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.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’m allergic to my mother-in-law. No, for reals. She wears a very strong perfume and it gives me headaches. I hate hugging her because then my shirt is left smelling like a Grandma instead of the young, hot housewife that I am. (OK, that part is not for reals.)
When she stays at our house, the perfume invades every possible room, and the kids’ clothes and beds smell like Grandma, too. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but she can be hypersensitive and difficult to talk to. Suggestions?
Zyrtec Doesn’t Cover Mothers-In-Law
Dear Zyrtec Doesn’t Cover Mothers-In-Law,
Oh, the poor mother-in-laws of the world. Can’t they ever catch a break? They meddle, they nitpick, they harangue, they have inconvenient hot flashes. What a bunch of Chico’s wearing jackasses. In fact, I’m seriously considering telling my boys to never get married just so I don’t have to ever worry about some woman begging the Internet for advice on dealing with her crazy mother-in-law’s Barry Manilow obsession.
Sigh. It’s hard out there for a MIL.
But all kidding aside, I completely empathize with your problem because I loathe heavy perfume and cologne, too. And don’t even get me started on that Axe Body Spray crap that smells like white, hot douchebag death. Seriously, anyone who wears it should be immediately set aflame, then sprayed down with a fire hose until their top layer of skin is completely removed. DIS-GUS-TING.
Now where was I?
Ah, yes. Stinky-In-Law!
I’m not going to advise you to give her a new perfume that you like better, because she’s going to wear what she wants to wear. I’m also not going to advise you to ask your husband to talk to her for you, because that’s probably not good for anyone. What I am going to advise you to do is tell her that you and the kids have just been diagnosed with a sensitivity to perfume and your house now needs to be fragrance-free. (Yes, that’s a little white lie, but with the headaches, you probably are somewhat allergic to it.)
If she’s a smart MIL, she’ll realize that’s most likely not true, but that you’re saying it that way to spare her feelings. And then hopefully she’ll stop wearing the scent, everything will be all better and the two of you will be entered into the record books as one of the world’s first MIL/DIL success stories. Hooray!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am engaged to marry in August. It is the 2nd marriage for both of us. I have two sons ages 18 & 14. He has one son age 4. His former wife is now re-married, but his mother still insists on having her in our lives. She went to the hospital when the ex-wife had her child with the present husband, who is no relation, and my (future) mother-in-law buys that child gifts. Yet, she refuses to acknowledge my children whatsoever!! She has even refused to come to our home for a holiday dinner if MY children were going to be there!
Am I right for hating this woman?
Future Daughter-in-Law to a Hag
Dear Future Daughter-in-Law,
Of course you are right for hating this woman. It’s in the marriage by-laws, for crying out loud. Well, maybe it’s not, but at the very least we whisper the vow “and to hate your mother” right after we promise to love, honor and cherish the groom, right?
Yet hating our mothers-in-law lumps us in with one of life’s biggest clichÃ©s. I don’t know about you but I really hate living a clichÃ©. Also, I want to make sure you’re actually complaining about your mother-in-law NOT coming over to your home. I’m confused – is that a problem? Unless you need her visits as an excuse to drink, and if that’s the case, how dare she ruin that for you!
I don’t understand why there is tension between wives and mothers-in-law other than it’s some sick yet deeply embedded power struggle. (And a lot of mothers-in-law are hags.) This conflict appears to be part of the human game, but the good thing about being human (other than opposable thumbs which serve us well when holding a wine glass) is we can make a conscious choice to play along with the power struggle or not. You can play along, in which case you’ll have a lot of company but not much fun. Or you can decide not to get in the ring with her, go about with your life and be happy.
Happiness really is the best revenge against hags.