Let’s see how I measure up against the advice I shared in this blog’s inaugural post.
Here is the first “tip”:
1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal, on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.
My husband and I have been married 2 years and 9 months and I have totally made dinner at least once a month. That’s at least 33 times! Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
I know, I know—I’m at home and my husband is at work all day. In fact, when I decided to go freelance, my husband said “Hey now you can make dinner!” Unfortunately, I happen to have an exercise class Monday through Thursday from 6-7 pm (the prime dinner-prep hour). When I reminded him of that fact, I realized that he had actually been being sarcastic (a common trait for him) because he said “Don’t worry, I wasn’t expecting it to come home to a warm meal every night.” Besides, my husband is a great cook—why mess with a good thing?
So needless to say under normal circumstances I totally fail to heed tip number one’s fabulous advice. I don’t have dinner ready for my famished, wasting-away husband. Ergo he may not know that I have been thinking about him and he may even feel that I am unconcerned about his needs.
The good thing is that, if my husband does come home famished, he will start cooking right away. Ergo a captivating culinary creation will be waiting for ME when I get home. I like that!
But something crazy happened last night: I made dinner!
I know what you’re thinking, but I hadn’t planned to make dinner last night just so I’d ace this first tip.
In an effort to help my husband with dinner, I pulled a bag of pasta sauce out of the freezer (not the night before, but at least it was still before noon). Not just any pasta sauce, either. This sauce, I would like to note, I made this past summer with our abundance of home-grown garden tomatoes and basil, which has to be worth a gold star on my domestic goddess chart.
I also made sure that the pasta pot was clean and filled with water, and left a note about where the sauce was and what could jazz it up. I was doing my part to plan ahead. That’s gotta count for something, right? Then I headed off to my exercise class looking forward to the delicious pasta that would be waiting for me when I got home.
But then a funny thing happened, as I was walking home my husband called to tell me that he was still at work! Foiled! Now I had to make dinner.
When I got home, I turned the burner on to get the water boiling for the pasta and heated up a skillet for the sauce. After that tough work, I took the step of pouring myself an obligatory glass of wine. Then I diced some ham and once it started to brown, I dumped in the thawed-pre-home-made sauce. With my husband still, MIA, I decided to throw together some spinach and cherry tomatoes for a salad for good measure. By the time my famished husband got home, I had just tossed the pasta with the sauce and—despite a few noodles ending up on the floor—I had made dinner. There you go. Dinner. Made by me.
When I was getting married, my sister-in-law passed along the charming tips below about “How to be a Good Wife” as a joke. When I read them I laughed, then promptly tossed the sheet aside and forgot about it. Until recently.
I am trying to work as a freelance publications manager and, therefore, have started spending a lot of time at home. (Seriously, a lot, sometimes I go to Dunkin Donuts just so the women who work there talk to me for two minutes…) Since the amount I financially contribute to the household has dropped significantly, I feel strongly about making sure things are taken care of around the house in order to pull my weight (i.e. to not feel consumed by guilt for pursuing this type of career).
The one problem is that I am not a very domestic person … so, this is going to be a challenge. My husband has been incredibly supportive about my desire to go freelance, and doesn’t expect me to become “a housewife” in any way. He is also not anticipating that I will be very successful in this challenge to improve my domestic skills—particularly since he still cooks dinner every night when he gets home from work. Oops.
I figured why not let everyone see how I tackle the business of working at home while learning the business of building the “perfect” home. At the very least it could be entertaining for readers out there who get joy from others’ trials and tribulations.
So what did it take to be a domestic goddess in 1954? Let’s take a look:
- Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal, on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.
- Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.
- Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the home just before your husband arrives, gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.
- Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
- Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad he is home.
- Some don’ts: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.
- Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.
- Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.
- The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
Okay home, take your best shot!
I’m ready for you … I think.