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May 04, 2007

Revealing the Double Standard

How_she_does_itHave you read I Don’t Know How She Does It? It’s the wildly popular mommy-lit book about a London mom (mum?) who works full time. Her kids and husband are neglected. Her life is out of control. She is the only one who does anything around the house. She is just a mess. This book really frightened me. I read it about a week before I started my own full-time job, and I worried that when I started working again, I’d turn into that mom.

Now that I’ve been working for almost three months, I am happy to report that I’m still a good mother (phew!). Sure, I’ve had my moments (sending my daughter to school with a sore throat because I had an important client meeting that I just couldn’t miss comes to mind), but overall, I think I’m managing okay.

There is one part of the book, though, that really rings true, and I’m wondering if the other working moms out there agree. Kate, the protagonist, is at a work meeting, and one of her colleagues (a man) excuses himself, explaining that he needs to attend his daughter’s swimming gala. The meeting attendees (excepting Kate) all smile at each other. One woman mouths the word, “Sweet.” Another woman says, “Oh, how marvelous, Andrew! You’re so hands on!”

This is the excerpt that really got me, though:

“Man announces he has to leave the office to be with his child for short recreational burst and is hailed as selfless doting paternal role model. Woman announces she has to leave the office to be with child who is on sickbed and is damned as disorganized, irresponsible, and Showing Insufficient Commitment.”

I feel this way when I need to come in late, leave early, or stay home. Is there really this much of a double standard or am I just overly sensitive?

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Disclaimer: I'm no SV mom. I'm a Chicago mom blogger (like Sara) testing the waters as we prepare to launch the Chicago Moms Blog. Thanks for letting us stop by!

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