I am a stay at home mother with three kids and my husband works in an office, typical banker hours. A few days ago he surprised us by showing up in the middle of the afternoon to have lunch. He had not told me he was doing this and I had already sat the kids down for lunch. When he walked in and saw that they were sharing a cheese and meat tray with crackers, he made several snarky comments about my preparing a real meal for the children. After a few minutes of his wheezing on about how he needed real food, my oldest son pointed out that lunch was two hours ago and that they were eating an afternoon snack. My husband spluttered a bit before finally asking me to make him a lunch. Without missing a beat, oldest son told him he missed the meal and should make his own food. I made the mistake of laughing. You see, my husband instituted this very rule when the kids began playing at their friend’s homes after school. Anyone who misses dinner has to find their own food when they return home.
My husband is very upset and later told me that he feels I undermined him in front of the children. I don’t think I did anything wrong. He was acting like a spoiled man child and his son called him out on his behavior. I also pointed out that he had some nerve to ask me to prepare him lunch without any advance notice – he merely arrived home and expected he would be fed. For the record, I did make him a sandwich. Who is in the wrong here?
Dear Lunch Lady,
I swear, I think something must break inside a human’s head right around lunch time. Everyone wakes up completely normal, just working and having a good day, and then a switch is flipped. BAM! The lunch hour hits and everyone morphs into an alter ego, hellbent of spreading chaos and discontent.
The empty stomach is a monster come to destroy the city and all its inhabitants.
I can see no other reason for a seemingly normal person to walk into a house and gripe about being fed cheese and meat and crackers. They are the hallmark ingredients of a delicious lunch! I’m not sure what constitutes a ‘real meal’ in your home, but I don’t think your husband got the same memo that you did. Apparently he needs a four course meal with espresso served at the end. Shame on you for not preparing the feast in anticipation of his random pop in during the week!
To compound this insult to his royal highness, his heir had the nerve to defend you.
Honestly, your husband was in the wrong. He knows he was in the wrong. Having his own rule thrown back at him was the moment that he realized he had erred. If he had not come to that conclusion, your letter would have contained another paragraph or two, likely with a few creative curse words, to express your frustration with the man. Instead, he ate his sandwich without protest and then told you in private that he felt undermined by your laughter.
You may need to apologize for that brief moment of glee.
I’m not saying you were wrong to laugh – you were obviously tickled by your Miniature Human’s quick-witted comeback. However, I have come to the conclusion that all successful marriages involve the occasional phony apology. That means you apologize, you look sincere as you do so, and then you inwardly roll your eyes to placate the marriage.
While we’re on the subject of phony apologies, your husband should deliver one for his snarky comments.
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