1. "Yes, honey, I had a great time." I don't care if you lost every bet you made, the roof of the Econo Lodge blew off, and you and your best friend got into a knock-down-drag-out fight over the 2008-'09 recruiting class. She was at home, with the kids, for a weekend or longer, with no or little helpRe. You got to sleep in, play poker, get drunk, and not worry about the ankle biters for a bit. Make her feel good about not giving you a hard time for going.
2. "Yes, I'd be happy to...." Whatever it is she wants help with, do it with a smile on your face right then and there. If you've got twenty trout you need to get unpacked and loaded in the freezer, tell her you are going to do that quickly, and then give whatever she'd like help your full attention until it's done.
3. "Tell me about your weekend." Stand or sit there and listen. Ask probing questions like "How were the kids?" or "Aren't you just totally worn out?" Take 20 minutes when the house quiet to let her dump all the garbage out of her head. Rubbing her feet while she does this is a good thing.
4. Say this with feeling: "Thank you, honey. I know it was a crazy busy weekend for you and I really appreciate you taking the kids while I had a guys weekend. When can I take the kids this week so you can get some time yourself?"
These are the rules I live by. By combining these with some strategic planning (only going on the trips that really mean something to you), you'll have a better chance of enjoying a more pleasant return home.
What would you add?