I’m sure you Moms can relate to this. Your husband/partner goes out of town on a guy’s trip and while he’s gone you are left to do the heavy lifting, ie. take care of the house, kids and possibly even the dog. Before your husband leaves, you have the very best intentions for him to have a great time while you be Supermom. Yet, somewhere along the way this master plan starts to crack at the seams. Maybe it’s your child’s first temper tantrum or your dog barking so loud at every little sound you start to lose your hearing or the dinner you never made yourself because you were too busy doing everything else or the night terrors that keep you up because your hubbie isn’t there to protect you. And, then there is just the general burnout that comes from being a single parent while your partner’s away! It is inevitable that some resentment may creep in when you start to feel overwhelmed and your spouse is sending you text messages with pictures of how fresh the powder is. Yet, you continue to give yourself pep talks throughout the weekend (he would do the same for you, you are being a great wife, he deserves this trip, maybe he’ll be in a better mood when he gets back and has relieved some of his daily stresses, etc.) you still fall prey to the expectations that start to build for his return home. Since you have made such a sacrifice (because now your do-gooder is giving way to full blown martyr-dom) to hold down the fort while he’s away having fun, you start to imagine all the things you expect your husband to do when he returns. Starting with kissing your royal bootie, swooping the kids off to some undisclosed location so you can have piece and quiet, cooking you a 5 course meal or at least acknowledging how beautiful the house looks ON TOP OF all the heavy lifting you pulled off in his absence! But what happens when resentment and expectations are met with ambivalence?? Your partner returns from his amazing guy’s trip and not only does he seem exhausted and irritated when the kids are climbing all over him demanding his attention, but he doesn’t notice how beautiful the house looks and only complains about dirty dishes in the sink? You hardly hear the words Thank You and you sense a chip on his shoulder?
It seems so obvious to me, but then again, that’s why men and women are soooooo different. When you are married or partners and share parenting responsibilities and you get a hall pass to escape all your responsibilities as a father, husband and head of household for a given period of time, when you return, it’s game on. This is your way of SHOWING appreciation to the partner you left in the dust, holding all the responsibilities you left behind. Women live for appreciation and acknowledgement and in many cases it’s how we receive love. For men, at least my husband, sex seems to be his golden ticket (the fix all for sure), but for women it’s the recognition for how hard we work as women, wives, Moms. It’s appreciation and gratitude for how well we take care of the children, how pretty we make the house look and all we do behind the scenes that no one ever knows about. And to take it a step further, it’s about reciprocation. Have you ever heard the expression, “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. Child rearing is exhausting and one of the best things you can do for your partner (and your partner can do for you) is to give each other a much-deserved break. Women are suckers for surprises. How about planning a massage for your wife unexpectedly when you return from your guy’s weekend extravaganza? How about doing the grocery shopping and cooking a couple nights in a row when you first get back while she lounges guilt free watching Entertainment Tonight with a glass of wine — and to drive it home, maybe even act like her servant. Yes, actually wait on her. I’m telling you, this will go MILES for your relationship in letting her know how much you appreciate her and her contribution. Maybe give her some money and tell her to go do some shopping or get a mani/pedi. What I’m trying to say here is MAKE SOME GRAND GESTURE to show your appreciation. And you will get so many more guy’s trips in the future!