Sometimes, we working moms could use a little reminder of some of the less obvious perks for working “outside the home.” Because no matter why we work (e.g., couldn’t pay the bills otherwise), how certain we are about our choices, or how happy we are with our lives, there are days when being a working mom can be rough.
There might be days when you’ve had a really bad day at the office and are questioning why you work at all, or are so exhausted from your schedule that you fell asleep on the train and missed your stop (again). And let’s not mention the days when your child sobs when your nanny leaves more than when you did in the morning, or has undertaken a “first” and you missed the moment.
1. When your child’s menu yesterday included corn, chances are the “outcome” in your child’s diaper will be dealt with by someone other than you. I confess, there are certain foods that I will only serve at dinner, knowing that when the “rubber meets the road” the next morning, I will be nowhere in sight. (My nanny, a smart woman, has figured this out and keeps hiding the corn.) Will I someday regret missing some of my child’s firsts—new sounds, first attempts, etc.? Absolutely. But I will never regret missing some of those—and I quote my nanny here—“big big BIG poo poo” diapers.
2. When someone asks you to do something you don’t want to, saying “I’m sorry—I can’t as I have [insert work excuse here] this week” sounds much better than “I’m sorry, but I’d rather gnaw off my right arm than [insert task here].” I really do wish I had more time to volunteer, but when most activities require my presence during the day or more time than I can realistically give, it’s not going to happen. To all the stay-at-home parents out there—you have my deepest gratitude for the countless hours you have devoted to the school and a myriad of kids’ activities. Bless you.
3. You not only have a reason, but a real need, to shower and wear something other than sweat pants every day. Sure, this can be a problem on the days when your wardrobe choice is either a pair of pre-partum pants that are still too tight, or a skirt—and you haven’t had enough time in the morning for the past 2 weeks to shave your legs. But it doesn’t stink as much as when you haven’t showered at all for two weeks and your husband suspects that taking out the dirty diapers won’t solve the odor problem in the house.
4. You get a lunch hour. In theory, you have one whole hour to do with as you please each day. You can use this valuable time to run errands, get a haircut, or even—dare I suggest—catch up with what is going on in the world. This is precious, precious time.
5. You have a captive audience to tell stories about your child to, and who will usually listen politely for a few minutes. When your genius child has done something amazing on Saturday, chances are you have run out of friends, family and Facebook pals to tell by Sunday. But come Monday, you have a whole new crop of victims to bore. And as a bonus, if you work in a sizable office, chances are you have valuable network of experienced parents who are willing to impart some of their parental wisdom to you.
6. You get to see the sheer joy and excitement on your child’s face when you get home. Nothing—and I mean NOTHING—beats that thrill of seeing your child light up when you walk into the room after a long day. It completely redefines “Happy Hour.”
7. You get to hear your first name throughout the day, and it’s not from a sarcastic teenager. From what I’ve heard from my friends, a sense of loss of ‘individual identity’ can be one of the hardest parts about staying at home. My daughter is the center of my universe, and I love spending as much time with her as I can. I treasure every single minute on the weekends and my days off. But I also know myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t be happy if my identity was wrapped up in her. In the office, I get the opportunity every day not just to be “Lindsay’s Mom” or “Mrs. Stoller,” but me. (And they are actually willing to pay for that. Go figure.)