Everyone is happy but Kiara.
Now on to Foe #2.
While I was in the alley doing my rat paparazzi thing I hit on a pithy comment about gender to write about here and now it is totally gone. Which means I can continue to believe it was extraordinarily witty and insightful, so that's just fine with me. But it also means I am back to feeling I have to write a long-overdue, thoughtful post on work-life balance issues, supposedly the main focus of this blog and something I haven't written about in forever. Forever as in, since before I stopped posting here for several months because I was too busy working. Heh.
I went to the dentist today (sidenote. I shouldn't admit this but I go to the dentist so seldom that they keep putting my chart in storage. that's work-life balance for you, folks.) and during one of those mostly one-sided conversations one has with dental professionals I had this classic encounter with the hygienist.
Her: You look tired. What do you do for a living?
Me: I'm a lawyer.
Her: I'm so sorry. What kind of law do you practice?
Me: I help big companies sue each other.
Her: Ohh, I'm so sorry. You don't have kids, do you?
Me: I have a two-year old.
Her: Oh god.
Me: ... gargle
Her: What does your husband do?
Me: He's a lawyer.
Her: Oh my god.
Afterward I headed over to my son's daycare since I was done with work early and Trent was on his way there. The director of the day care center commented that they'd been seeing me more lately. I explained that I'd been working less and she said that's great.
So. I'm trying to recall why I felt so judged in both these conversations, and I'm not finding any evidence of judgment in what was said. Which doesn't mean it wasn't there, but does probably mean that how I felt had a lot more to do with me than anything they said.
Yesterday I was discussing working vs. being a stay-at-home mom with a (childless, female) friend, who had floated the idea (can't remember if it was hers or from a book she'd read) that women often become stay-at-home moms because work gets hard, and staying home seems like an acceptable alternative; whereas a man might just stick it out. This seems plausible to me, though unpleasant. I also think this difference in expectations may be why women seem to have a harder time with the things they're missing at home because of work. Men seem to shrug it off more easily, perhaps because they never thought being home was a real alternative for them. Men are supposed to bring home the bacon, so they don't worry about whether they're doing the right thing when they miss baby's first steps because they're off on a bacon hunt. I'm not sure that makes the "male" attitude about it right. On the other hand I am increasingly convinced that any inclination I have to stay home is more for my benefit than my son's. Which is kind of a whole post in itself. (copout.)