The Housewife: A Hilarious Glimpse at American History
1955: Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. 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 (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
2013: Planning and doing are two very different concepts. In my mind I’ve planned millions of four-star meals. In reality, we eat a lot of take-out.
1955: Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll 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.
2013: The kids took the ribbon out of my hair and the dog ate it. I had intentions of taking a 15 minute rest but I sat in a puddle of pee someone left on the chair and my mascara ran when I started crying right before you came in the door.
1955: Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
2013: Hey, want to hear something kind of interesting? The cat was on fire twice today.
1955: Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
2013: I haven’t seen the main part of my house in two and a half years. On a good day I use a rake to make a trail for him to follow from the front door into the kitchen. It’s really about as welcoming as things get around here at 5pm.
1955: Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.
1955: Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
2013: Our fireplace is operated by the flip of a switch. This means anyone in our house can turn it on including my two-year old and the cat.
1955: 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 the noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
2013: Our children are treasures – covered in sparkly spaghetti noodles and glittery sauce; and guess what husband? It’s your night to do baths!
1955: Be happy to see him.
2013: If you are then maybe he’ll take the kids.
1955: Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
2013: I agree that listening to him talk about traffic is way more important than me telling him the cat is on fire.
1955: Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
2013: Wait. Isn’t the entire day from 7am to 5pm his?
1955: Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
2013: I’m running a household here not a day spa.
1955: Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
2013: Does the cat being set on fire count as a problem or a complaint?
1955: Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
2013: If I had screaming co-workers whining, crying and pooping themselves all day I would totally need a night out…oh…wait….
1955: Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
2013: Cups are in the cupboard. Beer’s in the fridge.
1955: Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
2013: At the end of the day my low soothing voice is repeating everything a billion times until someone moves. Also I’m usually yelling.
1955: Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
2013: She who cleans the toilet seat has the right to ask whatever she wants. He may be the master of the house but I’m the Queen of the castle and if Mom’s not happy, no one’s happy.
1955: A good wife always knows her place.
2013: And that, my friends, is on a beach in Tahiti with a drink that has a little pink umbrella in it.
*Source is actually from a 1955 edition of Good Housekeeping
Christina is a stay-at-home mom who lives near Denver with her husband, two daughters and a cat who’ll never forgive her for having children. You can find her lurking around at http://www.