Monday, July 11, 2011

Men Are from Mars. And Sometimes So Are Their Daughters.

My dad worked for the same company for 44 years.

He started out there as a slick-haired 18-year-old and retired at 62, the grandfather of three girls. I have no idea how he stuck with it for that long.

He used to leave for work every day at 6:30 a.m. and return home at 4:30 p.m., change his clothes and retreat to his rocking chair where he would engross himself in crossword puzzles or the latest issue of Popular Mechanics. By the time my mom got home at 5:30, he was refreshed and ready to hear the tales of her hen house-like office job.

He had a system and it worked.

When I read the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus in college, there was a section in it about men "going to their caves" that immediately made me think of my dad. That's what he was doing in his rocking chair: removing himself from society so he could recharge his batteries.

The book said women dealt with stress differently, but I don't think that's the case with all of us.

You see, lately I've been noticing that I too do better if I can "go to my cave" after a hard day. Although I've been living with Mr. Wonderful for almost 8 months now, this just occurred to me last week. I was having a particularly frustrating time at work and one night Mr. W wasn't home yet when I arrived.

I poured myself a glass of wine. Decompressed. Shed my grumpiness from the prior 9 hours. By the time Mr. W got home, I was perky and pleasant to be around. (My mother and sister are rolling their eyes and muttering "liar" right now.) Every other day last week, I wasn't in the best mood when I greeted my hubby.

I really think the alone time did the trick.

Not quite sure yet what to do with this information. Maybe I need to tell Mr. W not to talk to me for 15 minutes when I get home. Or maybe I need to make it a habit to lock myself in the bedroom for a little while until I can have a peppy attitude.

Just when I think I've learned everything I could from my parents, dear old dad gives me another life lesson...

12 comments:

HHP said...

You may have the perfect recipe for a happy live together relationship. I am going to try it on for size. :)

Mom & Dad said...

First off, I thought grandpa had 4 granddaughters!
Yes, everyone needs "alone" time. Even retired, we require it - both of us in the a.m. til we are ready to greet the world.
I think it is very healthy to unwind before sharing time together - often people do it in transit. I am sure Mr. W needs his alone time also.
Try it on for size.

Mel Heth said...

HHP - Let me know if it works for you. I don't want to hear from Dirty Painter that you're ignoring him, though! ;)

Mom - Dad only had 3 granddaughters when he retired. The little one wasn't born yet. Unwinding in transit isn't possible when you live in Hollywood...

LesleyG said...

I think this is really a common need for everyone, even if it is stereotypically a "man thing." I need my alone time in the morning. I have no problem getting up early, but I don't like to talk in the morning. I'm much better all day if I get some time in the morning without conversation. I've been this way since I was a teenager, and it took my mom a long time to figure it out. Now I'm grateful that as an adult I can just say "I don't like to talk a lot in the morning" as a disclaimer. It's usually how I introduce myself to people. :)

Sizzle said...

I think alone time, especially when living with someone, is key. Mr. D and I try to give each other nights where the other one doesn't come home right after work so that we both have time during the week where we get to be alone when get home. Our apartment is small so we don't really have a lot of extra rooms.I think listening to your own gut on this is good. And sometimes we just have to be grumpy with our partners because that's what we do as partners, right?

Wow, that was awkward said...

I think everyone needs a little alone/me time, whether married, single, living alone or with others.

Do you think it was your alone time to decompress that helped or was it the glass of wine? :)

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I used to decompress by zoning out at the gym. Now, I decompress by losing myself in the happiness that is my son. =)

Maybe you should stash a bottle of wine in the bushes and bust out a glass with 15 minutes of peace in the driveway before walking inside!

Mel Heth said...

LesleyG - I'm with you on the morning silence vow. My coworkers tease me because I once told everyone not to talk to me until after lunch!

Sizzle - That's a really good idea. And yes - sometimes you have to just let the other person be grumpy. Mr. W and can both be grumpy people, so we're usually pretty good at this. Aries unite! :P

WowTWA - The alone time was the starter, the wine was like the whipped cream and cherry on top.

Nilsa - This may sound crazy, but a lot of times I decompress by playing with my cats. I'm sure a baby provides even more of an escape! I dig your wine in the bushes idea...maybe I can move one our wine fridges down to the garage.

HunnerWoof said...

I dunno...I'm with your mom. I like to unwind in transit. That's why I keep an ice chest full of cold Bud Light on the floor the passenger seat. 7 or 8 of those on the way home, and I'm good to go.

Mandy_Fish said...

I think my husband could use this decompression time. I'm ready to chat as soon as I get home.

Mel Heth said...

Hunner - I heart you. You seriously crack me up.

Mandy - Eh he's a man, he can probably successfully tune you out if he needs to. ;)

geekhiker said...

Pfft. If Mr. Wonderful is smart, he should have the glass of wine already poured, and simply hand it to you when you walk in the front door...