Enough About Nutmeg…I Get It Now

I had lunch with a good friend yesterday who I’ll call Nutmeg for this post (an inside joke).  I’ve only known Nutmeg for a few years, but our kids are similar ages and she lives nearby and is a friend of a friend and we’ve found quite a bit of similarities between us…
Nutmeg used to work full-time.  Then she had her babies.  After having 2 little ones, she pondered the idea of staying home…would the grass be greener?  Her husband has been doing quite well in his career and apparently was fine with the idea because about 6 months ago she became a stay-at-home mommy.  However, she kept her daycare 2-3 days a week and kept her cleaning lady.  How dare she?  I ask, if it’s possible, how dare she not?  Can you even imagine?  Even if you hate her right now (and believe me, she’s just too sweet to hate) it’s only out of pure envy, right?
In first discussing this with Andy months ago, his first response was, “What does she do all day?”  Not in a tone of judgment, but more of pure curiosity.  He just couldn’t comprehend it.  I didn’t answer him at that moment, I just smirked.  And so then the following happened – Andy was Nutmegged:
About 6 weeks after Henry is born Andy asks me, “Hey, you know those baby photo books you made for Stella and Charlotte after they were born…did you do one for Henry?”  My reply, “Nope, but I’m sure Nutmeg has her photos all organized.”  (Book still NOT completed for Henry as I type this today.)
Andy asks me, “I thought you wanted to learn Photoshop, how’s it going?”  My reply, “I’ve read pages 1-5 in the book, but I’m sure Nutmeg would be much further – in fact, she’s posting all kinds of cool pictures, updates, videos of her kids, etc.”
Andy asks me, “When are we going to the grocery?”  My reply, “I’ll probably go after the kids are in bed, but I’m sure Nutmeg got that accomplished this week…along with her laundry and her workout.”
Andy asks me after Christmas, “Did you do our annual overview?”  My reply, “Nope, but Nutmeg probably has time to do that stuff.”
Andy finally says, “Enough about Nutmeg…I get it now.”
Andy asks me YESTERDAY, “Are you going to take down the Nativity Scene before Valentine’s Day?” I so wanted to reply, “Maybe.  I’m sure Nutmeg had time to take hers down undistracted.”  (Yep, it’s really still up…kind of overlooked it in the Dining Room.)
The funny thing about the whole situation…poor Nutmeg is driving herself crazy with guilt.  As all moms do.  She’s in a winter funk I say (who’s not right now). 

Some days are better than others.  Some days she’s super productive.  She actually cleaned out her entire kitchen – cabinets and drawers and ended up with 2 bags to donate.  Can you imagine time to do that?  (The thought makes me giddy.)  I know exactly which drawer I’d start with – the one I’ve been meaning to clean out for months.  The one I can barely open and I know is filled with a lot of crap that needs thrown out…the true JUNK drawer. 

Other days…not so much.  She spent one entire day on the couch this week and had to make herself unload the dishwasher before her husband got home and hated every minute of the simple chore. 

She’s reconsidering going back to work.  She’s looking for more purpose.  I would like to say I convinced her otherwise.  I told her to give it a few more months…don’t dare go back before next winter.  Enjoy the spring and summer – for me.  For me who will be stuck in an office building sitting under AWFUL lighting without any view of a window.  Not poor me, but pale me.

Apparently more and more women are staying home again…without kids!  I recently read an article about the return of the stay-at-home WIFE…childless women.  And would you even believe it…the husband and wife are…wait for it…happy, stress-free, full of energy, etc.  No shit.  This I can’t imagine and would feel a little guilty about…staying home before becoming a mom.  So I hope Nutmeg gets over her guilt and lives it up.  For those of us that aren’t in her situation.

I just don’t have the guts to stay home.  On the one hand, it’s the one thing I’d like to do more than anything.  On the other hand, it’s too much of a risk.  I know that being home 5 days a week with my kids all alone would probably put me over the edge.  However, I’d like to do it Nutmeg-style…with part-time daycare and housecleaning still in the picture.  I couldn’t convince my husband to agree with that situation…our lifestyle would have to change too drastically.  So I’ll sit in my cubicle…and dream of her green pastures…life on the other side.

For part 2 of the Nutmeg series (and it does get better), click HERE

7 Responses to Enough About Nutmeg…I Get It Now

  1. I guess it all depends on what your motivation is to stay home…raising my kids is my motivation so the idea of sending my kids to daycare and staying home seems absurd to me! If I sat on the couch all day it would be pretty disrespectful to my husband working his butt off to provide for our family. No judgment to Nutmeg, it’s just something I’ll never understand! We all have different goals and motivators in life! You’ve got to do what makes you and your family happy! It doesn’t surprise me that she’s looking for more purpose, what does she have left to do at home with the house already cleaned and the kids at daycare…there’s only so much cupboard organizing and baby books you can do!

  2. Hey! We are lucky enough to be women with options. The role of “Mom” continues to be redefined because families dynamics are changing too. Kids need to be well cared for by people that care, houses have to be fairly clean, marriages have to be attended to, friendships need to be maintained, and bills have to be paid. Deciding to stay at home (which you rarely stay at home, fyi) or to work outside the home doesn’t have to be a permanent decision. Just go one year at time and one child at a time. If it doesn’t work, try to change something.
    We each were given certain talents and ambitions and the challenge is to find out how to use ours for the most positive impact at home and beyond. It is OK to have a balance in your life because a mom’s mood can make or break the mood of the household so we each have to find what makes our families work.
    Nutmeg’s set up wouldn’t work for us for various reasons. She should do what feels right for her family and could look into some volunteer roles as an added “purpose.” -Krista

  3. Great comments ladies. I’ve also had a couple of offline conversations about this particular blog post – great that it’s creating dialogue. More of my personal thoughts to come soon.

  4. Something I’ve learned recently: In my case, the decision to keep (or want to keep) childcare isn’t all about giving mom a break, it can be about what is best for the child. I really want to send my son to preschool or daycare because I know he misses, and gains a lot from being with other kids in that environment, away from me. Unfortunately, we can’t afford that while I am a stay at home mom. So basically, I am trying to find a p/t job primarily to give my child the gift of preschool.

    I also used to wonder what a stay at home mom did all day. I wondered why my friend’s houses weren’t clean, they were home. Ha, now I know. When we decided I would stay home, I thought I would handle all the night time wakings because my H had a job to go to. That lasted 2 weeks before I realized that I had an important job too. So I stay home. My H still does 50% of the household chores. I didn’t start predictibly making dinner each night until my child turned 2. It’s easy to judge, but everyone has to find the balance that works for their own family. Another note about childcare. Would you say that a SAHM whose children are in school should get a job? I’m sure some of us will go back to work when our kids start school, but some won’t. I don’t see p/t childcare any differently.

  5. What a beautiful set up Nutmeg has! I read the SAHW article too btw and was not suprised those people are actually happy and thriving. Life is far to busy and demanding these days and the minutia can be just too much. I fully intend to work outside the house little once my kids are all in school as I feel I deserve the “break” and so does my DH – of course as a mom I do realize that there really is no such thing as a “break” when your a mom, so we shall see how that all works out.

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