The following is taken from a 1950’s Home Economics textbook Intended for High School girls teaching them to prepare for married life.
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 prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.
Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will 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 house just before your husband arrives, gathering up schoolbooks, toys, papers, 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 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.
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 pillows 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 for 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 relax.
I propose the following revisions for the millennium man. This is intended for High School boys, teaching them how to prepare for married life.
Do not expect to have dinner ready as soon as you walk in the door. You have no idea what kind of day your wife may have had on the home front. In between endless laundry, constant refereeing and running errands in the rain (i.e. banking, dry cleaning, grocery shopping, post office, etc.) the dog got loose and chased wild turkeys into the woods requiring retrieval, the five-year-old’s tooth fell out causing mass hysteria, and the baby threw up on the living room carpet. Come home prepared to help out.
Prepare yourself: Take fifteen minutes before your walk in the door to shake off the workday and any residual hostilities that may remain. Your wife has been with chores and children all day and needs you to come home with a cheery disposition. Stop at a florist and pick up a single rose. Her boring day may need a lift.
If it appears upon your arrival that your wife has been attempting to sweep back the tide all day, help her by picking up and putting away any clutter and debris left over from her day in the trenches. Your wife will appreciate the effort and it will give you a lift, too.
Be ready to take over with the kids for a while. Your little treasures can be extremely demanding and your wife could really use a little break to regain her sanity.
Be happy to see your wife and encourage her to take al little time for herself (i.e. take a walk, a bath, or just sit and do nothing for a few minutes.) Remember that although your day may have been difficult, you have at least left your job behind; she is never off duty.
Some Don’ts: Don’t come in complaining about your day or bragging about your exhilarating power lunches. Her lunch consisted of peanut butter and jelly crusts and two spoons of someone’s unfinished yogurt. Instead of expecting dinner, call her early to see if she can arrange a sitter so you can take her to a fancy restaurant to be waited on instead.
Give your wife the opportunity to relax and unwind. Use the weekend to spend quality time with your children so that your wife can find some space to remember who she is. After a full day alone with the children, you will understand why this is so important.
Listen to her. You may still have a lot of business on your mind but she hasn’t spoken to another grown-up person all day. Let her talk first. You can catch up on current events when the children are in bed.
Make the evening hers. She has toiled all day without complaining to meet everyone else’s needs. Perhaps take her to dinner and a movie; try to understand her need to get out of the house.
The goal: show your wife that you appreciate her efforts to make your home a place of peace and order and make some time for her to relax.
**Note: The instructions above apply to families with Stay-At-Home Moms. If your wife works another job in addition to the hearth and home, plan to go out or do take-out regularly, plan on half of the childcare being your responsibility, and hire a cleaning lady.