A few days ago, I received an email from a lady who quit the work force to be home full-time. She did, however, meet some challenges in making the transition, and asked me about learning the traditional duties of a wife. Here is part of my reply:
What does it take, really, to be a good wife? Just like you, I'm learning "on the job" and slowly discovering the answers. While growing up, I didn't have a good training or example.
One of the challenges of women who are used to working outside the home and then come home, is that they usually had someone else manage their time for them. At home, we become managers of our own time, and sometimes it takes a while to build a working routine, especially if you come home when you already have little one(s) around. Most of the homemaking tasks aren't very complicated or difficult, it's scheduling them on a regular basis that's the trick.
See a post I wrote a while ago: how to become managers of our time.
Of course, many young women these days don't even know how to cook or iron, I had no clue until I was about 20. Fortunately that's something that can be learned on the job. If I had to name just a few practical things a wife should know how to do efficiently and well, that would be laundry and ironing, cleaning and keeping clutter at bay, cooking (knowing how to put a healthy, wholesome and nutritious meal on the table - it can be a simple meal) and baking, mending clothes, and keeping a garden if you have one. There are many other things but they are less than essential in my opinion (such as, you can survive without being very good at sewing or canning). But again, scheduling does the trick. There were times when my husband went without clean socks, not because I can't do the laundry but because I didn't find the time to do that.
Being a good wife is far more important than being a traditional wife (though the two often overlap!) Another woman, or a book (unless it's the Bible), or a counselor cannot really teach you how to become a good wife. Only you are your husband's helpmeet and only you can adapt yourself to his unique needs, which are different for every man. Some things might be good and traditional and womanly, but less than important to your husband. I used to be very annoyed when I couldn't get a crease out of a shirt while ironing, until one time my husband came to me and said, "thanks for ironing my shirt, it looks great" - while in fact that shirt wasn't ironed at all! I stopped fretting right away. On the other hand, my husband likes the refrigerator to be very neatly arranged, which might not be important to another man.
Naturally, communication is the key here. By asking your husband what he wishes to find in a wife and mother at home, it will be easier for you to know which skills and abilities you should focus on.
Check out this post, where I elaborated on this subject a bit. It was meant for a young woman who was engaged and preparing for marriage at the time, but I still think you will find it interesting.