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Why can't I have occasional nights away and come back to a house with all the usual jobs done?

(31 Posts)
Dotty342kids Mon 24-Oct-11 13:42:06

So........ situation is this. I have several girl friends scattered around the country and in order to see any of them I usually go away from a Sat morning - Sun lunchtime several times a year, with DH's agreement.
Before I go I usually have to leave a clear schedule of which child's doing what, with whom and where (I don't mind doing this) plus details of any specific things that need doing eg. take kids' books back to library etc.

This weekend, I did all of this as usual. When I left my six year old dd was attempting to sew a swimming badge onto her towel.
On my return yesterday the house was in an ok state which was nice, however when I asked her to get her stuff together for swimming lesson she came downstairs with said towel, with needle still sticking out of it. I got a bit cross with dh about this, as she / someone else could have hurt themselves and he went up the wall about my reaction.
Apparently it was my fault as I had been supervising her before I left (she hadn't finished doing it when I left!) and this is yet anohter example of me coming home from being away and just criticising him.
He's right, I often do find something to criticise him about when I come back but my arguement is that I'd like to come back and not find anything to criticise him over!! When he goes away for weekends he doesn't have to think about anything before he goes, and I do everything with the kids whilst he's away AND ensure that there's food in the fridge / on the table when he comes back, house is in its usual tidy state, homework is done etc etc.

He claims he's fed up of not being thanked (not quite sure what for!) whereas I can't see what I need to thank him for given that all I ask him to do is what I do, day in, day out, with no thanks.
So, we're at stalemate. He's sulking and I'm refusing to apologise for criticising him because I think my point was valid.

What I need to know is - AIBU? Do I need to apologise and if so, what for?!

Tortoiseinadarkspell Mon 24-Oct-11 13:47:30

So he looked after them fine, did the housework, cooking, etc, but the issue was that he didn't finish helping her with a task that had nothing to do with the weekend? Did he even know that it needed to be done and you and she hadn't finished it?

clam Mon 24-Oct-11 13:52:56

Tortoise has a point, but I'm still curious as to why he thinks it's your job to "thank" him for doing normal standard things in his own home for his own children.
That said, I would have thanked my DH for holding the fort, but then so would he have thanked me. Common courtesy and appreciation. Doesn't hurt.

Dotty342kids Mon 24-Oct-11 13:57:16

I know, clam, I know. I think if I was thanked more (if ever!) then it might have occurred to me to do the same for him.
Tortoise - she was doing the sewing at the table in the kitchen which is where he and I said goodbye to one another so he has no reason not to have known about it! (he is notoriously good at "not noticing" things)

fiventhree Mon 24-Oct-11 14:01:33

Not sure what the answer is, but I recognise the frustration. When mine were younger I would go away for work and come back to a bombsite, kids paint on the walls and god knows what else. Lots of friends report same.

Its as though they dont see that stuff as part of their world.

margerykemp Mon 24-Oct-11 14:02:20

It's wifework, isn't it?

He needs to take more responaibility for the thinking aspect of parenting.

Tortoiseinadarkspell Mon 24-Oct-11 14:02:34

I didn't have a point, I was genuinely curious. I do think that if DH and DD were doing a project like that together, then DH left and neither of them said to me hey, this needs finishing, I would probably not think to ask whether it was done.

I also think that if you (or he) go away for a weekend, requiring above-and-beyond from the other partner, then a 'thanks for looking after them - hey, the house looks good, how nice of you to keep my dinner warm' is called for, rather than a criticism about a small thing he missed.

But of course it needs to be mutual. No argument there.

venusandallsouls Mon 24-Oct-11 14:03:36

I can understand a bit of what you mean, but I also think that there's a lot about how information is communicated. People can often have a preference for processing either direct or indirect communication. Direct communication is more like instructions (a little like the list you leave of tasks that are to be completed). Indirect communication is where something is infered - so by saying you'll be home at 6.30pm, you might be 'infering' that you'd appreciate it if you tea was ready.

From what you say you're reinforcing a direct style of communication (by writing and leaving lists) and also expecting an indirect style, so your dh picks up more subtle cues and works out that you are expecting him to do certain things. That can be difficult, many people have a preference for one style or the other (and at it's extremes each style can be equally frustrating).

garlicBreathZombie Mon 24-Oct-11 14:07:22

I don't think you should need to be leaving these lists. Why does he not know how to run his own household?

SingleMan25b Mon 24-Oct-11 14:08:23

I can't understand why you've left a six year old with a needle to sew on anything. Surely, it's at max a five minute job which needs supervision - regardless of who supervises?

Dotty342kids Mon 24-Oct-11 14:30:16

ooh interesting points Venus - about communication styles. I'm still pondering that!
Singleman - I didn't "leave" her - she was doing it at the kitchen table, DH came back from tennis with ds, they were all sitting at / standing near the table when I left. Surely I didn't have to say "she's sewing, please make sure she puts the needle away"?!

down2earthwithabump Mon 24-Oct-11 14:58:22

Dotty... I fully understand where you are coming from. Going through similar here. However, I have to say I am rubbish at complimenting, thanking, encouraging etc esp. about things I do as routine or things that seem common sense to me. However, for DH these things are less routine... he has his own daily routine, and he also has different priorities and dare I say a different angle/role in parenting to me. The old risk assessment is very relaxed with him and I think can be for most DH as they tend to take risks and encourage risk-taking (hopefully with some view to consequences). So they wouldn't see the needle as an accident waiting to happen and as an accident didn't happen they won't understand the reaction.

I think really, if we get a day away, if anything has been done and the family are all alive... maybe that is enough. But like you... I like to be in control, not to have extra work on top of that I already do and to be appreciated. But soooo many DH would never think to put a wash on at the same time as playing with the kids, but then the rugby kids can have full attention without interruptions (something I am rubbish at).

I am learning, slowly, that for a good marriage you have to be prepared to love unconditionally. Someone gave me these "Stop signs" and I am trying to put them into practice. Sadly they mean putting pride aside and taking the first step... but hopefully it makes things happier in the long-run.

S – Scoring points

Your partner raises a concern or criticism. You feel under attack and return fire.

The gentlest, most sensible route is to apologise.

T – Thinking the worst

The assumption that behind a partner's harmless deed or omission lies a dark intent to get at you, gain some advantage or to do you down.

Face your fears and check the reality. Ask your partner if everything is OK or if something is troubling them.

O – Opting out

The habit of avoiding conflict and disengaging from conversations.

Keep talking, hang in there and if it really is the wrong time to talk, ask for time out.

P – Putting down

Expressing words or actions that are taken to be dismissive, critical, contemptuous or belittling.

Be aware of your own attitude and how that may be interpreted.

I hope this helps?? You probably didn't want a real answer, and I could have said something else quite easily... but I wanted to try and be helpful.

HeresTheScaryThingBooyhoo Mon 24-Oct-11 15:05:15

i think this very much depends on who deals with swiming badges and the like normally. if your dynamic is such that you deal with it all and he has no reason to know what she needed to do then i dont think you can blame him for not having this done. however, i know my 6 year old would say "daddy, i need this badge done for monday can you help me?" so i'm surprised your DD didn't. afterall it is her badge and she should be making sure it's done, even if she requires help.

HeresTheScaryThingBooyhoo Mon 24-Oct-11 15:08:18

i also agree with garlic WRT the lists. i wouldn't be leaving them. but then again. if you (both of you) have arranged your dynamic so that he usually doesn't do day to day stuff and weekly things with dcs then you can hardly expect him to suddenly know. if i were in your shoes i would be looking to change that dynamic.

spookygarlic Mon 24-Oct-11 15:11:06

I would have finished doing it with DD before I left, it's not a long job after all.

HeresTheScaryThingBooyhoo Mon 24-Oct-11 15:19:52

why spooky? her father was there.

Amateurish Mon 24-Oct-11 15:20:07

YABU - you've had a nice weekend away with mates, he's looked after the kids and household and left it in an "OK state". No need to criticise him for not finishing a job you had started (and presumably not asked him to finish).

Maybe next time you should bite your tongue. If it's really a safety issue that you must raise with him - maybe give it a day or two and then have a quiet word.

As for thanking him, well why not? Good manners cost nothing. There's nothing wrong with thanking your other half if they hold the fort for you while you have a fun weekend away.

catsrus Mon 24-Oct-11 15:22:34

ah the old need for thanks for looking after your children! - I used to get sulks because I didn't thank him for taking stuff to recycling or taking out the rubbish. The assumption was always that he was helping me - no recognition of equal responsibility for any of that stuff. He would give me a list of things he'd done when I was away and if i didn't say 'well done' or 'thank you' he was mortally wounded.

<still thinking I need to send OW that "thank you and good luck" card>

JeffTracy Mon 24-Oct-11 15:24:59

He's right, I often do find something to criticise him about when I come back

Sorry OP, but you do sound like hard work. Why can't you both say thank you when the other one "holds the fort" for the weekend and avoid the little (but very annoying) criticisms?

Dotty342kids Mon 24-Oct-11 16:39:08

thanks for all your thoughtful responses, I have to confess to a stubborn streak so the concept of thanking him for something I do all the time with very little thanks just grates a little.
Think perhaps some mutual appreciation may be a little needed though god knows how often I've asked for a bit of a) noticing what I do day in, day out and b) to be appreciated for it occasionally............

garlicBreathZombie Mon 24-Oct-11 17:02:39

Do you self-praise, Dotty? This came up on an assertiveness course and, although the issues were work-related, we all (women) commented that we never did it at home either. So we started smile

To paint the picture: Our trainer told us that people who get faster promtoions, bonuses, etc, call attention to their achievements. We all said "Yeah, we do that" ... We meant we raised them in performance reviews and stuff. The trainer showed us some real emails, sent by real people in our organisation to their bosses. We were gobsmacked, having never even considered standing up and shouting "LOOK WHAT I DID!"

So, right, we started telling all and sundry how clever we were smile A few of us, me included, even went so far as to email our bosses about our smarter achievements. You wouldn't believe the difference it made!!

By and large, people believe what you tell them about yourself. Make it good wink

Since I now live alone, you can hear me of an evening going "That was a lovely meal! It was genius to add cinnamon! Well done, me" blush

Try it ...

Dotty342kids Mon 24-Oct-11 17:04:56

haha, so if my husband doesn't acknowledge what I do I should email to tell him?!
Along the lines of "dear husband, today I put away last night's washing up, made packed lunches, got the children sorted and took them to school...... etc, etc, etc"?
I am very entertained by this idea but don't know if it's very practical in a personal life though can definitely see the value in professional life.

garlicBreathZombie Mon 24-Oct-11 17:11:03

Oh, yes, it works however and wherever you do it!

"hello husband, I hope you've had a lovely day. I folded all your shirts and I must say I've done a brilliant job! Come into the living room, haven't I made it look nice? I got the shopping done in two hours today - that's half an hour less than it usually takes - and found some amazing freezer bargains! DC wants to show you the thingy they made at school today, it's beautiful isn't it?"

The theory says: If you think your own work trivial & unimportant, so will everyone else. So boost it!

I'm just dying to hear ... wink

Dotty342kids Mon 24-Oct-11 17:12:40

ooh, I see, that makes a bit more sense. I might wait till the storm dies down over the current spat but I will try it out over that. Might work better than "do you know what I've actually done today..........long list.............. sigh" smile

Dotty342kids Mon 24-Oct-11 17:12:59

Try it out AFTER that, it should have read!

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