Dear Snarky – My Mom is Trying to Buy Her Way Into My Labor and Delivery Room

Dear Snarky,

I’m nine months pregnant with my first child and at this point in the lock down I’m only allowed to have one person in the delivery room with me when I give birth. Of course, that person is going to be my husband. My problem is that my mom at first was  “heartbroken” that she can’t be in the delivery room.

Heartbroken quickly turned to furious because she has been in the delivery room for the birth of all her grandchildren. She’s refusing to understand why my husband would be my first choice to be in the delivery room. My mom even said that, “men are totally worthless and just stand there looking embarrassed and confused.”

Then she offered to pay my husband her entire stimulus check of $1,500 if he would give up his right to be there and let her go instead. Hold on because it gets worse. My husband told her he would think about if she upped it to $3,000.

I almost wanted to kill him. He said he was kidding and just messing with my mother because she deserved it due to her bullying us. But then my mom  came up with the three grand so she definitely thinks she’s going to the delivery room.

How do I stop this madness? Honestly, at this point I think I would rather just go alone.

Signed, Ready to Pop

Dear Ready,

Let’s start with your husband. You’re going to have to cut him some slack. I think he was just enjoying toying with your mom because she was being so ridiculous. Come on, did your mom seriously think that a father would basically sell the rights to see his child being born? That said, no man should ever contribute to the stress levels of a very pregnant woman. So, yes he was being very stupid. That I’ll give you.

As for your mom I have one word – YIKES . The hubris alone is mind boggling. So, your mom thinks she’s more important than your husband, the baby’s father? To that I say, “Okay crazy grandma, you need to get some help.”

On top of that your mom is just a brat. What she’s doing is throwing a temper tantrum because she’s not getting her own way. Granted she’s also throwing money around but it’s still a tantrum.

My advice is I wouldn’t tell your mother anything about the birth until you’re safely ensconced at the hospital with your husband. You would be a fool to let her know that you’re going into labor or are on your way to the hospital because girlfriend the odds are she would meet you there.

Letting her know later takes care of the issue because you will already be at the hospital with your plus one and security will take care of the problem if she shows up in an attempt to take your husband’s place.

Congrats on the baby and please keep me posted on how this turns out.

 

Dear Snarky – My MIL Has Gone Quarantine Crazy and is Planning a Party That I Don’t Want

Dear Snarky,

 My mother-in-law is driving me crazy. I had a baby in February and since the lock down went into place she has been blasting me with texts, phone calls and emails about how when the shelter in place is lifted we’re going to have the “most amazing baby christening party of all times.”

 It’s gotten pretty bad. She even has a Pinterest board of party ideas and from everything I’ve seen and what she’s told me this woman thinks my husband and I are going to be hosting a party for like a hundred people.

 I have so many problems with this. The first one being I don’t want a huge christening party and second we can’t afford to basically throw what from the Pinterest board I’m seeing looks like a wedding for our baby. I’m on maternity leave and my husband was furloughed from his job so we’re cash strapped and the last thing we want to do with any money we have is blow it on a party as soon as the quarantine is lifted. #mortgage

 How can I get my mother-in-law to understand this is not what my husband and I want and that it’s not going to happen?

 Signed, Trapped

Dear Trapped,

 Let’s start with the positives. It’s wonderful that your mother-in-law is so invested and excited about her new granddaughter. I’m sure it’s hard on her that she hasn’t been able to see the baby as much as she would like. I also think all the party planning is a way for her to channel that frustration and a quarantine distraction.

 That said, it’s never too early to start setting boundaries with your MIL. You need to explicitly, and girlfriend I mean in writing, share that you and your husband will not be hosting a large christening party for your baby girl.

You also need to give a quantitative figure of how many people you will be up for inviting to the party. This is because words like “small” or open to interpretation. One person’s small party may mean 5. Another person’s may mean 500. I suggest sending a very kind email where you share that, you will be drawing the line at (insert number here) people.

 Again, be gentle with your mother-in-law. She probably means well. But to protect her feelings and your wallet now is the time to send that email about what your plans are so when all this is over no one can utter those two phrases that have doomed many, many, family relationships, “I never knew” and “You didn’t tell me.”

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

 

Dear Snarky – I’m Getting Attitude For Taking a Pass On Our Family Easter Dinner

Dear Snarky,

 My parents and sister are acting like spoiled brats and being totally clueless about social distancing.

 Not only are my parents, who are in their late 60s, still going to the grocery store almost every day like they don’t have a care in the world but my sister and her six kids are hanging out with my parents.

She’s even dropping her kids off at their house so they can babysit because she needs “a break” and her Bunko group still got together last week. 

 It’s like the coronavirus is happening to other people. My sister had the nerve to actually call me “selfish” for saying there was no way I was going to attend a family Easter dinner. She also said that I was ignoring my parents.

 I’m not ignoring anyone on purpose I’m following the rules. I also have a child with asthma so you can bet we’re hunkered down at home.

 Why am I being made to feel like the bad guy for sheltering in place? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

 Signed, Ticked Off

Dear Ticked,

 I don’t really have any words of comfort for dealing with idiot family members except know that you are not alone AND that this is the time where you need to unapologetically stick to the rules.

 I would also, and I’m sure you have already done this, explain to your parents and sister why these stay home mandates are so important. Perhaps graphs or a pie chart might help or pictures of overwhelmed hospitals.

 Sadly, the bottom line is it’s hard to herd idiots. Some humans are just predisposed to be morons who thrive at picking and choosing what they want to believe like they’re at an all you can eat buffet of stupidity.

 You can only control your own situation and I applaud you for following the rules. Stay strong and don’t let your family bully or manipulate you into doing anything else. Lives depend on us staying home. You’re doing the right thing.

 P.S. Your sister sounds like a total tool.

Dear Snarky – I Tried to Give a New Mom at School the Inside Scoop and it Backfired

Dear Snarky,

A new family has moved into our neighborhood. One of the kid’s is in my daughter’s class. I met her mother and she seemed really nice. The problem is there’s a mom at the school who tricks  other parents into watching her kids.

It goes something like this: The mom suggests you start a carpool. You agree. Then before you know it you’re doing all the driving and the mom starts sending you texts asking if her kids can go home with you and she’ll pick them later and by later it turns out she means like way after dinner.

I saw this mom being really nice to the new mom and I knew what was up. She was going to start using the new mom as her latest free childcare.

I, being a really nice person, decided to warn the new mom about this woman. The new mom then told the other mom about what I said and now they’re both saying means things about me.

I’m really angry because all I did was give the new mom a head’s up, which by the way I wish someone had done for me, and now I’m the horrible mom. It’s really pissing me off.

Is there any way I can turn this around? It’s getting to me. I’m not going to lie the Valentine’s Day party at school was rough.

Signed, Just trying to help out

Dear Just Trying,

File this under no good deed goes unpunished and mind your own business. The problem here is that while trying to do what you thought was a kind thing (and I’m hoping that was your motivation) with your heads up to the new mom you entered into unknown territory.

 And by that, I mean you didn’t know the new mom well enough to judge how she would handle what you told her. Some mothers, for example – me, would be most appreciative of being told a little inside info. Other mothers are going to think that what you shared was mean spirited and perhaps gossipy. And there’s the third unknown that maybe this new mom is a pot stirrer and she’s going make her mark by really living large on what you shared.

 I think we all know which way this turned out. That said, there is really nothing you can do. I would ignore it. Keep your mouth firmly shut. To say anything else is just going to extend the life span of this drama.

I enthusiastically suggest in the future you need to be a little more circumspect about what you share with strangers and yes, this woman was essentially a stranger. What did you really know about her besides the fact that your kids attend the same school?

 Also, you can take some satisfaction from knowing that the new mom will most likely become the de facto childcare are provider for this woman. When this happens fight the urge to say, “I told you so.”

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

 

Writing Can Get Pretty Ugly

*Note:  I write a weekly opinion column for the Kansas City Star. Some of the stuff I muse about is a little more political in nature than I what share on this blog and by that I mean in the past I have written about education reform, health care etc. Because of this I get emails where people disagree with me, which is totally appropriate and welcome. This recent column was in regards to people who feel free to write to me about my looks – because that’s how you disagree with a woman right – by disparaging her appearance? Ugh. I’m sharing this column on my blog because I believe it has a message that will resonate with a lot of you.

 

I don’t get a ton of emails from readers of my Kansas City Star column hating on me but I get enough that I’ve been able to classify them into categories.

There’s the people that can’t grasp the concept of self-deprecating humor and therefore think I’m an idiot. There are the people that like to write me six paragraph emails on an almost weekly basis with the theme of, yep you guessed it, that I’m an idiot. There’s the people who disagree with me on a topic and use this as an excuse to take out all their life frustrations on me and then there’s my favorite – the people (all male based on their email signatures) that like to tell me an idiot AND that I’m unattractive.

These brings me a special joy because I’m in awe of how any man could have the hubris to believe that I care about their opinion in regards to my looks. As an advanced middle-aged female giving a hoot and holler about what any man thinks about my appearance ended about four decades ago.

How some dudes could conceive that telling me I’m unattractive or fat is going to be the coup de grace of my existence makes me laugh. Also, what makes these men presume womankind cares about their opinion on our looks?

Haven’t we as a society gotten past that just a wee bit? Sure, based on social media you could think that that answer to that question is a great big NO.

But don’t be fooled by all those filters and sexy posts by women on Instagram who are living the “like my post and link in bio” lifestyle. Most females today care more about than own judgment way more than what any guy thinks. Plus I think we’re raising girls today to have what I call self esteem swagger.

I’d like to believe that my father was a pioneer in this trend. Almost every day of my life he told me I was smart, beautiful and strong.

When I was in high school he drove me to school in the mornings and the entire seven-minute drive consisted of my dad telling me how amazing I was. It became a running joke between us. I called it “Dad’s morning pep talk.” He called it “telling it like it is.”

I would greet his soliloquy with rolled eyes and share that he was “full of it” but the man knew what he was doing. To this day if I’m having a crisis, large or small, I go back to what he told me on those drives to school.

This is why when men send me disparaging emails I feel sorrow and it’s not because they think I’m a “fatty” or “could use some work” but because based on my father and role model they’re failures as human beings.

I worry about any man who could write me, an aging female with no illusions about becoming an AARP super model, to call me out on my looks. What kind of man, husband, father are you that you can email a woman and attempt to tear her down by commenting on her appearance?

If you’re doing this to me, a total stranger, than how must you treat the women in your lives and what kind of damage are you doing to their mental health?

My dad’s name was Bob. I’d like to suggest that before you hit send on that next hate filled email you think about your legacy or as my husband likes to say during any big family decision ask yourself, “What would Bob do?”

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – I’m Being Shunned For Bringing Cupcakes to a School Party

Dear Snarky,

 I’m being shunned at my son’s elementary school due to having the “audacity” to bring mini chocolate cupcakes to the first grade Halloween party. I never received the link to the online sign up sheet for food and didn’t know that sweets were not allowed at the party. I only brought cupcakes because I didn’t want to show up empty handed.

 Now, the anti sugar Nazis are furious and suggesting that I’m a bad mother because I dared to bring a dessert to a Halloween party. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Halloween all about the sugar? Now, I’ve been told by the two room moms that I’m not allowed to volunteer or sign up for any party duties for the reminder of the school year.

 I cannot express how angry this makes me. What course of action do you think I should take because this is total bull shit?

 Signed, Cupcake Mom

Dear Cupcake,

You have to pick your battles. Ask yourself are cupcakes the hill you want to die on? If your child is only in the first grade you have a L-O-N-G time to spend with these mothers.

This means you can do two things. One, not volunteer at the rest of the parties but absolutely show up for your son or two take a stand so these moms know not to mess with you for the next 12 years and lord help me but I’m leaning towards this one because these moms need to simmer the hell down and learn to reign in their control issues. Their kid’s elementary school is not their personal fiefdom. #getalife.

Admittedly you should make sure moving forward that you’re up-to-date on your emails, apps, etc related to school events but you shouldn’t have to cower in fear around these mothers or kiss up to them because you dared to walk into the school bearing cupcakes. This means one thing – go over their heads. Yep, talk to the teacher the real boss of the classroom.

Explain what happened, express your desire to help out and ask if there is anything the teacher needs assistance with. Then resist the urge to tell the two room moms where they can shove their “no volunteer” edict and focus on making your child’s first grade year wonderful.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Dear Snarky – My Mom Needs to Quit Wearing Sexy Halloween Costumes

Dear Snarky,

 I need help with my mother. I swear she thinks she’s Jennifer Lopez and by that I mean at 55 she is very proud of her body and loves to show it off. Every Halloween she goes all out with the sexy costumes. This Halloween she is wearing a costume that is a replica of the iconic dress J.Lo wore where she’s almost naked.

 My problem is she’s planning on wearing it to a Halloween party hosted by my boyfriend’s parents. I told her that costume was not appropriate for this kind of party and she told me I was just “jealous.”

 Seriously, she can’t show up to meet my boyfriend’s parents for the first time in a costume where she’s that exposed. How do I get her to wear something that at least covers her chest?

 Signed, Distressed Daughter

Dear Distressed,

First, let me say I’m not into body shaming nor am I the Fashion Police. In fact, the only style crimes that get me really ticked off are adults wearing P.J’s on a plane or people who wear shorts and flip flops to church weddings.

 As for your mother I’m afraid you’re not going to get her to wear a nun costume. I think the more you beg her to cover up the more she’s going to want to take the girls out. That said if I had a body that resembled Jennifer Lopez’s I might be inclined to be queen of the crop top.

 I suggest that perhaps the first time your boyfriend’s parents meet your parents is not at this party. Maybe you can schedule a coffee get together so their initial “how do you do” is with your mom wearing clothing and not a costume.

 Remember you’re not responsible for your mom’s behavior or life choices. At 55 years old how she dresses is her business and her business alone. Maybe she’s living her best life.

 As for your boyfriend’s parents if they’re going to judge you based on your mother’s Halloween costume then they have issues. #runaway

 Now as for that  jealous comment it sounds like your mother’s maternal instincts might need a refresh. Her quip was very unkind and leads me to believe that her entire self worth is tied up in her appearance and let me tell you as an aging female that totally sucks.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Dear Snarky – My Mom and Mother-In-Law Have Turned Grandparenting Into a Competitive Sport

Dear Snarky,

 My mom and mother-in-law are driving me crazy. They’re both very competitive and my kids are always in the middle of their tug-of-wars as they try to one up each other.

 For example, they both just had to buy my daughters’ first day of school outfits when I had already told them that my girls had picked out their own clothes. I then had to send separate photos with my daughters in the outfits each grandma had bought pretending that it’s what they wore to school.

 I knew I finally had to do something when my oldest daughter told her little sister we had to take all these pictures because mommy lies to grandma and nana. How do I put a stop to each grandmother wanting to be my kids’ favorite because juggling all of this is setting a bad example for my girls?

 Signed, Exhausted

Dear Exhausted,

 You’re not going to like this answer because the problem isn’t just the grandmothers fault you also are too blame. Girl you should have shut this down a long time ago like when your firstborn was an infant. The fact that you’ve enabled them and let this continue and escalate for years is not cool and is going to make stopping it even harder.

 I would begin by having a frank talk with your mother and telling her that all this competitive nonsense has to stop and that it’s having an adverse effect on her granddaughters and stressing you the hell out because of all the subterfuge required to keep both grandmothers happy. I would also include the very important fact that your own daughter called you a liar.

 Next up, is your mother-in-law and I would include your husband in that conversation for back up. This is because the last thing you want is your mother-in-law telling your husband that you criticized her grandparenting skills or called her a “bad Nana.”  You need to emphasize how the competitiveness is hurting her precious granddaughters and has the potential for harming the wonderful relationship she has with them.

 Of course, for any real change to happen you are going to have to put your big girl britches on and stand up to your mother and mother-in-law by having a zero tolerance policy for their competitive foolishness. And if you feel yourself wavering just remember the four letter word your daughter called you.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Dear Snarky – Say Hello to the Prize Police

Dear Snarky,

 I’m in charge of our neighborhood’s Fourth of July parade and I’m getting some serious attitude from other people on my committee. In the past we have given out ribbons for best bike decoration, best patriotic stroller etc. and I want to change that.

 This year I would like to limit the number of ribbons and only recognize a few parade entries. By doing this we can spend money on better prizes and more importantly not keep rewarding kids for just showing up.

Last year, we handed out ribbons to kids who didn’t even decorate their bikes. It was a joke. I think the families who actually take the parade seriously should be rewarded.

 My fellow committee members think I’m being mean but I think I’m teaching kids and parents a lesson.

 Do I listen to my committee or just know that I’m doing the right thing and not worry about what they think?

 Signed, Integrity Matters

Dear Crazy Lady (because I not going to use the word “integrity” in addressing you),

Are you freaking kidding me? You’re choosing your neighborhood Fourth of July bike parade to get all high horsey? You need to calm down and release your death grip on those ribbons. Your sanctimonious “kids shouldn’t be rewarded for just showing up” B.S. is totally out of place at a neighborhood parade. It’s not like the kid that wins “most red, white, and blue bike” is going to use the award to get into Stanford.

If you’re seriously on a mission to stop the practice of “everyone gets a trophy” than I suggest you chose another venue to proselytize at than the Fourth of July bike parade. These are your neighbors. Families are showing up to have fun not to face your judgmental wrath. Give everybody a ribbon that probably costs 10 cents and get over yourself.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Dear Snarky – Church Camp Went Straight to Hell Before It Even Started

Dear Snarky,

 My daughter has been excited about going to summer sleep away church camp since we signed her up for it in January. I recently found out that she won’t be bunking with her three best friends. A mom, who signed up late, bribed the church secretary to change the cabin assignments. The secretary sells some nutritional juice line and I was told that this mom bought a ton of it to get her daughter into the “good cabin” which meant my daughter got kicked out.

 I’m so angry! I can’t believe this has happened to my child. Right now I don’t even want her to go camp. Also, what can I do about this horrible church secretary?

 Signed, Summer is Already Ruined

Dear Summer,

 The first thing you need to do is put a mom spin on the cabin re-assignment. Tell your daughter there’s been a snafu and while she won’t be rooming with her best friends she will get a chance to make some new friends in another cabin which is a big part of summer camp –broadening your horizons.

 Also, remind her that she will be very busy at camp and will still get to do everything with her best friends except share sleeping quarters. Make it seem like this could be the best of both worlds. Sell it sister!

 As for the scheming mom and the greedy church secretary I would go straight to your minister about this wanton display of broken commandments. The secretary needs to be fired – pronto. She abused her position of trust and I bet the entire Sunday offering plate that this wasn’t her first rodeo. I’m sure she has a long history of being super shady.

 And to the mom who bribed the secretary she’ll eventually get what’s coming to her – like maybe choke on all that nutritional juice she bought. What YOU don’t want to do is give her the power to ruin your daughter’s summer camp experience. You need to rise above this and encourage your child to have a wonderful time.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉