02 Nov 2010


8 Comments Cooking/Baking, Family, Personal Crap

Belts are being tightened around the Arch household. No, not in the “I’ve lost so much weight, my pants are too big” kind of way. More in the “It’s been a slower year than normal and we need to rein it in a bit” kind of way. Don’t worry! We’re fine. I’m not giving you a PO Box to send donations to… Yet. One of the things Russ and I agree on is how to spend money. We’ve always lived a little below our means and, since we’re both in an industry that thrives on never knowing where one’s next check is coming from, we try to keep big purchases to a minimum.

However, we are definitely changing our habits. For instance, we used to eat dinner (and lunch and some breakfasts) out a lot. I’d say on average we’d eat dinner out at least four nights a week. And I ate lunch out almost every day. There were periods of time when I’d cook a few meals a week, but it was never very consistent. And if we had leftovers in the fridge the next night, they’d sit there until they were thrown out, because we were at a restaurant. We don’t go to expensive restaurants. We like casual, diner-type places. But it doesn’t matter. Those meals out add up quick!

So, for about two months we’ve eaten almost every meal at home. I cook now at least four times a week, and we’re eating leftovers the other nights. And can I just tell you? I AM LOVING EVERY FREAKING MINUTE OF IT! I feel so… accomplished. And it feels fantastic to take care of my family like that. I feel like I’m nurturing them. Feeding people is a very powerful thing. I’ve always felt that way. But doing it consistently like this makes me feel like some kind of a super hero!

Yes, I am well aware that there are women (and some men) all over this Earth who cook every single night, and have done so for 10, 20, 30, even 50 years. I get it. I’m not the first person to cook for my family. But I can’t stop congratulating myself about it! I’ve learned new recipes and brought back old ones. I’m making soup and chili and about five different kinds of chicken! I’m roasting veggies and making pasta sauce. I’m putting awesome leftovers in Garrett’s lunchbox! Even the occasional “frozen food” nights are fun. And then I’m really counting the money we’re saving. Oh, and one night we had sweet potato pancakes, scrambled eggs and ham. Everyone was so happy! I’M KING OF THE WORLD!

Seriously though, I’m feeling very proud. Not because of the cooking, but because I’m learning things about myself. I am being given this time without work, and it feels like the biggest blessing. Ever since Garrett was born, I’ve wanted to be home more than anything. I love working, and I do hope to get back to it someday. But right now, in this pocket of time, I’m learning about what kind of wife and mother I am. I’m teaching myself new skills, and I’m finding out that I really like this side of me that I always knew was there. I’ve always joked with my friends, and they will attest to this, that I’m a 1950’s housewife trapped inside the body of a working actress. And, even though I’ve yet to greet my husband at the door with a martini, it’s true. I don’t even mind cleaning so much. I’m not a genius at it, but I’m good. And I like walking into the rooms I’ve cleaned and taking a deep breath, knowing that I did that.

The bottom line is this: I’m grateful and humbled. I’m so lucky that I’m able to stay home for this time, which could end at any moment with the birth of a new job, and find out that I truly love being this person. I feel more like me than I ever have before. That is such an amazing feeling. And I hope to take this new, authentic me to any job I have in the future. Because I think this person is much more interesting and happy than I ever used to be. Plus, if my work days are behind me and I never get offered another job, I really like the one I have right now! I’m humbled because of the women who do this job so beautifully all day, every day with more kids and less resources. I’m amazed at their grace and skills, and their ability to do it with very few thank you’s or pats on the back. I hope they take some time to congratulate themselves, like I just did! I’m also humbled by all the women who never get the opportunity to stay home with their kids because they have to work every day, no matter what. I believe that most of them would rather be mothering than working, and I admire them for doing what they have to do.

Friday night we decided to go out for dinner for the first time in a long while. Garrett asked what we were getting ready for and Russ said, “We’re going out for dinner!” Garrett whimpered a bit and said, “NO! I want to eat at home!” That might have been the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.

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Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!
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8 Responses to “Housewifery”

  1. Reply Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him says:

    I think this has been inspired by your Joan 1960s outfit. Its nice to hear someone embracing home life. I love it most of the time, but every few months I need to fly the coop, literally. I do wish I had a chef.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Listen, I need to take some breaks. Don’t get me wrong. And my husband and I are trying to get out a little more alone now. But yes, I love it. I’ll be your chef if you’ll be my housekeeper! What? No good?

  2. Reply Robb says:

    How much of being on set at clean house has influenced your routine…

    Miss you on CH & 10Things…. been watching you on TV since Dinner & a Movie days!

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Gee, thanks! I have to tell you, I’ve always been a bit of a slob. I’m clean! But I’ve never been “neat”. I also tended to hold on to stuff. Since Clean House, I have gotten rid of SO MUCH CRAP! Things that I attached so much meaning to before, are so easy for me to let go of now. I also want so much less. Material things seem like a nuisance to me, rather than a reward. I’d like some new furniture pieces, some new clothes… But I won’t get a THING until I’ve gotten rid of what doesn’t need to be here so that I know I need what I’m getting. I’m very grateful to CH for being instrumental in that change of attitude for me. I was scared straight!

  3. Reply Sherry says:

    Isn’t it awesome to be able to be at home and enjoy being a mom and wife?! For now, I am lucky enough not to have to work. I enjoy making dinner, but I’m not too keen on the cleaning! I do it, but I don’t enjoy that much :). I can make a lot of really good meals, but the one thing I don’t have is a good chili recipe. I love chili. I envy you when you post your making it! I think it’s great that we can enjoy so many different things about ourselves and that’s what I take away from most of your posts. We miss seeing you on tv, but your posts always brings a smile. So thank you 🙂

  4. Reply Christine says:

    I understand completely. Bill lost some heavy duty clients this past year and my primary job has been running this home and family for the past ten years. So our belts are so tight you’d think we were wearing corsets. But I love being a Stay at Home Mom, and I have really worked at tweaking the budget.

    I love, love, love cooking. Unfortunately, I love expensive cooking. So I have had to make a true effort at cutting the grocery budget almost in half. I am a coupon Diva now, and regularly piss off everone in line behind me with my phonebook sized pile of coupons. But I often get stuff dirt cheap and free, so I don’t really feel all that bad about taking a few extra minutes to save so much money. And I still put an awesome meal on the table almost every night and stil have enough money for the occasional night of chinese food, pizza or dinner at the diner.

    I’ve also learned to sell & trade that which we don’t need. My Clean House experience has taught me that loving a thing for sentimental reasons isn’t enough of a reason to hold onto it. if a posession isn’t serving a functional and aesthetic purpose in my space, then I let it go. I have purged our rooms and closets even further than CH did. I have passed on much to charities and families in need. And in turn, when we are just about at the point of scraping the lint out of our pockets in a hunt for spare change to gas the car, we will receive a gift of abundance. Perhaps a client will pay, perhaps something I listed online will sell, perhaps I will have a new Tarot client appear, perhaps a friend will pass on clothes for Kate that their child has outgrown. Whatever it is, we always find a way to get by without me working full time.

    I am also a creative money earner. I have sold all my gaudy 80s gold jewelry and cashed in all my savings bonds. I give Tarot readings at parties. I do fun odd jobs, like dog sitting, watching kids after school and runing errands. Just yesterday, after being handed Kate’s Christmas list, I accepted a job as Santa’s Daytime Elf at the Christmas photo booth at our local mall.

    But no matter what I do to earn money, save money and make money work for us, my true calling, my feeling of great accomplishment, comes from being a cook, a maid, a chaufffeur, a party planner, a nurse, a therapist, a referee, a personal assistant, an accountant and a teacher. All of these jobs, of course, come with long hours and no financial reward. But its the best job in the world. I am a wife and mother. And I am damn proud, and so very grateful, to be so blessed.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Coupons are something I need to become acquainted with. My dinners are still too expensive, but WAY cheaper still than going out. I love that you recognize the gifts that come in because of what you are putting out. And BRAVO for continuing what CH started. I’m in the midst of a giant purge. It’s delicious.

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