Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am a high school teacher and I happen to have an ex-student (five years out) as my Nanny. We love her. However, my Nanny’s mother now works in my school building and has become very close with a co-worker who has young children as well.
I heard from a friend who also works at the school that the mother’s friend/my co-worker is intending on asking my Nanny to work for her next year. This is really stressing me out. Not to mention, I cannot wrap my head around someone doing this to another co-worker! I don’t know if my Nanny will bite but I am positive that the co-worker’s offer will double her income because the other woman has two kids.
I will be hurt as I was a mentor to this kid for years but she is a kid. My peer, however, will be dead to me. How can I continue to work with her? How do I confront her? Do I wait until the deed is done or try to intercept and make her feel guilty?
Step Off My Nanny!
Dear Step Off,
Geez! Where do you work? Is it on Wisteria Lane?
Frankly, I’m not all that surprised. Some women (and men) may graduate from high school but their maturity never moves beyond it. But instead of taking jock boyfriends or popular BFFs these women now lure away nannies and husbands and contractors. Sometimes they even come over to your house and admire your sofa and throw pillows and then before you know it their living room is an exact replica of your living room and they are telling all the friends you share in common how YOU stole THEIR design idea so then you have to spread a rumor that they have to get their entire face waxed, on a weekly basis, because they used to be the bearded lady’s stand-in at the local circus…err, or so I’ve heard. I try to avoid those kinds of people. I certainly don’t invite them over to admire my living room.
I know some women like to avoid confrontation. I, on the other hand, believe wholeheartedly in being open and honest and trying to stop a situation before it gets out of hand. So I suggest that you bring up the matter with the soon to be “nanny stealer.” It doesn’t have to be a confrontation. Just explain to your co-worker how much your nanny means to your family, how much your child loves her, relies on her, and trusts her. Tell her that you had heard — rightly or wrongly — that she may be in the process of asking your nanny to leave and come to work for her. Tell her how much this loss would hurt you, not to mention the huge burden your family would have to endure in trying to find someone as trustworthy.
At the very least your co-worker will know she is a total douche when/if she steals her away. And you can always spread a rumor about her out of control facial hair or her three nipples.
You might also think about giving your nanny a raise, if you can afford it. Just in case your coworker does approach her. It can be just a small amount, or, perhaps, if that would be too much of a financial burden, maybe simply sit your Nanny down and tell her how much she means to you and your family. You could even ask her if there is anything (non-monetary) that could be done to make her even happier.
Do you remember when you got your first period? You were probably 12 or 13, a little freaked out and your mom or another female family member most likely gave you the supplies you needed and told you what was going on. However, if you were anything like us, here’s what probably didn’t happen: you were the guest of honor at a Period Party.
Yep, you read that right.
You see, it’s no longer enough for a young girl to start menstruating; now that particular milestone needs to be celebrated with a themed, invitation-only party. Much like everything else in some kids’ lives today. Seriously, are we raising a generation that’s going to expect balloons and cake every time they pass gas or put the toilet seat down? When will this nonsense end?
While we certainly agree that it’s important to take away the scariness and mystique of menstruating, do tweens and teens really need–or want–that done via a party? Like the one we read about where the guests “…ate red jelly beans, drank raspberry leaf tea, and gave their red balloons panty-liner mustaches.” Then the enterprising mother read them selections from The Diary of Anne Frank while they “dunked tampons in their teacups.” Um, is it just us or does that sound like a scene out of some whacko Christopher Guest movie? Like “Waiting for Aunt Flo” or something?
But if you actually do want to throw your daughter a Period Party, there are many resources out there for you. Like MenarchePartiesRUs.com., who sells a party pack that includes plates, cups, feminine disposal bags and the very exciting “Pin the Ovary” and “Puberty Marshmallow” games. So much more fun than the traditional “run to the bathroom and hope your period doesn’t go through your white pants or everyone in the 8th grade will taunt you until you graduate, you dumbass” game we all played, right?
Don’t get stuck in the fallopian tubes!
Other party activities we’ve read about include serving fun menstrual related food like red Jell-O, playing games like “tampon basketball,” as well as “pin the chocolate on the menstruating woman’s mouth” (Note: WE WILL PLAY THIS WITH YOU ANY TIME), and giving the guest of honor “Welcome to Womanhood” gifts like a thermometer, a red candle and cotton pads. Just what every 12 year old dreams of unwrapping! Wow, it makes us wish we were getting our first periods all over again!
And if that weren’t humiliating enough for girls who don’t even like their mothers to drop them off at the curb at school, older women are often invited to the parties to “share their menstrual stories” with the tweens. Yeah. That’s not traumatizing at all.
“And then there was the time I had my period on my honeymoon, so my husband spent the entire time gambling in the casino while I cried on the bathroom floor. Which was still better than that time I had cramps so painful that I took three Vicodin and crashed the car into Walgreen’s. But not as bad as that other time I got toxic shock syndrome and almost died from sepsis. Ah, good times, good times! Welcome to womanhood, Ashley! Pass the Midol Martinis!”
Of course, it’s every family’s right to do something like this. And first periods have been celebrated by various cultures in different ways for centuries. The Native Americans supposedly held beautiful ceremonies for their young women. And we definitely believe that that menstruation is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of by anyone.
As mothers, we know how important it is to speak openly and honestly with our daughters about their bodies. Education and knowledge is key and we strongly feel that we should always celebrate girls becoming women.
Just without the red balloons, please.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Every year when the weather turns nice, the neighborhood “hoodlums” start to wander the streets and inevitably show up at our house to hang out with our kids, ages 9, 5, and 2. When these kids are over, they are rude, disrespectful of people, pets, and property, and either ask for snacks or bring a bunch of junk food to spoil my kids’ dinners. In addition, when these kids are around, my kids think it is okay to be mouthy and rude and throw my household rules out the window.
I suspect that most of the kids that come over are living in poverty and do not have a positive home environment. I feel badly for them; however, I feel that I need to put the safety and up-bringing of my own kids first. My oldest child has Aspergers Disorder and is VERY impulsive. My middle child is adventurous and will try anything. For the safety of all three of them, they are not allowed to leave our property, and I have told them on numerous occasions that if they want to have a friend over, they need to arrange it with me (so I can arrange it with the other mom) in advance.
I feel guilty about telling these neighborhood kids to get lost and am torn between playing a “good Samaritan” and the neighborhood bitch. I don’t know any of the other parents well, and do not feel comfortable approaching them. I have seen some of these kids wandering the streets since they were preschoolers, and I am quite certain we have different standards when it comes to parenting.
I want my kids to be able to play outside without having to worry constantly about the neighborhood kids teaching bad habits and breaking our stuff.
Is there any nice way of telling these kids they need to play by my rules or get off my property?
Mi Casa is not Tu Casa
Dear Mi Casa,
You know what really bugs me? Well, yes, the new sweater vest craze inspired by one political candidate. I mean, believe whatever you want politically but I think we can all agree that the sweater vest is not good for America.
You know what also bothers me? This new trend where everyone is wearing these crazy bright colored pants. Yes, they look cute. Yes, I will eventually buy a pair for way too much money. And then you know what will happen? Out. Of. Fashion. Immediately. And please tell me what I am going to do with a pair of electric blue skinny jeans then?!
But the thing that really agitates me is when The Mouthy Housewives are needed. I mean, this is our calling! You have problems, we fix them. That was actually our motto but that thing about neglecting our kids to give you advice since 2009 seemed way funnier.
But you, my dear, don’t need us. You see, the answer to your question is right there in your letter. You ask, “Is there any nice way of telling these kids they need to play by my rules or get off my property?”
Yes! Yes, there is. You tell these kids that they need to play by your rules or they can’t come over for play dates. In fact, put these rules on a big piece of poster board. Here are some ideas…. Please and thank you must be said at all times. No food can be brought into the house. One healthy snack will be provided. Anyone who gets to rowdy will be asked to leave. That sort of thing. Whatever is important to you.
I appreciate that you want to help these children who you suspect are neglected. But letting them destroy your family and house is not helping them. Set boundaries. Stick to them. This is your home and your children. And you’re not being a bitch when you insist on protecting them. You are being a good mother.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My cousin is like a sister to me and we are super close. Her half-sister recently got married. I know her, but not very well. I think the last time I saw her was five or more years ago. Anyway, the half-sister sent me an email to tell me she got married. Should I send her a wedding gift? What’s the etiquette?
To Gift or Not to Gift
Dear To Gift or Not To Gift,
An etiquette question! Hooray! I just love etiquette questions! Mostly because I myself have impeccable manners. Oh, yes, it’s true. In fact, I always know exactly which piece of silverware to use when I’m stabbing a dinner companion in the neck because he won’t stop talking about his Cross Fit Training regimen in vivid detail. (Hint: It’s the steak knife!)
Now, before we discuss what you should do about your situation, let’s go over the sliding scale of appropriate wedding gifts per my vast gift giving experience:
If it’s for your dearest friend since childhood — Tiffany
If it’s for your dearest friend since college — Macy’s
If it’s for your sister or brother — Crate and Barrel and/or a homemade item that has sentimental value and will most likely end up in their garage under a moldy hammock and ten paint cans and then you will not speak to them again until they have a baby or buy a time share in Hawai.
If it’s for your boss — Pottery Barn
If it’s for your boss you hate — Liquor Bar
If it’s for your co-worker — Regift
If it’s for your co-worker you hate — Regift mulch
And, if it’s for your cousin’s half sister who notified you via email that she got married — I really don’t think you need to knock yourself out. After all, you’re more acquaintances with her than anything, right? Just because you’re super close to her half-sister doesn’t mean you’re obligated to do much, so that’s why I think a very nice card with a personal message written inside will suffice.
However, if you’d like to celebrate her love and the start of her new life with her husband, I’m sure any kind of small gift from you would be greatly appreciated.
Maybe even a steak knife.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’m finishing up school in a few months and got a nice externship offer that I can’t pass up. But my husband and I had planned on moving back home to the East Coast when I was done with school.
I am staying to do the externship (it’s only 6 weeks), then joining him out there, but I am worried. What if I like the job, and what if they offer it full time? It would be a very nice entry on my currently empty resume; it’s a great casino and well known.
I could do a lot with the work experience. I have always been the SAHM with a husband who’s an OTR truck driver and this is my time to let him quit and me be the breadwinner. I accept that responsibility fully, but there are doubts. I could do the externship somewhere on the East Coast but would I be passing on something that could boost our income even more? Or should I try to convince him to stay in this area if they offer me the job?
I am so confused. I need advice from someone who isn’t going to bullshit me or just say what I want to hear.
Confused in the House
Well that makes two of us, because who knew that casinos offered externships? Now that I’m over that shock, let’s recap some of the things that are going on here.
1. You have an exciting externship opportunity.
2. You are unsure what you should do if you love the job and it’s offered to you full time, because your husband will be on the East Coast.
3. You are planning to be the breadwinner so that your husband can quit his OTR trucking job. (I had to look that up. OTR is “over the road” which has me worried about Under The Road trucking companies out there. Better steer clear of those!)
You don’t mention whether your children are grown and out of the house or whether you and your husband are planning to switch and he will be a stay at home parent.
Don’t get bogged down with the fact that you and your husband planned on moving back after you were done with school. As someone very wise once said, “life happens while you’re making other plans.” (Oh, did I say wise? I meant annoying.) Opportunities come up when we least expect them and it can be a mistake to pass them up because of a plan previously made. (I’m being told that this advice does not apply to “if I’d known that George Clooney was available, I’d never have vowed to be faithful to you!” type scenarios.)
If you get an offer for full-time employment in a field that you love, you will need to think long and hard (and then longer and harder) before turning it down. And please don’t make the mistake of thinking about it in a vacuum. Discuss it with your husband, playing out all the scenarios. You refer to the East Coast as “back home” but what does that mean? Is it your birthplace? Where most of your friends live? Do you have aging parents that need you to be near them?
These are all factors that deserve consideration and you and your husband need to weigh them carefully. Make sure that your husband knows how much this job (assuming you get the offer) means to you. And definitely, explore the job options back home as well. In the end it may come down to simple economics and the decision will be made for you.
May the odds be with you,