We’ve got another guest Mouthy Housewife joining us today! This time, The Mouthy Housewives welcome the lovely Megan Anderson of Rad Megan: In Words and Pictures. Megan is a craft blogger and all-around rockstar, and I love her despite the fact that she makes my family craft hour look like bathroom graffiti at the state penitentiary. (THANKS MEGAN.) Her blog hosts a pirate’s bounty worth of crafting, cooking, and gardening ideas.
And just recently, Megan created an online tutorial that guides you through the art of craft photography, so it looks like there might be hope for the rest of us!
Today, she’s got some insight for a bride-to-be that is competing for the attention of her soon-to-be groom with her in-laws. Take it away, Megan! –Kristine
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My fiancÃ© and I wanted a private wedding ceremony this fall, but his parents found out and were extremely upset. They tried guilting him into involving at least their family, completely disregarding our wishes for a wedding we are paying for. Thankfully he has somewhat fended for us, but he did so by lying to them, telling his family that we are not getting married until next summer with a “traditional” wedding. (But the truth is that we’re just going to go through with it without telling anyone.)
Cue more problems. Our secret wedding is next month and everything was looking well until his vacation time had the possibility of being obliterated. He told his supervisor that he really needs the time off, but refuses to tell them that it’s due to us getting married because…wait for it…his dad works at the same company! I get that he wants to not upset his family until after we’ve already gone through with it, but I find it pretty ridiculous that he feels he can’t fight for his vacation. He seems more concerned about their feelings than the possibility all our wedding plans may get royally screwed.
He tells me I’m overreacting, but I don’t know. We are starting a family, and yet it feels it is being somewhat controlled by his family. What do you think?
Dear Sidelined Bride,
Congrats on your upcoming nuptials! As someone who eloped in Hawaii, I understand the allure of a low-cost/low-stress “private” wedding ceremony. I also appreciate how challenging it can be when the family gets wind of the plans and then tries to change them. From their point of view, a wedding is a day to be shared with loved ones. From yours, it’s an intimate, private occasion. Your fiancÃ©’s point of view is…well…what, exactly? I’m sure you two are both stoked about starting your lives together, but if he’s waffling about taking time off to get married, we’ve got a wee issue.
Would the Princess Bride have been the romantic cinematic benchmark it was if Westley had said, “As long as it’s ok with my parents” instead of “As you wish?”
I’m not saying your fiancÃ© needs to prove his love by bowing to your every request, but I think you two need to be on the same page when it comes to the kind of wedding you are actually having. I’m guessing that if he lied to his family and said there would be a traditional wedding next summer, a teeny weenie part of him WANTS that. While it is your day, “mawwage” is full of compromise; so understanding what’s really important to the both of you should be laid out on the table before the rings are exchanged. Maybe you guys sneak off and have your quickie ceremony (if that’s what you’re both into) and then plan a family-friendly reception next summer complete with vow-reenactment and Andre the Giant ablaze outside the church. It may feel like the in-laws are pulling the strings, but if you and Westley (or, whatever your fiancÃ©’s name is) are united as a team, everything else will fall into place.
Talk it out, really listen to each other, and have fun storming the castle!
Megan, Guest TMH
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My mother in law’s kitchen burned down which led to damage to the rest of the house, so she and her 16 year-old son are staying with us for a while. But it’s only been 2 weeks and, already, I can’t take it anymore. She’s a conniving, two-faced drama queen. It never bothered me before because we rarely saw her. Now my husband, 2 year old and I share our apartment with her and her son.
They have taken over my life. I haven’t had a minute alone with my husband since they got here. She won’t eat my food, and when she cooks she turns my kitchen into a salmonella- infested war zone. They don’t knock. They’re filthy. They’re loud. They are everything I hate in this world. But… she has nowhere else to go.
I’m 6 months pregnant. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. How can I get her to respect that it’s my house and that I need privacy, peace and quiet, without having her throw an award winning sob fest while making me look like a monster? Help!
Living in such close quarters with so many people would be maddening under the best of circumstances. Your situation, however, sounds like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen, peppered with a little bit of Super Nanny and infused with Hoarders.
As much as you cannot change her or your brother-in-law’s behavior, you can absolutely lay some ground rules. Any success with that, however, is probably going to be contingent on your husband. This is his mother, and if she’s prone to drama and victim-playing, it will be much easier for him to establish an understanding without her pegging you as some sort of tyrant.
As awkward as it may be at first, some firmness and rules should help relieve some of your stress. It’s not unfair for you to request that she clean up after cooking, for instance. Both you and your toddler can be more susceptible to viruses and infection; her selfishness and laziness should not be catered to at the expense of your health. Of course, delivery is key, so avoid phrases like “I hate you” or “you’re ruining my life” or “here’s the number to the motor lodge.” Instead opt for phrases such as “to help us all feel more comfortable” or “to avoid conflict” or “so that I don’t end up duct-taping you and your son and throwing you both in a hall closet.” That kind of thing.
Now, if the discussion turns into a confrontation, try to work on the problem from another angle. Reach out to her friends or other family to see if they can host them for even just a week at a time. Also, consider overseeing or helping to expedite the clean-up process at her house, since it will only benefit you in the long run. Whatever you do, be selfish. Advocate for yourself in your own home, and get your husband’s complete support in dealing with his I’m-sure-she’s-lovely-but-omfg-I’m-glad-she’s-not-mine mother.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My four-year-old son was throwing pillows at me while we were playing around. I went to tickle him when he fell funny on my bed so I grabbed him and accidentally scratched his face. I feel awful. He looks awful. It didn’t bleed but it is nasty looking. Now, my husband — we don’t get along very well — told me that he is going to tell his mother! I’m so scared that he is going to turn this into something more and I already feel really horrible as it is, any advice?
Terrified of a Tattler
Dear Terrified of a Tattler,
Let’s address the more serious issue here first, shall we: YOUR HUSBAND IS GOING TO TELL HIS MOMMY ON YOU? Even if you are separated or getting a divorce or, perhaps, just staying married, but agreeing to disagree, I still must ask: Say WHAT now? He’s going to TATTLE? To his MOTHER?
Is she the dictator of her very own country and can enforce Marshall law?
Is her name Kris Jenner and can she quickly kick you out of the 100 million dollar family business?
Is she the reincarnation of J. Edgar Hoover?
If the answer to all of the above questions is “No” then I suggest letting your toddler, er, I mean, husband, tell his mommy on you. Perhaps, when he is tattling he can also ask his mommy at what date he will be a big boy and can make big boy decisions, like, oh, I don’t know, getting married and having a family of his own?!
As to the second part of your issue: the facial mutilation. When my son was 2 he tried to jump out of my arms and as I went to hold him back I scratched his eye. For the next few weeks he would only answer to the name “Le Chiffre” (the 007 villain in Casino Royale).
It happens to all of us. As a mom, I am extremely surprised when I see a child who doesn’t have any scrapes or bruises. That’s when it’s time to be worried! Kids fall. It’s actually one of the things they do best, like finding the one permanent marker in the whole house and using it to “decorate” their face or asking “why” or refusing to eat vegetables. So, my advice is to own this mistake and, even, if possible, turn it into a joke between you and your son. Leave your husband in time out and don’t answer the door when your MIL comes around. And before the timer goes out on your husband’s time in the naughty chair, the scrape on your son’s face will be gone!
Today we’re super excited to welcome the very funny and creative Ilana from MommyShorts as our Guest Mouthy! You may recall that Ilana just snagged the (high coveted and majorly prestigious) Mouthy Housewives Seal of Approval and now she’s here to answer a question for us. Whooo! Thanks, Ilana!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Throughout the 18 years that I have been with my husband, I have established a disturbing pattern with my in-laws. I have let them guilt me into hosting every single family occasion- birthdays, holidays, showers, all of it! Even worse, they show up early EVERY time! If it was just my MIL that showed up early (she showed up 1.5 hours early for the last celebration), I could pin her down and let her know. But sometimes it’s my lovely sister in law and sometimes it’s my loud FIL, with his equally loud girlfriend. My husband has sympathy for me but he doesn’t say anything to them. What do I do? I’m sick of one of them showing up when I’m still preparing food, or sweeping the floor, or possibly getting out of the shower!
Dear In-Law Issues,
There is no excuse for company arriving early. You’ve already agreed to allow them into your home, feed them and put on your hostess face. The least your in-laws can do is not take up more of your time than necessary.
Since the problem persists with more than one family member, the best solution is to address them all at once. The most effective way to do this is to hang a sign on your front door.
“My invitation was for 6pm. Feel free to wait in your car.”
If your husband insists you entertain his family from the second they arrive, I suggest the following sign alternative:
“My invitation was for 6pm. I have left a game of Trivial Pursuit in the driveway to occupy you until that time.”
If your goal is to get other family members to take over hosting duties, take advantage of the fact that the in-laws are on your home turf. You are in the perfect position to ruin special occasions for them altogether.
For instance, for the next holiday dinner, send your dining room table out for refinishing and then make everyone eat on the floor.
If it’s a child’s birthday party you’re hosting, pick that time to announce your conversion to veganism. “Where’s the cake, auntie?” “Sorry, no can do. But here’s a plate of raw agave macaroons!”
For a baby shower, plan a game where everyone must tell their birthing horror stories. Serve placenta mocktails and invite the mom-to-be’s obstetrician to show instructional videos as entertainment.
The trick is to continue to act eager to host. I guarantee they’ll find another plan by Christmas.
Ilana, Guest TMH
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My in-laws watch my daughter a few days a week while I work. My mother-in-law is a bit of a whacka-doo, but deep down a good person who just happens to drive me crazy. Yesterday she told me that she had my 1 year old daughter on her lap doing a “horsey ride” while she was taking a dump. Really?! Really?! You have got to be f*ing kidding me lady. Is that situation at all sanitary (I’m a bit of a germ-a-phobe)? I’m usually outspoken, but I was completely speechless and just left pissed off. Should I have said something? Is that possible to do without being offensive? Help!
(Wendi wipes sweat off her brow and tries to quell her waves of nausea with an old Thin Mint cookie she just found under her worktable.) (It’s totally not working.)
POOPING WHILE YOU HOLD YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER
IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
Didn’t think I’d be saying that sentence when I woke up this morning, did I? But let’s recap: Your MIL was playing Horsey with your baby while she (the MIL) had a bowel movement. Then she had the friggin’ balls to TELL you about it? I do believe she’s just entered the annals of The Mouthy Housewives Mothers-In-Law From Hell, Volume 2.
I mean, I understand that watching a baby is tough and that you can’t always get away for “personal business,” but that’s why Graco invented Pack ‘n Plays, right? I would think your MIL could have just waited until the baby was asleep to do her #2, and if she for some reason couldn’t wait, then maybe she should be in diapers, too. Yikes.
However, here’s the thing: she’s your MIL. She’s your babysitter. And for those reasons, she totally owns you. Meaning, don’t make a stink. (See what I did right there? STINK!?) Unless this or something even weirder happens again, I’d just wince and bear it. She loves your baby and, in her eyes, she didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, she’s probably proud of her multi-tasking. So I say, let it go and be sure to dip your baby in Purell when you get her home, just for good measure.
That said, maybe I’m wrong (for once) and you actually should confront her and explain your boundaries. What do all y’all think? Let us know in the comments—we’re all ears.