You've gotten great replies here already and I just want to add my 2 cents. There's no reason to be mean to kids and you are right for not wanting your children to be verbally abused. I don't know what you have tried. Please bear w/ me if what I am about to suggest sounds a bit like pampering him and it might be hard for you to do right now but it may bring some good results.
Besides recommending that you pray about it. I'll concentrate in a couple of ideas you can try to see if things change a little and then you can talk with your husband when things are a bit less emotionally charged.
Make some chamomile tea for your husband (as long as he's not allergic to ragweeds) if he likes ice tea... put it in the fridge. get some lavender oil and sort of hijack him the second he gets home and rub his neck and shoulders. Have some nice soothing music on when he arrives. and without really telling your kids, figure out a way to be out of sight for a few minutes when he arrives.
Another way is to just wait for him outside and have him sit with you for a couple of minutes (don't forget the tea) and the lavender oil on you.
I think there is such a thing as "male PMS." I do know there is definitely a difference. Every few months I have to make sure my husband drinks a cup of chamomile tea.
a cup of tea before bedtime will help too.
You can also put 5-10 drops of lavender oil on a paper towel or a tissue and put it in your bedroom. the air will be nicely infused and you both will sleep better. if he says anything, tell him that's for you. (wink, wink) you can also put some lavender oil around during dinner time, breakfast time, etc. try it for a few days.
now, let's think... when you want to change a toddler's behavior, what's the main thing we do... redirection... yes, change the activity... so here is your challenge, how can you re-direct your husband for a few days in order to avoid some confrontation. it could be that your husband has "residual" anger from something that happened days before (a.k.a. holding a bit of a grudge) and he's not even realizing it.
Another thing you can try is to find an activity you all can do that's sort of guaranteed to end on a positive note. playing uno cards? something simple that won't take too long.
I know it's a long message and you'll have to be sneaky. but I think it would be better than asking him why is he so grumpy. Now, enjoy the lavender oil too. I don't recommend candles because most have artificial scents and w/ kids in the house...it's a safety issue too.
I think mothers have are sensitive when it comes to the way others treat our children (and I think that's the way it should be!) and guys are not as diplomatic as we would like them to be.
God bless you and help you! ~C.~