The funny thing about money is nobody cares why or how you have it — they just care that you do. In my city — where $3M buys you a teardown at best and a dozen billionaires live within a half-mile radius of our home — money isn’t a perk; it’s a requirement. At least, that’s what the kids around here assume.
As someone who came from a middle-class family in a much humbler town of Southern California (yes, there are humble cities here, too — but they sure don’t exist in this nook of coastal Orange County), I can’t imagine growing up in my kids’ shoes. Being born with a silver spoon would be a gross understatement; a diamond-encrusted platinum one and a live-in servant to feed them each and every bite would be more accurate.
Money itself may not be evil, but the monster teenager it produced certainly did appear to be as she tore my value to shreds and pledged her allegiance to the highest bidder (her cheating father). Perhaps I’d do them all a favor if I show myself out — and after today’s explosive argument, I just may.
My cheating husband isn’t the only monster in this house.
I stared my 15-year-old daughter square in the eyes and, for the first time in a long time, held firm on my response. As her insatiable gaze met mine, her furrowed brow made it clear she wasn’t going down without a fight.
A glossy magazine sprawled across the marble kitchen countertop depicted the 16th birthday present she required. Not requested; required. Apparently, the iridescent chrome-wrapped Tesla we’d already pre-ordered wasn’t quite enough. The half-naked women in $600 La Perla lingerie held the key to her satisfaction.
Oh, she didn’t want the $600 silk negligee or the $320 bras. She wanted the boobs adorned by them — and just like social media depicts as the “normal” thing to do these days, she figured we might as well buy them.
It’s moments like these that my brain suffers a bit of cognitive dissonance as it adjusts to this surreal reality, wondering how this level of absurdity possibly exists in the confines of my own home. On a soap opera stage, sure. In our kitchen? Not so much. Apparently, my resistance caught her by surprise.
Then, she took the one and only dagger at her disposal and chucked it my way, hitting me square in the chest, and twisting the blade as she waited for blood to start oozing. That dagger? Using my husband’s response against mine — and unfortunately, when he’s the one funding the asks, what power have I to disagree?
This time, however, I wouldn’t be squealing and squirming, apologizing to the entitled offspring I’d somehow created, and walking my way back from an “absolutely not” to a “whatever you want.” I’ve endured one too many counts of emotional manipulation at the hands of the very family I’ve been trying my damnedest to keep glued together, and at this point, I’m done.
Enter Mr.Moneybags, gifter of all things plastic.
My husband isn’t your average cheating slime ball with a few extra million in the bank; he also happens to be extremely well-connected. Perhaps that’s what happens when you get in bed (financially speaking) with every cosmetic surgeon in your city. They play golf, he floats them new business opportunities, he refers a few sets of boob jobs and butt lifts, they invest in a speculative venture or two, and the friendship works out to a mutually profitable arrangement.
In retrospect, Hubby’s pleas for my cooperation in the surgical extravaganza he’d planned for me years ago make quite a bit more sense. Sure, he might have enjoyed the results of my head-to-toe reconstruction, but he may have cared even more about placating his fellow business owners and greasing them up ahead of some new investment opportunity. I suspect it’s harder to say “no” to someone after you’ve been inside their wife’s body, rearranging it for their husband’s liking…
Despite my husband’s liberal attitude towards voluntary surgical improvements, you’d think he’d draw the line somewhere. Reality would prove us all wrong.
Our daughter raced to his upstairs office, with the glossy magazine clenched in her fist, and I sprinted behind her. The second we burst through the door, a palpable friction hung low in the air, and he was quick to sense it.
The pitch to her father was vastly different than her approach with me. She didn’t start with the magazine. She didn’t try the sob story route. She didn’t even attempt the peer pressure angle of “all my friends are doing it.” She didn’t have to. Instead, she excitedly announced, “I found my sweet 16 present!”
And he, now disengaged from the details, had chosen to ignore the unmistakable tension in the air and play along as if all were well. His eyes shifted from his computer screen to our daughter, ignoring me entirely, and back to the screen, of course.
I stood ten feet away as he smiled, nodded, and said, “Whatever you want.” I kid you not. Whatever you want. Word for word.
There was no groveling on her part. There was no pushback on his. She confidently stated her case — the importance of breast implants to her healthy, developing, teenage quality of life — and he nodded in agreement. The understated reaction was grossly mismatched to the weight of the request. It was as if she’d asked for an ice cream cake — not underage plastic surgery.
For what feels like the umpteenth time in this strange and evolving saga of my post-infidelity life, he shocked me again. So, I decided it was my turn to shock him.
Beware the venom of a homegrown spoiled brat.
Screaming matches don’t usually flood the halls of our home. I keep a large portion of my emotions and frustration bottled, and it’s rare I feel the need to ignite the flame when an argument could easier be diffused. I mean, I still haven’t told my husband about the $460k OnlyFans discovery, for God’s sake! I’m clearly not one to initiate drama or escalate a fight. This, however, is different.
Fake boobs at 15 is ridiculous. This Stepford Wives-like town may muddy my vision about the acceptable price of real estate or an average allowance for the kids, but I haven’t become so detached from reality not to acknowledge the absurdity of this request. It’s simply not happening. Well, that’s what I told her. And him. (That was news to him, too.)
That’s when the screaming match began. Her father sat there silently as my daughter hurled insult after insult, attack after attack, directly my way.
Then, she spewed the worst of her tantrum — the one statement that shattered any illusion of respect she may have had for me. She had none.
“Dad makes the money, anyway — I don’t have to ask you!”
Wow. Just wow. I’ve never felt such a clear shard of glass slice deep through my heart. It was a searing, burning physical pain, as if I’d actually been stabbed. Maybe it was a panic attack, or maybe this is just one of those involuntary psychosomatic reactions to the alarming disappointment of your very own offspring discounting the validity of your worth and voice right before your eyes.
With that one line, my daughter told me everything I needed to know. And my husband? His lack of response told me the same of him.
This is when I’d usually bite my tongue, give in, and allow the uncomfortable tiff to blow over, along with my surrender. I guess today wasn’t “usually.”
Dropping the mic on my 8-figure CEO husband.
I stood there, mouth agape, heartbroken, offended, and disgusted all at once by the little girl terrorizing my already battered confidence. It was bad enough allowing my self-worth to dwindle and erode as I put my career on hold to be the wife my husband purchased on our wedding night. Letting the 15-year-old for whom I’d sacrificed so much do the same and twist the knife further? That was even worse. I was livid.
Out. She left, and then it was just me and him. I locked the door behind me, stared at him, stone cold and serious as ever, and told him the ridiculous surgical sweet 16 wasn’t happening.
Predictably, like clockwork, he dismissed my opinion, yet again. I must be invisible or have “unimportant” tattooed across my forehead. It’s infuriating, exasperating, and impossible to wrap my head around. How can I still, to this day, not matter? Maybe it’s because I’ve never really put up a fight, so no one’s ever taken me seriously before. When someone shows you how little you matter, you may start to believe it — until you get the guts to stand up and disagree. Today was that day.
His rebuttal to my dissenting stance on fake boobs at 15?
- It’s not a big deal — all the kids are doing it.
- I got them for you.
- We know all the best guys — you know it’ll be safe.
It was as if I was negotiating with a child. All the kids are doing it? Does that ever hold water in any negotiation room? Coming from a successful CEO, I expected better.
He got them for me? Yes, in our pre-wedding courtship he did pressure me into a fully-funded breast augmentation — despite my hesitation. I declined every other cosmetic enhancement from the menu he pushed, feeling even then that surgical procedures shouldn’t be served up on an all-you-can-eat platter. Are we all getting kickbacks with each surgery referral? If so, I’d like my cut — and it better be damn high.
Oh, and the fact that it’s safe? Somehow, I’ve got a feeling sticking silicon blobs into a 15-year-old’s developing body for zero medical necessity whatsoever isn’t 100% safe. Even if it is safe, it surely doesn’t sound wise, healthy, or ethical at all.
My rebuttal for him? Easy.
“You get her the boobs, and we’ll be having a very different discussion. It won’t have anything to do with our differing parenting styles.”
He looked at me confused, then reverted back to his relaxed half-smirk. He’d called my bluff — he didn’t think I had a card to pull.
“Three. One. Nine. Six. —”
As I slowly, calmly rattled off the address of his secret $1.5M squatter whore house — the one he and I have yet to discuss — I saw his face contort from smug to panicked. It was a transformation I’ve never seen before, and knowing I was the one who’d incited that evolution — like the puppet-master to the marionette he’d become — was invigorating.
I didn’t tell him I’d gone up to the address to meet the cam girls living in his clandestine, unilaterally purchased bungalow. I didn’t tell him I knew about the $1.5M drained into a real estate “investment” (if you can call it that) for hookers, yet somehow conflated with his company’s finances. I didn’t have to utter a word more than the start of that address to capture his attention. I think, for the first time, he realized that I might know more than I’ve let on — and I think it scared him sh*tless.
It felt a tiny bit wrong or mean, almost as if I was guilty for making him squirm. But I can’t deny the sliver of satisfaction it brought. For the first time in 16 years, I was in charge, and it felt like I’d stepped into an alternate reality. Maybe a better reality. I guess only time will tell.
I’m just getting started.
I know you’re supposed to love your kids no matter what, but my daughter was doing everything in her power to stir up hatred in me. I’d sooner walk away than be a bad mother, but I also won’t allow everyone in this household to bludgeon my very existence into the ground. I’m so beyond done. Luckily, I have more than a few cards to pull. If I leave a bit of debris in my wake on my way out, so be it. I’m done being the lowest priority in my own life.