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4 rules to live by when your wife is out of town

I think Julia and I make a pretty good team.  We both pick up each other’s slack when we need it.  We do a pretty good job of distributing work around the house too.  So, whenever one of us is out of town for the night (or 4), it shakes things up a bit.  It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while Julia will be out for a few days (church retreat, getaway with friends, etc).  When that happens, I have a few rules that I always try to go by.

Eli with his dream dinner
Eli with his dream dinner

1.  Don’t rely on her to plan your meals:

  • If she’s going somewhere, she has plenty of packing to do and plans to make of her own.  The last thing she needs to worry about is what YOU’RE going to eat while she’s gone.  Go grocery shopping yourself.  Plan out your meals.  If you’re not used to cooking, try out some easy recipes, or at least plan some things you can pick up.  At any rate, don’t make your wife figure it out for you.

2.  Don’t make her feel guilty for going away:

  • It doesn’t do anyone any good if you make her feel guilty for being gone.  It doesn’t help you any and it only ruins her fun.  Let her know that you’re glad she’s able to go away and that you’ll be fine.  Let her know if you miss her, but don’t play it up so much that she feels like a jerk for going away for a couple nights.
Bowling in the playroom

3.  If you have kids, plan something fun:

  • I’ll be honest, being a single parent even for a day or two is TOUGH!  I have the utmost respect for those that do it full time.  It is exhausting and I find it tough to give any of my time and energy to spending quality time with my son.  So, I have to force myself to make sure it happens.  No matter what, I always try to schedule some time for something fun for us to do (hiking, board games, dinner out, nerf gun wars, etc).  Even if it’s just a short period of time, I can see that it makes a world of difference to him.

4.  IMG_0373Have the house looking better when she gets back than when she left:

  • This is one of my favorites, and I take it as a personal challenge to see what I can get done.  Whenever Julia is gone, I try to do as much as I can before she gets back.  Vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, doing dishes, doing laundry, picking up stuff, random home projects, etc.  I don’t always get to everything, but I do my best.  Enlist your kids to help too!  She might not even always notice everything, but the last thing I want is for her to come back tired from her trip and be instantly overwhelmed by a dirty house and pile of stuff for her to do.