23 Apr
He’s Not Your Goof!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My tweenage son can be what society calls goofy. And I mean goofy beyond that awkward goofiness every tween goes through. Think the Big Bang Theory goofy and you’ll have a better idea of the level of goofiness I mean – wicked smart, but very much into what our society considers “nerdy” things (i.e Star Trek, knee socks with shorts, etc.).

My question is is it okay for my mom friends to comment to me about his goofiness? Because it hurts my feelings, both for myself and my son, but maybe I’m being too sensitive? After all, they are just stating the obvious. Or are they being rude, and if so, how should I handle it?

Signed,

Don’t Call Him That

___________________________________

Dear Don’t,

Let me get out on a limb here (and hope that it will support me)– I suspect that you are not super comfortable with your son’s goofy status. After all, goofiness, while definitely endearing, is not a trait that is most often associated with successful masculinity in 2012 America.  Or maybe you are just fine with your son the way he is, but it’s just when your friends say it, you detect a smirk in their inflection.

Yes? Am I close? Beam me your answer! Because that limb is making cracking sounds.

Personally, I’m not a fan of labels. Although they definitely save a lot of time. Goof, geek, nerd, techy: most of us use these words and even those who don’t, get an instant descriptive image.  But what the labels leave out, and what as mothers we may object to when they’re applied to our babies, are all the other qualities that our children have that go unrecognized. Because our children, like all people, are more than a series of labels.

It doesn’t matter if you are being oversensitive, if they intend meanness when they call your son “goofy” or are just using it as shorthand way to describe the qualities you recognize in him.  What is important is that what your friends are saying is hurtful to you.  And you need to tell them that.  Let them know that you are not accusing them of doing anything wrong, but that you are sensitive on this subject.  Ask them to refrain from calling him “goofy”– if they are your friends they should not have to struggle with honoring your request.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH

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20 Apr
Is it So Wrong to Threaten Our Child with Divorce?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Several of my son’s friends come from divorced parents and he’s old enough now (9.5 yrs) to begin noticing the effects. We’ve had to discuss how he can’t see his friends as much because both parents must now work full-time and the friends have to spend every other weekend at different places, how this limits the free time each parent gets with the kids, etc.

That being said, let’s get to my real point. My husband and I are beginning to feel the effects of parenting on our marriage. You know, too much kid time and not enough grown up time. We rarely get to even sit beside each other on the couch! When we want to do something alone, like sit beside one another or have a private conversation in our bedroom, of course our kid wants to bust up in between us. So every now and then I’ll tell our son, “You don’t want mom and dad to end up divorced, right? We need some alone time.” Part of me feels like it isn’t right to say something to scare our son, but then again I don’t know how to relate it to a nine-year-old in a way that he 1) can understand that he HAS to let mom and dad have some time to maintain our bond and 2) lets us have it without drama on his part, turning the idea of alone time into just more parental stress and guilt. Advice?

P.S. We do get a babysitter, but after 12 years of parenting (we have an older child too), our monthly night out isn’t enough anymore and we can’t up the babysitting expense up right now. And we reeeealllllyyyy need to begin reconnecting as a couple. Help!

Signed,

Privacy, Please!

_____________________________________

Dear PP,

Listen, I don’t want to come down on you too hard here, because the truth of the matter is that most parents have said something to their kids that probably wasn’t APA approved. For instance, this one time, I told my five year old that I’d be his bestest friend in whole! wide! world! if he’d JUST PICK UP HIS GODFORSAKEN LEGOS. And we all know he’ll probably never be my best friend. I mean, I’m his mother. Plus, he’s not even old enough to be a designated driver.

That said, I want to be clear to you on this:

The part of you that feels bad for scaring your son with such a threat? LISTEN TO THAT PART.

Scaring or threatening children is never a good idea. Never. NEVER EVER. (Unless we’re talking about them dashing into the street to chase a ball, in which case, bring on the gory, terrifying details.)

The bottom line here is that it is not your child’s fault that you and your husband are having trouble finding time alone together. In fact, I’d say that puts you right in line with most families IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. It comes with parenthood, woman! Is it hard to find time alone with your husband? I’m sure it is. But that’s your challenge to struggle with and overcome; it’s most certainly not your son’s.

Kids are smart and they are sensitive to this type of thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he already senses that you’re resenting him for coming between your husband and you. I would strongly recommend you have a conversation with him (your husband included) and apologize for the remark. Explain to him that you are just having a rough time of things, and that sometimes even grownups make poor choices. It will hopefully put his mind at ease and also be a good learning experience for the lot of you.

In the meantime, girl, you need to get creative. Stay up late with your husband. Get up early. Take advantage of small moments to sneak upstairs for a quickie. Do whatever the hell works for you. And above all, be patient with the process, because it can take a while to adjust and find something that works. If it feels desperate, remind yourself that no marriage is without bumps (and in some cases potholes and sinkholes and earthquakes and the occasional echoing abyss) in the road. If it’s more than you can handle together, marriage counselors can be miracle workers.

Take a deep breath, pull yourself together, and go smother that little boy in some kisses.

Kristine, TMH.

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19 Apr
How Do I Dump This Abusive Loser?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My ex-boyfriend and I have been doing the off and on thing for 10yrs. He is psychologically abusive. He used to be physically abusive until my brother told him he doesn’t need to be hitting on me, and because he is scared of my brother he quit.

He has cheated on me several times, cut my tires on my car, and numerous other things that are to hard to mention. His daughter, son, and all his friends hate me because he told them a lot of bad things about me.

We are broken up again and he had a new girl friend his daughter found for him, moving in the next day. I want to move on and I have started accepting dates. But I can’t seem to get past the pain of being replaced so easy. I am just heart broken. I text him sometimes he can’t text so he never responds. Finally today I call with this lame excuse to talk to him and he answered which made me feel like a stupid fool. I want to put this relationship behind me and move on I just can’t seem to let go.

Signed,
HELP

______________________

Dear Help,

Let me give you some fast and furious advice: You need to never speak/see/interact with this person (and I use the term loosely) again.

Because you deserve better. So much better.

I believe strongly that when someone shows himself to us, we have to believe him. And this person has shown himself to be an abuser.

He abused you, he terrorized you, he tortured you.  You should be getting a restraining order against him, not texting him. (By the way, why are you texting him if he can’t text back? And I’m assuming that he can’t text back because he doesn’t have opposable thumbs, right?)

I’m worried that the reason that you keep pursuing him has to do with your self-esteem.  Whether this “man” destroyed it or it was precarious before you met him, you need to work through those issues until you  believe, with every fiber of your being , that you deserve better. This will not happen overnight but it absolutely can happen and you must MUST take the first step.

There are many resources available to help you. I recommend speaking to your doctor about any suggestions that she may have, and also check out Violence Unsilenced, a website that gives voice to survivors of abuse.  Please know that they are very painful stories, but they are also tales of courage and survival and happiness.  The resources page is valuable and I urge you to consider it.

I wish you the best.  It’s going to take a lot of work on your part, but I hope that you believe that you are worth it.  Please keep us posted.

Marinka, TMH

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18 Apr
The Chocolate Wars

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

The “Easter Bunny” left Reese’s peanut butter cups as the majority of sweets in my son’s basket and my son said he didn’t like that kind of candy. In a fit of guilt for not knowing my son’s own preference in Easter candy, I then gave him my much-coveted Ghirardelli chocolate bar to make it up to him. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our children! Or so I thought…

A day or two later, my son decided he did like Reese’s peanut butter candy after all and proceeded to eat what the Easter Bunny left. So I then ate the Ghirardelli chocolate bar, naturally. Well! When my son found out I did this, there were tears of betrayal and anger at mom. He seemed to think it was still his, even though he ate all of the other candy, too. Was I wrong to take back the chocolate bar and eat it?

Signed,

The Easter Mommy

_____________________

Dear Easter Mommy,

Of all the important lessons that we as parents can impart onto our children, here is the biggest, baddest one of all:

NEVER TOUCH A WOMAN’S CHOCOLATE

Followed closely by the other crucial life lessons of “Don’t shoot anyone” and “Never wear something with a Looney Tunes character on it to a funeral.”

But honestly, what the hell is going on in your household that your kid thinks there are takee-backees on chocolate? I’m going to have to question your parenting here, lady, because that’s something he should have learned long, long ago. Haven’t you been cherry picking all of the decent candy from his Halloween bag since he was born? Ordering him a chocolate birthday cake even though he wants vanilla so you can snarf it down after the party? Telling him that Grandma forgot to send him Valentine’s Day candy when you’ve actually squirreled it away in your purse so you can hide in your closet later and pretend it’s David Beckham’s pecs while you slowly lick it? No? And you call yourself a mother?

Stunned. Simply stunned.

So that’s why I want you to step away from the computer and immediately go find your son so you can tell him the following two things:

1. Be happy with whatever the hell you get from the Easter Bunny, you punk.

and

2. Do not EVER try to upgrade to Ghirardelli until you’re at least 18. Or have your own mortgage.

That should work for now. But promise me that in the future, you’ll let him know that when it comes to chocolate, whatever momma wants, momma gets. Or else.

Good luck,

Wendi, TMH

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17 Apr
I Want My Husband To Shave. His Body. I’m Serious.

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I want my husband to start shaving his arms and legs. We have been married for 3 years now.  He used to let me shave them but after about a year into the marriage he stopped allowing me to do it.

What are some ways I could convince him to start doing this? I hate body hair.

Signed,

I Don’t Dig Gorillas

______________________________

Dear I Don’t Dig Gorillas,

Wow, have you made me feel better! And here I was feeling bad that I pretended to like Chinese food when I first started dating my husband. But your spouse apparently pretended that he liked shaving his legs and arms?!

I really bow down to you lady. I can not believe you convinced your husband to do this for so long (an entire year into your marriage!). Most wives have much smaller marital dreams. Like maybe convincing their husbands to put dirty dishes into the dishwasher instead of the more popular sink option.

Just out of curiosity, how long does it take to shave his arms and legs? You, of course, can email me privately with this pivotal information.

You have three options here. You can accept him the way he is. I mean, I would love for my husband to have Ryan Gosling abs but let’s be realistic. There is a better chance that Ryan Gosling will be my second husband than that happening. So I accept the love of my life the way he is (at least 99% of the time, okay 80% but whatever).

Your second option is to convince him to become a professional swimmer which will require him to remove all body hair. But then of course, he’ll constantly smell like chlorine.

Or finally, you can tell your husband that you think it’s SO SEXY when he shaves his arms and legs and you would really love for him to do it again.  You can offer something in return but good lord, I hope he doesn’t ask you to watch the entire baseball season with him because those games are on EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Be careful.

In the end, he still might not want to do it. And ultimately that’s what marriage is all about – accepting and loving your spouse for who he is, not who you wish he would be. And with that final morsel of wisdom, I’m off to move all the dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher.

Good luck,

Kelcey, TMH

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