I have 30 minutes to do something nice for my wife. Can you help me?
February 21, 2013 3:59 PM   Subscribe

My wife has had an awful day. I mean awful. She is stressed, upset, feeling pretty depressed about it. Between the kids having a rough day and one of her clients cheating and taking advantage of her, her short term self-esteem and resiliency are shot. Wow... she has every right to feel this bad. I've got 30 minutes to try to do something nice for her before she gets home. What little things would make you feel better after a rough day?

Specifics to this situation: I can't leave the house (the kids are now in bed) and my wife doesn't drink. Because this is a generic question, advice which includes that stuff is very welcome - because it'll help someone else out - but those are the restrictions to this situation.
posted by Nanukthedog to Human Relations (41 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Run her a bath and make her a mug of her favorite tea, then read to her while she bathes.
posted by Pecinpah at 4:01 PM on February 21, 2013 [14 favorites]

Order some delicious food, mix her a drink if she drinks, and offer to give her a massage or just hold her without any subtext that it'll lead to sex.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:02 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Quick.. clean something !

I'm only sort of kidding, but I got huge boyfriend-points one day for providing a quickly-scrubbed bathroom with folded towels, lined-up toiletries, and a hot bath and magazine-for-reading when my partner called ahead warning me she was bringing home a thunderhead of stress.

If it's the end of the day, she's hungry too, so an appetizer-class snack.
posted by Kakkerlak at 4:02 PM on February 21, 2013 [43 favorites]

Have a cup of tea ready to go when she gets home?

If you're not in charge of dinner already, organise some dinner. Preferably some that she especially likes.
posted by hoyland at 4:02 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Dinner (takeout or homemade) ready to go on the table. Kitchen clean and other clutter hidden. A big hug.

On preview: Scrub the tub so it's ready for a good soak!
posted by rtha at 4:03 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

What little things would make you feel better after a rough day?

A hot meal that I'd enjoy, ready moments after I come through the door; an enthusiastic hug; and an invitation to sit, crash, and watch whatever mindless television I want. Depending on the circumstance, also a change of comfy clothes and a fresh towel for the shower.
posted by cribcage at 4:05 PM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]

Yes to the tea, and a bath is lovely, but long, slow footrub beats bath a hundredfold. Preferably while you're waiting together for her most favorite delivery food to arrive.
posted by vers at 4:05 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Clean the bedroom, dim the lights, put on some soothing music and give her a nice long back massage.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:05 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is there anything that needs to be cleaned? Dishes in the sink? Make coffee for tomorrow? Are her slippies ready?

Is dinner ready, or ready to be prepared, and the table set and all of that stuff?

Can she take a shower and wash whatever happened off of her? If so, a ready shower or bath plus some comfy clothes and something nice to drink (okay--tea) would be nice. Candles are nice. Soft lighting, some nice music, the feeling that for once, someone else has taken over and provided softness.

Number one thing: anything that's typically asked of her upon landing, it would be great if you anticipated that and did it for her. Really -- anything.

Really, it's the motions that really make me feel good when Mr. Llama does this stuff for me, not always the specific stuff itself, just the evidence that he cared enough to try means so much.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:05 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Dinner is done, she came home and ate before her last client of the night. The kitchen is clean (just finished - I also do that most nights), and the kids are bathed and in bed.
The tea is ready to go on, the bath is ready to be drawn. (Great suggestions)

Technically, I'm about to scrub the tub and then the bath will be on. (Also a great tip)

These are great.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:06 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

Yes, I agree with everyone else. If there is any cleaning chore that has been glaring in your faces, do it or start it. If there is any other kind of chore or something she has to get done, which she wouldn't mind you doing, then do it. Other than that, hugs are good, massages are good. Tell her you love her and you always have her back. Ask her if there is anything you can do for her right now.
posted by cairdeas at 4:06 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Make sure her favorite music is playing when she comes home
posted by ouke at 4:07 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Really -- anything.

An addendum, my real physical joys at the end of the day are washing my face, taking off my bra, and putting on comfy socks. Your wife may have higher tastes, but if not, creating the space where she can just do that might be great.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:07 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

scrub the tub

She'll love it. Shine the faucet!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:08 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Do a Youtube search for "head massage" and offer your services.
posted by doreur at 4:08 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

Is there any TV show she likes? Have it queued up on the TiVo or download it or pull it up on Netflix or whatever it is you crazy kids do with media these days.

If it were me, I would just want to be left the hell alone. Give me food, a couch, a blanket, the remote, and then slowly back out of the room.
posted by phunniemee at 4:08 PM on February 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

agree with all the suggestions so far, also give her a note telling her 3 or 4 things you love about her (can be romantic or plain silly, but all sincere)
posted by saraindc at 4:10 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Give her a pedicure.
posted by quodlibet at 4:10 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Once when I was feeling especially grar-y, my partner snuck little notes into a book she knew I was reading to make a fun little choose-your-own-adventure based on us ... another time she hid sticky notes all over the house, each of which listed something she loved about me - I was finding those until the day we moved from the place we were living in at the time, and every one made me feel so loved and happy (I still have every one, too).
posted by DingoMutt at 4:14 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Have jammies and whatever she would like to veg out to ready to go.
posted by zem at 4:20 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh! Another time she surprised me with me a set of cards for my wallet she'd made - things along the lines of "License to Vent," and a reminder that even when I felt like a fucker (eh, I was in grad school at the time) she still loved me ... those got me through a LOT of depressing proposal meetings with my advisor ...
posted by DingoMutt at 4:20 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

If there are any chores she normally takes care of in the evenings (throwing in a load of laundry, sorting and taking out the trash, walking the dog, paying bills, etc.), do them so that she doesn't have to. If there's a movie she's mentioned wanting to see, rent it and have it waiting for her, along with some delicious food, so that she can spend the evening relaxing and zoning out a little while you cuddle with her on the couch.

Let her know that if she wants to talk or vent or whatever, you're there, but she only has to talk about it if she wants to.

And in the morning, get the kids up and make her breakfast in bed. Hopefully, that will help to start tomorrow off on a better note.

(You're an awesome spouse, by the way!)
posted by decathecting at 4:21 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

a massage
posted by Under the Sea at 4:22 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Kiss her, you fool!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 4:23 PM on February 21, 2013 [21 favorites]

Pop some comfy PJ's in the dryer so that they'll be nice and warm when she puts them on.

If you've got hot chocolate in the house, that would score major points with me too. :) Definitely second the foot rub as well.

And, make sure to give her a big hug when she comes in.
posted by rainbowbrite at 4:34 PM on February 21, 2013 [14 favorites]

Heat the towels in the dryer and have them warm and fluffy for when she comes out of her bath!
posted by Amy NM at 4:35 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

Yup, big hug + food, clean tub/shower, massage.

What a lovely question to ask. I hope your wife feels better!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:40 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Write her a short and sweet love letter and leave it for her to read. Let her know how much you admire and love her, and that you are proud of how strong she is.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 4:51 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Don't discount the simple act of asking her how the day was, and then giving her time to explain without interruptions.
posted by Youremyworld at 4:55 PM on February 21, 2013 [13 favorites]

A sweet treat! While she soaks in the tub get her a little plate full of nice little sweets - how about fruit, ice cream or cut up chocolate bars?
posted by travelwithcats at 5:10 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also, arrange it so the cats will cuddle with her after her bath. She can be on the sofa with a fluffy duvet, her favorite dreck on (or Project Runway) and the kitties. I too enjoy hot cocoa, with whipped cream and a flame charred marshmallow.

Hang with her but don't talk unless she talks to you. Rub her knee every so often.

You're a good man.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:55 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

How are the sheets? Me, I'd rather crawl in bed and read than hop in the bath, so clean sheets would go further than a hot bath for me. In fact, if I'd had a bad day, I'd be more likely to want to pace than to climb in bath or bed! But you really can't go wrong with cleaning. :)
posted by salvia at 6:08 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

A stream of thoughtful texts on her way home, the bath, warm towels, pajamas, a cup of warm tea (technically two),a glass of cold water, and I'm taking one for the team and watching the original Parent Trap with her... Things are better... Thanks internet! Back to the movie...
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:38 PM on February 21, 2013 [26 favorites]

In a similar situation my husband lit a bunch of candles in our bedroom, put on some incense I like and gave me an awesome stress-busting massage.
posted by Occula at 6:54 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you've got it covered, what a thoughtful husband!

Just for the data point, were it me, I'd appreciate coming home to a clean, quiet house, maybe with a cinnamon or vanilla scented candle burning, and have the TV remote and a glass of red wine handed to me. Possibly also a foot rub while I watched some TV.
posted by JenMarie at 7:41 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"We're from the internet, and we're here to help...YOUR LOVE LIFE".

Good work, Nanukthedog.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:49 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Followup, my wife asked about it, so I let her know that I put this up. Then I read her all your responses. She loved them all...

... Ok so... she thanked me for not giving her a pedicure... Foot massage? Good idea. Me with one of those cheese graters? Bad idea. And actually, she loved that idea too, it was a good chuckle and a laugh and her thinking about how much of a bad idea having me do that would be... laughter was good after a day like today.

Also thumbs up to head massages... Great recommendation.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:28 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

I know you've already done things for tonight, but I'd leave her a love note in her purse/briefcase tomorrow to brighten her day before it starts. Just something as simple as "Remember, I love you! ~Nanukthedog" That's always a beautiful way to start the day, and it will help if tomorrow turns out to be as stressful as today was.
posted by patheral at 9:44 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm late to the party, but this was a wonderful thread. Nantukthedog, you sound like a wonderful husband.

In case anyone comes to this question later on looking for nice things to do for their wife, I have to say that dryer warmed jammies and blankets are about the best thing ever. Freshly washed warm bedsheets also rock.

Something that isn't for everyone, but pretty much everyone I know loves it.... offer to brush her hair. Maybe have her give her hair a once over to get out the tangles so that your brushing can be about head massage and relaxing and just being tended to. This also works wonders for men too. My fiance loves it (though I usually just use my fingers/hands), and growing up my dad made us brush his hair in order to earn the keys for the car.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:04 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

By pedicure - I meant more rub her feet and paint her toenails, which I thought could be silly fun.
posted by quodlibet at 6:41 PM on February 22, 2013

This head scratcher thing is an amazingly relaxing silly gadget that absolutely melts away stress. It seems so gimmicky and yet we totally break it out after work to do head massages on the couch after a stressful day. Good replacement for a head massage if you don't have the skills for that.
posted by olya at 7:13 AM on February 27, 2013

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