31 Jul
My Parents Are Ruining My Marriage!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have a situation at home. I love my husband and everything is great between us, but in the last 8 months we went through alot of financial hardship, we both lost our jobs and were on unemployment for a long period of time and had to move in with my parents for the time being.

Ever since we have been at their place, there has been a lot of tension between my parents and husband. My parents are constantly judging and critisizing my husband for choices he makes. Even if he is working, they wonder how he can rest after doing a 12 hour shift. I am always stuck in the middle, my mother is always unhappy no matter what my husband does, and she feels like he is not following normal rules of behavior.

We are two different generations in one home and my mother does not agree with a lot of our decisions, but I feel like she should respect them. I just feel like they are trying to control my marriage and it is causing tension between me and my husband. I feel like my mother is trying to make issues because she does not approve of my husband after 4 years of marriage…Please help!!

Signed,

Stuck in the Middle
_________________________________________

Dear Stuck,

I really feel for you. Because you and your husband are emerging from the trauma of financial stress and are dealing with its residuals.

Although you were fortunate that you were able to move in with your parents, as you’ve well seen, it has come at a price. Sometimes when adult children return home, even for a brief visit, both sides revert to the roles they had years ago, when everyone was younger and more energetic. When children move in, the dynamic is magnified. This means that your parents get to voice their disapproval of the boy you brought home and you get to feel that they’re being unfair and don’t understand you and never will! (This can be followed by a door slam, but that’s totally your call.)

And it is unfair. Because the reasons that you are now living with them are no one’s fault (At least no one in your family. ::Shaking fist at the economy::). And because that boy is now your husband, a man who works to provide for his family, and one who treats you well. And your parents, despite what I assume are their best intentions, have absolutely no business taking their frustrations out on him and making him feel like he is not good enough.

The tricky thing is that you are living with your parents, so they may not take kindly to your letting them know how hurtful they are being.

But you need to tell them anyway because not only us your relationship with them is at stake, so is your relationship with your husband.

Let your parents know that you appreciate them letting you move in, and that you realize that the situation is not ideal. Your parents must already know the precarious state of the economy, but remind them that blaming and criticizing your husband is a bad approach. Explain that you and your husband are partners and that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances. Ask them what the two of you can do to make the living arrangement easier for everyone. Be prepared to make some suggestions that take into account your and your husband’s strengths. For example, if one of you is handy, offer to fix some things that could probably use it. If the other is a great cook, ask your parents what nights would be best to prepare dinner.

If your parents are not receptive to the conversation or if it seems that they are simply unable or unwilling to change their attitude towards your husband, you need to think about moving out. I am unclear from your question if whether you or your husband are now working. If you are trying to build up a nest egg before moving, that plan may have to be expedited. Or you may need to seek temporary housing until you get the place you want and can afford. Yes, it’s a financial burden, but living with your parents is becoming too emotionally expensive.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH

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30 Jul
Thank You for Not Smoking Around My Baby. You’re Not Smoking, Right?!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m going to be a first time mom this September to a little boy. My problem is my boyfriend’s parents. They smoke like chimneys, we do not. They have stopped smoking around me while I am pregnant and have agreed to not smoke around the baby when he’s born, but I don’t have much faith in that.

They smoked around my boyfriend and his sister all their lives. We had to borrow one of their cars this weekend and everything was covered in cigarette ash.

I don’t feel comfortable with them watching the baby. Even though I know they’re going to love this baby as much as grandparents should, I feel like they love to smoke more. How can I deal with this?

Signed,

My Baby’s Grandparents are Smokin! But Not in a Good Way.

__________________________________________

Dear My Baby’s Grandparents are Smokin!,

I’ve never been addicted to smoking although at one point, I did give clove cigarettes a real try in the hopes of improving my high school social status. But I remember my husband quitting smoking. And about five years later, I asked him how he felt about cigarettes and he said, “Man I could REALLY go for one right now.”

My point is smoking is really addictive. So let’s give your boyfriend’s parents some credit for at least having the decency to honor your wishes and not smoke around you while you’re pregnant.  Of course, it’s a little more complicated once the baby comes. Mostly because it will be about two years before your little one can tattle on his grandparents. On the upside, he’ll really wow his toddler friends by knowing how to say words like “cigarettes” and “nicotine” way before they do!

But in all seriousness, you are right to be concerned about this. Secondhand smoke is very harmful to children. There are many serious side effects, including a much greater risk for developing lung cancer later in life.

I think you need to ask yourself, “Are my boyfriend’s parents trustworthy?” If yes, then you have to have faith they will not smoke around your newborn baby. But they are human. And perhaps, together you can agree on a place they can smoke (maybe outside on their front steps) when they are caring for your baby. If they aren’t trustworthy, then you don’t want them watching your child anyway.

But if they are good people, work something out. Grandparents can add so much to your child’s life. You don’t want your son to miss out on that just because they have a bad habit they can’t break.

Good luck,

Kelcey, TMH

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27 Jul
Marinka Shares Her Summer Beauty Tips with Her Daughter.

Marinka’s Summer Do’s and Don’ts

Marinka, as interviewed by her almost-14 year old daughter.

Daughter: Wait, what am I supposed to ask you again?

Marinka: Tips for summer beauty.

Daughter: Okaaaaay. If you say so.

Marinka: Come on, I have lots of great tips.

Daughter: Fine. What are your “great tips”?

Marinka: Well, first of all, sunscreen is a must. A must. And there’s no need for quote marks.

Daughter: Got it. Sunscreen.

Marinka: And also dressing in light colors.

Daughter: I’m not wearing anything pink.

Marinka: It doesn’t have to be pink. White is great.

Daughter: White stains.

Marinka: White does not stain. What stains is dropping something on white when you eat while standing up instead of sitting down like a normal human being.

Daughter: Is that your summer tip? To eat sitting down?

Marinka: That’s really more of a life tip for all seasons.

Daughter: Let’s move on. Anything else?

Marinka: Yes, go easy on the perfume. You’re going to sweat in the summer and melting perfume is not a good thing.

Daughter: Not if you have air conditioning.

Marinka: Right, but no one can spend the whole summer in air conditioning.

Daughter: Hey, and is the summer when you shave your legs? When are you going to mention that?

Marinka glares.

Daughter: You don’t shave your legs in the winter.

Marinka: Well, my leg hair is very fine and fair. Like a princess’.

Daughter: Ö

Marinka: I can hear you rolling your eyes.

Daughter: Sorry.

Marinka: But yes, I do shave my legs in the summer. And yes, I have been using your Satin Care Passionista Fruit Gel.

Daughter: I figured.

Marinka: Sorry. But doesn’t it make sense to share shaving gel?

Daughter: Why don’t you share with dad?

Marinka: Because his bottle is blue. And what normal person would choose blue when she could have a floral design. Besides it has a sparkly fruit scent and I love sparkly fruit scents.

Daughter: Maybe you should get your own.

Marinka: That is certainly an idea. I have my own Venus razor.

Daughter: Well, duh, no one shares razors.

Marinka: Not if they want the smooth Venus shave, they don’t!

Daughter: Do you have any more tips?

Marinka: Sunglasses. Always wear sunglasses. And don’t look directly at the sun.

Daughter: Are we done?

Marinka: I have a lot more wisdom to share. But just have fun in the summer, while watching out for the sun’s deadly rays.

Daughter: You should write a book.

Marinka: I know, right? Hey, wait a minute!

And of course, use the Venus Embrace Razor for a smooth, close shave. †It has a soft grip handle for great control so you won’t have to deal with a flying razor in the shower.

But never ever share razors! Not even with best friends or super smart mothers who know everything. For more shaving tips, check out Tips and Hints for Mom from Gillette Venus.

 

Do you have any summer beauty tips? Tell me the best beauty tip you have shared with your daughter to prepare her for the summer or share your funniest beauty mishap for the chance to win a $50 Visa gift card!

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/26 – 8/23
Be sure to visit the Venus brand feature page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggersí reviews and find more chances to win!

Have you checked out the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com? There are some great tips and expert posts on everything from Looking Your Best to Getting Happy and Getting Organized!†

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26 Jul
Is It OK to Criticize Someone’s Kid? Even If They’re a Teenager?

It’s Guest Post Thursday! Today we’re super happy to welcome the lovely Tracy from Sellabit Mum. Tracy lives in Minnesota, is the mother to three gorgeous girls and she’s also a cat person, which makes three of the four Mouthy Housewives very happy. (Let’s just say Kelcey ain’t down wif the felines.) Tracy is sweet, funny and the type of woman you’d love to go have coffee with for hours. And she’s also a wonderful writer, so please be sure to check out her blog. Thanks, Tracy!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Last week a friend of mine told me a story about a fight she had with her sister-in-law. She had asked her niece to watch her two kids(ages 14 and 17) for the weekend. Upon her return home, her niece told her that the 17 year old had been annoying all weekend. When she investigated it further, she found the following things had happened on Saturday:

1. Her niece told the 14 year old to ask the 17 year old if he wanted to go swimming, but the 14 year old neglected to do this as the 17 year old was just rolling out of bed. They left without him.

2. They called the 17 year old later in the day to see if he wanted to go to a graduation party with them. He said no since he didn’t know the person.

3. Around 8 pm, he called them and asked if they were all going to dinner. They said they had already eaten and he should just order a pizza. He tried to call a local pizza place. They did not pick up the phone. So he called them back and asked if they could bring him something and they agreed.

4. Around 10 pm, the niece, the 14 year old and the niece’s parents show up and give him McDonald’s. Most of the fries were eaten. Two bites were taken out of the sandwich. Half of the drink was gone. They said they had gotten hungry on the way to the house.

5. The next morning, the 17 year old asked his aunt and uncle if they could pick him up for church. They told him to drive himself.

When my friend found out this stuff, she was livid and then her sister-in-law told her that her son will have a hard time in college because he can’t do anything for himself. The argument got intense to say the least. My question is, when someone in your family criticizes your child (sometimes in front of him), what is the best way to handle it?

Thanks,

A Concerned Friend

____________________________

Dear Concerned Friend,

Gosh, I miss the good old days, and by the good old days I mean the mid-80’s when my parents would just leave us for a week when we were 16 and 17 years old.  I mean, sure there may have been a few parties and all (and oh, don’t tell my dad that the ‘vodka’ he drank from his liquor cabinet from 1984-1988 was actually 90% water), but during that week we both made it to school every day as well as to any commitments and work.  But the most amazing thing we did was not starve because we could drive to the grocery store or even to the golden arches if the fries were calling our name.

I do have to say that if the 17 year old has a form of transportation, as his aunt and uncle declare, then why didn’t he just go get dinner? Or, here’s an idea, make a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal and eat an apple, because I don’t believe anyone else was required to feed a 17 year old.  Now I understand that the niece was in charge of watching her cousins – but I’m not sure watching consists of preparing three squares for a functioning 17 year old who chose not to go with them that night.  I mean, I don’t even cook a meal for my 9 year old now if I can get away with it.  Turns out even she knows how to make a bowl of cereal when I let her.

Now as far as calling someone annoying…well that is super annoying and I certainly would not want anyone criticizing any child in front of him.  But then again I don’t consider a 17 year old a child. Unless, of course, he can’t fix his own dinner. Hopefully by now your friend has cooled off and made nice with her family. Life’s too short to quibble over fries.

Best,

Tracy, Guest TMH

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24 Jul
Does a 14-year-old Deserve Some Online Privacy?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m currently taking care of my best friend’s 14-year-old daughter. My friend had to leave town for 3 months for work and she felt comfortable enough to leave her daughter with me. Her daughter likes me, and they both come over often.

The day my friend dropped her off, she gave me a piece of paper with all her daughter’s accounts and passwords, including for Facebook and Gmail. I was even more surprised when she asked me to check the girl’s Facebook and e-mail accounts and report back weekly.  My friend won’t have a good Internet connection during her trip.

I asked the daughter if she had willingly handed over her account information, and she said yes. She also said that she had been more or less forced to friend her teachers and friends’ parents and give them full access, so that they could keep tabs on her.

This disturbs me quite a bit. I’ve had accounts hacked, and I’ve also been forced to help friends through crisis when they were betrayed by authority figures they thought they could trust. I don’t think this philosophy of “it takes a village to raise a child and pillage her sense of privacy” is healthy.  If anything, it seems to have destroyed any respect for this girl’s privacy. Should I say something to my friend? Should I comply with her requests and do something I’m really uncomfortable doing?

Signed,

I Don’t Want To Be Your Daughter’s Friend on Facebook

______________________________

Dear I Don’t Want To be Your Daughter’s Friend on Facebook,

Hold on one minute, you’re willing to take care of kids for THREE MONTHS?! Oh this is just fabulous. Please immediately email me your address. I can have my children there by 5 pm. Of course, they will need dinner. Pizza is fine. None of them are old enough to be on Facebook or Gmail so you’ll have no moral crisis. I’ll pick them up in three months!

Okay, maybe this is something you only do for your very best friend ever and I am just wishing that I had bonded with you years earlier. You really are an incredible person to take care of your friend’s daughter for such a lengthy time.

I completely understand your dilemma and this is something that really should have been discussed long before she dropped her daughter at your front door. You are under no obligation to check this girl’s online accounts.

It is absolutely an invasion of privacy for this young girl who if she is smart created a different secret email address to communicate with her friends. As a 14-year-old (pre-email, pre-texing and pre-dinosaurs), I can only cringe thinking of my mother listening in to my calls to my friends. She would have heard a lot about Chuck, his hunky orange glow tan and my desperate desires to get him to notice me.

This is your best friend so you need to be completely honest in a very kind way. Let her know that her daughter is in safe hands and that you understand her desire to keep tabs on her.  But you just don’t feel comfortable logging on to her accounts and monitoring her online activity.  But that you will absolutely be watching over and taking care of her.

You might also want to share your own experiences and suggest that it may not be entirely appropriate for her to be forced to friend teachers and family friends.

In the end, it’s up to each parent to decide how they want to handle their children’s online activity. It’s a whole new world that parents are trying to navigate and there are no simple answers.  I think your friend is coming from a good place. But she can’t control and monitor her daughter’s every move. She has to have some trust. In her daughter. And you.

Good luck,

Kelcey, TMH

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