Gender Gaffes

You remember my Park Buddy, right? Mom to a 2½-year old and my mentor in parenting?

Well, I called her “Dear” today. In front of my mother-in-law.

It was completely innocent. We were loading up the kids into the by-the-hour rental car to music class. Driving off, I said something like “Do you want some air back there, dear?” Park Buddy was the only adult in the back seat.

If my MIL hadn’t been in the car, I probably would have laughed with my friend about how silly an accident it was, like using my wife’s name with my daughter (or mixing her up with the cat, for that matter). I often slip into calling her son “honey,” and we’ve found it funny. Everyone does that, right?

In this case, however, I lamely tried to cover by pretending that I had actually been talking to Boobaby, not my friend at all. You know, the 14-month old who probably had little clue what was being talked about. Can you hear me digging the hole deeper and deeper?

Working Mom’s Mom is already a bit wary of the fact that my best buddies are all female, this one no exception. My wife and I are feeling some minor relationship stress at the mo’ — the usual stuff, I’m sure, and I won’t bore you with it here. (If you really want to know, I blame CrankMama, who reminded me that before the baby my wife and I got to… do things. See my comment at that link and you’ll get the picture.)

So the couple’s in a minor rough patch, which I fully expect to get through in the fullness of another week or two. We both work hard on these things. But the question remains:

Does my wife talk to her mom about our struggles? Am I portrayed as the bad guy? Is my wife jealous of my female friends? Does she worry she might need to be?

By the chill in the air when I called another woman “Dear,” I can only assume that mom and daughter do have such discussions, and probably recently. And I don’t blame her for that — it’s great to get your worries aired, and it frequently releases so much tension that the problems go away.

I guess that makes WM’s mom the equivalent of my anonymous blog. Grandma Safety Valve.