The kids woke up early making nap time a must for the little ones. The breakfast menu is limited due to the extreme need to grocery shop as well as the piling high of dirty clothes in the hamper making finding a matching outfit entertaining. The floors look no different from outside and the heat from the summer days have turned pleasant kids into cranky, sweaty, exhausted little humans who have no time to assist with house chores. You never had a chance to take a shower removing the stench from your attempted morning workout and what make-up is applied has been since smeared. Dinner was a forethought making the canned chili and tortilla chips sound delightfully delicious. It’s a warm meal, right?
And then, music to your worn out, tired ears… You hear the rumble of Daddy’s truck turning the corner and pulling into the driveway. Hallelujah!
The adult conversation can begin as the relief has made his way home from work. And yet, as the provider walks in the door, mentally fried from his own day at adult daycare, you bombard him with an array of questions and stories about his day at work. I can just about imagine many of you agreeing to this situation and can laugh at your own stories of days gone wild. I certainly have my share of them!
I am a stay at home mom to three kids ranging from three years to almost eleven years in age. My day is spent chasing, teaching, loving, cleaning and always working on keeping the peace. I am beyond eager to hear about the non-events of a day in the office. Not just because I want to hear how my husbands day went, but to hear something different than Daniel Tiger, the theme song from Jessi, intense sibling conversations and the he said, she did of a toddler. But truth be told, sometimes jumping at the bit to hear every last detail is not how to support your spouse after a long days work.
As a wife to a business owner, dream chaser and type A risk taker, I have learned a few things about how to best support my husband. Our priorities have changed over the years which in turn changes the perspective of our career goals and personal goals where we always strive to have Kingdom purpose as the motivation.
Here are a few tips I have learned and ways to best support your spouse:
1.) Allow them to close the door. I will admit I’m still working on this one, but in all seriousness, give the guy a few minutes before you start in with the interrogation to his day. Just like I need a cup of coffee first thing in the morning to best function, so does my husband need a moment to breath before he can transition to his role at home.
2.) Reaffirm support through words and actions. “Thank you so much for providing the income for the family. I really appreciate the extra work you are doing to make our dreams happen.” Many times words aren’t even needed to acknowledge your support. If your spouse is working overtime to cover an extra expense or to fill a need at the office, think about bringing him a warm meal, a special treat and visit with the kids or a quick text stating your love towards him. When I attempt to have my chores done and the small pet peeves of owning a house tackled, my husband feels less stressed coming home. For example, rather then having the laundry piled high in a haystack, I’ve worked hard at folding and putting it away immediately. This shows less clutter and effort in doing something while at home. Another great way to show support is to cross off a few of those much needed To-Do’s. Yes, you may go out of your comfort zone changing a light bulb or mowing the lawn, but if it allows more time for the working spouse to spend with the family then job well done. Coming home to a mess is sometimes justified. Make sure to keep the play in balance with the tasks of the one staying at home.
3.) Ask. I often ask, “How can I better support you in this busy season at work?” Currently, we have many forks in the fire and life is quite possibly double booked and too busy. Making sure your communication is grounded in truth rather than judgement, nagging or complaining, will greatly improve your connection as a couple and family. My husband travels often and we have found texting, emails and using FaceTime a fantastic way for the kids to stay connected and to fill their emotional tank when they are missing him. Recognizing it’s stress or exhaustion speaking or texting, can detour arguments later. Make sure your words are uplifting and encouraging rather than always being negative. Hearing, “You’re always at work. You’re never home. When are you ever going to get this done for us?”, will only make matters worse. There is the right time for that, but certainly not every day!
4.) Build in work dates, conference calls or surprise visits. If you have the opportunity to meet for lunch, DO IT! Make the most of every minute in every day. Not only is this needed for any marriage to have the one on one time but necessary to succeed. The kids and I visit daddy at work often and will bring him or the staff treats. My husband has a white board desk making Post It’s non-existent. Quite often the best ways to gain a smile during a hectic week are the little messages from our kids with pictures of funny faces to letters of, “I love you’s!”
5.) Recharge your battery. Much like a toddler needing a nap to better function without meltdowns in the later day, so do YOU in order to best react to the working spouse when they transition from work to home. Even if it’s a 20 minute nap, quiet time or having a little pause in your day to help prepare for whatever is about to come home. There will be less negative response when you are mentally ready to be attentive to your spouse, giving the positive attention needed rather than a frazzled, exhausted mess. Don’t feel guilty for taking a quick break during the day to help finish the evening strong!
6.) Share grace. We all can use and extend grace in every situation during the day whether at home or in the work place. If you want some yourself, you MUST be able to offer it to those closest to you.
Showing your support doesn’t need to be complicated. Find ways that work for your schedule and lifestyle and MAKE IT HAPPEN!