News Flash: Your Wife Is Your Family

(NOW: You can read Dategirl every day on the Daily Weekly!)   Dear Dategirl, My wife went nuts on me again last night when I came home late (working, nothing shady). She complains that she's last on my priority list. I'm a successful attorney, so my job is demanding. My wife is a freelance writer who works out of our home, so she can also take care of our twin boys. I pick up toys and the mess around the house when I can and always do the dishes, but it's never enough. My lateness wasn't the only problem; she'd just fielded a nasty call from my mother, who is a bitter old racist (my wife is Japanese) and is never going to change. I tell my wife to ignore her, but she wants me to confront my mother and stick up for her. In my mom's defense, she has come a long way. She didn't even acknowledge our children when they were born (because of the racial difference), but now she can't get enough of them. I'm sick of getting stuck between them, so I try to avoid being around them both at the same time. Luckily, this isn't too difficult because my wife isn't welcome in my mother's home, not that she'd go there even if she were welcome. How do I keep the peace? I love my family and I love my wife. —Tired Attorney I've got news for you—your wife is your family. Yet you choose to let a horrible old woman treat your wife, the mother of your children, like crap? If you were standing right here in front of me, I'd smack you in the back of the head. Hard. While it's truly heartwarming that your mother has finally deigned to grace her grandchildren with her presence, the fact that she ignored them for the first part of their lives because she didn't approve of their racial makeup tells me everything I need to know about this hateful, toxic slag. That you allow her to continue to be part of their lives, while still abusing their mother, is unconscionable. What kind of message are you sending your kids? That they should be half-ashamed of who they are? That it's OK to treat their mom like garbage? No wonder your wife is furious with you. If you want this marriage to work, nut up and tell that harridan that you won't tolerate any more cruelty toward your wife. Tell her she owes your wife an apology and she won't see you, or her grandchildren, until she issues one. Then you apologize to your wife for being such a jackass. You might not think you're an asshole, because you haven't "done" anything awful, but your passivity is worse than a slap in the face. I get that your job can keep you long hours, and unless she's J.K. Rowling, you probably out-earn your wife. But that doesn't mean she's got it easy. Trying to make a go of it as a freelance writer is hard (believe me!), and wrangling babies all day isn't exactly conducive to getting shit done, especially when your job depends on your wits and vocabulary and you spend 24/7 in toddler lockdown. I can haz Lego? Maybe you should take some of that lawyer dough and hire a housekeeper a few days each month. Or even a part-time nanny, if you can swing it. But the most important thing is that you, yes, make your wife a priority. Take a day off work, drop off the kids with a babysitter (not your mother!), and do something fun, even if it's checking into No-Tell Motel for a couple of hours. Come home with flowers or a nice bottle of wine once in a while. Tell her she's beautiful, sexy, whatever. Being nice isn't brain surgery, and a little effort will go a long way dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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