Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My fiancé’s sister is getting married soon and I really really really do not want to go. His family is pretty dysfunctional (mine is as well, which is why we are eloping). He hasn’t talked to his mom in over 10 years (and has no plans to). She will be there. His dad only talks to him after he calls him several times. His sister only talks to him 4 or 5 times a year.
The rest of his family thinks he should marry someone within his religion (which I am not). He was asked very late in the process to be a usher, and it is all going to be very awkward for me. Should I suck it up, or find a better excuse?
There Isn’t Enough Xanax To Get Through This Wedding
Dear There Isn’t Enough Xanax,
I do not envy you, lady. Weddings can be problematic. Especially when there are lots of tense family dynamics. I feel your anguish. Which is why it hurts me to tell you that I think you should go.
Oh my gosh, did you just throw a frying pan at me?!
Hear me out…
I think it’s impressive that your fiancé wants to attend the wedding. Yes, he only talks to his sister 4 or 5 times a year but we often regret the things we don’t do the most so it’s worth showing up.
And I’m guessing your fiancé could really use your support at this shindig. He’s going to have to face a mother he hasn’t talked to in 10 years and a distant father. That man needs you by his side! So don’t think about all his messed up, judgmental relatives, think about him. It’s one night and you just can’t make him go alone.
I think it’s ridiculous when families get upset over someone marrying outside their religion. That is between you and your husband. You two will decide what faith to practice and how to raise your children. End of story. They should be happy that he found someone to share his life with that he loves and respects.
In regards to the wedding, this is why they created wine. A few glasses (although not too much because you don’t want to end up doing the Philadelphia Chicken dance with his estranged mom) could get you through the night.
Stay by his side, be friendly and cordial and then get the heck out of there. I know you can do it.
If you’re like most mothers of young boys, your days are filled with confusion.
Confusion because, let’s face it, your son is not like you. Not just because he has the XY chromosome set-up instead of the more adorable XX, but he also seems to be interested in different things than you. You’ve tried and tried again to engage him in some of your favorite pastimes, hosting tea parties for stuffed animals, dressing up like fairies and playing house. (And if you’re Marinka, getting your 11-year-old son to watch The Bachelor with you.)
But through no fault of your own, Mom of a Son, the beautiful bonding just isn’t happening. In fact, for reasons unbeknownst to you, your son seems interested in playing with cars, trains, trucks, planes and other modes of transportation instead. WTF? It’s weird. And confusing.
Of course you may be scared, bewildered, and ashamed by this. You may not understand what exactly is happening, and why it’s happening to you, a mother who did absolutely nothing wrong and just wants to play Pretty Pretty Princess all day long.
But fortunately, help is available!
Yes, the fine people of Mattel, the makers of Hot Wheels, have answered the siren call of mothers who don’t know how to play with boys. These saviors in suits recently flew in some “influential mommy bloggers” (if that isn’t code for OMFG, we don’t know what is) to guide them through the mysteries of playing with cars with their sons. But first, they plied them with Bloody Marys and Mimosas. You know, because handling 2″ plastic cars is SUPER STRESSFUL FOR WOMEN!!!
“By talking to Mom, we’re extending the conversation to the actual purchaser,” Mr. Petersen [a Mattel VP] says. “I know it sounds so silly. It’s kind of like ‘Why didn’t you do that forever ago?’”
Yes, that’s the reason it sounds silly. And moms seemed to appreciate the wisdom imparted on them:
“I’m a girly girl,” Ms. Stroud (one of the possibly tipsy “influential mommy bloggers”) said. “So it’s kind of hard to understand how these little plastic machines can be so much fun, versus a Barbie that you can change her clothes, cut her hair, and do whatever you want.”
We can relate. Cars are definitely not like Barbie! They don’t even have a pretend vagina area! Panties don’t fit on them! LOL, cars are so strange! Next thing you know, we moms will be asked to DRIVE ONE! That is hilarious!
So thank you, Mattel. Thank you for knowing that as women we are incapable of playing with our male children. Thank you for understanding that we’ve been doing it all wrong for a few centuries now. Our sons will be better men because you’ve shown moms exactly how to push a little car on the ground and make this noise with their lips: Brrrrruuuuummmmmmm!
Finally, since the Mouthy Housewives have seven boys between us, we’ve followed Mattel’s lead and broken down how to play with some traditional boy toys for our readers. It may be tough, but hang in there, Mom.
The Mouthy Housewives’ Guide To Playing With Boys
Balls! by Marinka: Most balls are round. Yes, there is The Football which is football-shaped, but we will cover that in our Advanced Ball course, offered next fall. So, most balls are round. This means they are good for rolling, throwing, bouncing and catching. If you are not ready for such active ball playing, try to ease into it by drawing a face on the ball and some hair. Name the ball. Get two big balls and some little ones and make a ball family. The Ballers. This will make ball play more fun for everyone. Or at least you. Your son is probably crying for some other unrelated reason.
Sticks! by Wendi: Sticks are from trees. (Trees are the big things that grow in the ground. The singing birds in “Cinderella” probably lived in one.) Sticks can be used to hit, poke and whack things. They can also be used as “light sabers” which is something from movie called “Star Wars.” Moms may recognize the shape of a stick because it’s similar to the wooden spoons they use in the kitchen to stir cake mix. To play with a stick, simply hold it in your hand and yell, “ARGH!! I HAVE A STICK!”
Thomas and Friends! by Karen: Playing with Thomas trains will suck the life out of you, and the only way you’re going to get through it is with alcohol. First, you’ll have to suffer through hours of watching the videos, because all your son will want to do is recreate what goes down in them because boys don’t know how to make shit up. Drink every time Sir Topham Hatt tells Edward he needs to hurry down to the quarry because of some stupid shit one of the other trains got into. Drink every time your toddler says Percy and it sounds like “pussy.” Drink every time you realize that the money you spent on that fucking table (you bought a table. for trains.), plus the tracks and trains could have been spent on at least one pair of Louboutins. Fight with your son because you want to fucking be Thomas JUST ONCE. Maybe you should stop drinking.
Action Figures! by Kristine: Action figures, ladies, are miniature-sized people that you use in a game that psychologists and physicists call “imaginative play.” They are often sculpted closely after the male form with close attention paid to bulging groins, disproportionate muscles, and powerful jaw lines. Boys will place these superior hunks of plastic in their hands and say things like “I will make more money than you for doing the same work!” and “My gender is intrinsically superior to my female counterparts!” Note: it is not recommended that you leave action figures laying around with Barbies or other female dolls, as they may begin to multiply by means of coital osmosis.
Play Tools! by Kelcey: These are like real tools but much lighter and you can’t actually use them to fix anything. Not that you’ve ever used a tool to fix anything anyway! A gal would never get involved in that kind of man’s work in fear of chipping one of her acrylic tips. Play tools are used by young boys at their plastic workbench. So mom, don’t be shy! Head on over to the workbench and pretend that your food processor needs fixing. Smile appreciatively as your son gets to work. You two are really bonding now. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing his play tool belt as an accessory for nights out on the town. Give yourself a high five. You’ve got this boy thing down!
image source: Mattel
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I live with my boyfriend who has two girls, ages 8 and 10. I have older kids (18 and 20) who are in college. I like his girls a great deal but the younger one will straddle him on the couch when we are sitting together. It really bothers me and makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s a sexual thing but she is very needy sometimes. She has also climbed in bed with us in the mornings a couple of times. I don’t like that either. I know I need to say something to my boyfriend…but what?
I don’t want to sound jealous of an 8-year-old but maybe I am?
Am I Really Jealous of a Tween?
Dear Am I Really Jealous of a Tween?
Here’s the thing about kids. They are extremely needy. Since your children are grown, you might not remember just how needy because parenthood is about suppressing the past. It’s a natural defense mechanism so we don’t become completely insane.
But let me remind you… needy is what kids do. It’s their top skill. They want food. They want attention. They want help with their homework. 16 extra hugs at bedtime. 47 books. More food. Now they are thirsty. Now they have to go to the bathroom. Now they want to be tucked back in. And on and on and on.
Your boyfriend’s 8-year-old sounds pretty normal. She’s still a little kid and wanting to climb on top of her dad and hug with him shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Many fathers and daughters have a special relationship and she wants to be close to him. It’s also quite common for kids to want to climb into bed with their parents in the morning. In fact, as long as it’s after 7 am, I love snuggling with my children in bed…until they start screaming at each other because someone has 3 extra inches of space and well, then it’s time for breakfast.
I think you need to figure out where your jealous feeling are coming from. Do you feel like you don’t get enough attention from your boyfriend? If yes, you need to talk to him. If you constantly see him being affectionate with his kids and not you, that will understandably lead to feelings of envy and resentment for you.
If you want to be with this guy, it comes with a package deal. I would try to embrace and bond with his children, instead of seeing them as a threat. Because if you want to be with him in the long run, you are building a family, not just a relationship.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My neighbor is my friend and her husband recently made several passes at me. I had no idea that he was interested in me, blind I guess. I won’t lie – I like the attention. But I have no interest in sleeping with him. But I also haven’t stopped him from hitting on me. And I am married too.
But he just dropped a bomb on me about how his wife (my friend) always looks at the phone records and asked me what we should do if she asks why we have been texting each other back and fourth. I am terrified of losing my friendship and I don’t want things to be awkward between us. I am completely fine to stop interacting with him. But what am I supposed to do if she asks me? I’m afraid she wouldn’t believe me if I told her he started it, and that she’ll spread rumors about me. I feel so stupid for this.
Flirting with the Boy Next Door
Dear Flirting with the Boy Next Door,
Wow. You have gotten yourself in a real pickle. Yes, I understand why you feel stupid. But he should feel even stupider (I think that’s a real word) because he knew all along that his wife reviews the phone records and kept texting you anyway.
But it doesn’t really matter who is crowned the most stupid or who started it because girl, you gotta get your act together! You are a married woman and flirting with your friend’s husband is not appropriate, or smart. Let me remind you that General Petraeus got caught having an extramarital affair because of email. If the director of the CIA can’t get away with this crap, then there isn’t much hope for you. Man, it’s hard to have an affair these days.
It’s time to ask yourself a few questions. Why are you letting this guy hit on you? Is it just the excitement of something new? Or the danger of it all? Are you unhappy in your marriage? Losing your friend might be the least of your concerns if your husband finds out about this.
I would immediately cut off all contact with the friend’s husband and start reinvesting in your relationship with your husband. If your friend does approach you about these phone records, I would admit that yes, you have texted with her husband (true) because you and the husband are friends (sort of true) but nothing is going on between you guys (true) and that her friendship is important to you (true).
If you’re lucky, one of her kids will use those phone records on the bottom of their bird cage and she’ll never be the wiser. Buy them a bird immediately.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am having a big problem with my husband right now. We have only been married for 2 years. I’m 24 and have a 1 year old son with him. I started back at work and became good friends with my colleague Christina.
There was a staff party I was invited to and I went leaving the house guilt-ridden as my husband doesn’t seem to trust me when I’m out. We went to a bar afterwards while my husband was trying to contact me and my friend failed to pick up when he called her. He hates her now and doesn’t want me being freinds with her. I went to her house 2 weeks ago: harmless, right? He hated me going to her house and got all moody before I left. When I got there he called me and told me to come home as he needs to go to the shop. I told him I’m at my friend’s and we might go to the bar around the corner for 1 drink before heading home, and he responded that if I do he will leave my son in the house alone and that we will break up. He also threatened to punch my friend in the face.
I’ve told him he can’t make me choose between her and him as I love him but I also love my friends as I only have 2 friends and don’t socialize much. But he wants me to ditch her and I feel like he is ripping our marriage apart. I’m so frustrated and sad. I need some help.
Don’t Make Me Choose
Dear Don’t Choose,
Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry because I am going to tell you something that will be unpleasant to hear: You are in an emotionally abusive relationship.
You love your husband and he probably thinks he loves you, but he is treating you horribly, manipulating you, threatening you, and telling you that he will commit criminal acts (leaving a one year old home alone and assaulting your friend) if he does not get his way.
It is illegal and absolutely not how you deserve to be treated. No one deserves that kind of terrible treatment. And you are right to be upset. Because as adults there are many things that we have to do. We have responsibilities, we have to go to work, we have to pay taxes; but we also have privileges. And one of them is that we get to decide, all for ourselves, who our friends are. How dare your husband tell you that you can’t be friends with Christina! Because she didn’t pick up the phone? Because she offers you friendship? Because you get together with her occasionally for a party or a drink?
Your husband doesn’t like Christina because when you are with her, you are not with him. And that is threatening to him because it loosens his control over you. He may be one of these people who wants his partner to be isolated from the rest of the world. Does that sound healthy to you? Or maybe he genuinely doesn’t like Christina. Maybe he thinks she’s not smart, or boring. But guess what? He doesn’t have to be friends with her. You are not insisting that the three of you vacation together, nor are you imposing her on him on a regular basis.
You need to decide how you want to proceed. I recommend reading more about emotional abuse, starting with this, and seeking assistance. And believing that you deserve so much better.