Do I wish I could be there for every cute moment of my girls’ lives? You bet I do. But when it starts to get me down (pretty much every time my phone pings with another adorable picture from the nanny) I think about all the other not-so-cute moments I’m missing (like the “accidents” at the playground and the tantrums at the supermarket). I remember that, as a working mum, I get to not cry over spilled milk. For all the other mums whose 9-to-5 doesn’t involve sibling bickering, here are a few reasons to be thankful.
1. The wavy bob. Otherwise I’d just be going to work with slept-on, unbrushed hair. I used to spend precious morning minutes trying to approximate a blow dry, lying to myself that doing a half-assed job on the back was an acceptable downgrade to moderately presentable. Now, thanks to the wavy bob (and when I go long enough between cuts, the long wavy bob, or lob), I hop out of bed, take a quick shower and hop back in for anywhere from five to 15 minutes. It actually looks better that way!
2. Booties. Heels + built in socks = stylish walkability—in skirts or pants! So long, Working Girl; hello, walking girl.
3. The quiet car. Have you not heard of this? My commuter train has a single car every morning and every night that’s designated “quiet,” meaning no talking or mobile phones or noise of any kind. Meaning quiet. It’s heaven. I might ride it even if I didn’t have to commute to work every day. Shhhhh!
4. Business trips. Yes, travelling for work can be disruptive to family life and exhausting for all involved. And yes, I miss the girls and my husband awfully, and if I had to do it more it would really suck. But honestly, every few months when I have to go away for a couple nights, I get a king-size bed to myself, room service with a wine list and wifi. Sometimes it’s nice to check in and check out.
5. The Magic Eraser. I’m sure it’s probably horrible for the environment and knocking a couple points off the household brain cell count, but it’s the only thing coming between a lipstick/marker-wielding toddler and a ruined $300 handbag. It really is magic!
6. The erg machine. When I can’t find the 45 minutes to an hour-plus I used to take pre-kiddos to hit the gym or go for a run (ie. pretty much always), I put on my headphones and row. Fifteen minutes later, my head is clear, my heart’s pumping, and my lungs are full. In terms of money, time and wear and tear on your body, the ergometer is the single best ROI exercise, full stop.
7. Polyester and other non-natural fibres. Used to be I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything other than cotton, silk, wool or maybe rayon in a pinch. Now, if the tag doesn’t say 50 percent something that was invented in a lab, I put it back. Stretchy, stain-resistant, machine-washable? Sold!
8. Bright red lipstick. One swipe and you’ve got a look. Dresses up (parties, meetings) or down (supermarket runs, Saturday morning cricket matches). A working mum’s armour.
9. The village. You know, the one it takes to raise a child? I’ve got a nanny the girls love and I trust, a husband who has at least three meals he can make at a moment’s notice and is learning to braid hair, and parents who’ll ask to take the girls for a Saturday sleepover and are ready to pop over when I have a last-minute late-in-the-day meeting. With all the turmoil in the world, I know how lucky I am—we all are—and I’m so, so grateful.
10. Unpolished nails. Thanks to a New York Times investigation of nail salons, my unpolished fingers and dry, cracked mum feet are an ethical — as opposed to aesthetic, temporal, or financial — statement.
11. Oxfam Fair. These products are so good in every sense of the word. The quality is outrageous for the price and the fact that I know every purchase is helping farmer around the world get a fair deal makes me feel like I’m helping something big. Equally good for a working mum: I can buy my coffee online. Tick, tick, tick.
12. Frozen prawns. It doesn’t go bad, takes 10 minutes to defrost in a bowl of water, and I can throw it into pasta, do a quick stir-fry, or toss it into soup or a salad and it’s a legit, home-cooked, healthy-ish meal. Makes me feel like the Enjoli woman.
13. Coming home. As much as I like the challenges and satisfactions of office life (and, yeah, that paycheck is pretty nice), there’s nothing better than opening the front door and hearing two little girls yell “Mummy!” as they come running. Not one thing.
More for working mums:
- 11 Things Bosses Should Do to Make Working Mums’ Lives Easier
- Mum Confession: I Feel Guilty for Being a Working Mum
- Working Mum Alert: I Was Daycare Shamed