Achieving ‘Good Wife’ status |

Achieving ‘Good Wife’ status

Meredith Cohen

I wonder whether I really have what it takes it be a decent wife. While surfing the Web recently, I stumbled across a list, “How to be June Cleaver,” and if its contents are even remotely accurate, I’m afraid my marriage to Rick might be doomed to fail before we even make it to the altar.1. Put on your prettiest dress every morning.I own, like, two dresses, one of which is my wedding dress. I suppose if I put it on every morning it would take the sting out of its current cost per use. Still, it seems fairly impractical – I just know I’ll stain it with ketchup or (more likely) red wine (which, I suppose wouldn’t really matter after the wedding. My dad just might have a cow if I render it useless before the big day).The other dress I own is a quintessential little Audrey Hepburn-type black number – Armani, actually – I bought in Vermont (yes, Armani has a store in Vermont) six or seven years ago. But it’s sleeveless and seems slightly impractical for Colorado winters. I mean, Uggs with a cocktail dress?So, since wearing a pretty dress in the mornings is out of the question, can I get any points for the days I opt not to wear my rattiest T-shirts in the mornings? Because sometimes I throw on one that has no holes or stains. That’s kind of pretty in its own way, no?2. Wear your most expensive pearls.I have two pearl necklaces. One was a bat mitzvah gift from a close family friend and the other belonged to my Grandma Anne and was given to me by my parents for my birthday this year. Both of them are in the safe at my parent’s house in New York (they know better than to release into my custody anything of value). Regardless, neither necklace really matches my array of everyday fleeces or my ratty T-shirts, unless I’m going for some retro-’80s-Madonna-type look.3. Make sure the coffee is ready and hot for your husband.I don’t do coffee. (While we’re at it, I don’t vacuum or empty the dishwasher, either). And, since I don’t actually drink coffee, I see zero point in learning to make it. But, for the holidays last year, I proudly bought Rick a fancy coffee maker that grinds the beans and brews the coffee all at the touch of a button that he’s learned all by himself to program the night before. To my further credit, I’ve been known on occasion to pop into a gas station while he’s at the pump to fix him a cup (basic blend or hazelnut, no milk, no sugar).4. Prepare an elaborate breakfast and call the family down to eat.Does breakfast for dinner count? Breakfast is easily my least favorite meal of the day, which means it’s the time of day I’m least inclined to cook. In fact, breakfast trails cocktails, dinner, snack, dessert and lunch on my list of favorite meals. However, let’s not forget the time I once made Rick scrambled eggs for dinner. Served it with hash browns and leftover meatloaf. He loved it. June Cleaver might have been proud, in a horrified sort of way.5. After breakfast, make sure the kitchen is spotless and glimmering.Oy vey. Done. I have a compulsion for cleaning the kitchen already. It drives me crazy when he goes in there. He means well, but when he volunteers to cook, all I can imagine is the cleaning job in store for me once he’s done cooking and “cleaning.” I’ve heard of mud pits cleaner than our kitchen after he’s through with the sponge.6. Vacuum while the family is gone so the house is in ship shape when they get home.See No. 3.7. Be at the door to greet the kids when they arrive home from school.But if I’m there to meet them, who’ll be there to greet me and listen to me kvetch when I get home from work?8. Make sure the kids get their milk, cold milk, and fresh cookies.Oh please. Chocolate chips are in my blood (and hips, clearly). You’d think Betty Crocker was my aunt, for God’s sake. The only problem is that while our milk is always cold (or frozen, depending on whether Rick’s fiddled with the temperature settings in the refrigerator), we need someone to check the expiration date on the cartons. I never notice if milk has turned. I just drink it. Rick, on the other hand, has a thing against consuming sour milk. Picky, picky, picky.9. After everyone is in bed and while no one is looking, slip into more comfortable clothes. See No. 1.10. Take the pearls off. You can be yourself again.Oops. When was I supposed to stop being myself?The list concludes with some tips:n If your dress isn’t starched, it won’t look as pretty.Excuse me, but aren’t carbs public enemy No. 1 these days?n Use real butter in the cookies. If you don’t they won’t taste as good.Um, what would be the butter alternative? Pam?n Make sure the kids don’t drink the milk straight out of the milk bottle!Of course not. No one besides me should ever drink directly from the container. Oh yeah. I’m sure I’ll make a great wife.To the woman who’s taught her everything she knows (whether she’s wanted to know or not) – Meredith’s mom – happy birthday! E-mail questions or comments