Monday, November 14, 2011

In my groove

Hubby is away for a week. 

Maybe I shouldn't admit to this and maybe this is insulting or a bad sign, but things are just easier when he's gone.  I have been wracking my brain the last few days trying to understand why? Why do I feel more at ease? Why is the house cleaner? Why is the dog not annoying the heck out of me? Why do I feel like I can do anything and go anywhere without hesitation?

I think I finally figured it out. It's certainly not easier physically in the amount of tasks I need to do in a day. It's mentally and emotionally easier because of my expectations. 

Expectations. They are a killer. 

When Hubby is here, work constantly calls on him.  And it stresses. me. out.  Work calls him while we are enjoying a nice day at the park together as a family. Work calls him when we are starting our Saturday morning lying in bed and making tents, looking forward to what lies ahead for the rest of the day. Works calls when we are expecting him home for dinner.  Work continues calling on him when I am waiting up for him to come home.

When he is here I expect him to pitch in and it's disappointing when he can't.  When he needs to tend to work I am stuck, usually last minute - to take the dog for walk, to put the laundry away, to feed the dog, to make lunches - many of his usual chores.  When I get stuck with them time and time again it is emotionally draining. It's tiring and it puts me in a horrible mood. I can't and I try not to take it out on him. His job is important.  It's just unfortunate that it takes him away from us so often and makes things fall on my plate more often than not.  I am always trying to stay strong.  This is something that has taken me a long time to accept, but I can't deny that is still bothers me at times.

So while he is away this week, E and I are doing whatever we want whenever we want because we don't have to worry about being on call.  We have a great morning routine and evening routine.  I haven't seen my house this clean in weeks.  I'm getting a ton of sleep.  I am not letting anything get in our way. I feel free.

I think I need to take this approach even when he is here. If I don't expect so much from him, maybe things will be easier on all of us.  If I don't grumble every time I have to take the dog for a walk. If I don't pout every time I need to fold and put away the laundry or throw the garbage out. If I just expect to do everything even when he is home, his pitching in will be more of a blessing. If I assume that all the chores are already on my plate, like they are this week, things will be more easily accepted.  I know it doesn't seem fair, but it is our reality at this time.  Maybe it will work?

Have you ever found things easier when solo parenting? Seems crazy, right?


  1. I always find things easier when My husband is away. Again the house is cleaner, our routines are calmer and life just seems less complicated. I also get more sleep....but you are right, it is because when he is here I get upset when he does not help, or when I have to do a task I wish he was doing...yes it is crazy. I think you have hit the nail on the head! We need to change our though patterns....

  2. I'm pretty disappointed by this post. Doesn't a husband vow to be his spouse's equal partner? Why is it when he doesn't live up this, it's your problem, not his? Maybe he is the one who needs to change his perspective. Maybe he's the one who needs to make family chores a priority - and he needs to figure out how to do it outside of work. His role making money is sure important, I don't doubt that. But I don't see how his inability to manage a balance between work and family time suddenly means it's now your task to expect to take on ALL the work of maintaining the home and family. Not in a modern marriage, anyway. Time for a serious, realistic talk between the two of you about who's going to be responsible for what tasks and a plan for how he can manage his responsibilities, even when work calls.

  3. In a perfect, modern world it does seem unfair. If only we could have a little more "balance". In our life, we don't both work 9-5 jobs, come home and have dinner and a relaxing evening together as a family. One of us works longer hours outside the home and the other puts more hours into the home. It's what works and has to work to keep our family running smoothly. Life isn't fair, but we need to make the best of our own personal situations. Responsibilities have been discussed and are known, however if one is on call and must drop a chore or two to is it more reasonable to leave the chores for them to do in the middle of the night when they come home and are exhausted? Or is it more reasonable for their partner to jump in and finish? This is why things can become messy around here. I am working on picking up the pieces, without the resentment and expectations.

  4. Wow! I think you are awesome to have come to this realization. Good for you! I also think that YOU need to make the changes to make YOUR life easier and less stressful. I think you have it right to think that if you don't expect as much, then when he does (or can) pitch in, you will be even more grateful. In the end, I think it could make your family, and especially your couple, stronger.
    I have learned that our responsibilities in the house and as a family are forever changing. We need to talk about chores and tasks between all family members and be realistic about our expectations. This helps keep the peace in our home and in my mind!

  5. My hubby has a similar schedule from June through to October every year. And every year, I think "I will do better. I will not act like a hurt child when he doesn't come home when he said he will." But then I do act like a child, pouting and slamming drawers. Like you said, I think it's totally about expectations. I expect him to be home at 7pm, but he doesn't get home until after 10pm, and I am left picking up the pieces. But this is his job, and once winter comes, we're back to a 9-5 family. I can't demand that he find a new job :) So acceptance is key here. I really like your honesty (p.s. what does hubby thing about this post?)

  6. thing? I mean *think*...sometimes I wish comments could be edited! :)

  7. I understand as a spouse and - if I gather correctly from your last post - the one who puts the most hours into running the home, it's natural and fair to jump in to do a chore when hubby is called away for work. What I'm disappointed in is that you've taken a concrete circumstance: hubby's job takes him away from important household tasks, which stresses you out, and turned it into your own internal problem, and yours alone. You're interpreting this situation as if it's your fault. Somehow you've come to the conclusion your expectation that your husband follows through and is there when you need him, is "unrealistic." Having realistic expectations is important, true. But I don't see how it's unrealistic to expect your husband to help around the house. Deciding that you will now expect to take on ALL the household chores, and interpret any help hubby gives at all as just a bonus is the kind of attitude our mothers and grandmothers were forced to adopt when the roles of men and women were divided along unchallenged and completely skewed lines about the unpaid work - that is still very much work - of keeping a house and raising a family. Which brings me back to the original question: "Doesn't a husband vow to be his spouse's equal partner? Why is it when he doesn't live up this, it's your problem, not his?"

  8. I am not turning his extra hours in to my problem. I am creating my own happiness and acceptance. He can't help with household chores when he gets called into work. I did not say he never does them.

  9. I didn't say he never does them either. But it sounds like the division isn't as equal as you would like/need it to be. I don't usually comment on these things, but I just felt compelled to offer a different perspective on it.

    So I call out to all us women - let's stop blaming ourselves and apologizing for our legitimate needs in a relationship, if they somehow don't match up with what our husband wants! let's not compulsively downgrade what we want and need!

    And every solution will be different. Maybe the right solution for you A is a hybrid of things. Maybe it's partly thinking about things differently, and maybe it's also having a serious discussion about work commitments. Even if hubby can't change his work schedule right now, letting him know it's not working for you is an option. Then you could plan together to move toward a more regular schedule for both of you -one your family can rely on, that may create that "hubby is away peace" on a more regular basis. Not attacking, just sharing a different view.

  10. I think that you and your husband decide what is fair and equal in your relationship and, if it is anything like mine, it's always evolving and can't always be measured and quantified so that each party is responsible for exactly 50% of whatever. That is unrealistic to expect.

    I think that expectations play a big part here in why you are feeling more at ease. When my husband is travelling I know that I find it easier for this reason, just as I am sure that he finds it easier when I am away. (It irks me just a lil that the house is always cleaner when I come home for a trip than when he comes home!!).

    I also think that being the only one who CAN do these things plays into it, as does the fact that you don't have to work with his wants and needs. You can guide just E much easier than you can guide to your hubby I bet!

    My husband works long hours because he loves his job, but also so that I can work at a non-profit for little money where *I* love my job. I knew that was part of the deal, and that calls and long meetings would happen, and while I am OK with that, it is still OK to be upset if they disrupt plans when they happen.