19 Apr
Tick Tock Goes My Biological Clock, But My Husband Wants to Wait

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am 24 years old and my husband is 28. We have been together for 5 1/2 years and married for 5 months. We are both college grads with well paying jobs, good cars and a nice house. I am ready to have a baby-I’ve got the fever! My husband is not ready yet. He wants to wait another year or two. I could give you 10 million reasons why I want a baby, but as women I am sure you know them all!

I work from home, and lately I have been reading pre-natal health books, pinning nursery ideas, researching baby names and pricing out nursery furniture and safe car seats.

What do I do!?!?!?!?! How can I get him to want a baby as much as I do?

Sincerely,

Tick Tock

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Dear Tick Tock,

Oh, girl. You’ve got baby fever and you’ve got it bad! Unfortunately, it’s not a contagious disease, so I don’t think your husband will catch it, but I do have some medicine that might help reduce your symptoms:

1. Search colicky baby on YouTube.

2. Ask a friend with a toddler if you can babysit, then take the kid to the playground with a toy stroller. Watch other toddlers try to play with the stroller. Try to get them to take turns. [Maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh!]

3. Take a five year old to Chuck E. Cheese in the middle of the day on a Saturday. Do not bring earplugs — no cheating! Try not to think about all the germs in that habitrail-like crawl space thing that probably never gets cleaned by anyone.

But seriously, what’s the rush? You’re only 24, you’ve only been married for 5 months, and your husband isn’t saying he’s not sure he wants kids, he just wants to wait a couple of years (maybe even less). I have to say, I think that is totally reasonable. Have fun! Revel in that first year of marriage. Enjoy the freedom of being able to go out on a whim (babysitting is super-expensive, yo), travel places with only a carry-on, spend a weekend binge-watching Friday Night Lights, make last minute plans at least once a week, and for heaven’s sake SLEEP!!!! Seriously, I would almost pay you good money to sleep and then report back to me about what it was like. Almost.

Look, I get it. I’ve been where you are. It turns out 8-month-olds in fleece-y buntings are my kryptonite — they look so snuggly, and they’re at that yummy stage where they are just starting to show their personalities after months of just eating, pooping and sleeping, and you just know their necks are sooooo soft and smell sooooo good and ZOMGZ!! Just thinking about it almost makes me want to go for a third. Almost. But having a baby is just the beginning, and while becoming a parent is life-changing and amazing and full of joy, it also has intense moments of stress that can test even the strongest of marriages.

So, my advice is for you to take a breath, put down the baby books, live in the moment, and maybe revisit the idea on your one year anniversary…perhaps while wearing some racy lingerie.

Sincerely,

Karen, TMH

 

 

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15 Apr
There’s Not Enough Wine In The World For This Burned Out Mom

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.

Help!

Signed,

Burned Out Mom

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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.

Kristine, 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

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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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28 Mar
My Husband is Amazing But He’s Making Me Crazy

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband is smart. He is so smart that he has three bachelor degrees in different fields, a master’s degree in another field, and most recently an MD. He is a math wiz, a politics smartypants, and (to top it all off) an amazing cook.

Yet somehow in all of his multi-talented greatness, he does not know how to follow directions. Here are a few examples:

“Honey, on the way home, please pick up two gallons of 1% milk.” He brings home one gallon of whole.

“Please save this beer for me. I want to drink it after the kids are asleep.” While I’m bathing them, he pops it open and downs it. (For the record, that one got ugly. It was a vanilla porter.)

“I put some clothes on our daughter’s bed. Please help her get dressed.” Five minutes later he asks what I want her to wear.

“It is really important to me that you not thaw raw chicken wings by taking them out of the package and soaking them in the sink.” He’s a doctor! Hasn’t he heard of salmonella??? He never remembers.

I just don’t understand. Is it possible that he is so smart that he can’t follow simple directions? He can’t be that smart. He thinks it’s funny to grab my boobs and yell, “Honk honk!” And when I point out to him that he didn’t listen correctly, he apologizes profusely. Short of writing down everything I want him to do on a post-it, is there any way I can get through to him?

Sincerely,

Maybe I’m the Smart One

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Dear Smart One,

So let me understand this. Your husband could actually save your life in a medical emergency, he can likely do your taxes and he’s an amazing chef! But you’re upset that he’s bringing home whole milk or forgetting that you left out clothes for your daughter on the bed?! Girl, you know you can’t find everything in one man. Not possible. And you are doing pretty well.

There are a certain number of people that are academically brilliant but challenged enormously by the basics of life. Take my mother for example. She has a bunch of degrees, including a PhD and a Master’s in Social Work that she got at the age of 68. Yet, this very same woman has a license plate on her car that at this very moment is upside down. True story.

Your husband is probably unlikely to change much in this area. But it’s worth talking to him about. It sounds like he’s not a great listener and maybe that’s making you feel unheard and unimportant. Because when he drinks your favorite beer or doesn’t take the time to get the milk you want that can make you feel like he doesn’t value you or value what you have to say. Perhaps just sharing this with him might motivate him to pay more attention.

But keep your expectations low and know that there are some things that one will truly never understand. For example, when my husband goes to the grocery store he always forgets one item, despite my constant pleas to just cross things off this list. Or how come he can drive to the same place 356 times and still not know how to get there. And my husband also does not understand that raw chicken is nasty and toxic. I almost put on a hazmat suit at Stop & Shop the other day when the chicken juice dripped on me. So I feel your torture.

But, most of these flaws I just try to accept, because my husband is a great guy and an amazing father. Somehow, you have to figure out a way to do the same. Because he can save your life! And cook you a kick ass meal! And that’s worth a lot.

However, there is one area where you must draw a line in the sand immediately. He must never again grab your boobs and yell, “Honk. honk.” No marriage can survive that.

Good luck,

Kelcey, TMH

 

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22 Feb
If He Likes It Then What’s Taking Him So Long To Put A Ring On It?

Dear TMH,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years now. We’ve had some bumps and hard times, but we love each other and our relationship is great. The only thing that bothers me is that we’re not married and I’m not sure when we’re going to get married. He says he wants to get married, but he hasn’t made anything official, and he doesn’t talk about it much. Am I overanalyzing this?

Signed,

Tired of Being a Single Lady

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Dear Tired,

I remember being in your shoes. I was 23 and living with my boyfriend of three years, and I was starting to get antsy. Sure, marriage seemed like a given, but I absolutely hated the fact that I was supposed to sit around and wait for him to officially propose. The way I saw it, we were partners in crime, and every decision we made about our apartment we made together, so why did he get to make this all-important decision all on his own? I made this very argument to him, and told him that I thought we should pick a date of engagement in the near future, and make a plan together for how we would celebrate it. This was in August. I believe we tentatively agreed upon a date in November, and we were each going to start thinking of a grand plan of fancy dinner and a night in a hotel or something to mark the occasion. P.S. On September 18th he beckoned me out on the balcony of our apartment, got down on one knee, and proposed with a family ring. I’m still kinda mad he didn’t stick to our plan.

That was 19 years ago. Man, I’m old!

I know someone who gave an ultimatum and got the ring. I also know someone who broke up with her boyfriend because he hadn’t proposed, and after a month he realized he couldn’t live without her and they got engaged. I know someone whose girlfriend called off their engagement, and it broke him for many months. And, one of the most beautiful/amazing/fun weddings I’ve ever been to? That couple is now divorced. [Cue Debbie Downer waaah-waaah]

So, what’s the lesson? It is hard to cede control, to make yourself vulnerable and stand in front of another person and tell him what you want and/or need, and risk having him tell you he can’t or won’t give it to you. Marriage is a long haul. This is just the beginning. If he’s the right one, then having a conversation with him about your future plans shouldn’t be an issue. You may not get the answer you want, but better to find that out now. Or, you know, channel your inner Gloria Steinem, turn the tables and propose to him!

Whatever you decide, you should go forward knowing that the man you desperately want to marry today will be the man who consistently leaves his dirty underwear hanging on the bathroom towel rack ten years from now.

Best of luck,

Karen, TMH

 

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