My husband is currently on furlough from the fire department and coming up with all kinds of "helpful" suggestions on cooking, child rearing, and better ways to organize the house. He decided the other day that we needed to start eating healthier so he grilled some fish outside wrapped in foil. When I unwrapped mine, there was about a pound of melted butter smathered all over my dinner. Healthy living at its finest.
I have a friend whose husband was injured on the job (I think that's the minimum description I can give to avoid identification thereby ensuring my friend doesn't get mad and discontinue my baked goods supply). He has been home several months and the space infringement has rattled her severely.
Another friend also recently had a husband home during a 17 day furlough and wasn't faring any better. Her hubby had all sorts of suggestions on how to work with their three young children to improve their intellectual development. It was usually posed in the form of "we,"... as in "We should be working with Child #1 on his flashcards" or "We really need to be reading more to Child #2." I think "we" were very relieved when he went back to work.
I've got a name for the husband who dabbles in the homemaking arts: The Consultant. The Consultant swoops in (for reasons spanning vacation, furlough, injury, or retirement) and gives little credence to the established methodology. The Consultant appears earnest, excited, and happy to offer a complete restructuring of home operations, thinking the current system antiquated and poorly run.
My husband, having some spare time on his hands to play ball with the boys, suggested I move their baseball mitts to another location instead of on top of the bookcase. It only took a day for him to understand that if the gloves are placed within the boys' reach, they will promptly disappear. After an hour of searching for them the other day, I noticed this morning that they have been safely returned to their place of honor on top of the book shelf. Order has been restored in the universe.
My Husband-Consultant also suggested that we start giving the boys a bath the night before school. He figured we would all have a little more time to sleep in the next morning. Well, when they woke up with matted hair and various components of pee and sweat making them smell like yesterday's garbage, I think my husband started to see my side of things. Over the years, I have given up trying to explain my systems. I figured I had to learn the hard way, so now must he.
Despite my having to bite my lip every time a suggestion is offered, I enjoy my husband being home. It's like watching a new fawn learn to walk. He has certainly mastered the traditional fathering part of operations (bread winner and sports instructor), but I fear he may never make CEO. I've only got a few more years to help get him ready should I go back to work. What is that expression? We learn more from our failures than our successes.
So fail away, my darling. Fail away.