Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I just graduated from high school and my mother and I are planning my graduation party. It’s supposed to be fun, but it’s only caused a lot of fighting and heartache. First it started with old school photos she wanted to display at the party. I just wanted the few photos that I like, but my mom wants to put ALL OF THEM–from kindergarten to now. Some of them are embarrassing pictures of me because I was a pretty chubby kid.
The other night, while I was in the middle of watching my favorite show, she pulled out the bag of pictures to show my father, little sister and me. She got offended at my lack of attention and the fact that I said some of the photos were embarrassing. But we said our good nights and it seemed as though nothing was wrong.
I woke up the next day and my mom pulls out a box of graduation goodies she ordered, suddenly commenting that I can just do everything by myself. I AM SO CONFUSED. In a harsh tone, she tells me that if I am so embarrassed about her work than I can do it all by myself. She won’t have anything to do with it. I cried and went to my room.
I called my dad to tell him the situation. He reassured me it will all be fine, but mom is the type where when she gets mad, you better stay out of her sight. My sister approached me and asked if I got in trouble, I nodded my head and told her “mom’s not gonna be at my party,” and she looked shocked.
I don’t know if my mom heard me tell my sister that, but suddenly my mom snapped. She came stomping out of her room and started yelling and throwing things. Then she said that we’re all not going to be able to live together in the house for the summer. She jokes a lot about being sent to a mental institutition, but she said this time that she really needs to go.
Now I’m back in my room, crying a river. I want to get out of here but I can’t leave my sister. I am an honor student, involved in many activities and organizations, and I did not just complete 13 years of schooling for this shit. I don’t know what to do anymore. If I am the problem in this equation, shouldn’t I be removed, permanently?
I guess I just wanted to tell someone – someone that wouldn’t risk repercussions. Thanks for listening.
Hurting and Confused Graduate
Dear Hurting and Confused Graduate,
Oof, my heart. I am so, so sorry that you are going through this during what should be a very exciting, happy time of your life. I feel the need to tell you congratulations on your graduation. Maybe set off some damn fireworks, girl. Despite the chaos that is surrounding you at the moment, this is something of which you should be proud. Take a moment to tell yourself how proud you are if no one else is doing it for you.
I don’t know your mother or your family dynamic, but I don’t need to see those things to understand that your mother is being emotionally manipulative and abusive. You should abso-freakin-lutely be able to tell your mother that you feel embarrassed without it initiating World War III. Your feelings are valid. That was not something your mother needed to take personally. What you endured says more about your mother’s feelings of validation, worthiness, and self-confidence and virtually NOTHING about you. So please also take a moment to tell yourself that: this is not about you. You are not a bad person. You are not a bad daughter. Your feelings are not bad. And while I don’t condone how your mother is treating you, I’m sure she loves you very much.
I feel so powerless trying to help you through a computer screen, so I want to offer you some resources that can be more reliable and immediate. Visit hopeline.com or call 1-800-442-HOPE if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I worry when you say that you need to be “removed, permanently” from this situation that you’re referring to suicide, and believe me when I say that the world is begging you not to. (Because, you aren’t the problem. You are valuable. You are loved. Hell, I love you because I feel your pain and I know you don’t deserve it. Anyone reading this will feel the same.) You can also call domestic violence hotlines because emotional abuse within the family falls into this category. Visit NCADV for local, state-based numbers, websites, and email addresses.
When you’re feeling especially lost, remember that this is temporary. Your life gets better. I swear. You may hear us crazy, old housewives whining all the time, but it’s all very much so worth it.
Take care of yourself,
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I was recently diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I found out after having a cyst rupture, requiring a trip to Urgent Care.
The thing is that my cyst ruptured shortly after being intimate with my fiancé. My doctor reassured me that the rupture wasn’t caused by sex. However, my fiancé is now convinced that he caused my pain and doesn’t want sex because he is scared I’ll rupture another cyst. I’ve told him what the doctor said, but he’s still convinced. He has said that he doesn’t want to have sex until I’m “better” ( meaning my cysts are gone).
Unfortunately, that could be months or even never. He’s been very supportive emotionally and still enjoys cuddling, but I’m a sexual person and only having sex once or twice a week was bad enough. Its been almost 2 weeks now and I’m going crazy! How can I change his mind?!
Dear Cyster Sister,
I’m so sorry to hear about your painful experience and diagnosis. For those who aren’t sure what PCOS is, here’s the definition from MayoClinic.com:
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. The name of the condition comes from the appearance of the ovaries in most, but not all, women with the disorder — enlarged and containing numerous small cysts located along the outer edge of each ovary (polycystic appearance).
I’m sure you doctor (who hopefully isn’t selling sex toys) has gone over everything with you and told you how to manage your condition. I wish you the best of luck in handling all of that and hope you take good care of yourself and your health.
Now, regarding your fiance’s issues, I have to say that his reaction is completely understandable. After all, why would he want to do something with you that may cause enough pain to send you to Urgent Care again? From my slight poking around on the internet, I couldn’t find anything that definitively said sex can cause cysts to rupture. However, I strongly advise you to ask your doctor that question with your fiance in the room so he hears it right from the physician’s mouth. The more information on PCOS that the both of you have, the better and he should know that it’s not something that’ll just “clear up.”
That said, until things are more comfortable between the two of you in regards to sex, there are many other things you can do with, to and on each other to be intimate. (And if that last sentence isn’t proof that I have a bright future writing for certain sexy websites, I don’t know what is.) Take your time with each other and don’t pressure him to do more than he’s ready to do. You’re lucky you have a sweet guy who’s worried about your comfort.
And if any of you readers have advice or experience regarding PCOS, please chime in.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’ve turned over a new leaf and have been going to the gym, eating well, and generally adopting a healthy lifestyle. Recently, I thought I’d try a new class at the gym: boot camp. The problem is that the instructor is GORGEOUS! I think I’ll be too intimidated, or at least distracted, to get through a class. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I need some advice!
Wow! You had me at “new leaf ” and “healthy lifestyle”, then you lost me at “boot camp” and then you got me back at “extremely good looking.” I’m a wreck from riding that emotional roller coaster. But enough about me (for now).
Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way, and congratulate you for your commitment to healthy living. That’s fantastic and I’ve heard experts on TV say that it’s apparently good for you or something. So, good for you! Or something.
But sorry about the gorgeous instructor. Sometimes I think that really attractive people have no idea how annoying their good looks are to the rest of us.
Fortunately for you, I was also a boot camp cadet, so this advice comes with the wisdom borne of experience. So hear me when I share this nugget with you:
It does not matter what your instructor looks like, because the only part you will be seeing are his boots, while you’re doing pushups, running around with a tire or digging your own grave.
I was in a three week tour of duty with my boot camp and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t identify my sergeant in a line up. I know he yelled a lot and I wished things that I was pretty sure violated the Geneva Convention on him, but that’s where things ended. Because when someone responds to your adorable suggestion “what say we invade Gucci and get our hands on some of those purses?!” with a “twenty sit-ups” the details of their facial features tend to blur.
So, stick with the class. Get into fighting shape. And don’t hold Adonis’ DNA against him.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’m 25, the mother of 3 boys, and I’m a tired mom…and not the usual “tired” like every mom is. I’m talking about the kind of tired that leads me to sleep all the time, not want to clean, or even go too far out of my way to create a magical day for my kids. Don’t get me wrong: I love them with every ounce of my being, I just cant do what I used to anymore. I’ve been a house wife/stay at home mom for 6 years now. Additionally, my husband is in the military, so in the past 6.5 years we have lived in 5 different houses. I used to be able to do all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the laundry, and my boys (I’m proud to say) are most of the time extremely well behaved.
I’ve been on anti-depressants for over a year now, due to suicidal thoughts, which of course I’m not proud of (and if I don’t delete that line before I click the “submit” button, I’ll be surprised.) They keep me well balanced; however, my husband wants me off of them asap because its not “normal” to need a pill to be happy. (That’s a whole other email, in and of itself).
Nothing seems to help me “recharge”. I go out with friends every once in a while (though child care is really too expensive) and I don’t even want to go home. My husband doesn’t understand why I can’t do what I did the first 5 years (his words exactly), and no matter how many times I explain I’m burned out, it doesn’t change anything.
What are some (actual) helpful tips to help get back to being “happy mommy”? A hot bath and a glass of wine aren’t cutting it. Child care is not in our budget, and my husband is not a reliable source for helping me get out of the house alone.
Burned Out Mom
Dear Burned Out Mom,
Oh, girl, where do I begin?
I suppose the obvious would be best: you should know first and foremost that you are not alone in this. Motherhood is often like trying to tame wildebeests while the rest of the world watches and reminds you to “enjoy this precious time.” Meanwhile, you’re all, “Enjoy? THAT THING JUST BIT MY ARM.”
Secondly, I’m worried that your husband’s inability to support you emotionally and physically is not helping your situation. As you said, that is another situation in and of itself, but it’s not one to be taken lightly. His lack of empathy or concern for your experience is alarming and is something you need to address with him as soon as you feel confident and strong enough to do so. Couples counseling is great for this. As a fellow military wife, I can say for certain that it saved my little wildebeest family.
So let’s get to your question, then: how can you get back to being a happy mommy? The answer is so obvious that it eluded me, even, for years. You need to ask yourself (and then answer honestly and fully): what makes you happy? Don’t think yet about practicality. Just answer the question. For instance, I needed to realize that accomplishments, achievements, and intellectual stimulation make me happy. (All of which, it seems important to note here, are very difficult to seek while in the company of a drooling human that poos itself on the regular.)
Eventually, I was able to find this with part-time work, exercise, and a closer, more fulfilling relationship with my husband and family. Like you, money for childcare was an issue, but there are ways to make things happen. Reach out to neighbors and friends for childcare. Find a gym that comes with free child watch. Look for an exciting job you can do from home. Sure, the laundry will continue to pile up, but the most important point I can make to you–and I cannot emphasize this enough–is that you mustmustMUST take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Live a life you enjoy, and suddenly finding new ways to cook chicken breast, the ongoing drone of Little Bill, and bathrooms that perpetually smell of urine are no longer so utterly oppressive.
Good luck, momma. Find some friends, talk to your therapist, and be confident in yourself. There’s nothing here to be ashamed of. Take it from me: I’m awesome at murdering chicken breast.
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?
Odd Sister Out
Dear Odd Sister Out,
Upon reading your question, of course I immediately pictured the sisters from “The Fighter”:
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.
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.