I was quite surprised at how quickly my countenance changed as soon as E got home the other night, after being away for a couple of days. Unpleasantly surprised. It was like I subconsciously thought 'phew, she's home, I can clock off now', and even though I didn't consciously decide to, I sort of went all quiet and exhausted all of a sudden, uncommunicative and done with parenting for the night.
It struck me that that might be a similar sort of sensation that stay at home mum's might feel when dad gets home from work (or vice versa if roles are reversed). I've had the kids for the day, your turn now! I think it's quite a tough time of the day, because that is in some ways pretty valid. But the other side of the coin is dad getting home tired and angsty after a day at work and battling public transport. It's totally his responsibility to find another gear when he gets home, to be a loving husband and parent, but the transition is not always that easy.
So I suppose it's one of those points of the day where the two parents are meeting each other from very different directions, and some sort of mutual understanding needs to be found. E does a great job of this, she makes a big effort to not 'clock off', and I really appreciate that. More so after last weekend.