24 Feb
Paging Dr. Doobie

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’ve finally found a pediatrician my kids like. They like him because we became friends with the good doctor and his family, so my kids see beyond the white coat now. I, too, see beyond the white coat. His white coat is stuffed with joints. He’s a big pot smoker. I don’t know if he abstains on his on call nights, but I have a feeling he doesn’t given how often I see him stoned. It’s the only pediatric practice within our town, and I’m very close with his wife. It would be problematic to switch to a new MD within his practice and they’d require a reason since the other doctors are not accepting new patients (I did check once).

Would this trip you out?

Signed,

Our Doctor Has a Doobie (or ten)

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Dear Doc Has a Doobie,

Wow, I’m totally tripping out right now because I don’t even know how to answer this. On one hand I want to be ethical and legal. But on the other hand I’m trying to overcome my uptight ninny reputation, so I feel pressured to act like pot is no big deal. (Aren’t all the cool parents doing it?)

Of all the illegal drugs out there, pot does seem to be the least harmless – as long as you don’t hold the life of a child in your hands! I’m sorry but it looks like uptight ninny is going to win out this time. Not that I really care if someone smokes pot during off hours. But a doctor getting stoned while on call will bring out the uptight ninny every time.

If he’s high as often as you suspect, he possibly has a problem. Now we enter into the sticky realm of whether you talk to your friend or not. And now I want to get stoned. GAH! Why can’t things be simple?!

I think you need to be very honest with yourself. How much does this bother you? If your child had an emergency during off hours and he was the doctor who came to treat him/her, would you trust him? If not, you need to find a way to move to a new doctor.

If I were you, I would switch pediatricians with the excuse of needing someone who could be more objective in the event of an emergency – a close, personal friend might not have the distance needed to stay levelheaded. It sounds flimsy, but it’s all I got. Then again, if you were I, you would swear off all MDs and go with witch doctors instead. We’ve never been healthier!

Signed,

Heather, TMH

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17 Feb
Mommy Is Off The Clock!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband generally comes home from work after our 2-year old is in bed. By then I am DONE dealing with my son for the day, as I’ve just spent the past 12 hours putting up with his tantrums, his whines, his pickiness, and all the other things 2-year olds do on a daily basis. I love my son, but at the end of the day I just want to be ME again. Yet when my husband gets home all he wants to talk about is the kid.   I’ve tried gently telling my husband that as adorable as it is to listen to him mimic our son’s whiny chants of “Maaaamaaaaa! Maaaaaamaaaaa!” I’m not really in the mood anymore, and that my parenting duties are over once the kid is in bed. But he just doesn’t seem to get it.

How can I save my sanity without making my husband feel like I don’t appreciate his interest in our son?

Signed,

Maaaaamaaaaaa!

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Dear Maaamaaaa,

Boy, does your question bring back nightmares. I mean memories! Ahem. Yes, it brings back such cherished memories. (Of hell on earth.)

Every stage of childrearing can be challenging, but there is something about the toddler years that makes every mother dream of being a gorgeous runway model, strutting the latest fashion in straitjackets on the catwalk. Which, of course, is located in a padded room that the hospital staff cleans for you. And they bring you meals too! That you don’t have to cook! Oh, lovely, lovely dream.

You’re right, though. It is good that your husband obviously loves your son and is so interested in his day, so let’s not discourage that. Yet when he gets home from work you don’t mimic the annoying traits of his coworkers, so there has to be some give and take here.

In today’s high-tech world there are many ways you can share the joys of all-day tantrums. This is why stay-at-home moms need smart phones; you can record all of that crap on video then replay it for your husband when he gets home. You could even do it live with Face Time, if he’s really feeling left out of experiencing 20 tantrums before lunch.   Before long, your husband won’t even ask about the kid and you’ll be like every other wife pretending to be interested in what happened at his office.

But don’t forget old school methods, either. Leave him home with your 2-year-old during the day on the weekend while you get out and away. I used to LIVE for those Saturdays of solitary window shopping and receiving 12 phone calls from my husband with a screaming kid in the background, asking me what to do. (Once my husband realized every frantic phone call on my “off” time meant another 30 minutes I’d stay away, he stopped calling. Okay, maybe he stopped because I went batshit crazy on him in TJ Maxx for calling me.)

Anyway, take a deep breath (of glue) and remember this stage will pass too. Then go get a smart phone with Face Time capabilities.

Signed,

Heather, TMH

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10 Feb
Kids, Just Shut Up Already!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My two kids either love each other or hate each other. Sometimes they have the biggest fights. I want them to work it out themselves but I don’t want them to be cruel to each other. What is the best way to handle sibling squabbles?

Signed,

Meddlesome Mama

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Dear Meddlesome Mama,

I have two boys close in age, so I know exactly what you’re saying. Whose turn is it on the Wii, whose turn is it to take out the trash, whose turn is it to call the other an ugly buttface. There are times it almost makes the riots in Egypt look tame. But unlike Mubarak, you and I can’t resign from this job come September.

The fact that you are asking this question tells me you misunderstand the miracle of duct tape. It’s the best way to handle most anything, really. When kids fight over the Wii, duct tape the controllers to the ceiling. If no one wants to take out the trash, well, just duct tape their leftovers onto their shirt then the trash won’t get full. (On a side note, duct tape also attaches a truck muffler back onto the vehicle. At least it does in the South.)

However I don’t recommend going so far as putting duct tape over a kid’s mouth. Having waxed a few of stray female lip hairs in my day (okay, maybe more than a few), that crap hurts. So when sibling squabbles escalate to ugly name-calling and general mudslinging that interferes with your Thursday night TV viewing, it’s time to tell them to shut up already. It’s a lofty ideal to want kids to work out their differences, but we dictators, uh, I mean parents have to draw lines and interrupting 30 Rock is one of them.

Signed,

Heather, TMH

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03 Feb
Head Up Butt Makes for Miscommunication

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband has his head up his butt and tells me nothing. I find out at the last minute when he is flying out of town. He told me after the fact when he spent $100 on silk long John’s for his fast-growing daughter. He doesn’t tell me about arguments with his ex. He loans family money and “forgets” to tell me. He’s always figuring out ways to get me to do things for him.

I’ve resorted to reading his texts. I feel like a jerk. Or should I?

Signed,

Uninformed but Sneaky

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Dear Uninformed,

I’m no speech-language pathologist, but I play one in our homeschooling so that practically makes me an expert. In my unprofessional opinion it must be hard to communicate with people when your head is up your own butt. How can they hear you? And what happens when you fart? Gross.

Clearly, though, you two have a communication problem. Fortunately for you I have the perfect solution. Take two coffee cans and long string. Drill a hole in the cans, tie the string, and tada! Tin can telephones! Communication problems solved. But if the tin can doesn’t work you can always use them as a bolas to ring his neck.

It sounds like your husband may be a bit of an egomaniac. Why does he need to inform you of anything when his life and convenience is the one that matters most?! I suggest you take a stand by respecting yourself and not by reading his text messages, which is just passive-aggressive behavior. Say no when he tries to maneuver you to do things for him. Flat out tell him to give you the respect of telling you his travel plans before the last minute.

But before you go all alpha female on him, make sure you’re picking the right fight. Do you really need to know each time he argues with his ex? I doubt it. Does he need to report every dollar he spends? I don’t know – that depends on your financial situation. Make sure you strike the balance between wanting respect and just being a controlling nag.

Signed,

Heather, TMH

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27 Jan
A Slob Reformation

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband and I are slobs. We’re not quite starring on Hoarders or anything, but I haven’t changed my cleaning habits much since I had a path to my bed when I was 10. Luckily (or unluckily) my husband has the same tolerance to clutter/mess that I do, so it’s never before been a cause of marital strife. But now I’m trying to change.

This past month I’m on a roll and have started making visible progress, but this has coincided with one of my husband’s worst months at work. All he wants to do when he gets home is sit in his chair and watch TV, all evening, all weekend. You know, the kind of behavior that has been OK for the past dozen years of marriage, but it’s suddenly pissing me off. It’s very frustrating to not get any help and feel like I’m the only one actually fighting in the battle to reform. (Full disclosure: He does notice what I’ve done during the day and is lavish with the compliments.)

How do I balance genuinely needing help and support versus “You can’t change another person, only yourself”?

Signed,

Nearly Neat

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Dear Nearly Neat,

Congratulations on being on the path to cleanliness! They say it is next to godliness, which I guess explains the voices I hear in my head: God is right next to me, talking to me. Or maybe I hear the voices because of all the cleaner fumes I breathe in when I scrub the tub. Either way, who cares! The house is clean and I’m happy because God tells me I deserve a vodka tonic after all my hard work.

It’s true we can’t change another person, only ourselves. The weird thing though, is that by changing ourselves, it also changes others. Mahatma Gandhi also speaks to me, mostly when I use a lot of bleach in the whites, and he told me that directly from heaven! What’s stranger still is Gandhi was a man so I’m wondering if he ever did his own whites. What did he know about extensive housework?

But this is marriage we’re talking about here. Partnership! Helpmate! The reality is things aren’t always exactly 50/50. Right now he’s under a lot of stress. We know husbands have to take care of themselves emotionally just like we do. So maybe, for now, you should let him off the cleaning reform hook. If you have old enough children, make them take his place. What did we have kids for if not to at least wash the dirty dishes?! As a child I was convinced that was the only reason my parents had my sister and me.

As far as the weekend goes, well, I think that’s a wee bit different. For the time being, perhaps you should scale back your expectations. Say, get him to help you on a specific cleaning job for, I don’t know, an hour or two, and then call it quits and do something fun, like go out for ice cream or watch as your kids do the dishes. (I swear my parents’ FAVORITE pastime.) And don’t forget to let yourself off the hook a little right now too.

But once things calm down at work, put the screws to him. Work his @$$ off and make him earn IT. And you know what I mean by “IT”.

Signed,

Heather, TMH

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