Many men, for whatever reason, spend much of their day in the house. My father did because he was self-employed and his business was based at home, my husband was at home during the day when he was a student, while he worked nights as a security guard and the infamous time he tried to be a minister of religion.
My mother coped by setting up her own business based in an old railway station which meant she spent most of the day away from home. But for me this hasn’t been an option as I am, and want to be, a stay-at-home-mother.
Make no mistake, to in the same house most of your waking day is difficult for any marriage and I have heard advice against it. Wives find it hard to do their chores with their man around AND men are known to start supervising their wives or trying to help them save time and/or money, but getting underfoot in the process. Bless them all.
Someone asked me recently how I cope with my husband being at home most of the time and I thought this was a good place to explain how:
I know my husband has been advised to go out of the home, even though he works from home, to give me a break. But it isn’t my place to force him to follow the advice. This is the first principle of Fascinating Womanhood – ACCEPT THE MAN YOU’VE MARRIED AS HE IS. It isn’t my job to improve him.
When my ego squeaks, I remember all the times I’ve ignored good advice, failed to do my duties or otherwise been less than perfect. How can I, a flawed person, criticize someone who is much better than me in many ways? This is also found in Fascinating Womanhood (the chapter about acceptance).
Next I remember what’s good about my husband, what I love and respect about him. The good things he does for me and the advantages of having him in the home. Again this is part of Fascinating Womanhood and if you ever do a class one of the first exercises is to keep a ‘love diary’ to help you focus on the good.
By casting my mind back I can distinctly remember complaining that my husband didn’t spend enough time in the house because he had a daily commute of over two hours and was so exhausted when he came home he just wanted to relax and be left alone. Those were lonely years for me. After all the different work patterns my husband has had, I can see there have been problems with all of them – I can’t choose the hours he works but I can choose how contented I am. If I switch from thinking “he should go out/stay in more” to “I can be contented in this situation and choose to be so” I step out of victimhood and reclaim my life. I can control my thoughts and feelings better than I can control my husband.
I keep reminding myself of the consequences of my behaviour in the home. I want a harmonious household where my family feel comfortable, I want there to be joy in the home. This isn’t going to happen if I’m a grouch who keeps kicking her husband out so I can do the vacuuming. It’s going to happen if I’m easy going and cheerful; if everyone feels welcome in my life and that I love them enough to want them around.
Lastly, I have put boundaries around the kitchen and the laundry – I am in charge of planning the food, organizing the freezer, doing the laundry and running the house. These are my jobs and I will only do them if I’m left to do them my way, if my darling husband tries to manage my housekeeping I assert myself very clearly (see the chapters on Childlike communication in Fascinating Womanhood).