The Solicited Opinions of The Alabama Housewife

The Solicited Opinions of The Alabama Housewife
Words by Mary Alayne B. Long
Illustration by Eliza Bishop

The quarantine has made me see some things about my partner that drive me crazy. How do I “un-see” them and not let it get to me? 

I completely understand. I’ve been married almost twenty seven years. and I really love (and like) my husband. Even so, the quarantine has made me see some new things that drive me crazy. I think we should all remember the things that usually bother us most in others are the things we struggle with ourselves. And we also need to remember that the crazy train runs both ways on the same track. If your husband is driving you insane, you’re likely doing the same to him. Everyone is running thin on patience these days, so this is a time for grace on repeat—and we must all give to receive.

What’s your advice for dating someone with children?

This is not a situation I have ever found myself in, so my advice here comes from the outside looking in. The first thing I’ll tell you is this: It takes a very special person to love someone else’s children the same way they love their own, so if you find someone who fits that bill, you’ve found a gem. They’re out there, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not something everyone is capable of. Secondly, I would say if young children are involved, be very sure that the relationship is serious and committed before involving the little folks. The last thing they need in their lives is someone who doesn’t stick around. In the end, keep the children’s best interest in mind and you’ll make the right decisions.

My mother is relentlessly asking me to take her old things and when I don’t want them or don’t have room for them she is offended. Can you help me find a way to graciously decline?

I would explain very respectfully that you simply don’t have the space. Then let her know you can’t stand the thought of her lovely things being boxed up and stored away where no one can use them. Suggest finding someone who has a need for them. You can always count on your church to know of someone who needs something, and I think that’s a much easier way to soften the “no” than donating her things to a random charity. If you remind yourself that for her these things likely equate to a box full of treasured memories, that will help you remain calm and kind. You could also take the things when she offers, thank her for them and tell her how great they are...then donate them yourself. Either way, everyone ends up happy and no feelings get hurt. 

How do I get my husband to be more thoughtful? I would love for him to at least pick up his own clothes. 

First of all—husbands are not store bought. They don’t come out of a box acting exactly like you want them. It takes years of work and mindful maneuvering to get them to behave properly. You can stomp around and yell and pout, or you can put on a little lipstick and adjust your attitude. Make him want to be thoughtful and show him what he gets in return when he is. Let him see that when he picks up his clothes—or whatever you’re trying to get him to do—you will make his life easier as well. This may sound old fashioned, but it works. Trust me. Also, most men have played sports all their lives and are used to being coached. You are the coach now, and you need to decide how you want to motivate your team.