SAHMs vs. Working Moms — what’s the dealio with that anyway? Why is one constantly pitted against the other? The truth is both are hard…so fucking hard. It’s not that we’d have it any other way, as being a mother is one of the greatest gifts life can dish out to a woman. But there is a constant conundrum. Do we lean in or hang back? Even more so, many of us don’t have the option to choose. So many of us have to work to pay the bills but then there’s people in my situation, who are facing making so little in the workforce that paying daycare almost doesn’t even seem to make sense. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
The last few months I’ve been dedicating a lot of time into getting back into the workforce, and it reminds me what a pride-swallowing task it is. Is it just me or do you feel like, once you birthed out those kids, you have a giant flashing light that screams “MOM” on you? What’s funny is, when I had my first son, I was working full time in LA. While on maternity leave, I got word of a dream job … writing about TV shows for E!’s Watch With Kristin segment. To use a Chandler Bing’ism, could there BE any more perfect job for me? Watching TV is my life, yo. I take it very seriously. Having a two- week-old makes for a very interesting interview, though. I had no idea what to wear, as I hadn’t been on an interview in years, and I still had the inner tube around my mid-section that just dared people to ask when the baby is due. People, unless the woman is crowning in your presence, do not ask.
I decided on a totally ridonkulous outfit. To this day, I have no idea what I was thinking, other than absolutely nothing, as I was in the throws of massive sleep deprivation. I showed up in these pants that have always been too long for me and I never had altered. They are paisley and bright colored, and I wore a pink tee shirt with a blazer. I had to have looked like I just escaped from a mental ward or directly from the sale rack of Forever 21. It took an hour just to get to the interview, and my milky boobs were already feeling the ache. Give me another hour and I’ll be leaking more than the mouth of Edward Snowden. The interview was a blur of poorly answered questions, as everyone knows when you want something that badly, it ain’t gonna happen.
Interestingly enough, another awesome opportunity came up at Us Magazine a few months later when I was back at my job. I made plans to meet the head editor Ken Baker at a cafe in Beverly Hills, and I was pumped beyond words. I parked where I thought the cafe was, only to find out that I was about 20 blocks off. People, this is my life. I panicked as I decided whether I should walk back to the car and fight the Beverly Hills lunch parking hell once again or run. I decided on the latter, and showed up so sweaty to the interview that I had to air out my pits and my shirt in the bathroom before telling the waiter, “I’ll just have what he’s having.” Soup … fucking soup!
Fast forward to a couple months ago, and I was on the list to attend a networking meeting at a company that I’m dying to work at here in San Diego. I’m confident in my writing most days but networking ain’t my bag. And by ain’t my bag, I mean it causes such anxiety that I usually wake up with herpes on my lip and a few zits that make me look like a walking Proactiv ad. Again, I agonized over what to wear. I had to line up a sitter. I set my alarm for the first time in years. I sweated as I prepared to face one of my biggest fears.
The office was downtown on the top floor, and the view of San Diego was spectacular. I felt a tingle as I looked around, feeling like an adult doing an adult thing. There wasn’t a Star Wars action figure in sight and no one was asking me to wipe his ass. “Maybe I could get used to this,” I thought. “Just maybe.” But I was still fighting the feeling that I looked like a sweaty, puke-stained mom at school drop-off. Neither of my boys are babies anymore and yet I still battle the feeling that I have baby vomit on my clothes. And, ugh, with the sweat already. Seriously, it wasn’t even that hot in there. I was pondering that commercial about how nervous sweat smells even worse than regular sweat when someone approached me and introduced herself, even offering me to introduce me around to others.
As the keynote speaker called everyone to sit down, I was feeling pretty good about my sweaty networking session. I even sat in one of the front rows, ready to take notes like the diligent student that I am. That’s when I sat down and realized the unthinkable — the top of my butt crack was showing where my pants slipped too low and my jacket rose too high. PLUMBER BUTT! NOT NOW! I nervously looked behind me for another seat but to no avail. I would be constantly shifting and adjusting to bridge the gap between my ass and back the entire time. LISTENING FAIL.
Of course, being the most neurotic person on the planet, I agonized over every move I made there, eventually realizing that this is me in all my glory. And I have to remember that I’m a really good fucking worker, dammit. Nervous sweat, phantom baby vomit, and overexposed ass crack be damned, I’ll work my buns off for your company. I’m creative. I’m (relatively) smart. And, gosh darn it, people like me. So I’m going to keep trucking in my effort and try to believe in myself more. I might have a neon sign that flashes “MOM,” but that just means I’ve got people who love me.