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.
7 thoughts on “How Much Do You Compromise?”
Ha! I love that Suzanne said she gave up “high heels” because I totally gave those up once I got pregnant due to enormous foot swelling–and then after b/c I am too afraid of turning an ankle while carrying my 25 lb + baby and all his and my accessories.
On the serious side, I think I “gave up” or “comprised” a lot of things once O was born, but I don’t miss any of it all that much. O is worth all of it–and more. Not to sound too sappy, but he’s truly a blessing. He’s changed my life–and all for the better.
Sure, there are times I miss some of the stuff old “me” used to do, but I know this time will be gone all too quick, and I’ll be reading, sleeping, and having so much me-time I don’t know what to do with myself. Then I’ll miss these days…
I’m definitely compromising exercise- I mean, walking with my son while he’s in his stroller is great, but it’s nothing like going to the gym, ya know?
hmmmm…great post. in fact, i think i’ll write my own post about it. i’ve definitely compromised in a few areas.
i’ll let you know when i’m up.
Oh yes, compromise! Definately.
You can’t have everything is what I always say. I feel that I have compromised socially, parts of our marriage, my “career” and me time because of parenting.
I do miss the “old times” sometimes, but then I remind myself that I am too old for the “old times”. : )
and I gave up high heels too. really I wasn’t a high heel person ever.
I’ve compromised my “career” definitely because I’m in a job where I’m BORED to death but it is really family friendly and I don’t want to give that up. I can basically come and go as I please, which makes it easy to attend my boys’ (ages 8 and 11) school activities, etc.
I also compromised “me” time when they were younger, but I’m finding that time again and it’s great. Not as much as I had before kids, but more than I’ve had in awhile.
Lastly, I’ve totally compromised time off from work. I can’t recall the last time I took a vacation or sick day for myself. I think that’s one of the things I hate most…having to save every available vacation minute because I need the time for when they have the gazillion days off from school each year.
Uh-oh! I dare say, children don’t require compromise! You trade for something more meaningful when you choose your kids over reading, cleaning, sleeping, and even your career!