It had been one of those days. The kids were screaming and crying, I found myself yelling as I tried to prep dinner, it was raining too hard to send the kids outside, no one could agree on what to watch or listen to, the house was a mess, and I was counting down the minutes until my husband came home. As I pulled dinner out of the oven at his normal arrival time, the phone rang. I said out loud, “If this is him telling me he hasn’t left the office, I’m going to cry.” Sure enough, a stressed voice on the other line told me that he didn’t know when he’d be home—tons of students had stopped by to talk, the faculty meeting had gone long, and he had a lot left to do. He was having a rough day, too.
Has this happened to anyone else? So I had two choices at this point. I could get mad because I’d exerted myself on a bad day to make a special meal for him, and if I’d known at 3pm that it was just the kids and me for dinner, I would have made boxed mac and cheese. Instead, I chose plan B. I fed the kids their gourmet meal, set them loose in the trashed family room, and called my mom for an attitude adjustment. I described the situation, she empathized and encouraged, then I told the kids we were making chocolate chip cookies for Daddy. They had fun (and a great incentive to clean up the house and get into jammies in time to sample one before bed), I was able to channel my energy into something positive, and the atmosphere in the house cleared.
I don’t make cookies every time my husband is late from work! And I’m not saying that homemade cookies are essential to a good marriage. But we are a chocolate-loving family, baking from scratch is my love language, and the kids never turn down a chance to help me bake. I’m blessed in that random late nights are the exception for my husband these days, not the rule (as with a previous job). It probably wouldn’t be healthy if we were baking cookies every other night! But I’ve found that on Jonah Days (as Anne of Green Gables would say), cookies always go over better than complaints.
What do you do on days so bad that your usual witching hour tricks aren’t working and your husband is working late?