Author Topic: Dealing with a Bossy Pants (UPDATE #50 and 64)  (Read 17925 times)

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LeeLee88

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Dealing with a Bossy Pants (UPDATE #50 and 64)
« on: June 13, 2013, 10:45:59 AM »
Long time, no post!  I have a situation that I need help with managing, and I figured you motley lot just might have some great points of advice. 

A bit of background:  I am a brand-new mommy to a three-week old baby boy.  My husband has a BFF and a social circle that he likes to go on specialty-store shopping trips with.  Because our house is in the middle of where everyone lives and the stores they like to visit, the wives of the menfolk generally all come to our house and visit while the dudes are off having their bromantical field trip.  My husband's BFF has a wife who is a bossy pants.  I have no interest in having a deeper relationship with her as she and I just don't click, but her husband is BFFs with my DH, and so I need to know how to manage her bossiness in order to maintain peace so that my husband can have his BFF (he hasn't had a close friend like this since he immigrated, so I really want to keep the peace). 

All right, so, Miss Bossy Boots (aka Alice) has always been a bit bossy, but she's really escalated it the last two visits to my house.  As in, I almost told her to go out to the porch and wait for her husband, I was just that done with her.  Alice likes to tell me what I "need" to do for my son, how I should maintain my home, and loooooves to repeat in a kindergarten teacher voice that she's been a mommy longer than I have (she has a three year old daughter); particularly while holding my son and telling him what I'm doing wrong.  Charming.  The last visit alone she:

1) Told me that my floors are too shiny, therefore slippery, and I "need" to fix that.  No one's ever slipped and fallen in my home, and besides, my floors, my house, my shininess.  That comment was met with an "Okay" and a confused look.

2) Told me I "need" to get a tower fan for my son, as he's obviously too hot.  We have a/c in the house, and a small fan to pull out if it does get too hot, but it wasn't that day.  I feel no need to explain myself to her, so I said, "Okay" and moved on.

3) Told me I "need" to fix my bathroom as there isn't an adequate amount of space around my toilet.  "Okay"....

4) Told me it's best to wash my dishes after I've used them, as it keeps them from piling up (all in the kindergarten teacher voice).  This time I just looked at her blankly and walked away. 

5)  As I was telling another guest that we use Colic Calm to help my son's hiccups, Alice cuts me off while shaking her head and says that I "need" to get these prescription gas drops, Colic Calm will never work.  I say, "It works for us, and that's all that matters to me".  Alice just shakes her head and repeats for the umpteenth time that day that she's been a mother longer than I have, and I "will learn".  ???

That's not even all of it, but those are the ones that irked me the most.  Like I said, I have no interest in furthering our relationship, and am really just looking to manage her (and my temper) because once a month, Alice and her DH (my husband's BFF) have a social gathering at their home, and if I don't go, all I hear from her is how I missed out on a good time, I really should have come, am I mad, blah blah blah, and it seems to make my DH feel better if I go (he's worried that I don't socialize enough).  The next gathering is in two weeks, and because my son will be there, I know she'll open her mouth to release the Bossy Boots Kraken, and I am very tempted to say, "Alice, shut up.  Just... shut up."  But it's her home, and that's rude, so I need to figure out how to manage her and myself throughout what is usually a 4-5 hour visit.  Sometimes longer if I can't get DH to pull away from the role playing game they have going soon enough. 

So wise folk, what do you recommend?  I always have in my back pocket that I can tell DH we need to leave if need be, but that infringes on his social time, and he's always around his boys at these gatherings, so if he wants me to explain, I'd have to pull him away from his bros and that would make it clear that something was up, which would lead to speculation, etc. What do you all recommend?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 05:40:56 PM by LeeLee88 »

oogyda

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2013, 10:50:50 AM »
Yes, you've been a mother a lot longer than I have. 

But...you have NEVER been the mother to THIS child. 

 :D
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NyaChan

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2013, 10:54:58 AM »
You must be a saint - how have you been able to put up with that for this long?  I'm actually a bit stumped on this one at the moment, but I'm mulling it over...

Shoo

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2013, 10:57:50 AM »
I think I would tell my husband that these "get togethers" at your house are too much for you right now, what with having a 3 week old baby and all.  Is there any reason, really, that all the wives need to go with their husbands and then hang out at your house?

If you don't want to do that, then I think you need to uninvite Alice specifically.  She sounds awful.  Tell your husband she stresses you out, insults your mothering skills, and is a general PITA.  He can hang with her hubby all he wants, but she is not welcome.

Surely your husband can square this away with his friend. 

MizA

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2013, 10:59:26 AM »
Give her a big, bright smile and say " That's nice." Then walk away.
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ti_ax

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2013, 11:00:01 AM »
"Thanks for your advice." Said in a flat, neutral, bored tone.

Then offer some bean dip.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2013, 11:00:06 AM »
Time to be blunt:  'Alice, this is my home and my child.  I do not appreciate, nor do I want your advice on how to clean my home or care for my child.  Please stop.'  And then anytime she does give a piece of 'advice', give her a look, turn around and walk away, taking the baby from her arms, if you have to.

Standing up for yourself isn't rude.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2013, 11:02:45 AM »
I think I would tell my husband that these "get togethers" at your house are too much for you right now, what with having a 3 week old baby and all.  Is there any reason, really, that all the wives need to go with their husbands and then hang out at your house?

If you don't want to do that, then I think you need to uninvite Alice specifically.  She sounds awful.  Tell your husband she stresses you out, insults your mothering skills, and is a general PITA.  He can hang with her hubby all he wants, but she is not welcome.

Surely your husband can square this away with his friend.

I think a 3 week old baby is honestly a great excuse to get out of get togethers, that and your being 3 weeks postpartum as well.  This Alice sounds like quite the PITA and I admire your restraint for not kicking her out right away when she uses the kindergarten teacher voice.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

TootsNYC

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2013, 11:03:50 AM »
Laugh at her.

To her face, if you like, but DEFINITELY inside your head.

You're never going to change her, so just start seeing her as ridiculous.

In fact, I might even suggest you say, with an amused, "I'm just teasing you!" tone of voice, "thanks for the instructions, Miss Bossy Pants!"

or "OK, will do, Miss Bossy Pants!"

I sort of don't care if it's a tiny bit rude--hey, I was just joking, can't you take a joke? (seriously, that has to be allowed to work for some of the rest of us sometime)

Or say, every time she does that, "Do you realize how bossy you sound?" in a concerned, 'did you know you have spinach on your teeth?' tone.

Basically, come up with some tactic like that, and if you use the same exact phrase all the time, pretty soon she (and everyone else) will realize how often she does this.

That might get her to make an effort to tone it down.

And another thing might be to just cut WAY back on the "wives getting together" thing, especially having them meet at your house.

I also think you need to share with your husband exactly how frustrated you are. Make sure he knows that you don't want him to "fix" this for you (his "protect my wife and kid" instincts are going to be WAY high, esp. since he's the kind of guy who worries about whether you socialize enough and are happy).
   Just make it clear that you want him to be aware, and to understand that you are going to ditch going to this woman's home for a while because you need a break from her.
  And tell him that you're sharing with him because it's part of what brings the two of you closer.

MrTango

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2013, 11:06:18 AM »
In your position, I'd tell my spouse that since this woman has insulted my housekeeping and parenting decisions, she is no longer welcome in my home at any time for any reason.

When it comes to dealing with her outside your home, I'd go with a ice-cold response of "I'm not interested in your advice or commentary on my parenting decisions.  He is my child, not yours."
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 11:08:22 AM by MrTango »

earthgirl

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2013, 11:09:45 AM »
<hugs> to you, LeeLee, I can totally identify.  My husband has a best friend from childhood who has a wife that is very holier-than-thou about her parenting choices and experience (her baby is 3.5 months older than mine).  I grin and bear it for my husband's sake, and usually stick to phrases like you've used, the "This is what works for us." type of thing.  Sometimes I'll remind her, "This isn't a competition." (like when she dared me to "beat that" after she gave birth without any pain meds).  And I will admit that occasionally something sarcastic slips out, "CRUD MONKEYS!! I never knew that there were benefits to breastfeeding! You're kidding me!"

Maybe you can increase your use of firm but polite phrases like the "This is what works for us," and "That won't be possible" or "That's an interesting assumption" instead of just saying, "okay" which might give her the idea that you plan to take her advice (and that she should give you more).  And if she tries to argue with you, use the cut and paste technique.  Stay firm.

And, as a last resort - if you really must leave -- does your DH know how you feel about Alice?  If he does, why not talk to him beforehand about the possibility of having to leave in order to keep a cool head.  That will eliminate the need to explain to him and call attention to it.  Or come up with a codeword ("Kraken"?). 

That said, at 3 weeks postpartum I'd say you could get away with saying just about anything to her. 

*inviteseller

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2013, 11:14:33 AM »
I would talk to your husband.  Because he is not there, he doesn't see what a PITA this woman is.  Superior moms are the bane to the rest of us 'inferior' moms everywhere, but being forced to continue to socialize with this species would be more than I could handle.  I would not have the next gathering at your house and I would beg off the next gathering at Alice's house.  Just because your husband doesn't feel you socialize enough doesn't mean you have to spend time with someone who disrespects you in your own home.  And if you do let her back in your home, just give her a look each time she says something stupid and say "really?" in a bored tone and go about whatever you were doing.  Does she treat others like this too?

NyaChan

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2013, 11:16:08 AM »
I have some questions:

1) Does she do this to anyone else?
2) Does she do this when the husbands are around?
3) How do the other women react to her when she says these things to you?
4) Are there any women in the group who you have gotten along with better or enjoy?

Zilla

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2013, 11:17:45 AM »
If you want to continue having these gatherings I would puil her aside and say. "Alice, I appreciate that you want to give me advice on motherhood and how to run my home.  However your way of doing things are vastly different than my way.  It isn't to say it's right or wrong, just different.  And I appreciate that you have 2 more years of parenting than I do, it's just that this is the way we want to do it.  If I do need help though, I will call you or ask you."  If she says oh I was just trying to help (as in BUT I KNOW SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU!) Just say it again, "It's great that you want to help but I don't need it right now and just rather hang out as friends."


It will take a few times of just looking at her pointedly and saying, "If I need help, I will let you know." and turn away every time she tries to give you advice/tell you what to do. 

Judah

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2013, 11:19:38 AM »
Time to be blunt:  'Alice, this is my home and my child.  I do not appreciate, nor do I want your advice on how to clean my home or care for my child.  Please stop.'  And then anytime she does give a piece of 'advice', give her a look, turn around and walk away, taking the baby from her arms, if you have to.

Standing up for yourself isn't rude.

This. Seriously, this woman needs to be smacked down. It's not rude to stand up for yourself.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
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Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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