31 May
You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Sunscreen

Today we welcome back one of our fave Guest Mouthy Housewives, Tonya of AdHoc Mom! We totally love Tonya and keep begging her to become one of our Sister Wives. Please, Tonya, please! Tease up that pompadour and join us in celestial marriage, baby! We’ll let you use the good vacuum!


Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’ve noticed that my neighbor never puts sunscreen on her young children. I asked her about it once at the pool and she said something like, “Their father’s Mexican, they don’t need it.” I think this is almost child abuse as I’ve seen both of the kids get red burns on their faces and necks. Should I try to put some on them when she’s not looking or am I just overreacting?


SPF Pissed Off


Dear SPF Pissed Off,

First off, what is this sun business you speak of? As a person with almost translucent skin (and a hefty cable bill), I don’t venture outside too often. (I’ve put in my application to become a vampire, but so far the Living Dead Society has yet to get back to me. I think they read somewhere I was vegetarian?) That being said, I do slather my own child in pounds of sunscreen and I’m pretty sure he goes from weighing a mere 35 to a nice hefty 50 once I’m done with him. Therefore, I fully understand your frustration at witnessing a friend fail to protect her own children. It’s akin to watching a pregnant woman smoke, with a bit of seriously questionable racial profiling thrown in.

However, while I don’t believe you are overreacting as extremely severe sunburns are certainly considered a form of child abuse, in order to keep neighborly relations on a congenial level, I wouldn’t recommend putting sunscreen on her children while she isn’t looking. This could quickly backfire into a situation whereby she will never trust you again, and may later instruct her progeny to wrap your house in toilet paper or leave smoking bags of dog feces on your front doorstep. Neither, as my teenage self can attest to, are very pleasant

So to keep your friendship and the neighbor relationship moving forward, I suggest trying to get her children involved in the process of putting on the sunscreen themselves. Perhaps you could use some different colors of sunscreen on your own kids while you are all out together and encourage her children to join in the fun of making their bodies into living art projects. (This is a tactic I have used successfully on my husband)

The most important thing to remember if you witness this behavior again is that she is their mother and she really does love them. Even if she’s an SPF 500 level idiot.

Good Luck,

Tonya Vernooy, Guest TMH

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19 Responses to “You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Sunscreen”


Comment by marathonmom.

It is a hell of a lot easier now that they have the spray on sunblocks. OMG!! She has no real defense.

Although, one CAN be allergic to some of the chemicals in sunscreen, so I would also not spray her kids down yourself.

Speaking of colors, I had some that started out purple and then you worked it in and it was supposed to become “normal” but it never worked right. My kids always looked part Barney the Dinosaur and on a bad day that particular shade drew some unwanted attention!


Comment by GrandeMocha.

I usually show off my melanoma scar and ask the kids if they want to end up like me. I offer them sunscreen & if they say they want it, I spray them down while I’m applying it to my kid. If they say they don’t want it, I don’t do it.


Comment by mexican offspring.

As the offspring of a Mexican I can tell you they most definitely won’t be “fine.” I didn’t get any of that “Mexican blood” the rest of my siblings and cousins got and I most surely burn every year. Slather it on!!


Comment by Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up).

here’s the thing i’ve noticed…people often react POORLY to be told how to parent.

Just saying


Comment by Alexandra.

Here, she can borrow my scare story that I used on my kids and they trip over each other fighting for that big bad boy of SPF 85.

“When I was in college, there was this girl…who never ever used sunscreen when she was a kid b/c it wasn’t invented yet, like it is for you LUCKY kids, and they had to chop off the tip of her hose from cancer that came from no sunscreen and she had to wear a little paper 3d pyramid cone over where the tip of her nose was supposed to be before it was cut off and OH MAN when the cone fell off you could see right into her brain.”



Comment by Kati.

My crazy mother (who is like 1/4 Cherokee) didn’t put sunscreen on me because I was “indian”. One time the sun was especially hot and she couldn’t find anything to protect my skin with, so she slathered me in baby oil. Yes, really.
I was 8 and I FRIED. My neighbor saw me and called me into her house (back in the days when you could do that)and cooled me down and gave me aloe, but I was still blistered for days.

Point is, some people are ignorant. And/or insane. I had at least 1-2 serious sunburns every summer throughout my childhood and teen years. It wasn’t until just the past few years that I’ve learned more about sun exposure and skin cancer and how to avoid it. I may not put on sunscreen every time I walk out the door, but if I know I’m going to be outside for awhile, I know what I have to do now.

If you suspect your friend is simply ignorant, perhaps working a few facts into conversation would help. If you’re sure she’s insane, that is a problem. I suggest getting the spray-on sunscreen and “accidentally” covering her kids while you’re innocently spraying yours.


Comment by sundmg.

I would not so blithely recommend spray-on sunscreen for other people’s children. The alcohol in the spray-on can affect people in different ways. I know somebody who burns up immediately after using spray-on because of the higher alcohol content.

Not putting on sunscreen on a kid is not child abuse. Leave your neighbor to parent her own children. The end.

Kati Reply:

Yes, it is.


sundmg Reply:

a) was he convicted?

b) from the article, it was not the act of not putting on sunblock, but the large blisters that formed on a mentally disabled child’s body. I didn’t see the article mention sunburn severe enough to cause large blisters, nor do the children seem to be disabled.

Kati Reply:

he plead guilty. There were other articles but since they’re archived, you have to pay to see them, so I picked a free one.

My point is, that not putting sunscreen on your child CAN be considered abuse, as there is a precedent for parents being brought up on charges for that. I’m not saying that everyone who doesn’t put it on their kid deserves to be prosecuted or have their child taken away – obviously this was an extreme case.

But it’s still failure to protect your child and can become an issue if the child is injured by it.

Kati Reply:

oh, and I meant “you/your” as a general, not accusing you personally of anything 🙂


Comment by Karin.

My mom tells stories of her childhood summers that involve being dropped off at the pool for swim team practice at 8 am with a packed lunch, drinks and snacks and sometimes a bit of pocket money for ice cream and being picked up for dinner (both parents worked). She and each of her sibs has had melanoma removed from their faces, ears and a few spots like shoulders and thighs. Things aren’t like that anymore – you can’t leave a 6, 8, 9 and 11 year old at the pool for the entire day most especially unsupervised (what a dream that would be somedays, huh?) just like you can’t overlook the fact that cancer is very prevalent and the more you can reduce the risk, the better – childhood sun exposure is what most researchers are linking to melanoma.

The second factor is pain. I’m nursing a mild sunburn today even though I had sunscreen on yesterday (I accidentally bought SPF 30… yes, I’m that translucent that anything under SPF 50 doesn’t count) and it’s painful. Why would a parent want that for their child? perhaps pointing out the sunburn and saying that it looks painful might do the trick?


Comment by Karin.

I think that’s a bit of an extreme case and may or may not be applicable to most cases. Seriously, Dad didn’t notice blistering until it was bleeding? That’s someone not paying attention.

Karin Reply:

this was supposed to thread under the msnbc link… hmmm.. well off to pick up a kiddie


Comment by FranceRants.

You can’t fix stupid.


Comment by carrie.

Wow, this was a tough one and I’m very impressed by the creative solution you came up with! I must know–what are the different color sunscreens?? That sounds AWESOME!! One unrelated sunscreen tip: don’t put sunscreen on your kid when they are sitting on a leather piece of furniture. Because afterall, leather is, well…skin. And sunscreen is waterproof and very hard to wash off! Those are the types of things i’d be likely to babble on about when confronted with such a nerve wracking dilemma.


Comment by Tonya.

Solar Sense and Zinka are 2 brands I know about. I never thought about leather and sunscreen that is super helpful!! Your babbling is my education!! Will now keep my child away…far far away from my new leather couch!!

Karin Reply:

a little mild soap and water (followed by leather conditioner) will get sunscreen off a leather sofa. Does not work nearly as beautifully for suede but really, what does?


Comment by The Flying Chalupa.

First, might I just say that I love Tonya and that she promised she’d be my sister wife first?

Second, I love the idea of getting the kids to apply it themselves. Perfect advice.

As they say, ignorance is blissful second degree burns.

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