I’ve read a lot of things lately that suggest various ways that women, stay-at-home moms in particular, can be at their best when their spouses return from work. There are some stay-at-home dads out there, but these articles are pretty much never directed at them.
Some of these articles are couched in stereotypical, crappy, sexist expectations, but some raise legitimate points. It’s not great for a family (let alone a marriage) if the wife is a total wreck, barely hanging onto her very last nerve at the end of the day.
The list of suggested remedies provided by these articles is wide-ranging, but almost always include wearing “real” clothes and applying make-up near the top of the list.
I’d like to call BS on this.
Wearing make-up and real clothes, while nice, is not going to do anything for my regular, if not daily, hot-mess-status.
So what will make a difference?
I’m glad you asked. Here are my suggestions of things that will help me, a stay-at-home mom, greet my husband like a normal human being when he comes home:
My children need to stop requiring a daily dinner.
It’s a fact that my children warp into psychotic gremlins the moment I start cooking dinner (or sometimes, the moment I even think about starting to cook dinner). If these little maniacs we’ve produced would stop needing to eat dinner every single day, I would be a completely different person.
School needs to let out two hours later.
After-school restraint collapse is real. This has been written about a ton in recent years. My oldest is well-behaved at school, which is great. He’s often super happy and excited when he comes off the school bus (hooray!). But about ten minutes later? All hell breaks loose.
All the pent-up emotions from the day (sitting still, listening, doing as he’s told, arguing with a friend, etc.) come pouring out in all fashions—fighting with his siblings, crying and yelling at me, etc. It’s delightful.
It takes my complete attention to mitigate these meltdowns, but I don’t have my complete attention to give because I have three kids, not one, and again, these people insist on eating dinner every day (see above).
I’m not advocating for a longer school day. To be clear: I miss my kid and am happy to see him when he gets home. I’m just saying that if I’m going to be a sane person when my husband returns, one less kid losing their crap would probably help.
Our children need to become fans of the quiet game.
The fighting, crying, and general melting-down I just described is loud, but let’s assume for a minute that the kids are happy and being nice to one another (that does happen for a few minutes, every few months).
It’s still so very, very loud. After a few minutes of this noise, let alone hours, my ears feel like they’re ringing and my sensory nerves are basically screaming, “STOP!” Then? Enter husband, ready to chat about his day.
Sorry hubby, my ears basically left town prior to your arrival. Call it a defense mechanism, survival strategy, whatever.
Our children need to get very good at hide-and-seek. Or the statue game.
Maybe it’s just because I’m raising three boys, close in age, or maybe all kids are like this, but someone is ALWAYS getting hurt at our house. Bless his heart, a solid 75% of the time, it’s our middle son, but the point is: our house is a nonstop rotation of injuries.
When my husband arrives, I will likely have just finished–or be in the middle of—tending to a wound. If my children would take up hide-and-seek, or the statue game, my oldest and youngest would likely remain uninjured. My middle son might even be able to reduce his injury rate by a good 30-40 percent.
My hubby can come home early.
Meh, who are we kidding? Even coming home early might not be enough. I mean, sure, he could help me with some of the butt-wiping and be there to tag-team during the witching hour, but… I’m still not convinced that it would be enough.
He can take the day off and stay home.
We have a winner! This is the way I can avoid being a hot mess when my husband comes home from work (because he won’t be “coming home from work”).
I mean sure, the odds are good that I’ll probably still be a hot mess, but I’ll also have successfully met my goal.
Mission Accomplished. You’re welcome.
This post about how to greet your spouse was originally published on The Wild, Wild West Parenting Blog.