I found this list of instructions supposedly taken from a 1950′s high school home economics textbook, teaching girls how to prepare for married life and thought I would see how I compare, using the past week as an example. I’m pretty sure I’m as 1950′s as you can get…
1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal on time.
Me: Monday night while lying awake because I was being smothered by two children who had crawled into our bed, I thought about going downstairs to get chicken out to thaw for the next day. I ultimately fell asleep but not before planning a mouth-watering meal in my head. At 5 pm on Tuesday I remembered I am the one in charge of feeding these people. Again. Breakfast for dinner it was. Again.
2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, 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.
Me: On Tuesday I talked my children into playing doctor so that I could be the patient because the patient always gets to lay still for five whole seconds. I avoided touching up my make-up by never putting any on in the first place. When Mark got home I made sure to discuss the frequency of the pooping around here, sure to be the most interesting topic of his day.
3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables.
Me: On Wednesday I stepped on several LEGOS so hard that they stayed embedded in my foot rather than lying on the carpet. One more selfless act of human sacrifice in order to ensure my husband a clear path through the overturned toy bins.
4. 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.
Me: Three baby wipes later and I still couldn’t get the jelly off my son’s face from lunch but I did take note that everyone was still in pajamas from the night before and change them into pajamas for the NEXT night just to be properly prepared.
5. Minimize the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of 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 to see him.
Me: By Thursday evening, I was waiting at the door as my husband arrived. I smiled with a somewhat possessed look in my eyes and announced I was locking myself in our room, eliminating all noise. For me.
6. Things to avoid: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner.
Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.
Me: I nailed this one. No dinner ready, no complaining necessary.
7. 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.
Me: Starting to go down hill here, he did sit on the coach and there was probably at least one day when I asked if he wanted a beer but everyone around here wears velcro shoes for a reason. You put them on, you take them off.
8. 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.
Me: Ooh, I’m back in the game. From the moment my husband arrives I allow all talking to be his responsibility. Saying “go ask Daddy” or “tell Daddy, he will do it” are two of my favorites.
9. 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.
Me: Completely understanding his need to be home and relax I happily leave him be (see #5).
10. The goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.
Me: If Chuck E Cheese had been around in 1950 and if someone from 1950 had went there on a Friday night moments before entering our home they would absolutely consider our house one of peace and order. Now wear’s my apron and cute polka-dot dress?
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