Little Help?

We watched Supernanny last night, which, for parents, is a bit like C.O.P.S.. As Kathleen Madigan says, ‘At least I’m not a drug-dealer in curlers running down the street at four a.m.’

Last night’s episode featured a stay-at-home mother of three—soon to be four—whose children were slowly tenderizing her with their fists. A large problem, of course, was the father. He would come home, say ‘hello’, and run upstairs to ‘change clothes’ for forty-five minutes.

Kelly and I have one quite well-behaved three-year-old boy. If I were ever to disappear for forty-five minutes after coming home, I’d hope that I’d have the sense never to come down again.

But—and I’m not excusing this father’s behavior—there’s something women need to know about their husbands: we know can be stupid. We know we can be lazy and selfish and uncommunicative. However, we don’t always know when we’re being stupid. We’re too busy being stupid.

Though it was painfully obvious to the rest of us that this man was walking on very thin ice, he himself had no idea. His wife had never said anything to him.

When he was a boy, a former boss of mine worked at a butcher shop. One day a customer returned, complaining that his chicken tasted strange. My boss told the customer that he, too, had noticed the odd taste the day before. When my boss brought the problem to his manager, the man simply stared at his employee. Then he raised his arms and shouted, ‘Dumb!’

Dear wives and mothers, if your spouse is being stupid, please don’t assume he’s doing it on purpose. Have mercy on your husband and yourself, and tell him.

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