Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I live with my boyfriend who has two girls, ages 8 and 10. I have older kids (18 and 20) who are in college. I like his girls a great deal but the younger one will straddle him on the couch when we are sitting together. It really bothers me and makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s a sexual thing but she is very needy sometimes. She has also climbed in bed with us in the mornings a couple of times. I don’t like that either. I know I need to say something to my boyfriend…but what?
I don’t want to sound jealous of an 8-year-old but maybe I am?
Am I Really Jealous of a Tween?
Dear Am I Really Jealous of a Tween?
Here’s the thing about kids. They are extremely needy. Since your children are grown, you might not remember just how needy because parenthood is about suppressing the past. It’s a natural defense mechanism so we don’t become completely insane.
But let me remind you… needy is what kids do. It’s their top skill. They want food. They want attention. They want help with their homework. 16 extra hugs at bedtime. 47 books. More food. Now they are thirsty. Now they have to go to the bathroom. Now they want to be tucked back in. And on and on and on.
Your boyfriend’s 8-year-old sounds pretty normal. She’s still a little kid and wanting to climb on top of her dad and hug with him shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Many fathers and daughters have a special relationship and she wants to be close to him. It’s also quite common for kids to want to climb into bed with their parents in the morning. In fact, as long as it’s after 7 am, I love snuggling with my children in bed…until they start screaming at each other because someone has 3 extra inches of space and well, then it’s time for breakfast.
I think you need to figure out where your jealous feeling are coming from. Do you feel like you don’t get enough attention from your boyfriend? If yes, you need to talk to him. If you constantly see him being affectionate with his kids and not you, that will understandably lead to feelings of envy and resentment for you.
If you want to be with this guy, it comes with a package deal. I would try to embrace and bond with his children, instead of seeing them as a threat. Because if you want to be with him in the long run, you are building a family, not just a relationship.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Last fall my neighbor went on and on about how she’s not getting the flu shot for her kids because it’s all a big scam. She basically said I was an idiot for getting them for my kids. Then today I heard that her two teenagers have the flu. Is it acceptable to go stand on her front porch and scream, “I told you so!”?
Dear Good Neighbor,
In a word, “NO.” Do not go over to her house while her kids are inside suffering from the flu and scream “I told you so!” Your impulse to immediately rub her face in her mistake is an understandable one, but it’s just not something we do in polite society. Turn the other cheek, take the high road, don’t stick your tongue out at the cop who didn’t see you run that red light, blah blah blah. We need to act like grown-ups and get along with our neighbors.
That said, I see no reason why you still can’t get a little satisfaction out of this situation. And you don’t even need to do anything as obvious as having your kids do calisthenics in her yard while wearing, “I LOVE FLU MIST!” tshirts. (Although that would make a great YouTube video that would probably go viral.) (Get it? VIRAL? It’s the flu, so it’s spread with…nevermind. Medical humor never works.)
What I want you to do is wait about six months until it’s flu shot season again. (This is called “playing the long game.”) Then nicely tell your neighbor you’re getting the shots for your kids and see what she says. If she nods and says, “Me, too,” great! But if she starts in on the whole “it’s a scam” business again, simply pull a bottle of hand sanitizer out of your purse, hand it to her nicely and say, “Well then, you’re going to be needing a few of these. Good luck.” And then walk away with your head held high.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years now. We’ve had some bumps and hard times, but we love each other and our relationship is great. The only thing that bothers me is that we’re not married and I’m not sure when we’re going to get married. He says he wants to get married, but he hasn’t made anything official, and he doesn’t talk about it much. Am I overanalyzing this?
Tired of Being a Single Lady
I remember being in your shoes. I was 23 and living with my boyfriend of three years, and I was starting to get antsy. Sure, marriage seemed like a given, but I absolutely hated the fact that I was supposed to sit around and wait for him to officially propose. The way I saw it, we were partners in crime, and every decision we made about our apartment we made together, so why did he get to make this all-important decision all on his own? I made this very argument to him, and told him that I thought we should pick a date of engagement in the near future, and make a plan together for how we would celebrate it. This was in August. I believe we tentatively agreed upon a date in November, and we were each going to start thinking of a grand plan of fancy dinner and a night in a hotel or something to mark the occasion. P.S. On September 18th he beckoned me out on the balcony of our apartment, got down on one knee, and proposed with a family ring. I’m still kinda mad he didn’t stick to our plan.
That was 19 years ago. Man, I’m old!
I know someone who gave an ultimatum and got the ring. I also know someone who broke up with her boyfriend because he hadn’t proposed, and after a month he realized he couldn’t live without her and they got engaged. I know someone whose girlfriend called off their engagement, and it broke him for many months. And, one of the most beautiful/amazing/fun weddings I’ve ever been to? That couple is now divorced. [Cue Debbie Downer waaah-waaah]
So, what’s the lesson? It is hard to cede control, to make yourself vulnerable and stand in front of another person and tell him what you want and/or need, and risk having him tell you he can’t or won’t give it to you. Marriage is a long haul. This is just the beginning. If he’s the right one, then having a conversation with him about your future plans shouldn’t be an issue. You may not get the answer you want, but better to find that out now. Or, you know, channel your inner Gloria Steinem, turn the tables and propose to him!
Whatever you decide, you should go forward knowing that the man you desperately want to marry today will be the man who consistently leaves his dirty underwear hanging on the bathroom towel rack ten years from now.
Best of luck,
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am attending college and still living with my parents. After my sister and her husband had a child, they decided to move back home while saving for a house. It’s totally ridiculous because there is no room here. Anyways, my father and I finished the basement so they could move in, and now pretty much the entire house is theirs.
Their child, my nephew who I love, cute as a button, if not cuter, makes absurd amounts of noise and throws his toys on the hard wood all the time, and this behavior is encouraged. They also play movies like they are at the theater, so i can hear every word through the floors. Ive asked my mother to regulate this as I cannot study, however that seems to have fallen on deaf ears..
My BIL has yet to wash a single dish in this house and my sister finds it very difficult to clean up after herself, throwing passive aggressive tantrums, or flat out tantrums. (My BIL is 37–yes 3-7–and my sister is 22.)
My mother wont say anything to either one of them because they are both so “sensitive” and she fears my sister will be a vindictive bitch once she leaves and wont let my mother see her grandchild.
What do I do, as to not hurt their poor little feelings, and actually get some piece and quiet?
This House is Not a Home
Okay, let’s start with some positives here:
1. Good for you for going to college and not getting pregnant by a twice-your-age man and moving back home with your parents!
2. Double good-for-you for helping your dad refinish the basement! I couldn’t bring myself to paint my own nails in college!
You sound like a super sweet girl, and I love that you’re trying to figure out a way to “fix” this problem without hurting anyone. But, that said, here comes the negative:
1. What’s happening in your parents’ house sounds pretty dysfunctional, and you alone cannot undo that mess.
2. It’s your parents’ home–not yours–so you don’t have the authority or right to affect any change, especially since your mother cannot bring herself to stand up to your sister and her son-in-law.
Buzzkill, I know. But wait, it gets worse, because when you add this mess together, I see only one or two bleak solutions.
1. Spend more time at the library.
2. Move out.
I realize moving out may not be practical or possible while you’re in school, but I’d encourage you to get out of that stressful environment as soon as you possibly can. And while you can’t control what your mother or sister will do to fix things, you can control yourself. Fighting this fight will be a waste of your time and energy. Maybe you and your dad can do a little reno work on the side and just get your own damn place.
Best of luck!
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