Monday, July 16, 2012

Tea for Two: Re-entry

Anyone in a long distance relationship can tell you that re-entry is always a little bumpy when the person who has been away for awhile gets home.  I think it's simply a matter of both of you building up in your minds what things will be like when you are together again, and that reality does not meet those expectations.  I expected my husband to get home and help grocery shop and take the car in for servicing and help make dinner and do all of the laundry, and my husband expected to get home and finally be allowed to sleep for eight hours and not have to eat takeout all the time.

One of the biggest issues for us, always, is that I'm the messy one.  So when I mentioned to my friend Kate that my husband was finally coming home, she said, "oh, so are you spending the weekend cleaning?"  Which I was.  The problem is, my clean is never quite clean enough.  And I have a HUGE blind spot for certain messes.  Like, I carefully cleaned the dining room and the kitchen, but left a giant pile of clothes in the middle of the bedroom floor.  No normal person would call that "clean" and yet I expected a medal for my efforts (I would probably clean more if we had a good housekeeping trophy we passed back and forth.)

One of the ways that we dealt with this situation was not necessarily something I would recommend, but worked well - we hosted a fourth of July party the day after my husband came home, and spent his first day back cleaning the house to company cleanliness.  This meant we had several arguments throughout the cleaning, but it also meant that we got that out of the way and we got the place pretty clean, so there was minimal complaining after the fact about it.

There are still tricky things.  My husband will look at something and say, "when did that get here?" or "why is this here?" and I'll shrug and say, "you were gone for a month."  I'm still doing all of the cooking, it seems, but at least there is somebody else to make an emergency grocery run and do the dishes and help remember to take out the trash.

Does anybody else have re-entry issues?  Any advice for how to move past the big issues?


  1. Kind of funny timing on this one. I cleaned up all day yesterday because my husband was coming home from his work trip. And instead of noticing how much I picked up, almost right away he mentioned that I haven't touched my stack of papers in the corner of the bedroom that have been living there for the past 4 months.

  2. Funny isn't it how we notice what people didn't do versus what they DID do? (I say people because I know I've done this before.) For example, I'm sure I'll get in trouble for not staining the last bit of the shop when Forrest gets home. Instead, I chose to take care of some miscellaneous wedding crafts and tasks. Totally useful--just not what he would have done.