Monday, May 24, 2010

Of Husbands Constantly at Home

Someone asked that I write about how to handle your husband suddenly being home all the time.

Of course, Tom isn't retired yet (though he imagines he'd like to be), but alas, I've had much experience with having him around the house for weeks. 

In the power plant business, work hours are wild and with minor finagling, it's easy to get two weeks off by requesting only three days off, or so. Plus, with Tom's surgeries, week-long breaks each month and working night-shift every other week, (meaning he's home sleeping during the day), well, I've had many tastes of retirement life the past, oh, twenty-five years.

And here's my conclusion: Having a husband constantly around the house can be a sanity (and happy marriage) buster.

Yes, really.

I could give you whole paragraphs outlining the fits I've thrown when I've been denied the 6 hours, or so, daily "alone time" which I function on best. Mostly I'm a happy loner, perhaps because God's made me a writer/teacher of sorts here in this blog, one who needs much time alone with God to come up with this stuff. 

I require time to meditate and read and think and write. And, too, I'm part hermit because, well, I've just always been that way. Some things just are what they are, you know.

It's very easy for me to complain to Tom that I get nothing accomplished when he's home. It's the fear of being interrupted in the middle of projects, I think, which defeats me. Also, the way he tempts me to watch movies with him or go for rides or shopping or (insert other temptations here). There's the needing to make more official meals than ones I make for myself when I'm alone. There's the myriad "Debra, where are my_____?" (fill in the blank again) requests.

There's all that and more.

But what's my conclusion after fighting with the unnaturalness of having him home or just giving-in and lying around, being a lazy Lucy? I've decided that the problem is not having Tom home so much, but rather, it's my attitude about it.

It only took me 25 years to figure that out.

Like I said, it's so easy to complain. But complaining accomplishes nothing so recently I told myself to stop moaning when Tom is home, and instead, just make clever changes. 

Like, I can get up earlier for extra quiet time or use my time outside in my yard for it or set-up personal 'altars' around the house (so if he's in one area, I can move to another). I can write in this blog when he's not in the living room (where the computer is), even if that means I can no longer write during the same time daily. I can cook meals ahead and freeze them. I can find tasks for Tom to do and then go about doing my own tasks--or send him out on errands and finish my housework.

I can be flexible if in my head I'm determined to be.

The main thing? It's that annoying "Everything Must Be A Certain Way" belief which trips me up. It's the strictness, the stubbornness, the My Way or No Way which must disappear.

And really? I think that's as God wants it--that I be flexible while still being kind. And patient toward others, especially my own husband. Charity does begin at home, for it's at home where I am my true self. 

It's from this base where I reach out to the world with a love that's only as real as it is inside my own home.


Don't you love that photo at the top of this? Now there's a man who's thrilled to be retired and a wife who's frazzled because he's always home.  

(Update 2019: I had to substitute a new photo, but this was a bit similar.)


It's easier to complain than to be clever, but clever is better.



Patty H. said...

LOL!! I do love that picture!
I feel the same when my husband is home. Guess my attitude needs a bit of adjusting.
Patty H.

Joyce said...

Debra, this one really hit home. I will be reading it, more than once, for encouragement. Yes, the picture says it all, lol. Joyce

Echoes From the Hill said...

That photo is priceless!

I won't have to worry about my husband driving me crazy when and if he retires. He always has ten projects going at the same time, and is always busy. That drives me crazy sometimes, but he is rarely underfoot.

Jan said...

Oh I just love having my husband home. He farmed for years and was here. Now he is teaching so is gone. I miss him. He gets to retire soon. I can't wait!

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

I just wanted to say that I do love the photo- the man in the photo remindes me of my late grandpa. And that smile is just great!
Lisa :o)

Blu-I'd-Blonde said...

I've been browsing your blog and had to respond to this. You're experience is so parallel to mine, that I had to laugh. My husband is a sales representative and can be home for days at a time, and then gone for days at a time. At first, when he ended up being home more I groused at not getting anything done. Now I just try to go with the uncertainty of it. I have more difficulty with never knowing when he'll be home for meals. Sometimes he's good about calling me if he's going to be home so I can plan. But it's still hard. I've often wondered what it would be like to have a husband with a predictable 9 to 5 job. Thanks for sharing