So this post goes first in my soon-to-be-growing public catalogue of marital fails…
And what a way to start!!
Let’s set the scene first… Mid-January, I realise how many mistakes I’ve been making as a husband and start writing this blog as an outlet for processing and as a reminder to keep at the simple things…
After a good few weeks of progress I go away for 10 weeks on business, and do quite well on the whole, good contact, good communication, presents for all… Job done!
What a great guy I am.
Plane home. Great. Feeling pretty awesome about myself.
First day with the family. Pretty good. Presents a success. Oh yeah – got this husband/dad thing nailed…
Day 2. Have a few days off planned, to ‘reconnect with family’, but what do I do? 8am. Start decorating my home office… Wait a minute… What’s was that I hear you screaming?
I’ll repeat myself. Day 2. Started decorating my home office…
Yes, I really did embark on a work-based home project within 36 hours of landing home after 10 days away, during the time that I had booked to ‘reconnect with family’.
And yes, even my boss would be disappointed with my priority choice here.
And yes, I realise how high a percentage of readers are banging their hands against their heads in disbelief…
I thought I was doing so well up until then…
Yes, I know, this is one of those fails Homer Simpson would have been proud of.
Now, I had my reasons, and some really good ones too: I have some meetings in a few days that I needed to sort out the room for… Plus we had sick kids so we couldn’t really do much else out of the house… Also I prefer to get this kind of thing done quicker so it’s not hanging over, and it was a full moon on the second Sunday of the month, which everyone knows is the best time to start decorating… You see, really solid case I have here…
But what I realise now is that it makes a difference what I do first.
That is to say:
I need to make my first thing the first thing!
When I’ve been out of the country for the best part of two weeks, the balance needs to be reset: S. has to be shown that I value her over the work that has occupied my life 100% for the last 10 days.
The best way I can do that is to give her the time of day, to hear from her, to actually ask how her time has been, to let her debrief and unload before I launch into my projects, my stories, my my my…
Whatever I do first is going to be understood as my priority, even if it is not and I have perfectly ‘valid’ reasons!
Now, part of me feels that this particular mistake was a one off with extraneous circumstances, but I’d be foolish not to learn from the principle here, otherwise you’ll likely see me writing another sheepish piece in a few months time!
I will get a second chance at doing a ‘re-entry’ well before long (not that I want to go away again!), but I did well and truly blow this one.
Actually, this principle doesn’t just apply to long trips – what do I do after a day out at work? Straight to phone to pick up more emails? What about straight into my world and my hobbies? Or offloading from my day without sparing a thought for hers?
Reminds me of this:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
In short. I need to make sure she knows the value she holds in my eyes. I need to show it with my words, my time and my priorities…
And if you screw up? Don’t forget to say sorry. And sorry I am, because it’s me who starts work tomorrow without having been blessed with much-needed quality time with my other half.
But as for the last few days, other than a lesson learned, I leave you with the wise words of our great modern day sage, Homer (Simpson):