All parents make sacrifices and working moms are no different. However, if I'm being honest, I have a problem with the word "sacrifice." "Sacrifice" implies an unfair trade we’ve made in order to have children and I don’t think that’s accurate. So, sure, there are sacrifices working moms make, but they're totally worth it. They're not indicitive of a horrific loss and they're not something I sit around lamenting. For me, the pros of having children and a career, outweigh the cons of choosing one way of life over the other.
Would I advance faster up the corporate ladder without kids? Maybe. However, just because I wouldn’t be putting time in as a parent if that particular scenario was my current reality, doesn’t mean I would put that time back into my job. Perhaps there would be other passions I’d cultivate outside of work. Besides, the women in the corner offices at my company whom I most admire also happen to be moms. There is no steadfast formula for guaranteed success, in any aspect of life but especially when it comes to your job.
There's no denying that you need time and brain space to cultivate a successful career, though, and being a mother can cut into both. If there is one thing that frustrates me more than anything else as a working parent it’s that I will never be able to turn off the mom switch at work. My phone is always handy, should the school call. I’m doing a mental inventory of our refrigerator at my desk so I can text the sitter what to reheat for dinner before I get home. I’m using my lunch hour to run errands that I don’t want to do after work, since it would cut into the small window of time I have with my kids before bedtime.
Still, I love my job. I cherish working at something (in my case writing and producing commercials) that I feel proud of and that I can share with my kids so they can be proud of me, too. I’m privileged to be able to build a professional life that not only pays the bills but capitalizes on my creative passions. And as much as I wanted to have a career, I wanted to be a mother, too. There is no balance between the two. Priorities shift constantly, and I’m grateful to have a parenting partner to share the tough logistics of raising smart, curious, kind children while working 40 hours a week. So the sacrifices I make as a working mom are not really sacrifices, to me. They are the choices I’ve made, at this point in time (because, with kids, nothing is forever), that best allow me to have the career I want, in the city where we want to raise our family. Here are some of them: