxious drunk or a racist or a loudmouth about her political/religious/Kardashian views, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t include her when they know it means so much to their daughter-in-law. My parents happily invited my husband’s mom and dad to our family gatherings from the moment we were engaged and even celebrated birthdays with them when we weren’t there. And more recently, my dad has graciously invited elderly military widows to our Christmas dinners so they don’t have to spend the day alone. (Which is a wonderful thing until that scrappy Edith tries to steal the last drumstick.)
As to why your in-laws being so stingy in this time of giving? Well, they could be one of those families that tend to be rather clannish and don’t like outsiders. (“It’s just The Andersons!”) Or they don’t like your mother for some reason they won’t disclose. Or maybe, and most probably, they’re just completely thoughtless. But the reason doesn’t really matter when it’s causing you and your mom so much hurt.
My advice is to tell your husband again that this is a huge problem for you. They’re his parents, and you’ve already let them know how you feel, so he’s got to man up and talk to them. If he does, great. If not, tell him that you’ll be spending the holiday with your mother and not him. It’s an unfortunate situation, but nobody should be alone on the holidays and you’re a good daughter for knowing that.
I wish you the best of luck with the situation and welcome any of our readers to weigh in with their advice. As Washington Irving said, “Christmas! ‘Tis the season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” Hopefully your in-laws will pull their heads out and realize the wisdom of that sentiment some day soon.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I love my boyfriend very much but I’m beginning to wonder if I should end our relationship, even though the thought alone hurts. We’re best friends. We have been together about 15 months. He is 32 and I am 23.
We do not live together but I stay at his house often. However, he has a habit of wanting to see me all the time and then for about 2 weeks only wanting to see me 2-3 times a week. This has happened many times. He’s not cheating. When we’re apart, we keep in contact and we are usually playing video games online together.
But the last few months he has been hinting that he wants me to move in with him. I would like to move in with him once I can afford to support myself (right now I live with my parents while I’m in school). I would even like to one day marry him.
But he is a very indecisive person and I feel he is being indecisive about our relationship. I don’t want to end things and I know he loves me but I don’t want to be in a relationship where I’m always worried he’s going to want distance himself.
How should I handle this?
You Need Space, I Need Consistency
Dear You Need Space,
You know what? I love space. I love alone time. I am hoping my Christmas stocking is stuffed full of alone time this year. But does your boyfriend just need space sometimes or does his feelings run hot and cold for you? That’s what you need to figure out.
Maybe he has commitment issues. Maybe he loves you but isn’t convinced you are the one. Maybe he’s running an illegal Silly Bandz business out of his basement when you aren’t around. I have no idea. But you should not even think of moving in with this guy until your relationship is in a different place.
You really need to change the dynamic here. Basically, when he wants to see you, you make yourself available. And then he is dismissing you when he’s had enough. That does not create a balanced relationship. Why don’t you try several months of only seeing him two to three times a week? You can have a great time together and the rest of the week, make yourself busy with school, friends, movie outings, whatever. Focus on yourself a bit more and give him the space he desires. There needs to be more equilibrium in this relationship.
You also might want to consider seeing a therapist together if he’s open to it. A third person in the room might be able to help him sort out his mixed feelings and help you both figure out where this relationship is going.
I do see a red flag here and this relationship may not be forever. But you are so YOUNG. In a few years, you might just be laughing with your friends and saying, “Remember when I dated that guy who ran the illegal Silly Bandz business?! I wonder what ever happened to him.”
Good luck and keep us posted.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I need help. My 3 year old is pretty well behaved when we are out to dinner. My wife and I are pretty quick to dispense justice…err… gently discipline him….when he is acting up. And when we are out to dinner as just a family it is very enjoyable. But, here is my problem, it gets incredibly stressful and downright exhausting when we are out with friends with kids his age and those friends don’t set the same…or ANY…boundaries.
I find myself correcting my son’s behavior while my friends do nothing to their child. I just want to yell at my friend, “hey bozo, you want to put the drink down for two seconds, step in here and tell your kid to stop screaming like a wild banshee and running around the restaurant?”
I don’t feel comfortable disciplining their child, and biting my tongue is growing increasingly annoying…and painful.”¨”¨ I know every parent has their own boundaries. But how do you deal with the situation when the boundaries are so very different….or worse yet, nonexistent?
Trying To Enjoy My Dinner
Dear Trying To Enjoy My Dinner,
There is nothing more exciting than children running freely around hot food and trays weighted down with ice-cold drinks! Instead of worrying about your child or your parenting responsibilities perhaps you should begin a betting pool to see which kid does the most damage? Or which waiter will bite the dust? It’s really fun for the whole family!!
Sure, there is a strong possibility your child may grow up to act like a total douchebag in public, but, really, you can look at this as just another fun family opportunity. One where you can bet on how big of a jerk your child can be by the age of 35? How many friends he will lose in a week? Or how many complaints he can get at work before getting fired? Fun! Fun! And more fun!
Of course, if you abhor joy and merriment and would prefer to take the Debbie-Downer approach, here are a few quick-fix options:
1) The Duct Tape Solution: Simply duct tape offending child to his/her chair and, for absolute efficiency, duct tape mouth shut as well. Enjoy meal. This one is extremely effective although it may not allow you to keep your friends. Can also be used on rowdy frat boys.
2) The Spike The Punch Solution: Nothing gets a child to behave faster than a slight sedative in his apple juice. This one is probably illegal but perhaps worth the punishment? This one is used by rowdy frat boys.
3) The Passive/Aggressive Solution: This one relies on constant comments like: “Wow, little Timmy sure is energetic. I bet you have to check your food for spit a lot when you go out.” Or “Little Timmy sure can yell. There’s nothing like a damaged eardrum to make me realize I should see my doctor for my annual checkup.” This one will probably make you hate yourself.
4) The Craigslist Solution: Place an ad looking for new, better friends. This one may require several strange and awkward dinners with pervs, freaks, and a possible serial killer or two before you find a family with whom you click.
Of course, you can always forget the quick-fix options and try talking to your friend. Although, most people are not very receptive to hearing that they lack parenting skills. I think this depends on the friendship and the personalities of the people involved.
The best option, and one with the least chance of getting you arrested or tackled by rowdy frat boys, is to stick to just going out to dinner with your immediate family. If you want to meet up with your friends and their children, try and plan some time at a playground where all of the children can run off their energy. You may be dining alone now but you should remember that the consistent parenting you are doing will make for one fine young man down the road!