Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Am I crazy or is this inappropriate behavior? We visit my mother-in-law at an ocean-side community where she spends her summers. We have 3 kids, ages 9, 7, and 3. Her camper is not in any way child proofed. She feels the children should just not touch things. This is a woman who once set her table with beautiful china for a special occasion and put a china place setting where my then-2-year old was sitting.
The kids (being kids) are curious about everything in her camper. But all they hear is “Don’t touch. Don’t put your feet on the couch. Don’t play with that.” Since we’ve had kids old enough to walk, visits have been uncomfortable as we have such extreme differences in parenting. Luckily, my husband and I are on the same page. And we have great kids (polite and well-behaved) who on occasion, make noise and touch things.
Most visits end up with me walking the kids in the yard while she asks my husband to fix her computer. Last night after supper she pulled out her last will and testament and asked my husband to read it over carefully in case he had questions. Read it over carefully? In a small enclosed space with 3 kids, 2 cats and a dog? Huh? Is there not a better, more appropriate time for such a thing? If my husband says anything, her standard response is, “I’m sorry I’m so awful and that your childhood was so terrible.”
During the school year she is 4 hours away and we do not visit, but now she is spending summers less than 45 minutes from our house and expects us to visit often. I know she is a lonely old lady who loves her grandchildren, but what can we do to make visits easier and less stressful for everyone?
I’d Rather Take My Kids to a China Shop Than My Mother-in-Law’s
Dear I’d Rather Take My Kids to a China Shop,
I was thinking about your problem while my 2-year-old twins sipped apple juice from their Tiffany English fine bone china flora teacups. And frankly, the situation sounds miserable.
Relationships with in-laws can get complicated. You mention that you and your husband are on the same page but isn’t it time for him to stand up to his mother? I understand she’s old and means well but what exactly does she expect your kids to do at her house? Play mah jongg?! (Although I think that’s what Marinka’s kids do.)
I’ve noticed that as people get older, they sort of forget what children are like. Who can blame them? They are probably blocking out some traumatic event like the time their toddler pooped in her pants during the middle of dinner at a restaurant and they had no spare clothes. (This may or may not have happened to me in the past week.)
But your husband needs to refresh your mother-in-law’s memory because children – even well behaved ones – need some leeway. He should say to him mom, “We love you and we enjoy seeing you but it’s unrealistic to expect young kids to sit in your camper and not touch anything. So until they are a little older, why don’t we meet at a playground or at the beach so they can run around while we visit together.” Or maybe you can take her out to dinner when you visit. Anything to avoid that camper!
If she’s not able to get around, then bring a bag of stuff for the kids to do (drawing, board games, books, etc) and then grab ice cream for them afterwards for suffering through another visit to grandma’s where the only thing they are apparently allowed to do is look at her adoringly.
Remember – you are not required to visit her constantly and if she has any documents for your husband to look over, he should take them home and do it there.
Good luck and remember the summer usually flies by!
As you may know, our beloved Kelcey is expecting her 4th or 5th bundle of joy–a baby boy–virtually any day now, and the rest of us here at The Mouthy Housewives are giddy with excitement (and relief that it is not us about to give birth). Over the weekend, we’ve been brainstorming and bickering over the best gift to give our BFF as a don’t-call-it-a-push-present. Ultimately, we decided that material gifts are not nearly as amazing as those that come from our hearts and brains, which is why our offering is the gift of a name.
That’s right. We’re offering to name your child, Kelcey! (Sorry, probably should’ve told you to sit down first, as we’re sure you’re overcome with gratitude for such wonderful friends.) Creating an algorithm we remember from our stripper days, and pulling from some of Kelcey’s favorite things, this is what we have created:
We’re taking a name from the cast of Friday Night Lights, adding the name of our favorite candy, and VOILA! So here are our respective offerings.
Kristine: Riggins Zagnut
If this isn’t the most refined name for a baby boy you’ve ever heard, then you must hang out with some really fancy people. Take this gift, Kelcey, and run with it. Your son is going to really make a name for himself in this world. All thanks to me. (Well, and you, I guess…and your husband, if you want to get graphic about it.)
Marinka: Buddy Kit Kat
You’re welcome. And so is your baby boy, Buddy. I can see him in high school now– The Budster! The ladies love the Kit Kat! I’ll start monogramming that pillow now.
Karen: Saracen Heath
People use last names as first names all the time now. It’s super-cool. With this name your boy will have good looks, good sense, and the ability to put up with the most annoying girlfriend ever. Plus, he will have a crunchy toffee center.
Wendi: Coach Taylor Twizzler
The beauty of this name is that even if your new baby is a complete disaster at every sport, it won’t matter because his very name will guarantee he gets on the team! Baby Coach! And, if he desires, the Coach name will later get him a job in purse design. Score! Plus with a name like Twizzler, he’s probably going to be really skinny and really good at yoga and light up when he dresses in all red.
Be sure to wish Kelcey the best and use the algorithm to leave your gift in the comments below!
Happy Baby, Kelcey!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I recently bought my first house and my sister is throwing me a housewarming party to celebrate. I announced the date two months ago. I invited about ten good friends plus their significant others. And a few co-workers. Most of them RSVP’ed but now almost everyone has canceled.
Out of 20+ people who had planned on coming, there is only going to be 4 people for sure. Even my best friend cancelled because her husband “was feeling eh about the 2 hr drive.” (Umm.. You can’t drive yourself?) It seems as though most people have made an excuse not to come even though my sister planned it two months in advance. I did move 2 hours away from some of my friends but I still make an effort to drive to see them. I should also mention that I bought my house in January and only a few friends have been over to see it.
My sister is expecting a food count of 20+ people and I had to inform her today (4 days before the party) that probably only 4 people are going to show up. I feel humiliated and pissed off! I thought I had better friends than this.
Lois and Her Lame Friends
Let’s see. If you have 20 friends who RSVP’d to a party planned 2 months in advance and only 4 are planning to show up but they have to drive 2 hours each way to get there, and you multiply by the square root of π, then how many friends will actually show up?
I think the answer might be 2. Or maybe the answer is – you need some perspective on this.
It doesn’t really matter how far in advance you plan a party, people will cancel. It’s the human nature of, “Oh my gosh, I’m so tired from work and my kids and getting to the gym and walking the dog and cleaning the bathroom and I just want to stay home and watch TV.” I have friends who don’t want to drive an extra 6 minutes to a dinner in the next town over. So it comes as no surprise that your friends don’t want to drive FOUR hours round trip for a housewarming party. That is a lot of driving. And I’m guessing it has very little to do with their desire to see you.
You have to remember that you moved away and yes, I’m sure a couple close friends will come out to see you and your new house. I know you are disappointed but you really have to try to not take it personally that people aren’t going to be banging down your door to check out your new abode.
I would cancel the party and plan a brunch at the half way point between you and your friends. Your treat. You can show them lots of photos of your new place. The important thing here is to stay connected to people who mean a lot to you.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I live with my boyfriend, work for my boyfriend’s company which is run out of our house, and I am so sick of my life. I feel so bored, and unhappy with myself. What do I do?
If You Can Die of Boredom, My Life is in Danger
Dear If You Can Die of Boredom,
Just reading your question made me sick of your boyfriend and I’ve never even met the guy. He’s probably a charming chap. But seriously, when do you get a break from him? You work together all day, you probably hang out together at night and then you sleep in the same bed. Ugh. When do you get a chance to miss him?
So first off, you’ve got to get some breathing space. It’s like you’re a hostage for gosh sakes and there aren’t a lot of happy hostages. Go find a hobby, get drinks with some girlfriends or start exercising. Then you can delight your boyfriend with some funny stories about your time away – like how someone got kicked out of your yoga class for farting too much. That is the kind of priceless shit that keeps a relationship alive.
Second, what do you want to do with your life? I’m getting the feeling that whatever you do for your boyfriend job-wise is not your passion. What are your dreams? Once you figure that out, you can get started on your next moves… whether that means looking for a new job, going back to school or whatever. Even taking a few steps in that direction will make you feel so much better. And don’t let your boyfriend guilt you into working for him forever. If he’s the real deal, he will want you to fulfill your own dreams, not his.
We all go through phases of unhappiness where we don’t feel quite satisfied. This is normal. But you can either choose to be unhappy or take charge and change your life. And this is the time to do it because once you are married, with 4 kids and a mortgage, it’s much harder to make epic changes to your life. (Trust me on this.) So stop reading and go seize the day!
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?
Maybe I’m the Smart One
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.