Tuesday, February 26

Don't trust the teens and the husband is always right

When it comes to household crap, laundry is my albatross.

That sonab*tch hangs around me and is my burden to bear alone (most weeks). Bumper tries to help but truth be told, she can't sort whites from colours worth sh*t, and don't get me started on hot and cold loads. And SB comes on handy on the weekends but everyone and their uncle is in need of clean attire for date night, so that rarely pans out.

The best time to do laundry in this building is in the daytime - when it's me and the blue-hair brigade. Don't get me started on how much of a joy it was for me when the building switched from coin-operated to pass card machines. As far as I now understand: Technology is trying to kill the old and make them wear dirty clothing to meet their death. But I digress.

A small bonus of being the resident washer woman is the visits to the side room off the laundry. It has a few chairs, a table, and bookshelves full of left-behind treasures. People dump boxes of nicknacks worthy of yard sales and all sorts of good finds but mostly it consists of books and magazines.

Have I ever mentioned I'm a magazine-whore? I'll spare you the details, so let's put it this way: When a new stack of mags arrive in the laundry room I'm all over them like dirt on my kid. Free and recycled. I will recycle them too. What more do you need?

Last week, some new fodder arrived that I actually had never read before: Family Circle.

Sure, I've seen it in the doctor's waiting room but with a name like that, I dismissed it as matronly. So FC would hardly be my first choice, but this particular issue promised "No-Cook Dinners - Easy! 15-Minute Meals".

With dreams of food that required no cooking and still resulted in sustenance for her family, motherbumper yelled "Sold!" (Editor's Note: exclamation point required to match zeal behind original headline. Motherbumper is not that enthusiastic, even when something is free).

So I threw it on the clean clothes and trucked it upstairs to read at my leisure.

The recipes were nothing to write home about (I'll just keep serving them cereal) but I found the advice columns refreshingly scary. Nothing beats you over the head to other POVs than reading outside your norm.

Here's a slice:
(click to enlarge)
Synopsis: Sixteen year old son crashes at friend's house twice a week after band practice. It bugs mom because he is "living" at the other kids house and she wants to know what she should do to lessen the hours spent away.

So what advice is doled out? Alarm bells and the poor boy needs structure. I'll buy structure but alarm bells? The part that made me squirm: "... I think there are two likely explanations for his behavior. Either he's escaping your home because someone is making him feel unsafe, or he wants to drink or get high without having to deal with you."

Good Lord. How about asking him why he likes to hang out there so much? Maybe tell him what constitutes too much time and he will be okay with that. Maybe you can have a conversation about it and everything will be okay.

Maybe he just hates his mom's cooking and his friend has a hot sister.

Next came this perfectly normal request for assvice advice:
(click to enlarge - that's what she said)

Synopsis: Husband is sloppy and he thinks she should pick up after him. What can she do to get him "to do a better job" to cut down on cleaning?

Advice: if you treat him like your toddler you might get some positive results. That "Good Job!" praise annoys my toddler so I can only imagine what it would do to a full grown adult. Actually, I've seen this done to friend's spouses and it ain't pretty. It pisses the husband off - unless he is whipped and then this question would be moot because the house would be clean.

Also suggested? Maybe YOU have set the bar too high. Hmmmmm... well okay, I understand the "it's me, not you" theory. I would have preferred to read a suggestion along the lines of healthy adult discussion that results in compromise but whatever.

I seriously let that one slide until I read the last statement: "Or you'll learn to live with it, which wouldn't be such a bad outcome for you or your marriage."

Translation: If he doesn't shape up, lay down and modify all opinions, beliefs, and standards to that of husband. It will save your marriage. Next level: move to Stepford.

Oh my, motherbumper's head hurts. I really must go back to censoring my reading materials. This step on the super-duper, so far right that it's right behind your husband, conservative side scared the crap outta me*.

* don't think the (morrisette-like) irony escapes me: I'm a mom who does all the laundry but trust me, if we had 24 hour laundry, he'd be doing his own. I'm very grudgingly the laundry b*tch around here.

Also, I have a had an episodic brain meld of the Spelling variety and since I firmly trust these ladies to be correct: I was wrong about the "curse of the mermaid 90210 dress" - it was Kelly's slutty vampy temptress costume that led to near molestation while Donna's mermaid costume was just a wardrobe malfunction. Thank you mac and cheese and Ali. I know that if I was ever stranded on a deserted island with those two ladies and there was satellite tv, there would be no fighting over what to watch.


SciFi Dad said...

"Technology is trying to kill the old and make them wear dirty clothing to meet their death."

That was the best line I've read in weeks. WEEKS I tell you.

And the advice? What's wrong with the wife just sucking it up for the sake of her marriage?

(What? Did I say something wrong?)

Post Script For All Nazi-esque Feminist Mommy Bloggers Who Think I'm An Ass: I WAS KIDDING.

(But I'm probably still an ass.)

motherbumper said...

If I didn't know ya (*motherbumper shaking fist in air*) - I kid.

Thank you but the grungy blue-haired are still whining.

Bea said...

Brilliant analysis of the Family Circle. (For a minute there I thought you were talking about the Family Circus - remember that cartoon?)

kgirl said...

oh god, my mother always read family circle. i was just joking to a friend of mine that if she ever catches me with one, she should shoot me.

chatelaine is much better.

and i always SAID i stayed over at my friends' houses when really i was having sex with my boyfriend. ha!

something blue said...

There are crumbs on my stove. That must mean my marriage is a blissful union right?

I can come over and help you break into the laundry room around 2 AM. That's when I do all my washing.

Mayberry said...

The day we moved into an apt. with its own washer/dryer was seriously one of the best in my entire life. I was happy about that for YEARS. Godspeed with the bluehairs MB.

Kyla said...

Family Circle sounds like something my mom would read. The immediate jump to "ARE YOU ON DRUGS?" sounds vaguely familiar. LOL.

Heather said...

I remember those freebies from when we lived in a high rise in NY. We scored some pretty good stuff when I was a kid. Of course I wouldn't give up my own washer and dryer for the free stuff, but it was cool when I was a kid.

No, you can't just communicate to solve problems. That would be SILLY.

kittenpie said...

The teenager one bothers me more. Maybe he's staying over there becayuse his mother is annoying! Or maybe he prefers hanging with friends. Like he's oh, I don't know, a teenager? heck, often I prefer hanging with my friends, too.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Hmm.. Praising a good job well done and encouraging the man to do more. That's how I train my dogs. And while I wholeheartedly believe that positive reinforcement works, men are a bit smarter than dogs.

(I KNOW. Who knew.)

Don't talk down to your man. Use sex as a reward instead. ;)

jennie said...

at first I was appalled by the "you set the bar too high" advice response. but now I'm thinking that I might use it. For example:

"Could you throw away that pop can, or would that be setting the bar too high?"

too much sarcasm?

motherbumper said...

Nope Jennie, that's just the right amount ;)

Redneck Mommy said...

I live by Family Circle. It's my bible.

Wait a second...can't catch my breath from laughing so hard.

Now I've got to go fold laundry. Dammit.

the mama bird diaries said...

I have never been so grateful to have a washer/dryer than when I read your post.

But I'm secretly glad you don't because that was hilarious.

And I agree with Scifi dad: Your technology + old people line rocks.

creative-type dad said...

Family Circle? That's still around.

Did you find a copy of Highlights nearby too...?

nomotherearth said...

I just love the "learn to live with it" advice - so helpful! LOL

Lisa b said...

I want to be stranded on an Island with you, Ali and mac and cheese. All bad TV all day long.

Alex Elliot said...

I came downstairs this morning, and saw that my husband had left this up on the computer for me, apparently found via BlogHer ads. I am pretty sure he did it because he knew I would find your post hilarious, but just a tiny part of me worries that he actually thought he was passing along helpful advice. He was responsible for the kitchen clean-up last night, so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out which theory is correct. Dare I look?

slackermommy said...

I think Family Circle needs a new columnist. That advice sucks!

I'm also a magazine whore, mostly trash magazines though. I'm a trashy kind of girl.

jenB said...

I love the husband and he does lots in the parenting arena, but as far as household stuff? I think he imagines that we have house elves. Too much Harry Potter for him. We ended up writing down a list of what is done in the house. Now, i do some, he does some, and a nice lady i pay does some. :-)