20 Apr
Is it So Wrong to Threaten Our Child with Divorce?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Several of my son’s friends come from divorced parents and he’s old enough now (9.5 yrs) to begin noticing the effects. We’ve had to discuss how he can’t see his friends as much because both parents must now work full-time and the friends have to spend every other weekend at different places, how this limits the free time each parent gets with the kids, etc.

That being said, let’s get to my real point. My husband and I are beginning to feel the effects of parenting on our marriage. You know, too much kid time and not enough grown up time. We rarely get to even sit beside each other on the couch! When we want to do something alone, like sit beside one another or have a private conversation in our bedroom, of course our kid wants to bust up in between us. So every now and then I’ll tell our son, “You don’t want mom and dad to end up divorced, right? We need some alone time.” Part of me feels like it isn’t right to say something to scare our son, but then again I don’t know how to relate it to a nine-year-old in a way that he 1) can understand that he HAS to let mom and dad have some time to maintain our bond and 2) lets us have it without drama on his part, turning the idea of alone time into just more parental stress and guilt. Advice?

P.S. We do get a babysitter, but after 12 years of parenting (we have an older child too), our monthly night out isn’t enough anymore and we can’t up the babysitting expense up right now. And we reeeealllllyyyy need to begin reconnecting as a couple. Help!

Signed,

Privacy, Please!

_____________________________________

Dear PP,

Listen, I don’t want to come down on you too hard here, because the truth of the matter is that most parents have said something to their kids that probably wasn’t APA approved. For instance, this one time, I told my five year old that I’d be his bestest friend in whole! wide! world! if he’d JUST PICK UP HIS GODFORSAKEN LEGOS. And we all know he’ll probably never be my best friend. I mean, I’m his mother. Plus, he’s not even old enough to be a designated driver.

That said, I want to be clear to you on this:

The part of you that feels bad for scaring your son with such a threat? LISTEN TO THAT PART.

Scaring or threatening children is never a good idea. Never. NEVER EVER. (Unless we’re talking about them dashing into the street to chase a ball, in which case, bring on the gory, terrifying details.)

The bottom line here is that it is not your child’s fault that you and your husband are having trouble finding time alone together. In fact, I’d say that puts you right in line with most families IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. It comes with parenthood, woman! Is it hard to find time alone with your husband? I’m sure it is. But that’s your challenge to struggle with and overcome; it’s most certainly not your son’s.

Kids are smart and they are sensitive to this type of thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he already senses that you’re resenting him for coming between your husband and you. I would strongly recommend you have a conversation with him (your husband included) and apologize for the remark. Explain to him that you are just having a rough time of things, and that sometimes even grownups make poor choices. It will hopefully put his mind at ease and also be a good learning experience for the lot of you.

In the meantime, girl, you need to get creative. Stay up late with your husband. Get up early. Take advantage of small moments to sneak upstairs for a quickie. Do whatever the hell works for you. And above all, be patient with the process, because it can take a while to adjust and find something that works. If it feels desperate, remind yourself that no marriage is without bumps (and in some cases potholes and sinkholes and earthquakes and the occasional echoing abyss) in the road. If it’s more than you can handle together, marriage counselors can be miracle workers.

Take a deep breath, pull yourself together, and go smother that little boy in some kisses.

Kristine, TMH.

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19 Apr
How Do I Dump This Abusive Loser?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My ex-boyfriend and I have been doing the off and on thing for 10yrs. He is psychologically abusive. He used to be physically abusive until my brother told him he doesn’t need to be hitting on me, and because he is scared of my brother he quit.

He has cheated on me several times, cut my tires on my car, and numerous other things that are to hard to mention. His daughter, son, and all his friends hate me because he told them a lot of bad things about me.

We are broken up again and he had a new girl friend his daughter found for him, moving in the next day. I want to move on and I have started accepting dates. But I can’t seem to get past the pain of being replaced so easy. I am just heart broken. I text him sometimes he can’t text so he never responds. Finally today I call with this lame excuse to talk to him and he answered which made me feel like a stupid fool. I want to put this relationship behind me and move on I just can’t seem to let go.

Signed,
HELP

______________________

Dear Help,

Let me give you some fast and furious advice: You need to never speak/see/interact with this person (and I use the term loosely) again.

Because you deserve better. So much better.

I believe strongly that when someone shows himself to us, we have to believe him. And this person has shown himself to be an abuser.

He abused you, he terrorized you, he tortured you.  You should be getting a restraining order against him, not texting him. (By the way, why are you texting him if he can’t text back? And I’m assuming that he can’t text back because he doesn’t have opposable thumbs, right?)

I’m worried that the reason that you keep pursuing him has to do with your self-esteem.  Whether this “man” destroyed it or it was precarious before you met him, you need to work through those issues until you  believe, with every fiber of your being , that you deserve better. This will not happen overnight but it absolutely can happen and you must MUST take the first step.

There are many resources available to help you. I recommend speaking to your doctor about any suggestions that she may have, and also check out Violence Unsilenced, a website that gives voice to survivors of abuse.  Please know that they are very painful stories, but they are also tales of courage and survival and happiness.  The resources page is valuable and I urge you to consider it.

I wish you the best.  It’s going to take a lot of work on your part, but I hope that you believe that you are worth it.  Please keep us posted.

Marinka, TMH

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11 Apr
Should I Get Her a Bra?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Should I get her a bra?

Signed,

Wondering if I Should Get Her a Bra

_____________________________________

Dear Should I Get Her a Bra,

Ooh, I see it’s Mentalist Mouthy time!  Have no fear, my potential bra-shopper, I got you covered!

For optimal results, we need to establish who the “I” and the “her” in your question are.

Because if you are talking about your prepubescent daughter, I have a very different answer for you than if you are discussing your golf partner’s mother-in-law.

So let’s work through some possibilities:

1.  If it’s your daughter going through puberty: Yes, with a caveat.  Ask her if she would like to go bra shopping with you. If she feels she is not ready, do not push it, but let her know that if she changes her  mind, you can take her.

2. If it’s your mother-in-law: No, with a caveat.  And the caveat is that she is unable to go shopping by herself and asks for your assistance. In that case, suck it up and do it.

3. It’s your boss: No.  And if she asks, contact the HR office.

4. You’re in the market for an early Secret Santa gift for someone in your office: No.  And go see HR, just in case. And maybe a mental health professional.

5. It’s the President of the PTA who burned her bra years ago and is still waiting for it to rise from the ashes: No.  Do not get adult women bras unless they ask for them.  (And the request has been approved by HR.)

6. It’s for your girlfriend/wife: No, unless she hinted that this is her dream gift.  In which case, you better sweeten the deal with some chocolate, just in case.

7. It’s for your mistress: Yes. No caveats. (And shame on you.)

8. If you’re the costume designer on Jennifer Love Hewitt’s new show, The Client List: Yes.  It’s in your job description.

Whew. Those are all the scenarios  that I could come up with.  If our readers have others, I hope they will weigh in with their suggestions.

Good luck,

Marinka, 36C*, TMH

* not my real size. In case you’re a perv.

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10 Apr
My Name Isn’t ‘Sweetie,’ You Little Whippersnapper!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have had it up TO HERE with service providers (Starbucks, bank drive-thrus, dry cleaners) who refer to me as “Sweetie” or “Hon.” These aren’t little, old blue haired ladies who should be calling me “Hon.” These are young 20-somethings who should know better.

I’m desperate for a way to deal with this politely. How can I point out that it’s patronizing and off-putting to be referred to in the diminutive by someone who is twenty years my junior? “Shut the F up” just doesn’t seem civilized.

It’s clear these workers are not being appropriately trained or supervised, and I am seriously offended by comments like that. How can I tell them nicely that my name is not “Sweetie” or “Hon” without sounding like a total shrew?

Please help!
That’s “Ma’am” To You

_______________________________________

Dear Madame,

Questions like this always leave me feeling conflicted. The aging mother and woman inside me shouts in support of your cause, and wants to start making posters for a protest at the local coffee shop. (‘Hun’ and ‘sweetie’ are kind of hard to rhyme…any chance you’ve also been called a ‘chick’ or ‘lass’? It’d help with my slogans.)

But there’s also a part of me that resists falling into the kids these days! attitude. Because, MY GOD, doesn’t that mean we’ve turned into our mothers?!

That said, I think the solution here is fairly straightforward. First, don’t take the verbiage personally. Of course, this is easier said than done sometimes. Keep in mind that, whether it’s being said sarcastically or not, the quip says more about the speaker than you as a person. (Paraphrased from my therapist. All rights reserved.)

And second, you should absolutely feel free to speak up if this is a persistent issue at a business you frequent regularly. A simple correction of “ma’am” when you are on the receiving end of a “sweetie” should suffice. Or, rather than confronting the pierced teenager who has the future of your latte in his hands, you could always call the manager directly. Approach the issue with a level head, and the person in charge should be receptive to your needs as a valued customer.

Unless the manager, too, is a little whippersnapper.

Good luck, m’lady!

Kristine, TMH

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23 Mar
No Coveting My Caregiver!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am a high school teacher and I happen to have an ex-student (five years out) as my Nanny. We love her. However, my Nanny’s mother now works in my school building and has become very close with a co-worker who has young children as well.

I heard from a friend who also works at the school that the mother’s friend/my co-worker is intending on asking my Nanny to work for her next year. This is really stressing me out. Not to mention, I cannot wrap my head around someone doing this to another co-worker! I don’t know if my Nanny will bite but I am positive that the co-worker’s offer will double her income because the other woman has two kids.

I will be hurt as I was a mentor to this kid for years but she is a kid. My peer, however, will be dead to me. How can I continue to work with her? How do I confront her? Do I wait until the deed is done or try to intercept and make her feel guilty?

Signed,

Step Off My Nanny!

———————————————-

Dear Step Off,

Geez! Where do you work? Is it on Wisteria Lane?

Frankly, I’m not all that surprised. Some women (and men) may graduate from high school but their maturity never moves beyond it. But instead of taking jock boyfriends or popular BFFs these women now lure away nannies and husbands and contractors.  Sometimes they even come over to your house and admire your sofa and throw pillows and then before you know it their living room is an exact replica of your living room and they are telling all the friends you share in common how YOU stole THEIR design idea so then you have to spread a rumor that they have to get their entire face waxed, on a weekly basis, because they used to be the bearded lady’s stand-in at the local circus…err, or so I’ve heard. I try to avoid those kinds of people. I certainly don’t invite them over to admire my living room.

I know some women like to avoid confrontation. I, on the other hand, believe wholeheartedly in being open and honest and trying to stop a situation before it gets out of hand. So I suggest that you bring up the matter with the soon to be “nanny stealer.” It doesn’t have to be a confrontation. Just explain to your co-worker how much your nanny means to your family, how much your child loves her, relies on her, and trusts her. Tell her that you had heard — rightly or wrongly — that she may be in the process of asking your nanny to leave and come to work for her. Tell her how much this loss would hurt you, not to mention the huge burden your family would have to endure in trying to find someone as trustworthy.

At the very least your co-worker will know she is a total douche when/if she steals her away. And you can always spread a rumor about her out of control facial hair or her three nipples.

You might also think about giving your nanny a raise, if you can afford it. Just in case your coworker does approach her. It can be just a small amount, or, perhaps, if that would be too much of a financial burden, maybe simply sit your Nanny down and tell her how much she means to you and your family. You could even ask her if there is anything (non-monetary) that could be done to make her even happier.

Good Luck,

Tonya, TMH

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