Bad Advice On Selfish Hot Flashes And Meddling In-Laws
Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
“My son and daughter-in-law just had a baby, our first grandchild. Baby is doing well, which is wonderful. The issue I have is that a lot seems to have changed since when my kids were babies, and it’s hard for me to keep up. I formula fed my kids and that worked out fine for everybody, but my daughter-in-law insists on nursing even though the schedule is really intense. We had to get a shot for whooping cough when she was pregnant, the baby can’t co-sleep on mom…I could go on and on, but it just seems so much more then I remember it. I think you are going to tell me my role as Grandma is to say nothing and let them parent however they want, but is there any way to tell them that babies aren’t that fragile and maybe they are making this harder then it needs to be?”
— Via Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 10 Feb 2017
If there is one thing new parents crave, it is patronizing and unsolicited advice on childrearing from their in-laws. Nobody loves to be corrected, repeatedly, more than people who just had their first kid, and they wish for no one to correct them more than their in-laws. After all, your daughter-in-law married the child you raised, who only lived to adulthood because of the exact type and order of parenting you provided to him.
Imagine the conversation your son and his wife had about vaccinations, when they bought up all the world’s medical texts and changed them to reflect their own personal beliefs about whooping cough just to make your life more difficult!
Nobody loves to be corrected, repeatedly, more than people who just had their first kid.
There is exactly one kind of okay parenting in the world, and it is the kind of parenting that you did. Deviation from the decades-old norms with which you are familiar must not be tolerated, lest your son and his wife formulate their own ideas about raising a family, which is a direct insult to you, personally, the woman who did the best parenting job in the world on this dumb man who cannot be trusted.
It is imperative that you jump in the backseat of the ole’ Parentwagen and take the wheel from the incompetent weenie you raised, perfectly.
“Recently we had a heavy snowfall. The next day I called a neighbor to see if he needed a ride to church services. He gratefully accepted.
When we approached the church I noticed that he stopped in the vestibule, as if procrastinating in sitting down. I took my seat and minutes later turned around to see him sitting three rows away. After the service, I waited in the parking lot for some time until he finally came up to the car.
We chatted on the way home, but once I was alone I realized that he did not want to be seen with me. I’m good enough to talk to, but not good enough to sit next to?
Is this socially unacceptable behavior? Shouldn’t people be gracious enough to sit with the person who offered them the transportation?
I can’t seem to let it go.
— From “Weather Beaten” via “Ask Amy,” Washington Post, 12 February 2017
Dear Weather Beaten,
You think this gentleman was obligated to sit with you after you gave him a ride to church? You are sorely mistaken. His error was in not sitting on your lap.
“For the past year, my wife, ‘Janie,’ has been getting hot flashes. She is always broiling in the house while the rest of the family freezes. She insists on keeping the temperature at 70, while the rest of us are most comfortable at 74. She recently purchased warm slippers for everyone and suggested we wear long sleeves.
I like to wear T-shirts and walk barefoot. I work long hours, and when I come home, I like to shed most of my clothes. I pay the mortgage and should not be freezing in my own home. Our family doctor said the hot flashes could last for years. I say she is disrespectful to all of us. She says I am insensitive. We are at an impasse.
I found out she is looking for an apartment. I love my wife and beg you to help us before it’s too late.
—From “Upstate New York Where It’s 20 Degrees Outside” via “Annie’s Mailbox,” 24 Feb 2017
Dear Upstate New York Where It’s 20 Degrees Outside And You Should Be Able To Walk Around Nearly Naked In Your Own Goddamned House Anyway,
The appalling disrespect that your wife has shown by experiencing menopause is second only to her galling decision to buy you slippers in hopes of creating some common ground on which you can both comfortably stand. It’s inconsiderate in the extreme for her to experience the natural consequence of aging without giving your needs a single thought — except for the rude thought she had when she disgustingly bought you things to keep you warm, which you should never be expected to need as a skin-covered human man.
It’s inconsiderate in the extreme for your wife to experience the natural consequence of aging.
You say you love your wife, but if she really loved you, she would cheerfully cotton to being hideously uncomfortable all the time so that you can sit around in your Hanes in the dead of winter. Think of it this way: The answer to your predicament lies in who bears the bigger burden. Is it the person who has almost no control over a completely normal physical condition, or the dude who could just put a fucking sweater on? What your wife has totally failed to understand is that you literally cannot wear a sweater because you do not want to, whereas she could, at any moment, stop being the age she is and stop having the body she has.
You pay the mortgage, after all, which entitles you to everything you could ever want. Why don’t you try skipping a few months of payments, just to show this uppity cow who’s boss? It will make a compelling scene for her to witness from inside her new apartment.