Mommy’s Coping Skills

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Women are more social by nature. What their peer groups says and thinks and feels is of paramount importance. Not only do women tend to “follow the herd” more than men, keep up with trends, and make the majority of the buying decisions (over 80% of consumer spending is done by women), but they also take their emotional cues from their social group. If the group is stressed, she’s stressed. If the group is happy, she’s happy. If the group thinks her husband is a lazy slob, she thinks her husband is a lazy slob.

For example, more than a few men have been pissed at their wife’s inability to appreciate his hard work and dedication to her and the family. Then, one day a friend of your wife’s points out to her what a great guy you are, and your wife suddenly awakens and is appreciative. Mary said that Greg said you are the hardest worker they have at your company. That made me realize how lucky I am to have such a great husband!” she says as she hugs you tightly. Gee, glad Mary was around to point out the obvious, sweetie! Or you could… you know… just open your eyes and see me coming home exhausted every day and appreciate me, without needing your friend’s input first.

The social dynamic has changed immensely. What used to be long, gossip-filled telephone conversations at the kitchen table with her friends has now turned into all-day-long social media posting marathons. Social media is heroin for the woman who is preoccupied with the life of her friends and celebrities. Lots of clicking. Lots of posting. Lots of liking. Every single day.  It’s not a good thing.

It didn’t take long after the invention of Facebook for posts by busy moms to go from “Look at this cute picture of my perfect kid”, to regular posts telling moms that is it okay to be a horrible parent every now and then and to just “let go”. That’s when it started going downhill fast. The general mom-centric social media theme quickly morphed into: “Life sucks. Life is stressful. My god, how do we do this? How can we juggle so many things?!  Working moms are living saints! LIFE IS SO GOD DAMN HARD. We must mentally escape or we will die!” The social group has spoken. Current mood: Overstressed.  

Once the “Woe is me” social media train started rolling, there was no stopping it. Victimhood is contagious. Mommy martyrdom is their new drug.

If my personal Facebook feed is to be believed, alcoholism has been a very cool hobby for the modern day mom. It’s hip. It’s cute. It’s a big, funny joke that we all laugh along with. “Oh, mommy and her wine. She needs it with those three rug rats at home, am I right?! Gotta have her mom juice!”   There is meme after meme about mommy needing a timeout as she avoids the kids and polishes off a bottle of the happy stuff. I even saw an ad for a wine glass holder for the shower. God forbid mom has to endure the hardships of bathing without her drug!

In the 60’s and 70’s, we had a somewhat hush-hush trend of women using valium to “calm mommy’s nerves”. These days it’s a bottle of whichever wine with a funky label is on sale at the grocery store that day. Both are no good for her health, and yet both have been accepted as “Just the way it is… otherwise mom will go off the rails. Let’s keep her medicated and tolerable.”  The irony is that what seems like such an obviously sexist way of thinking (“Poor silly stupid ladies”) is not perpetuated by men , but by their fellow women.  Ask any man who has worked with or hung out with a group of women. These groups of women seem to have an innate need to bring down their fellow women when given the chance, sometimes subconsciously. “Yes, drink the wine, sweetie. You deserve it. Life is awful tough. Don’t worry, we’re all doing it, too. It’s okay. LOOK! She’s now a horrible mom, too! Now I don’t feel so bad!”

What a drag it is getting old
‘Kids are different today,’ I hear ev’ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper.

– The Rolling Stones 

The wino mom trend is not cute. It’s not funny. It’s disturbing. It’s shameful. The behavior that is glorified and joked about in memes is what we commonly refer to as “alcoholism”. Alcoholism can and will ruin lives. If you are polishing off an entire bottle of wine (or more) a day just so you can cope with life’s stress, you have a serious substance abuse issue. You are unable to cope with life on your own. The thought terrifies you. 

I will say it until I am blue in the face: Most people are not cut out for long-term relationships. It’s too tough for most. Most of the relationship candidates out there are BAD relationship candidates. Most women you will encounter in life have a very VERY difficult time coping when shit hits the fan, and trust me… shit WILL hit the fan at some point. Many women just don’t have the tools in their mental toolbox to deal with it. They will absolutely find a way to ease the pain of life and deal with it in an unhealthy way. This is why she spends too much, eats too much, has the affair, and drinks like a fish.

In an era of “No shame… do what you want and we will not judge you for it”, society still finds a way to point out the broken people we should all stay away from. Social Media is doing an excellent job of shaking the bushes and watching the bad relationship rats scurry and hide. Pay close attention. Everything you need to know is there. Your woman’s social media feed is the new and effective barometer of her mental health. Red flags will be there for the world to see. You just need to remove you rose-colored glasses to see them.

Empty wine bottles in the trash day after day are not a joke. They are a clinking, heavy bag of glaringly awful red flags. You have been warned.

Dear DSO: It’s not so easy for some of us.

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dear DSO,

I know you talk about having to move on and get over your wife after she cheats on you, but it’s not so easy for some guys. My wife and I have been married for 17 years. We have two kids. We work together. Her dad owns the business where I work. It’s a business that has been in a her family for a really long time. My wife does not want to divorce. If I decided to divorce her, I’d probably lose my high-paying job with her dad’s business. I really don’t have much in the way of a resume that will help me get another good job. The job market sucks right now.  Where would I live? My parents live a thousand miles away. I can’t move there because then I wouldn’t see my kids. If we divorced, she’d probably get the kids almost full-time because I’m a dad with no money.

 

I’m basically stuck. She had one affair two years ago, and now I just discovered another. I love her still, but I’m starting to lose attraction to her. I can’t stand to lay down next to her at night. We stopped having sex almost completely after the first affair was discovered. Now I usually spend the nights sleeping on the couch.

 

I just want my life back.

 

So I just wanted to let you know that’s it not so easy for some of us out there.

Gary

Dear Gary,

First, I’m sorry to hear about your situation, brother. I can’t imagine the stress.  But, you’re right. It’s not so easy for everyone. It’s not as easy as sayin, “See ya, bitch!” for a lot of guys. Kids complicate things a great deal. Add to that your unique job situation, and your world just got a hell of a lot tougher than most.

Your situation illustrates two hugely important things:

  1. Don’t make yourself dependent upon your spouse for your livelihood. Ideally, you want to be the guy that doesn’t NEED his wife. The more you NEED her to function day-to-day, the higher the chances are that you will fail the relationship game.
  2. You really need to better vet your relationship candidate. Red flags? Run. I’m wiling to bet there were a plethora of red flags early on in the relationship that you ignored. Then you kept digging the hole deeper and deeper and find yourself in this predicament.

She currently holds all of the cards. This is not an even contest, by any stretch. You WILL completely fail at this game eventually. I realize you probably think you’re failing pretty hard at life already, but things will inevitably get much worse for you. It’s just a matter of time. She will at some point land an affair partner that will be dumb enough to declare her the love of his life, and you will quickly see divorce papers on your desk. She’ll make the big awful decision for you.  She has already replaced you in her mind, now she just needs to iron out the all the logistical stuff about ending your relationship. Step 1 of that plan is to get a new man and to make sure he sticks around (the other two affair partners probably used her for sex and weren’t interested in committing). Step 2 is to then cut ties with you completely. This is where she may try to get the kids away from you, lie about you, take money, make your life hell, etc.

The ideal relationship is one where two people that are completely independent and fine on their own get together because they love and adore each other and want to help each other go through the adventure of life. The more all of the facets of their respective lives intertwine, the more trouble pops up. If her hobbies becomes yours, if mom-in-law is living with you full-time, if you only hang out with her friends, if you work side-by-side, if the in-laws sign your paychecks, etc… that all leads to further intertwining of the two worlds and a whole lot of trouble.

Lawyer up. Now. You don’t have to file. But you need to be prepared. The lawyer can tell what to do and what not to do to prepare yourself for the inevitable.

Good luck, my friend.