Everyone has to do a little give-and-take from time to time, but I think there are two life stages where you’re forced to take compromise “to the next level.”
First, there’s marriage. Talk about a crash course in compromise. Suddenly you have to come terms with everything from the state of your home (constant disaster or Martha-approved?) to your finances (joint or separate? debt-free or debt-full?).
I must admit it was not easy for me to make allowances or budge on what I wanted. But Mama always said “compromise is the key to a successful marriage,” so I tried really hard to be flexible. It got a little easier after a few years, and seemed to work pretty well. Mama was right.
Then, there’s parenthood. It’s the next next NEXT level of compromise, and you have no idea how much you have to do it until you’re already fully committed (to parenthood or the nuthouse). Check out this Washington Post interview with Suzanne Riss, the editor of Working Mother, for her advice on compromise as a working mom.
Since Cassie arrived, I’ve compromised:
- Sleep (though it’s much better now than in the first few months)
- Socializing (especially during the week, plus we host many fewer parties than we used to)
- Money for fun stuff (formula, diapers, and a new set of clothes every few months get expensive)
- Me time (unless you count my commute to and from work–which I don’t)
- Reading (I think I’ve read three whole books since she was born; I used to read a ton)
- Extracurricular activities (Volunteering? Hobbies? Forget about it.)
I’m sure the list could go on, but I don’t want to depress myself.
What I won’t compromise on is my work (if I can help it), because that’s a big source of income for our family and I want to keep it flowing. I do have to change the way I work sometimes (leave at 5, start again at home around 9), but my level of commitment and workload haven’t decreased.
And I never compromise on the quality of care for Cassie, whether I’m watching her or leaving her with someone else. I also try hard to nurture my closest relationships, because it’s awfully hard to get by without the help of your friends and family.
What about you? What have you compromised since you became a working mom? What do you refuse to compromise? Do tell.