What kind of wife does Helmer want Nora to be? He affectionately calls her names such as "lark" and "squirrel."
The character of Torvald was, in part, designed to be an extension of Nora's father. Although Nora's father is not an active character, but we do know that he used Nora as a doll to play with. As Nora stated herself, she went from "her father's hands to those of Torvald". In the end, Helmer treated her just as her father did.
Hence, a wife is expected to nurture, entertain, obey, accept, become educated, be protected, be needy, and be temperamental. All these qualities are the ones that Torvald kept repeating over and over to Nora. After the issue with Krogstaad, she realized that her husband was no different than her father, and that she had wasted her time and care for no reason on both. This is when she decided that, rather than submitting to their expectations of her, she would go out and find out who she really is.