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,
Do I have to pay the $100 an hour guys that come to my house to put in closet shelves if they spend their time shooting the breeze on my dime? Should this not bother me? Am I just cheap? It seems like every time I have to call a handy man in to paint the bedrooms or caulk the shower stall or clean out the gutters, he ends up talking to me about his kids that don’t listen, or the lazy boss at his old job. I’m fine with being an ear to someone who needs one, but must I be the one paying to hear of someone’s woes at two bucks a minute?? Seems like they should be paying me, not me paying them to dump on me.
The last straw was with a closet maker/organizer that came last week. She sat and talked about her divorce and then sent me a bill for 3 hours work when she spent at least half an hour at my kitchen table complaining about her ex not giving her enough money to pay for private school tuition for the kids. I can’t be the only one. Do people just pay this and consider it a “tip?” Am I just a cheap skate?
I’ll Listen, But Not At 2 Bucks a Minute
Dear I’ll Listen,
I guess it’s safe to assume that the “handymen with caulk” in your house aren’t shirtless, otherwise you wouldn’t be complaining. Which is probably your first mistake, hiring clothed handymen, but then again, I suppose not all handymen should go shirtless. (I’m looking at you, Fatballs Larry. Ain’t nobody need to see that crack.)
It’s also probably safe to assume that you have one of those “approachable and friendly” faces that gives workers the signal it’s okay to talk to you. Bad, bad, bad. So very bad.
“In the presence of the hired man, one must always put on their Mega Bitch Face.” That’s a quote from the Dowager Countess. Or maybe it’s a quote from my Dowager Neighbor who’s always nasty to the lawn guys. I’m not sure which because I’m usually tipsy when I watch PBS. (That’s why I have 150 tote bags: drunk dialing during pledge drives.)
Anyway, I know it may sound like I’m kidding about the bitch face thing, but I’m really not. If you don’t engage the handymen in conversation, they won’t talk to you. It’s as simple as that. Even if your entire body is telling you, “Go ask Phil if he has any kids!” you must not ask Phil if he has any kids. Tell him what you need done, then disappear.
If he tries to talk to you, put on headphones or pretend you only speak Portuguese or something. Glue your cell phone to your ear and act like you’re on a conference call. (“What?! No, I told you I need that report ASAP, Jeremy! I’m calling HR!”) Just do whatever you need to do to be antisocial. Sure, he may think you’re sort of a jerk, but who cares when each word that comes out of his mouth costs you cash, right?
And if that doesn’t work, give me a call. I’ve got a hammer, a need for cash and I never talk to anyone if I don’t have to.
50 Bloggers are giving away 50 sets of 26 top spices over the next 25 days! That’s 50 Chances to Win! Starting today, March 6th, 2 bloggers will start a 7-day spice giveaway (winners in continental US only) with winners announced on the 8th day. Each day after that, for 25 days total, two more giveaways will start. Check out the 50 foodies in the matrix below, and join their contests for additional chances to win! PIN THIS CONTEST AND SHARE THE SPICE.
Don’t want to wait, win now and buy your own custom spice set from Spices Inc.
*Note: The dates below are start dates, some bloggers may not get their contests started until the evening on that date, so please be patient. We promise, all links are real, all parties are enthusiastic and willing participants. And it’s a proven fact, that your chances of winning go up exponentially each time you enter an additional contest. Thank you.
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Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’m a mom and stay at home with my almost 3 year old daughter. My problem is that while I LOVE spending time with my baby, I absolutely hate all household chores that SAHMS are often expected to perform. I’m not interested in dusting, cleaning, laundry, straightening up or especially vacuuming. We have someone who comes twice a week, but my mother thinks that I’m not doing my job as a stay at home mom if I hire someone to do the cleaning. My husband doesn’t care either way. Am I wrong to hire someone?
Please Don’t Make Me Vacuum
Dear Please Come Over and Vacuum My Place,
I’m not sure how taking care of your baby and cleaning the house ever got meshed together, but my hat is off to you for ending that nonsense. (Confession: I wasn’t wearing a hat.)
Personally, I don’t like to clean and I’m not good at it. When I do clean out of necessity, I don’t find it relaxing, satisfying or rewarding. Know what I find relaxing, satisfying and rewarding? A massage. A good massage. And maybe a foot rub. A mani/pedi. But not cleaning.
If you couldn’t afford to hire someone to clean, we’d have a very different situation on our hands (and one that I would gladly pass off to my sister wife Wendi, the Mouthy in Charge of Cleanliness is Next to Godliness), but since your question is merely whether it’s ok for you to hire someone to do a job that you are not interested in, my resounding answer is OMG, YES. Especially if you have someone working for you who you trust and who’s doing a good job, and you and your husband are happy with it.
The fact that your mother seems to think that this should be your responsibility has nothing to do with your life. It’s possible that in her day and age women were expected to do certain things while they remained at home, but in our defense, that was before the invention of the DVR and the internet.
So, enjoy your time with your daughter! And leave the cleaning to the professionals.
Yours in Jealousy,
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’m a straight, single man who wants to buy some decorative throw pillows. Do you have any ideas on how I can show that, while I may be a man, I don’t have to live like a bachelor?
First, I’m going to work on the assumption that we’re not speaking in code here. “Throw pillows” means throw pillows, right? Not, like, the liberator sex positioning wedge? Because that would be more up Wendi’s alley, I think.
Now that we have that cleared up, I can proceed in telling you that there is nothing to be ashamed of when you find yourself experiencing these strange new feelings for…throw pillows. As we age, our bodies and brains change! New chemicals are released that lead us to crave certain things! And sometimes that means puberty or menopause, but sometimes it means interior design, too!
One of my favorite places to
shop through my feelings look for fashion and design ideas is etsy. You just need to ask yourself what it is about yourself you’d like these pillows to express. Is it your trendy side? You can go with trendy designs, such as stripes or chevrons, but in masculine colors.
Or do you want them to speak to your quirky, hipster qualities? These might work.
Another option is to have fun with upcycling, suggesting to your potential mates that you are eco-friendly and possibly enjoy the smell of patchouli.
Or we could just cut to the chase, here, and just go for the pillows that are going to score you some tail. And if that’s your goal, then you should just empty your checking account for some pillows from Anthropologie.
Yesterday, we announced the kickoff to our Birthday Week, here at The Mouthy Housewives! As is tradition, we use this week to turn the tables on you, dear, wise readers, in the hopes that you can help us with some of our problems. This not only relieves our stress, but frees up some time for extra margaritas and wine spritzers!
Today, Kristine is calling for a little help from her friends…
Dear Mouthy Housewife Readers,
I’m kind of bad with managing my time. Since I, my husband, and our two boys moved from New York to Texas last year, I’ve found it difficult to get as much done during the day as I used to. I’ve tried making lists, and organizing my week, but without fail, I always find myself planted in front of a Real Housewives of New Jersey marathon, or shopping for overpriced bohemian garb at Anthropologie.com.
It has created some tension in the house, since I’m regularly frustrated by my inability to set and accomplish goals. I don’t think I’m unmotivated, because I get a great sense of pride when I can do something tangible like organizing our files or moving the laundry pile from one spot to another. I don’t think I”m depressed, either, because I’m already heavily medicated! Maybe I’m just overwhelmed by how much that needs to be done? Or maybe I’m distracted in too many directions, since I work from home, have two young kids, and also am trying to starve myself to death on a juicing cleanse?
What do you think? Any tips?