Whenever I think of the "working mom" stereotype, I always think of the women in TV commercials for cleaning products, with their crisp khakis and smooth single-toned hair and button-down collared shirts in a sherbet hue. Or, there's also that frequently used image of the mom in a power suit and a tight bun, usually shown getting in or out of a town car in a major city and holding a phone to her ear. However, now that I technically am one of those moms, I don't really identify with either extreme (any more than most actual humans identify with any advertising caricature of their lives). For one, I don't ride in town cars, and I don't think I even own khakis anymore. I mean, I used to but I packed them away when I got pregnant because I had to make room for maternity clothes in my closet, and then I just never got them out again because khakis: Who needs 'em? RIP, khakis. And I actually do own a couple of button-down shirts, but I prefer to wear them with jeans or leggings and boots, so people can't tell if I'm trying to be professional or casual (I don't know either you guys, please stop asking).
Since having a baby and getting back into the swing of this whole "career" thing, I've found that there have been a few more things that I've sacrificed beyond my khaki pants from 2011.
Healthy And Balanced Breakfasts Of Things Like Steelcut Oats And Fresh Fruit Or Spinach & Egg White Omelets
Most of the time, my breakfast is coffee. Now, I happen to love coffee, so in fact I usually enjoy this quite a bit. It ends up being this way because I start drinking it shortly after I wake up (again, I do this for fun and pleasure) and then I realize it's time to start working so I sit down and get to it. However, that mid-morning slump has me continuously cursing myself for not being more on top of things like my general nutrition and satiation.
Shiny Bathroom Fixtures And Freshly Vacuumed Floors
I work from home, so I'm constantly reminded of the chores that need doing in my household. In fact, from my vantage point, I can spot at least three areas of this particular room that need attention. This is not to say my house is unkempt. I've read Marie Kondo's book, so I'm not completely clueless about the life-changing magic of not living in squalor. However, the reality is that, on my list of things to do in one particular day, scrubbing the toilet rarely makes it to the top. Not never, but rarely.
Long, Hot, Steamy Showers That Leave You Smelling Like Hibiscus And Glory, And Other Personal Luxuries
Gone are the days when I could try fancy products and do fancy things like exfoliate. Now, my showers are fast and completely functional, like modern-day pop music. I bathe the way Justin Bieber sounds: It gets the job done well enough, but there's nothing surprising or interesting going on. Though, in some ways I guess you could say I'm helping the environment since there's water being saved, so it's not a total loss.
Our Co-Workers' Time And Attention
Oh hey, people with offices and desks near mine. Care to come admire some pictures of an adorable child? What's that, you say? You would? WHAT A COINCIDENCE I HAVE 800 PICTURES RIGHT HERE ON MY PHONE.
Every Moment We Don't Steal Peeks At The Videos On Our Phones
If I had a nickel for every time I wanted to watch my little smiling at me and in a shaky video I took myself on the floor of our living room, but didn't actually watch the video, I'd surely have enough for his future college tuition. OK, maybe not tuition, but probably books at least.
Knowledge Of What's Going On In The World
Confession: Since my current job requires semi-frequent usage of the internet, I've managed to stay somewhat in tune with what's going on in the world. However, this has not always been the case. I previously held a job with a whole different set of duties so I pretty much had to rely on morning radio hosts for updates during my commute. And, as soothing as their deep voices can be, their chosen stories aren't curated based on my own personal interests like my favorite corners of the internet. It's a trade-off: I love my kid and I love my job, but between the two, there are not many free moments to look up and take stock of what else is happening in the world.
Time With Our Kiddos
No surprise, this is my least favorite sacrifice of the bunch. However, my partner and I made some careful choices about what our son does while we're working so we have at least some comfort knowing he's getting something rewarding out of the deal, too. Nothing takes the place of time at home with his family, but we're all able to enjoy it and appreciate a little more after we've been apart for a few hours.