I used to be concerned about the level of caffeine that I consumed on a daily basis. Realistically, I’ve always over-indulged in coffee. I worked at a coffee shop throughout the course of my undergrad and graduate degrees, and against company policy, my fellow baristas and I would always exchange free drinks when we were off the clock. I could basically count on a medium or large Americano with nothing but a bit of skim milk and a touch of honey on a daily basis. Oh…that smoky, syrupy goodness that is fresh espresso straight out of the cleanest of brew-heads. That beautiful, golden crema that bubbles up to the top when you gently pour the shots into a pristine mug filled with the hottest of filtered water. That sharp bite of the first sip that quickly turns into the smoothest of smoothes…
Ok, back to reality.
Needless to say, I developed a bit of an
addiction. Frankly, “addiction” may not
even be the right word for it. People throw
the phrase “I’m addicted to caffeine” around a whole lot, but I truly developed
a dependence for it. Three to four cups
of regular brewed coffee in a sitting, followed by an Americano over ice to go…or,
if I wanted to “treat myself,” I would have a Dirty Chai. Yup – that’s a Chai tea latte with a shot of
espresso in it.
Basically, you could have injected coffee right
into my veins and I probably would have asked for a drip IV to go.
Then, that whole pregnancy thing started up, and
my doctor told me I needed to “cut back.”
I would be lying if I told you that my heart didn’t sink a little. It
actually sunk a whole lot. Because “cutting back” didn’t just entail
switching to decaf – even decaf coffee has a touch of caffeine in it. I
was allotted one 8-ounce cup of coffee a
day. Basically enough to get my fix and
send me off shaking and slightly foaming at the mouth.
I went through withdrawal. No, really.
There was a solid week where I had migraines from the depths of Dante’s
Hell. You know that 5th grade
band concert that all parents are forced to sit through with a supportive smile,
complete with first-time floutists, trumpeters, and bassoonists all screeching away
at fortissimo to the Christmas classic “Sleigh Ride”? Picture that playing in your head from sun-up
to sun-down. That, my friends, is a true
sign of a recovering caffeine addict.
So, once I had my little peanut, I started heading
to the Elixer of Life for sustenance, but I tried to limit myself. Two to three cups a day max – preferably one
to two in the morning and one in the early afternoon.
I'll never completely cut myself off, though. I get that it's not healthy to be dependent on anything. Let's be honest, though - I'm as frugal as they come. I have a very hard time buying myself anything. I've got a budget, and I stick to it, and I very, very rarely stray from that
...Except when it comes to coffee.
That is the one luxury that I allow myself without feeling any guilt of any kind. It's my ten minutes of sanity: the quick quips with the baristas, the browsing through the paper while I wait for the espresso to properly brew, the fifteen minutes between me, my latte, and a book...
I feel like coffee shops are my source for my craving for caffeine, humanity, and sanity in my world of working mommy-hood. And for the time being, I will not cut back.