Over a decade ago I wrote a little something about my take on The Good Wife’s Guide, a how-to guide for wives supposedly from a 1950s-era home economics textbook. Whether this exact piece ever actually appeared in a textbook is questionable. But did women really do such things at one time? Maybe. Some of it. Sometimes.
More to the point, does anyone follow those 10 tips for being a “good wife” today? Should we?
I’ll leave that up to you.
While you aren’t going to find me tying a ribbon in my hair or removing my husband’s shoes when he comes home, I do think there is something to be said for creating a pleasant atmosphere in the home to greet any family member who has been away during the day. Whether a spouse returning from work or children after a day at school, home should be a place of warm welcome. Creating and implementing a “Welcome Home” evening ritual only takes a few minutes and is worth the effort.
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5 Tips for Creating a Welcoming Evening Ritual
You know the Motel 6 slogan – “We’ll leave the light on”? There truly is something welcoming about leaving a light on. Especially during the short days of winter having the porch light on provides that first little glimpse of home. I have a thing about lamps and twinkle lights. As daylight fades I like to go around the house turning on lamps and plugging in twinkle lights. This provides a cozy glow without the harshness of overhead lighting.
The second step in my “welcome home” ritual is to consider appealing to the sense of smell. You have a few options here. If it’s nearing dinnertime there’s nothing that says “home” more than the smell of something delicious cooking. My favorite food smell is that of homemade bread just out of the oven. Or chocolate chip cookies! Even if you haven’t decided what to make for dinner you could always just start cooking some chopped onions. It smells like dinner will be happening soon and you can nearly always add onions to whatever you decide to make.
If it’s too early to start dinner then light a scented candle or diffuse some essential oils. Of course it goes without saying that you’ll have made sure the litter box and garbage can have been tended to.
Why not create a special “Welcome Home” playlist? Decide on the mood you want to create and select appropriate music. Or you might simply want to provide quiet for someone who spends their work day in a noisy environment. At the very least, turn off the television.
I enjoy a late afternoon teatime and if David is coming home well before dinnertime I’ll fix him a cup, too. During hot weather I may pour tall glasses of iced tea for us to sip on the front porch when he gets home. And if I happen to know in advance that he’s had an especially difficult day I’ve been known to greet him at the door with a gin and tonic. It doesn’t matter what’s in the cup or glass; just taking a few minutes to relax together is what matters.
And that brings us to the most important part of a welcome home ritual. Whether it’s a significant other or children returning home, taking a little time to reconnect and talk about the day helps set the tone for the rest of the evening. Try to save unpleasant conversations for later if possible.
And that’s it. It only takes a few minutes to create a warm and happy welcome.
But what if you live alone or work outside the home? With a little forethought, you can create a nice sense of welcome for yourself.
1. Put lights on timers. Our porch lights are light sensitive and go on automatically at dusk.
2. Have a diffuser or scented candle ready to turn on or light as soon as you walk in the door.
3. Put dinner in a slow cooker before you go to work in the morning.
4. Turn on some music.
5. Have everything set up in advance so you can quickly and easily make yourself a cup of tea.
Because here’s what I believe. Everyone deserves that “ahhh…” feeling of arriving home after a long day. I’m happy to create that for my husband and you know what? I get to enjoy it myself, as well. It’s all part of intentionally creating a beautiful life.
A tongue-in-cheek look at how to be a “Good Wife”:
An updated view of “The Good Wife”: