Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My husband left town this morning to go on a purely for-fun trip. In theory, I love that and think it’s important for each of us to be able to do things we love. However, I’m SEETHING today, because somehow it’s just connecting that I’m now stuck at home for SEVEN DAYS with a 2-year-old and two very active dogs and a full-time job. I wish I had spoken up earlier about the length of the trip. I’m feeling overwhelmed with all that I have to manage for the next week.

Is it worthwhile saying something after the fact? I honestly don’t know why I didn’t speak up more forcefully earlier; I guess the trip seemed farther off and less extreme in its length. I had in my mind four to five days, despite his sharing the flight info, etc.

Any tips on approaching him and on turning my terrible attitude around?

Fuming Mad: Do not approach him in anger. You agreed to this, and it sounds as if he has every reason to believe you did so with your eyes open — even though they obviously weren’t. Don’t send him off on his break with the weight of your foul mood.

Instead, into every millimeter-size crack in your schedule in the next week, put in some planning for your own seven-day, purely for-fun trip.

Then take that trip. A conversation here without an actual rebalancing of responsibilities isn’t fairness; it’s just words.

Also, if you can afford for him to take a week-long funfest that involves air travel, then you can afford to hire a dog walker to cross at least that much off your list.

· I’m going to take Carolyn’s suggestions a few steps further.

Hire a neighborhood kid as a “mother’s helper” for the week. Schedule in some fun time: some with your toddler, some just for yourself. Get a sitter for an evening and hang out with your friends. Get a massage. Order a pizza for yourself with every topping your husband hates.

And start planning your week-long getaway where your husband will be home with the kiddo and the dogs.

· Okay, so you whiffed the “how long this trip is” part. But the truth is that, even if it was a four- or five-day trip, it’s a lot to leave one person to handle. So the point is not to be mad at him, but to say: “We didn’t do enough planning for how everything would get handled with just me available to take care of it. We need to do a better job of paying attention to that in the future and not just assuming that the person who is holding down the fort can handle it all for anything more than a day or two.”

Give it to him as a gift that you are not leaving him in the same position as you take off on your own funfest … of whatever length.


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