Almost three years after my wedding, I’ve been worrying lately if I really have what it takes to be a decent wife. I recently stumbled across a list, “How to be June Cleaver,” and if it’s even remotely accurate, I’m afraid my poor husband Rick might be doomed.

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 cost per use. Still, it seems fairly impractical — I just know I’ll stain it with ketchup or (more likely) red wine. XXX.

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) about 10 years ago. But it’s slightly impractical for everyday use, unless I can get a full time job as a Robert Palmer girl.

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 a few years ago. Both of them are in my safe deposit box (I never actually wear them since I don’t trust myself not to break or lose them). 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. Although I guess that’s kind of trendy again.

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, I once 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 buy 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, please note for the record the time I once made Rick scrambled eggs for dinner. I 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.

Done. I have a compulsion for cleaning the kitchen already. It drives me crazy when Rick goes in there. He means well, but when he volunteers to cook, I dread the cleaning job that’s inevitably in store for me once he’s done cooking and “cleaning.” I’ve seen 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 already there to meet them, who’ll be there to greet me with a box of bonbons and the remote when I get home?

8. Make sure the kids get their milk — cold milk — and fresh cookies.

Chocolate chips are in my blood (and hips, clearly). I’ve often suspected Betty Crocker was my aunt. 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?

E-mail questions or comments to meredithccarroll@hotmail.com.

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