01 Mar
Should I Attend My High School Reunion Or Was High School Itself Enough Suffering?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My 20th high school reunion is this summer. I’m not entirely sure how this happened because I swear I’m no older than 32, at least according to Oil of Olay’s promise to remove years from my face. I always assumed I’d go to my reunion, but the more I follow the dedicated reunion Facebook page the less I want to go. It’s the same popular “in” crowd chatting with each other (eye roll).  Do people regret not attending their high school reunions? And why hasn’t Facebook made these damn things obsolete already?

Signed,

I Didn’t Like These People in High School So Why Should I Hang Out With Them 20 Years Later?

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Dear I Didn’t Like These People in High School,

In order to attend a reunion, you must be in a relatively positive place. You should feel pretty good about the way you look and the direction of your life.

For example, if you are 38 and still living at home, sleeping in your old bunk bed with The Incredible Hulk sheets, you might consider not going. Or if the only person you communicate with regularly is your parole officer, ditto. Or if you went way overboard on the Botox and now look like a disturbing wax version of yourself (think Sandra Bullock at the Oscars), this might not be the time to step out into the reunion spotlight.

But if you are in a good groove, why not go? Forget about the “in” crowd. Do you have a group of friends from high school that you like or liked? Reconnect with them and you can all hang out together. It can be a lot of fun to see old pals and remember just how devastated you all were to find out Milli Vanilli was a fraud. (I still mourn the loss of that band.)

And at some point during the reunion, I absolutely promise that you are going to run into some pudgy guy who is sporting a shiny bald head and an orange glow from too much self tanner and you’re going to suddenly realize, “Holy crap. That’s Billie Thaler. The god damn captain of the football team and hottest guy at school who I worshiped for FOUR long years and the only thing he ever said to me was, ‘A tampon just fell out of your purse.’ Wow, he looks awful.”

The joy of his fall from grace will certainly be reason enough to go.  Doesn’t that sound more satisfying than just looking up old classmates on Facebook?

My final advice is to have a few cocktails. Reunions are not for the sober. Unless not drinking is a requirement for your parole and then see earlier advice about maybe sitting this reunion out.

Good luck,

Kelcey, TMH

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11 Jan
No Photos of the Baby, Please

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am pregnant with our first child. Since we are going to be new parents, I know and accept we are going to be uptight, hanging on every word of parenting advice ever, fine-tooth combing “What to Expect”, etc., until we get the swing of things and find our own parenting style. However, we are worried about how social networks may come into play.

I know it may seem silly, but we do not want anyone posting photos of our little one on their Facebook/Twitter/whatever. A new child can be an exciting and happy moment, so I am happy and flattered that people would want to share in this, but we feel sometimes the internet can allow one to share too much. Sharing photos with family and friends is wonderful, but we don’t want them posting these online and sharing with a bunch of strangers we don’t even know.

So three parter question: 1) How do we explain this in a nice way to help ensure our wishes are followed? 2) How do we handle things if our wishes are not accepted/ listened to/ followed? 3) Are we being over-protective/ downright bat-shit crazy?

Much love,

Nervous Newbie

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Dear N.N.,

Boy, are you going to have a laugh over this question some day. Probably when your child has screamed for 5 hours straight, you can’t remember the last time you took a shower and you just tried to bush your teeth with sunscreen. And then you’re going to think back to your concern about photos on the internet, let out a hearty laugh and then scream to your spouse, “FIND THE PACIFIER. FIND IT RIGHT NOW. WE BOUGHT 20 OF THEM. WHERE ARE THEY?!!! I DON’T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT NIPPLE CONFUSION. I CAN’T TAKE THE CRYING!!! FIND THAT GOD DAMN PACIFIER!!!”

But since that day has yet to come, let’s address your questions. If you want to prevent people from posting your child’s photo, I would try to have a really ugly child. Now I have no idea what you look like. But let’s just say if very big heads run in your family (like they do in mine), you are in the clear.  Also, make sure you’re not a celebrity. If you just named your kid Blue Ivy, you’re going to have a problem.

But I really would not worry too much about friends/family putting your child’s photo on the internet. Mostly because no one is going to care remotely as much about your child as you will.

In fact, you’ll probably have to prevent yourself from posting a daily photo of your little babe to all your Facebook friends which of course includes that weird girl in your high school geometry class. Although I’m sure she’ll think little Johnny is oh so handsome!

To everyone else, kids sort of all blend together. Don’t believe me? Go look at all those Christmas cards. See what I mean?!   Now if you do have one or two relatives who are prone to snapping copious amount of photos and instantly uploading them, just take them aside and ask them to respect your privacy. And if pictures do end up on Facebook or other sites, just request that the offending family member take them down.

Finally, are you bat shit crazy? No. Well, maybe a teeny tiny bit. But no more so than any other expecting parent. So don’t sweat it.   Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly.

By the way, I found those baby expert books make excellent paper weights. Or if you get enough of them, a footstool! But I wouldn’t really bother reading them.

Good luck to you.

Kelcey, TMH

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28 Nov
Facebook Makes Strange Bedfellows

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I just noticed my female cousin and my ex-husband are now “friends” on Facebook. My ex was verbally/physically/mentally abuse to me as well as verbally/mentally abusive also to my cousin. Do you feel this is appropriate for the two of them to now be friends on Facebook?

Signed,

Dislike!

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Dear Dislike,

Do you remember a time before Facebook? Where family drama was communicated through phone lines and in whispered hushes at family gatherings? When you had to work a bit harder to be passive aggressive about your feelings for your siblings choice of spouse? When the Internet was a place for the young and hip and not the aging and hip-replaced?

Yeah, me neither.

The fact of the matter is that I find many things about Facebook to be highly inappropriate. They include but are not limited to the following:

1. Telling me what you’re doing today, whether it’s going to the post office or making pasta for dinner. Yes, life is boring, and we’re all gonna die. We don’t need the reminder.

2. ANYTHING THAT MUST BE ACCENTUATED WITH ALL CAPS. Especially if you’re referencing the murder of your husband.

3. Posting pictures of your cleavage. Or moobs. Let’s at least pretend we’re not whores.

4. Updates that fish for compliments, flattery, sympathy, or advice on how to unclog a toilet. Your insecurities and digestive issues make everyone feel uncomfortable.

5. Images of my underage nieces and nephews chugging vodka and/or straddling members of the opposite sex. Mostly because it’s too much too fast, but also because it makes me feel old and prudish.

6. Public feuds. Please have the courtesy to NOT delete your humiliating arguments with your sister in-law. What’s embarrassing for you is a much-needed mood-lifting perspective for the rest of us.

Really, I could go on, but I worry that I’ll implicate myself at some point. So, back to you. Your situation is, hands down, also inappropriate. You should feel supported by your family, especially if you had the strength and courage to get yourself out of an abusive marriage. I can’t pretend to know why your cousin would make that connection, but I think you should certainly confront her. You don’t need to start a fight (though, if you do, please don’t delete it), but be honest about how this betrayal has made you feel.

In the end, what your cousin has done isn’t a Facebook issue, but a sensitivity issue. We’ve already written off the character of your ex, but your family should know better. (Then again, if your cousin also starts posting images of her cleavage, just cut the strings and call it a day.)

Good luck!

Kristine, TMH

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07 Nov
Help! My Friend’s Kids Are Sick With The Ick And I think It’s A Trick!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have a very close friend whom I’ve known since childhood. We lost touch, and then reconnected after we’d both married and had kids. She’s sweet, warm and kind but lately, I’ve been plagued by the thought that she might be suffering from Münchausen  Syndrome By Proxy.

Her two young, high maintenance children are always sick. She works part-time at a hospital to make ends meet, so I just assumed she was bringing viruses home from work. But it seems like every day they have caught some new, terrible plague or are going to the ER. And she tells everyone about it on Facebook. Even her closest friends are starting to reply to her posts with, “Again?? Really??”

She has a lot of the classic red flags- She used to have a severe eating disorder, she has anxiety and self esteem issues, and she’s very clingy with her kids-she doesn’t like them to be out of her reach very often. Her marriage is often rocky. Yet for some reason, she even keeps talking about wanting more kids.

I hate to think my good friend could be doing something awful, but the more I read about the disorder and compare the information to her, the more uncomfortable I feel about it. I don’t know what to do.

Signed,

Cautiously Concerned

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Dear Cautiously Concerned,

Before we begin to discuss your friend, let’s talk about the Internet for a minute. First, I understand your anxious researching of symptoms. I, myself, am an expert in this. In fact, at this moment I am probably dying from African trypanosomiasis. The problem is that while I have most of the symptoms of this disease, in reality, an illness tends to be more complicated than a simple checklist.

The other thing to keep in mind about the glorious interweb and its social networking, is that some people confuse Mark Zuckerberg’s creation with actual therapy sessions. It’s also hard to really know a person from their Facebook posts. For instance, most of my FB friends assume I’m only interested in images of cats in costumes but this is not the entire picture. I also like photos of dogs in funny hats. So it’s important not to put too much diagnostic weight on anyone’s Facebook status.

Now, on to your friend. Münchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSbP) is a serious and extremely complicated condition. One of the main problems in its diagnosis has to do with the similarities to an actual, organic issue with a child. It is possible that the stress in the household has caused the two children to have anxiety or depression that can manifest itself in physical ways. It’s also possible that there is something in the home that could be causing all types of illnesses, such as a mold infestation.  Or the kids are just being the petri dishes of bacteria that most children really are. I’m not saying that MSbP couldn’t be happening but I’m also not saying that it is. It’s important in a situation such as this to rule out other possible causes.

Also, anxiety, depression and being a helicopter mom do not necessarily translate into MSbP. The eating disorder early on in her life was probably a symptom of her anxiety and depression and is not necessarily indicative of someone who will grow up to abuse her children. Certainly, these days, with Kate Middleton, LeAnn Rimes and Rachel Zoe as role models it’s difficult to find a woman who doesn’t have an eating disorder or is not contemplating one. (Does the Grapefruit Diet work?)

You seem like a really good friend. And there may be reason to worry, but before jumping to conclusions (don’t worry, we all do it) I’d suggest a serious sit down with her. Try and get her to open up about her marriage, the stresses in her life, and how she may or may not be dealing with them very well. If you are still extremely concerned, keep track of how often her children are sick or in the hospital and how she reacts to these situations then seek the advice of a medical professional. Even then, I would proceed with extreme caution.

Good Luck to you and your friend,

Tonya, TMH

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19 Oct
Home Alone Without Macaulay Culkin

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband sometimes travels for his job. I may be a complete ninny for feeling this way, but I don’t like it when he gets tagged on Facebook by coworkers as being at Place A in Town B. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to advertise on the internet that you’re out of town. I know the chances are slim that some sicko would see that, associate me with my husband, know where we live and BAM!, at 2 o’clock in the morning, come do some kind of harm while I’m home alone with our kids.

I probably have a higher chance of randomly running into Johnny Depp and him falling madly in love with me than a sicko tracking me down. Do I sound ridiculous? Or am I being smart?

Signed,

Mind Your Own Business Facebook

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Dear Mind Your Own Business,

Let’s get right to the heart of your question. No, it’s not too late for you to randomly run into Johnny Depp and have him fall madly in love with you. And judging from the fact that he’s now filming Pirates of the Caribbean 16 he should have plenty of that Captain Jack Sparrow dough to spend on you. I just hope you love a man who has a passion for eyeliner.

But until that chance encounter happens, let’s talk about you and your husband’s travel schedule.   That Facebook can be a real nuisance. I’m pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg drives by my house each night just to keep tabs on my whereabouts.   I hate all these social networks that keep track of everyone’s location. Look, if I wanted to know that Greg Jones from my 10th grade geometry class is currently in the Strand Book Store reading the latest Candace Bushnell book, I would have kept in touch with him.

Now I don’t think you are in any danger. But it’s perfectly normal to have some anxiety when your spouse is out of town. Ask your husband to untag himself on Facebook from anything that pinpoints his location. Or better yet, ask him for his password so you can easily do it yourself. Just don’t take the opportunity to drink too many glasses of Chardonnay and send messages to his ex-girlfriends. Trust me – that does not end well.

Also, do you have an alarm system? This can totally make you feel more comfortable when your husband is away. Finally, hire yourself a full time doorman at your house for added security. (Note: This final tip only works if you have buttloads of extra cash that you just don’t know what to do with).

Let us know when you meet Johnny!

Signed,

Kelcey, TMH

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