In Her Words
The Natural Order of Things
Loving your husband and not wanting him home 24 hours a day
I love my husband. I mean I really love him. Like the get-excited-when-he-calls kind of love. And it wasn’t so very long ago that I wanted to spend every waking (and non-waking) minute with him, and he with me. I’d even get excited when he’d go to Wal-Mart with me!
And then came the children. Ever since we had children, the house has sort of become my domain. I think this is perfectly normal. I’ve been home with my children for many years now, and slowly the functions of the house have become mine.
But my husband works in a school, and though his school is in session throughout the entire year, he does have shorter hours than most husbands and several weeks off in the summer.
Don’t get me wrong; sometimes having my husband home during those summer weeks is a huge help. I can run to the store without having to load three children into the van. I can … well, the running to the store thing, that’s really the biggest one.
But, and I hate to admit this, the house is very different when he’s here. I don’t really know why. He pretty much does his own thing, which mostly amounts to watching baseball games and eating sunflower seeds. He changes things up occasionally, of course. Sometimes he watches the game in the family room, sometimes in our bedroom. So why does the house feel so different when he’s here?
It’s the little things. Like today, when, in the course of 10 minutes, he said, “Why is the sliding glass door open? The air is on!” (as if I had left the door open) and “I just said they shouldn’t have the lights off in the basement, because someone would get hurt. And now someone’s hurt.”
My neighbor’s all-time favorite was the day my husband was leaving for the afternoon, looked at me, pointed at our 4-year-old and said, “Keep an eye on him.” How did I ever manage to get through my days before his two-week vacation? Thank God he reminded me that I have children to attend to.
So, what is it? I know my husband loves me, and that he knows I take good care of our home and our children. So why does everything seem off balance when he’s home all day?
I think it’s that I’m not used to or enjoying having my every move scrutinized. I do take good care of our home and children. Very good care, most days. But sometimes I leave the hose on for too long or forget to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer and then they stink, or I’ll turn in a permission slip a day late. It’s human. I’m human. And sometimes I make mistakes. And when I make a mistake, I catch it, and hopefully I am able to fix it. Having someone here all day, watching and evaluating what I’m doing – it’s messing up my routine. It’s changing the natural order of things in my home.
So I think next week, I’ll get a babysitter for the 4-year-old, go to my husband’s office, plug in my portable TV so I can watch the White Sox game, and comment on every move he makes.
Jennifer Trannon is a former public-school teacher who’s currently staying home to take care of her three children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.