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how do we settle back in to 'family' life at the weekends?

(11 Posts)
twolittlebundles Fri 16-Nov-12 19:27:11

DP works in another city during the week (job of a lifetime, but the initial 3 months are based in another city so he stays with family there during the week).

We are both quite independent people, have two small DD's (1 and 4). During the week I am working part time from home, have one day in the office and the parent. DP is quite introverted and has enjoyed having his own space during the weeks he is away. We Skype each night so the kids can chat to him, and he and I talk each day.

The problem is that Friday night, when he comes home (usually around 9pm, after a long drive), we almost always end up arguing within an hour of his arrival. No recurring topic that we can see. The tone set by the argument then tends to ruin the rest of the weekend for us, and of course the kids know something isn't great despite our efforts and that ruins their time with their dad.

Do any of you clever people have any insights/ tips on how to settle everyone back in without the drama?

Mumsyblouse Fri 16-Nov-12 19:45:19

I have lived in the same scenario for a while and it is difficult when they arrive, I think if you have noticed it, then you simply have to make a really big effort not to argue, especially if he is tired from the week and driving/travelling, and you are tired from looking after the kids on your own and working too, it's easy to feel you have it harder, but it's hard on everyone. So, deep breath, if he says something a bit provoking and annoying, just let it go, don't stand over him just speaking endlessly as you haven't seen him for ages (you can do that later!), both have a bit of space, take it slowly and by the end of the evening, hopefully you will have had an okish time so the rest of the weekend goes much better. And- if you have something difficult to say or a point you want to make, don't do it on the Fri eve, wait til you have rebonded and have had some fun times and then talk calmly about it before he leaves.

NamingOfParts Fri 16-Nov-12 19:56:49

When I used to travel a lot for work I always got stressed before a trip. Never the same topic.

It's part of the changeover from home to work. Perhaps your DP is finding the same - the changeover is stressful. He has had a day at work and then a long drive (that is stressful)

Just a thought but have you looked at how you both handle that first hour? Does DP come in and get smothered with everyone welcoming him home - daddy, daddy daddy?

You could try doing something different perhaps? Say DP comes in and goes straight to have a shower, unpack etc. Then when he has had time to draw breath he goes and says hi to the kids. He's more relaxed, you are more relaxed (you know he is home safe).

twolittlebundles Fri 16-Nov-12 20:00:37

Thanks Mumsy, and I think you're right- we both try and sort out any outstanding issues on a Friday - the thinking being to get them out of the way for the rest of the weekend- which obviously isn't working.

And yes, I do think I have it tougher (have resisted saying so though grin).

TeaMakesItToTheTop Fri 16-Nov-12 20:12:07

I did this for a year - I was the one going away - I was always so excited to be back but a bit resentful of what had been going on without me.

My DH handled it perfectly - there was always a drink waiting for me, he made me feel like I was important in the dynamics of the family, he looked soooo pleased to see me and we both chose to ignore the small stuff. Sometimes I came home and there were flowers, other times the house was tidy, sometimes there was a week's washing, other times you couldn't see the floor. He then stepped back for the two days I was home for me to do things I needed to to feel like I still made a difference to the family.

I decided to train it rather than drive so I had a couple of hours to adjust - read the papers or a book, chatting to friends on phone, had little G&T so when I walked in I had already done that switch over.

It's hard doing this -for everyone involved. I don't know how he managed with me away working FT in a demanding job with 4 kids. But then he always made me feel what I was doing was harder and he recognised the sacrifices I made.

amillionyears Fri 16-Nov-12 20:30:34

Agree not to say any words to each other , except for vital ones.for at least an hour after his arrival home.

ArtVandelay Fri 16-Nov-12 20:37:10

I can find my DH coming and going quite disruptive so I just try and treat it like any other day. I don't make special dinners or run baths or anything. If I have no expectations of anything I find it less disruptive and irritating. I do iron his shirts but then I find it easier than listening to him simper and fret trying to do it himself. Packing panic is a big argument starter in our house. I think the onus is on the traveller to fit back in, considering I've been wrangling a toddler alone all week and he's been in 5* hotel. I prefer DH to just poodle about for a bit and start chatting when he is ready. Same as I don't want to be blasted with work stories. I'm not mad about the situation but its what we have!

amillionyears Fri 16-Nov-12 20:44:12

Another minor point.
If ever you have the oppurtunity to say recreate his Friday for example, ie do work or something, in a different city, then do a long drive home, arriving at 9pm. and he has been looking after the kids, it can be worth doing it.
It may not give a full perspective for you and him of the others position, but it may help slightly.

TeaMakesItToTheTop Fri 16-Nov-12 20:58:15

amillion speaks sense

twolittlebundles Fri 16-Nov-12 21:02:26

all excellent points- thank you smile

We have done the reverse a few times when I was working FT and he was a SAHD. I think he was better than I am at being calm and happy to come home to; but also, it was only 2 nights away max (I realise this could be just me making excuses!).

By the time he comes home I have had 3 hours in the car with the kids, after running a meeting for four hours, so I am wound a bit tight! I think if I can figure out a way to be more relaxed before he arrives; we might be better off.

I also love the idea of not talking for a while- would certainly mean any arguments were at least more creative!

twolittlebundles Fri 16-Nov-12 21:23:02

Naming, the kids are in bed when he gets home, but yes, I think more space is required!

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