Have you ever thought about what your husband’s day must be like?

The grouchy people he no doubt encounters each day, the problems at work, sitting in traffic. I bet many husbands can’t wait to get away from all that nonsense and just get home and be with the family.

So what does your husband come home to at the end of a hard workday? If he’s like a lot of husbands, I would imagine that many days, if not most, he comes home to a messy house, preoccupied children, and a grumpy wife.

Complete chaos … anarchy … madness … delirious fun … that’s our home while Daddy’s at work. I believe that a home should be a learning environment, full of activity. Sometimes that means things will be messy!

But when it’s almost time for Daddy to come home, that’s your chance to change the environment. Whenever you can, I suggest you teach your children the excitement of “Daddy’s home” and work together to ready your home, yourselves, and greet Daddy properly with unabandoned enthusiasm. The difference in your husband’s desire to hurry home from work will be swift and dramatic.

What does unabandoned enthusiasm look like? Well first, let me tell you what it doesn’t look like: It doesn’t look like Daddy walking in the door to a house strewn with toys, a kitchen laden with leftover, half-eaten food products, and a wife and children who look like they’ve spent the day in a wind tunnel.

What if your children learned from you that Daddy is so special and we are so excited for him to come home that we are going to do our very best to be ready to greet him with a tidy home, clean faces, and big smiles? You’d be amazed at what this will do for your man.

Training Your Children

God’s Word tells us that children are to honor their parents—it’s one of the Ten Commandments. Ephesians 6:2-3 tells us that “honor your father and mother” is the “first commandment with a promise”—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth. Mom, this is your opportunity to teach and model for your children how they can honor their father … and it comes with a promise. It doesn’t get any better than that!

I’ve been fortunate to be able to stay at home with my children, and I admit I’m mostly speaking to other full-time moms here. But this idea is so easy that anyone can use it. All you need are a few large empty baskets strategically placed throughout your home, the ability to shout and encourage like a cheerleader, and one or more children eager to participate in a big surprise. And all children love being part of a surprise!

It goes something like this. Explain to your husband that it is very important for you to know his exact arrival time and request that he give you at least a 15-minute warning call. At the appointed time yell, “What time is it?” The children shout back, “It’s almost time for Daddy to be home!” That’s your call to action—you announce, “Okay kids, let’s see how fast we can get everything ready for Daddy!”

This is where the empty baskets come into play. The children are charged with scurrying around and placing all the toys and clutter in the baskets. Don’t worry if things get “mixed up”—you can sort it out after the little ones are in bed. (And let’s face it—it’ll just be mixed up and back on the floor tomorrow.) You concentrate on cleaning the kitchen.

As a team, scamper from room to room and be sure “all systems are go.” Shout, “to the bathroom” and everyone gets a quick wipe of the face, comb of the hair, quick change of a shirt if it’s laden with strawberry stains and various unknown substances. And if you’ve spent the day in a sweat suit and pony tail, now’s the time to put on a decent outfit, run a comb through your hair, and pull yourself together.

Be sure to talk to your kids about how much you love Daddy and that you want to look pretty and give him kisses when he gets home. They’ll giggle, and you may get a few “gross” comments, but trust me … they love that you love their Daddy! And you are teaching them something about the marriage relationship and meeting others needs and expectations.

Then it becomes a “waiting by the window” game, much like waiting to go check out what’s under the Christmas tree. When Daddy opens the door you all scream, “Daddy’s home” and you all run and smother him with kisses and hugs and tell him how much you missed him and how happy you are that he’s home. All the day’s strife will melt off of him and he’ll glow. And your children have just honored their parents.

In less than a week, they’ll have the routine figured out and be expectantly waiting to hear you yell, “What time is it?” Yes, this can be done daily; they won’t tire of the process. Remember, these are the same children who want the same book read to them fourteen times a day. If you teach your children that it’s a big deal when Daddy comes home, then it will be … for all of you.

I double dog dare you to try it!

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