Friday, February 26, 2010

Do-It-Yourself Bo Hunkmeister

As some of you may know I have a wonderful husband who I lovingly refer to as Bo Hunkmeister. Don't ask about the name,  it would take too long to explain. Just the other night, he washed and folded two loads of laundry and then rubbed MY feet! Now, whenever I tell people a story like this, one comment I usually get is "Gee, you have him trained well!" I use to laugh this off but lately I've reconsidered. I started to think, "What does this comment mean? I've married a chimp? For a few bananas, Skippy the Wonder Monkey will fold laundry?" But how did I end up with such a wonderful man? I wish I could say it's because of my sterling, yet humble example but that would be a bold faced lie. However, I do think some of my behavior has helped Bo to be the Hunkmeister he truly is.

Here are my guidelines I've developed over the years:
1. Do not ridicule your man in public.
This includes jokes. Even if he makes a joke about himself, this is not an invitation for you to jump in and add to the laughs. I often hear, "Oh, he knows I'm joking!" Does he? Also consider, has the joke gotten old? As in, he's laughing because he's hoping you'll eventually stop? If you say anything about your guy in public, make it positive. Not gushing and patronizing, just positive.

2. Don't expect him to communicate like a woman.
Women have made dissecting conversation into an art form. I used to spend hours trying to figure out what Bo meant when he said "I'm going to the store." When he was quiet and introspective, I'd pepper him with questions like he was some Iraqi insurgent. Now, if I suspect something is bothering him, I ask once. If he says nothing, then I leave him alone. I've found that he'll eventually talk to me after he's thought it through a few times.

3. Don't expect him to read your mind
How it use to be:
He comes home from a long hard day at work and I greet him with a pout (mind you, this is the fifth time this week I've greeted him with the same pout). Or better yet, the man is hardly in the door before I start verbally throwing up on him about how HIS children have behaved today. As the evening progresses, I'm getting more and more irritated that he hasn't interpreted my pout to mean that I want him to do something to help me.
How it is now:
I try to find out how his day was. He could have had a really tough one and doesn't need my stuff on top of it (yes, he is allowed to have bad days). If I do want relief from the mayhem that is my life, I ask nicely; not demand, not manipulate, not sneak off and do. And I am SPECIFIC (i.e. can you order us a pizza for dinner? can I go out for a half an hour? can you e-bay the children?)

4. Act like you need him

5. Respect him as a man
Respect his opinions. Trust in his abilities. Any man who can hold down a full time job is more than capable of childcare, house cleaning and laundry. Just because Bo doesn't do things my way does not mean it isn't the right way. If you're only willing to have the laundry done your way, then expect to do it all the time and don't complain.
Also, men like to do guy things (mess with tools, watch sports, do outdoor things) Don't belittle this any more than you want him to belittle your girl-talk time or your latch hook rug project (and you know you have one).

6. Give him a home he wants to return to
My house is by no means Martha Stewart level, but I try to have the kids pick up the big stuff before Bo gets home. I also try to keep the noise level to a dull roar. I usually have dinner ready or at least underway so he doesn't walk in with me standing in front of an open fridge frantically trying to make dinner out of leftover pancakes and green bean casserole. And I try to give him a little time to decompress before I verbally assault him with what happened today/what needs to get done tonight/what the kids did to the cat, etc. Why do I do this? If he's got a warm inviting place to come home to, he'll want to come home and not find one million and one reasons to work late/attend meetings/etc.

Well, that's enough lecturing for now. If you want the full course credit program, send $499.95 to the Domestic Goddess, One Soap Box Way, Opinionated, RI


JT said...

I'm interested in the flipside of how an enlightened man should treat his 'stay-at-home' wife.

TerriG said...

Well said.