07 Feb
School or Work?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

This probably isn’t one of your usual questions you get asked, as it has nothing to do with sex, but I wanted some opinion from outside the realm of people I know personally.

I’ve been in childcare for well over a year now, and I’m job hunting for a better job – currently I am a sitter – but I want something more full time and a job where I don’t have to worry about paying back a ton of taxes (as I recieve a 1099) either at a daycare or being a nanny filling out a w4.

I have the chance to be a nanny full time in August but I’m unsure if I should take it because I’m also in college trying to aquire my Associate’s degree in early childhood education. I want to be a nanny but I also would love to have my AA.

I know, odd dilema, right? I will be almost done with my classes before next August, but I have to do 10 credits of Student Internship at a teaching facility (school, daycare, etc) and I’m pretty sure being someone’s personal nanny at their private residence doesn’t count.

I’ve applied to various daycares around Seattle/Lynnwood and haven’t heard much back, so I’m concerned if I should put my AA on hold or not.

Signed,

To Finish AA or Not

________________________________________________________________________

Dear AA-Bound, Possibly,

First of all, congratulations on taking that first important step and admitting you have a problem. Alcoholism is a serious disease and I’m heartened to know that you are addressing the situation through the assistance and support of Alcoholics Anon- What? Hold on.

AA stands for Associate’s Degree? Shouldn’t that be AD?! This is exactly what’s wrong with kids today. And letters today. Oh, I see. It’s an Associate’s in Arts. Got it. We will now proceed with the advice-dispensing. I’ll wait until you get a pen and paper to take notes.

Personally, I’m of the school that believes education is always a great thing, and if you are on track to receive a degree, and have an opportunity to do so, grab it! Of course I’m also of the school that believes that on-the-job experience is crucial, and no one should give it up without careful consideration. As you can see, I am enrolled in two schools, probably incurring student loans in each. Send cash.

There are several questions you need to ask yourself: How much is the time commitment to the August job? How secure is the position? Is it possible to have the job and do an internship at the teaching facility as well?

I know I’m suggesting a heavy workload, but please consider the possibility. Your new employer may be very happy that you will be getting hands on experience at a teaching facility (after all, taking care of children is an art form) and if there is flexibility with your working hours, perhaps you can do both. Or maybe it’s possible to extend the time that it takes you to do the internship and do fewer hours over more semesters.

However, if it is a true one or the other situation, I recommend getting the Associate’s out of the way. Then you will have the degree for life, and the invaluable experience and contacts that comes with the internship.

Good luck!

Marinka, TMH

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24 Jan
I Don’t Want to Choose Between My Husband and My Friend

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.

Signed,

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.

Best wishes,

Marinka, TMH

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30 Aug
On Loss, Grief and Picking Up the Pieces

It’s Guest Post Thursday! Hooray! And today we have one of my very favorite people, the very smart, very wise, very fun Laurie White. Laurie is a truly gifted writer and photographer and can be found at Laurie Writes or on Twitter as @lauriewrites. She also has a counseling background and recently gave amazing advice about life changes on BlogHer. Today she takes on a sad, serious issue for us and we’re truly grateful for her help. Thanks, Laurie! — Wendi

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am in a position I never thought I would be in. My sister just died in a tragic accident while paddle boarding with my youngest niece. She left behind two girls (ages 11 and 12) and a husband. It was just the two of us kids and she was my best friend as well as my sister. Due to a failed marriage with control issues, I missed a good portion of the girls’ young lives, but I have been fairly active in their lives for the last 3-4 years. They love me, I adore them, and I know we will make it through this. I have two boys (ages 8 and 10) and know very little about raising girls. I am not their mother and I don’t ever want to replace her, but I do know that they will have needs and questions and it will naturally fall to me and my mother to answer and help. I need advice or resources of how to help them through their grief (we do have a therapist we are working with) and feelings during such a major shift in normalcy as well as how to help them without overstepping my bounds!

Signed,

Missing My Sissy

_________________________

Dear Missing My Sissy,

Oh my God. I am so sorry. First of all, I want to make sure that you feel supported after such a terrible loss. You say “we” are working with a therapist, so I’m trusting that you are in there talking this out for you, too. You know that thing about putting on your own mask first when the air pressure drops? Totally true, and not just in cases of pointless plane crash coping mechanisms (like I’d remember what to pull on to make the floaty thing or the oxygen work? Nah. Also that Hudson River landing? Pretty sure we’ll never see anything like that again, that guy was pretty much a pilot from heaven so I immediately joined his Facebook fan page, but I digress.) You’ve basically been through the earthly equivalent of a crash, plus parenting your own kids, plus helping who knows who else. I know how you are, nice people like you. And if you’re not helping you…well, we want you standing upright when those girls need someone obnoxiously, awesomely taking pictures at high school graduation, so, yeah, do that. Please. I will sit here and wait.

Second of all, the fact that you want to be there for those girls in a positive way while minding their boundaries means that you are going to do that. Simple as that. Losing a parent is the worst at any age, but in adolescence, when the brains are already popping off in all kinds of crazy directions anyway, it’s hard to say how the processing goes. And grief? Five stages or whatever framework you use, it’s unpredictable at best, a hardened criminal with an axe to grind at worst, and it pretty much moves as it wants to. Grief is a jerk.The only way I can even begin to imagine to help with this one is to share what I think I may have wanted as a teenager in such a circumstance, combined in some strange way with what I may expect to hear if I were in your situation. My brain is a pretzel now, basically, but you are worth it, girl.

So this is what I humbly offer (with the caveat that I am not a licensed therapist,  and I am devastated just reading about two girls and a woman losing their mom and sister, so. Just know that I would like to be there to provide your preferred candy or wine, and drive you to school and/or work. I am SO SORRY.)

* First of all: Have a friend on speed dial. Call her. I see you, not calling her, and you need to. I don’t care if this is the one you think you burned out on the divorce. This is different, and she knows that, if she’s a cool person. You cannot do this alone. You could not do this without two teenaged nieces who just lost their mom, because this is your sister. You especially cannot now. Know her. Love her. Buy her wine or…oh my God, I can’t think of anything you’d have to give me, except nothing, but, whatever, have her.

* Don’t be afraid to talk to these girls about their Mom, but be willing to shut up if they don’t want to talk about Mom. Sometimes they will not want to, but sometimes they’ll need to. This will be weird and unpredictable. This may drive you crazy. It is driving them crazier, because they are pre-teenagers. Roll with it.

* Don’t shut them down in/revise their own memories of their mom, the way she was with them, or the way she died (especially the niece who was in the accident with her. Oof. This is so hard. I want to hug you all. This is why I make a lousy real therapist. I’m no good with boundaries.)* Show up at their activities as you can, within your own time constraints. They’ll remember at 18, and 25, and 40, that you were there, even if they’re not (outwardly) down with it now. They are 11 and 12. They’re supposed to be crazy at baseline. We’re supposed to be a little in control (Right? Yeah. I know.)

* Handle any arrangements or disputes that could crop up with their dad out of their view. The adults involved here will all go through a ton of transition and issues, and grieving kids don’t need to be exposed to any adult goings-on about holidays or milestones. (They wouldn’t have needed it if she were alive. They especially don’t need it now.)* Offer any keepsakes or stories, however small, that might help them know their mom. Memories can be short, and that can be scary. They may need reinforcements, and you are a crucial link. You had way more years with her than they did, when it comes down to it. (But again? Watch for when they’re ready.)*TELL THEM  you are there for them. They may brush it off, but people, especially young people, need to hear it. They will never be sorry you said it. Everyone will be sorrier if it’s not said or heard.

* Do not feel like you have to be there for them every second of every day. At times, they may need or want you and/or their grandmother around a lot, at other times, no. You say you don’t want to replace their mom, and the fact is that you can’t, really. Their void has to be acknowledged so they can learn to cope with it for the rest of their lives. It is horrible, but it is real. Helping them work through that with appropriate attention and space, with resources when they need them and backing off when they need to find solace in fresh air or each other or their own company, is the greatest gift any responsible adult in their lives can give them.

*Take them to see Justin Bieber. They will love it. Your brother-in-law will love you.Mama loss, as I know you’re seeing so I don’t have to tell you, is more than an army could contain. It’s only business for an auntie, and your love will do its best to carry them through, bound as you are to them forever by the loss of your sister. Do not forget, at any time, to take care of you. That is the best, first thing you can do for you, and therefore, for them as the years go by.

I wish you all well. I am so sorry.

Auntie Laurie

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27 Jul
Marinka Shares Her Summer Beauty Tips with Her Daughter.

Marinka’s Summer Do’s and Don’ts

Marinka, as interviewed by her almost-14 year old daughter.

Daughter: Wait, what am I supposed to ask you again?

Marinka: Tips for summer beauty.

Daughter: Okaaaaay. If you say so.

Marinka: Come on, I have lots of great tips.

Daughter: Fine. What are your “great tips”?

Marinka: Well, first of all, sunscreen is a must. A must. And there’s no need for quote marks.

Daughter: Got it. Sunscreen.

Marinka: And also dressing in light colors.

Daughter: I’m not wearing anything pink.

Marinka: It doesn’t have to be pink. White is great.

Daughter: White stains.

Marinka: White does not stain. What stains is dropping something on white when you eat while standing up instead of sitting down like a normal human being.

Daughter: Is that your summer tip? To eat sitting down?

Marinka: That’s really more of a life tip for all seasons.

Daughter: Let’s move on. Anything else?

Marinka: Yes, go easy on the perfume. You’re going to sweat in the summer and melting perfume is not a good thing.

Daughter: Not if you have air conditioning.

Marinka: Right, but no one can spend the whole summer in air conditioning.

Daughter: Hey, and is the summer when you shave your legs? When are you going to mention that?

Marinka glares.

Daughter: You don’t shave your legs in the winter.

Marinka: Well, my leg hair is very fine and fair. Like a princess’.

Daughter: Ö

Marinka: I can hear you rolling your eyes.

Daughter: Sorry.

Marinka: But yes, I do shave my legs in the summer. And yes, I have been using your Satin Care Passionista Fruit Gel.

Daughter: I figured.

Marinka: Sorry. But doesn’t it make sense to share shaving gel?

Daughter: Why don’t you share with dad?

Marinka: Because his bottle is blue. And what normal person would choose blue when she could have a floral design. Besides it has a sparkly fruit scent and I love sparkly fruit scents.

Daughter: Maybe you should get your own.

Marinka: That is certainly an idea. I have my own Venus razor.

Daughter: Well, duh, no one shares razors.

Marinka: Not if they want the smooth Venus shave, they don’t!

Daughter: Do you have any more tips?

Marinka: Sunglasses. Always wear sunglasses. And don’t look directly at the sun.

Daughter: Are we done?

Marinka: I have a lot more wisdom to share. But just have fun in the summer, while watching out for the sun’s deadly rays.

Daughter: You should write a book.

Marinka: I know, right? Hey, wait a minute!

And of course, use the Venus Embrace Razor for a smooth, close shave. †It has a soft grip handle for great control so you won’t have to deal with a flying razor in the shower.

But never ever share razors! Not even with best friends or super smart mothers who know everything. For more shaving tips, check out Tips and Hints for Mom from Gillette Venus.

 

Do you have any summer beauty tips? Tell me the best beauty tip you have shared with your daughter to prepare her for the summer or share your funniest beauty mishap for the chance to win a $50 Visa gift card!

Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/26 – 8/23
Be sure to visit the Venus brand feature page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggersí reviews and find more chances to win!

Have you checked out the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com? There are some great tips and expert posts on everything from Looking Your Best to Getting Happy and Getting Organized!†

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19 Jul
What’s outmywindow?

This is sponsored content by BlogHer and outmywindow.


Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day at the Warner Bros. studios in beautiful downtown Burbank, California. I actually worked for Warners years ago and spent about five years on the lot, so it was kind of a homecoming for me. Only this time it was a little more pleasant because I didn’t have my crazy movie executive boss frantically yelling at me to run a script over to Clint Eastwood’s office or he’d throw a smoothie at my head again. Ah, good times.

(And if the words “Smelly Cat” mean anything to you, be sure to keep reading this until the end.)

Anyway, the reason I was on the lot was to learn about Warner Bros.’ new photo sharing service called outmywindow. As the lovely people at WB told us, outmywindow was created with the sole purpose of photo privacy. I know, privacy on the internet. What a concept.

But the WB developers understand how easy it is for strangers to see your personal photos on places like Facebook and Twitter. Plus, they know that photos posted to the internet and social networks include metadata about where they were taken, and that most photo sharing sites also allow search engines to index your photos so that they can be downloaded by anyone, anywhere. We’ve all heard the nightmare stories about some baby’s picture being used in third party advertisements, right? Scary stuff.

So for all of those reasons, Warner Bros. designed outmywindow. It gives you complete control over your photos and who sees them. OMW is an all-in-one, more personal way of sharing and saving your images. Take pictures from your smart phone or tablet, then share them instantly across multiple devices—with only your handpicked friends and family.

Other features of outmywindow include:

  • A photo timeline automatically built from day stacks that allows you to flip back to a day in your life with the touch of a button
  • Simple organization and sharing across all kinds of devices
  • Easy to use interface
  • Head start on your albums via importing existing collections to your device
  • The ability to store high-res photos in the cloud for instant access anytime, anywhere

As someone who’s always a little nervous about putting pictures of my boys on the internet—lest their smiling faces suddenly pop up on billboards in India selling laundry soap, for example—this is a great fit for me. I have never been comfortable with my images being widespread and therefore appreciate what outmywindow is offering in regards to privacy.

Outmywindow launches today and their app is now available for download on iTunes. They can also be found at outmywindow.com, @outmywindow on Twitter and at Facebook.com/outmywindow.

Now, let’s get to the promised Smelly Cat. Part of my big day at Warner Bros. was getting to take a VIP tour of the studio. Because of my time spent working on the lot, I know the studio pretty well (probably too well, as I was known for regularly highjacking a golf cart with my friends and chasing down George Clooney at the ER set), however, I’d never before had the opportunity to sit in on the famous couch in Central Perk:

Nope, that’s not Joey, Monica, Ross and Rachel, fools. That’s someone I don’t know, Nichole Beaudry, Heather of the EO and me! (They wouldn’t let us touch the latte cups. Or stick our heads in them.)

Here’s another shot. Sadly, no Gunther behind the bar pining for Rachel:

And here’s my friend Heather of the EO again, now standing on the stage where Phoebe once sang “Smelly Cat.” Heather tried her best to pull it off, but sadly, she couldn’t quite capture the Buffay magic:

Finally, here’s Heather, Nichole and myself in the middle of the VIP tour. If memory serves, right after this picture was taken, we watched in amusement? horror? befuddlement? as our tour guide Bob stopped the tram in front of a little house and made two giggly mommy bloggers reenact a scene out of Million Dollar Baby. True story. But you know what? I’m sure my old buddy Clint would have loved it.

So my thanks to outmywindow and all of the lovely people at WB for a wonderful day, a great trip and all of the information about their new service. I really appreciate it.

Now, if I could just get “I’ll Be There For You” out of my head.

Wendi, TMH

 

 

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