1) Don't save anything to do when he gets home.
I used to "save" the dishes, sweeping or other chores for when my husband came home. He minds Reuben so I can easily work without interruptions. However, this meant when my husband arrived home there was a lot to do (and I was rushed and anxious) OR he came home too late and Becky was ready to nurse and not play with Daddy, or I was too exhausted to do chores. Now I try to get the dishes, laundry and chores done before 5pm so everyone can rest whether or not daddy is home. This way there is no expectations of work in the evening and daddy working late does not throw off our groove.
2) I don't expect a break when he gets home.
I've said this before, but one of the main reasons I get so upset in the evening is my expectation for some type of break. I've worked hard all day, I deserve a break, right? Well, not really. I deserve nothing. Expecting no break has helped my sour mood become less...sour. Yes, I do get breaks. But not all the time. I have humbly come to realize running a household, managing my children are ways I worship God. Seeing chores and parenting and marriage from a holy standpoint has greatly influenced my mood and expectations surrounding personal rest time. It's also helped them feel less like "lists of things I begrudgingly have to do" and more like worship.
3) Treat my husband with love and respect and always be happy to see him.
One way to a grumpy evening is to be upset with my husband just because he's late. Right when he arrives. Or send him desperate text messages letting him know I am sitting there waiting for him to save me from being crawled upon by two hooligans. Is he two hours late? Three?! Why?! Nothing like a sour, upset worn out wife crabbing at you right as you walk in the door to make your evening sparkle, yeah? Hah. Now I try to act happy to see him no matter who is melting down and how tired I am, and no matter what time it is. At least he's finally home, right? I try to treat him with respect. I mean, he does not walk in the door crabbing at me, so why should I crab at him right when he gets home, even if it's late? It's not like he wants to be late or chose to be late: he had to work overtime to fix an issue or get his code finalized, or whatever engineers do.
4) I realized he wants to be home too.
I don't know why this one didn't occur to me, but often I would feel like my husband was punishing me by working late. Like he did it just to make me upset or angry or because he didn't want to take responsibility for our household and help me at home. Once I realized that internally I was feeling this way, I legit wanted to laugh at how ridiculous it sounded. Sure, my husband is not perfect and he can be dense as a newly hewn log, but he loves his family and does help a lot! He cooks, he holds babies, he changes poop. He wants to be home with us. He works late because he wants to keep his job (and so do I) and that is that.
5) I no longer let him being late put me in a bad mood.
A lot of what I am learning in my 30s is that while I can't control what the world gives to me, I can control my output: aka my mood. In my 20s I let my emotions control me more often than I would like to admit.
I don't have to like that my husband is working late, but I also don't have to let it completely destroy my day. I can have (gasp) a positive outlook about it! I can be an adult and work hard on my end to make sure our house is in order. I don't need to crab at the kids. I don't need to feel upset and defeated. I can be okay even when he works late. I am in control of my response. Mind blown.
6) Set realistic exceptions.
This one applies to the whole topic of raising kids. I expect myself to get too much done, and I expect my husband to arrive home at a reasonable hour and help me to get things done. This is preposterous, as he's always late! Now I try to set realistic expectations to help curb the let-down feeling that arrives as the eight hour work day rolls on by, sans husband. After five years of being married to a computer engineer I expect him to be late now. But I still hope. I try to realize he will probably be at least an hour late every day. Usually two hours. And I plan for the days where he will be very late, and bedtime will have to be completed solely by me.
These are the things I try and do to keep the peace in our household when my husband works late. What do you do? Please give me all the tips.