11 Apr
Sisters-In-Law? More Like Tormentors-In-Law

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have four sisters-in-law that I just can’t deal with anymore. Any time there is a disagreement, they all gang up on me (as the only in-law) and even my mother-in-law gets in on it as well.

Talking to them about my point of view, or telling them they hurt my feelings is completely useless, as they use this as an opportunity to convince me why their point of view is the right and only way, and then they usually make hurtful and degrading comments. Is it best to keep these toxic relationships out of my life? Or is there really a way to fix this?

Signed,

Odd Sister Out

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Dear Odd Sister Out,

Upon reading your question, of course I immediately pictured the sisters from “The Fighter”:

 

fightersisters

Wicked pissah, right?

Now, if your sisters-in-law look like any of the beauties above, my advice to you is this: STFU or else you’re gonna get your weave pulled out.

sisterfight

But if your female relatives actually don’t pee standing up, I have other advice. And it’s exactly what you yourself suggested—keep these toxic relationships out of your life. In other words, “Don’t Engage With Crazy.”

If at all possible, avoid getting yourself in situations where you have to interact with these ladies. Skip family parties and get-togethers to the best of your ability for a while. When you do have to be in the same room with them, stick to neutral topics like the weather. And if they try to pick a fight, say something bland like, “That’s an interesting thought,” then WALK AWAY. You may feel like you’re losing the battle because you’re not standing up for yourself, but you’re actually winning the war—-on your mental health. (BOOM. Suck it, Oprah.)

But because you’re related to these women, you’re basically in this situation for the long haul. That’s why I want you to imagine that you’re a duck and everything they throw at you is simply water rolling off your back. None of it soaks in. I know that’s easier said than done, but that kind of visualization has worked for me when I’ve been in toxic situations before. I also used to write the acronym “DLTAKYD” on my hand—which stands for “Don’t Let the Assholes Keep You Down.”

My gut feeling is that these women aren’t going to change how they treat you. So that’s why you have to change how you let them affect you. And with a little work, I think you can do just that. And once you do, it’ll be totally #wickedpissah.

Good luck,

Wendi

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08 Apr
It’s My Birthday, Give Me Better Gifts!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I recently had a birthday and a few of my friends and I went out to celebrate.  They treated me to dinner and we had a nice time, but I was a little insulted because the gifts they gave me were all “jokey” gag gifts (like penis-shaped pasta.) I like to laugh as much as anyone, but I also would have a preferred a gift certificate for a manicure. Should I say something?

Signed,

I Could Really Use a Manicure

______________________________________________

Dear Manicureless,

Well, you know the old saying, you shouldn’t look a gift penis pasta in the mouth. It’s there for a reason. (I think it’s because only dentists are allowed to look in mouths since no one has the stomach for it.)  But another reason maybe is that people do not want to appear ungrateful, even if they feel ungrateful because they got a lousy gift instead of that something shiny they had their eye on.  (Is it me, or does it seem like I’m trying to cover a lot of body parts in this post?)

In my experience, there are two types of gifts. The ones you want to get and the ones people want to give. Occasionally, there is a cosmic confluence and the two types become one. Whether it’s because the gift giver knows the recipient so well or because the recipient-in-waiting has launched a small to medium emailing campaign about her preference, there have been times in history when someone opens a present and says, with all sincerity, “this is perfect. How did you know? Thank you!”

The rest of the time, we have to close our eyes and think of England, in gift-terms. We have to thank the person who gave us the gift for remembering our  birthday, for thinking of us, for the gesture.

If the gift does not come with a gift receipt  and you feel like your friends got you a gift that they really want you to enjoy and appreciate, it is not inappropriate to let them know that while  you love the gesture you would  like to exchange it for something more useful to you. Most gift givers have been on the receiving end of this scenario themselves and are happy to facilitate an exchange. However, if, as in your case, the gift was a gag gift, stop at the “thank you.”

Your friends treated you to dinner and you had a nice evening together celebrating your birthday. The penis pasta was just gravy. (Eww.)

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t start a new birthday tradition.  Every year, get yourself a gift for your birthday, something that you really want and that others aren’t likely to get you. I’m thinking less “Maserati” and more “manicure” here.

And here’s to many more birthdays with your friends!

Marinka, TMH

 

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04 Apr
It’s the Most Taxing Time of the Year

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband is a low-key guy, but whenever tax season approaches, he seems to lose his mind. Now that it’s April, and he’s getting the stuff to our accountant, I hear him muttering, cursing, and slamming stuff in his office and generally acting like a lunatic. I know there are a lot of receipts and forms, and I’ve offered to help him throughout the years, but he always says, “I GOT THIS!”

Short of joining the Tea Party, what can I do to make the  next few weeks more tolerable?

Signed,

Taxed by Tax Season

_____________________________________

Dear Taxed,

Oh, this sounds familiar. In my household, however, there’s only TurboTax and an ancient desktop computer to vent upon so I often hear the slamming of keyboards and things like, “NO, NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME TO UPDATE WINDOWS!”

Depending on your husband’s personality, any number of things may help the two of you cope with tax season. Your personality and abilities will play a role as well, of course. Speaking for myself, again, offering assistance is really only offering my ability to stand beside him in the home office with a confused look on my face and occasionally shuffling papers to look busy. It doesn’t seem to help, is what I’m saying. So here are some other ideas off the top of my head:

1. Have a chat.

Is your husband the talk-about-my-feelings type? Many husbands are not, and often only seek to “talk about it” if it’s going to fix a problem. But maybe he just needs someone to feel that his efforts are appreciated. Let him know that you’re thankful for taking care of the paperwork and see if that eases his grumbling. Otherwise, maybe implementing some sort of organization system for the paperwork could help with next year’s filing.

2. Reward chart!

Okay, so maybe don’t pull out the one you used to potty train your toddler, but talk to your husband about maybe treating yourselves once tax season is over. Maybe you’d like to go out for a nice dinner or even escape for the weekend. If that doesn’t tickle his fancy, perhaps suggest you cash in your refund check and let him swim around in a kiddy pool full of $20 bills.

3. Stick it to the man.

While not a viable option, tax evasion is still on the table should you decide that federal prison or a lifetime of wearing disguises on the beaches of the Cayman Islands is something desirable for the two of you.

I’d suggest going with #1 or #2, however.

If none of them work, just try to maintain some patience, remembering that there’s a reason “taxes” are often lumped in with unpleasurable things like “death.”

Good luck,

Kristine, TMH

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01 Apr
Take This Job And Shove It — A Bridesmaid’s Tale

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m in a childhood friend’s wedding in August. I love her, but she’s a micromanager and a bit of a self-centered, spoiled brat. (Friends!) Her maid of honor has already been sending out thousands of emails, including a spreadsheet, and one that provided a bit of a Bridesmaid Manifesto for our obligations.

On this list is the financial burden of both the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Is it the new norm to expect bridesmaids to pay for those parties? And what if I won’t even be in attendance, because I live in another part of the country, and it will be all I can do to pay to get to the wedding itself?  When I mentioned this to the MOH, she basically told me off and now I want to quit the wedding. That could be Question Part B. How do you quit a wedding?

Signed,

One Angry Bridesmaid

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Dear Angry Bridesmaid,

Wow. I’ve read about outrageously demanding brides, and I’ve tortured myself through an episode or two of Bridezillas, but it still comes as a shock that people are this out of their fucking minds as soon as they get an engagement ring on their finger. And in your situation, you’ve got a Maid of Honor who has not only drunk the Kool Aid, but is mixing it and throwing it in your face. Weddings should be fun! Not an opportunity to make your closest friends feel like slaves to your every demand. Gross.

Look, every bride to be does something a little cray-cray, and as her close friend we are obligated to kind of deal with it, assuming she will do the same for us someday. But what you’re describing here is batshit insanity. I’ve never heard of bridesmaids having to pay for parties they aren’t able to attend. Who does that? Still, even though my gut reaction after reading your question is to tell the bride and her 2nd lieutenant to shove that spreadsheet where the sun don’t shine, I think you actually have a few options for how to handle this from here:

1. Call the bride directly. Why are you even arguing about this with the Maid of Honor? She may have been appointed V.P. of Communications by the bride, but so the fuck what. The bride is your childhood friend. Call her and tell her you are so honored (barf) to even be nominated for the role of bridesmaid, but that give the stringent requirements, you don’t want to take away from the most special time in her life (barf-ity barf barf barf), and while you are so looking forward to being there for the wedding itself, you think it would be best for all involved if you respectfully step away from the role of bridesmaid. And then buy her a kick-ass gift.

2. Call the bride’s mother. You were childhood friends, so I’m guessing you know the mom pretty well, too. Think about it, if this is what she’s doing to her bridesmaids, imagine how awful she must be treating her mom right about now. Her mom could use a friend.

3. Tell the bride that you’ve thought it through, and you would be delighted to participate fully as a bridesmaid, provided she signs a contract which states that if the marriage lasts less than five years, you will be reimbursed for every cent you spent as a member of the wedding party. 

Obviously, the first option is really the way to go. I hope it all works out, and that you can still be a bridesmaid, but no matter what she says, you will never wear that dress again. Never.

Good luck,

Karen, TMH

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