I wish that when my husband came home from work, the house was always quiet, clean, clutter-free and filled with the aroma of a hot meal. The kids would be freshly bathed and peacefully reading books. My hair would be styled, my make-up fresh, and I’d be looking ever-so-subtly sexy without even trying. I would be feeling happy and stress-free.
My husband leaves the house early for work. He returns home just before the kids go to bed. Unfortunately, while his work day has just ended, mine tends to bleed over into the evening. More to the point, it bleeds right smack into his arrival home, and it’s not always pretty.
- I wish my husband’s homecoming each day played out similar to these 50’s housewife guidelines:
- Freshen up before your husband returns from work. Consider changing if your day’s clothes are plain.
Set out a tray for mixing cocktails in case the man of the house would like to have a drink before dinner.
- Prepare the children. Clean their hands, comb their hair, and encourage them to be quiet.
- Greet your husband happily when he comes home. Do not burden him with your troubles from the day as soon as he walks through the door. Ask him about his day first, and listen intently to what he has to say.
Oh goodness, that is so far from our reality. Here’s how my husband’s homecoming actually played out today.
He walked in the door at 6:55 pm. The kids were finishing up a late dinner, following their bath. It was taking them FOR-EV-ER to eat, because they were feeling especially silly this evening and messing around at the table. I was holding the baby with one arm, trying to pull my husband’s dinner together with the other and simultaneously lecturing the girls to stay in their seats and EAT! All I could think about was how badly I needed a shower after a day of baby spit-up and a hot afternoon at the playground. The baby was showing signs of hunger, and needed a bath himself. My daughters’ bedtime was rapidly approaching.
He walked in, said “Hello” and gave me a quick kiss and a smile. I said “Hello” in return, gave him a forced “How was your day?” and then handed him the fussy baby. I explained in an exasperated tone that the girls needed to stop messing around and finish their dinner. I promised to return in 5 minutes after my shower.
Upon my return, I suggested he go ahead and eat without me. That way, I could go bathe and feed the baby, and he could get the girls ready for bed as soon as possible. The girls were reluctant to get their pajamas on, one was crying about literally everything, and it took Hubs a good 45 minutes to get them through the bedtime routine.
Aww…sounds like a relaxing, sweet homecoming, doesn’t it?
At this point, I had no idea how his day was, and he had a fairly bad impression of mine.
Thankfully, my husband is a modern man. He is happy to help with the children when he gets home. During this season of his career, he works long hours. But, he always makes it home in time to put our girls to bed (ages 5 and 7). It’s important to him, and they love their special time with Daddy every night. He often does the dishes after dinner, and he is very involved with the kids on the weekends. We are a great team.
Now let’s talk about me. While things were harry and hectic when my husband got home today, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a totally awesome housewife today. The list of things I DID accomplish today for the benefit of my children and our home is pretty long, actually. But the job of a stay-at-home-Mom, while a great blessing, can be an emotional one. Even if I’ve had a great day with the kids, I tend to somehow come away emotionally and physically drained. I come away with Mom-guilt, and with feelings of failure over things like clutter and dust.
And it’s these feelings that translate into “Hi Honey, don’t sit down – just take this baby!! I need a shower and your kids need discipline!”
I don’t want things to be like that. I so badly want to greet my husband with a very sincere, joyful smile and embrace. I want him to be able to sit down, play with his kids a bit, and relax. Even if my world is not in perfect order, I want him to feel like I’m happy to see him. I’ll never be a 50’s housewife with my husband’s slippers in hand, but I can at least try to use some self-control about expressing my frustrations about the day the second he walks in the door. It’s fine to share with him the realities of my day – or of this particularly chaotic moment – but maybe I can pause, take a breath, and try not to be so exasperated and unhappy about it. Focus on him – not me. And later when things have calmed down, we can talk as partners about the highs and lows of the day.
I can’t be perfect and I can’t magically make this whole housewife thing super simple and organized. But, at the very least, I’m going to strive to make these 3 things a priority:
- Be genuinely happy to see my husband when he comes home. The kids are good at that: “Daddy’s home!!!!!” And then there’s grumpy Mommy with the half-hearted don’t-you-feel-sorry-for-me-that-my-day-was-tough greeting. Instead, I will try to make him feel that I’m happy to see him and that I am happy to be the matriarch of this family!
- Attempt to look like I didn’t just roll out of bed. Even if it’s just lounge wear, I can at least try to look human with hair brushed and a fresh face. Not so much because he needs that from me, but because it will make me feel less frumpy and stressed…and therefore more happy.
- Stop making things bigger than they are. So what if there is a pile of laundry I didn’t get to yet, and dinner isn’t quite ready? Life will go on – don’t add undue pressure where we could otherwise be happy. My husband certainly isn’t upset about it, so why am I? Focus on my sweet family and be happy!
It’s a very different world now than it was in the 50’s. But one thing I can draw from those seemingly perfect housewives is the responsibility they felt to do their job with a good attitude, and convey to their husband that they are glad to be doing it.