Posted by Fitz

I still don’t get the competition that women put themselves in once they have a child.  You know what I mean…it starts with the “Are you nursing?” question, moves on ahead to “Are you making your own baby food?” and, for working moms, progresses to the question, “When do you see your kid(s)?”

I was asked that third question a little while ago, by a woman I don’t know very well.  A mutual friend asked how work was, I replied that it was busy, and mentioned that I – gasp! – go into the city every now and again for a full day.  She replied with a, “Wow, I could never miss out on my kids like that.” I had some benign response like, “I only go in once or twice a week, so it’s not too bad!”, but I was livid when I got home and wished I had said something a little sharper, a little more protective…something that would have let her know that she was a jerk for asking.

Millions of moms work full time.  In my community, many don’t, and it sometimes sets up a strange dichotomy between us.  Why, I ask?  Why do we, as women, set ourselves up for guilt?  Why do some thrive on their ability to make others feel less than because of their circumstances, even if they were chosen and not imposed?  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – we women should support each other, not tear each other down.  I have many friends who couldn’t be more supportive, and would gladly help me out if I was in a work-related bind.  I also know a few people who would relish the chance to talk about my close-to-late-pickup at the next neighborhood playdate.  Why?

I doubt that anyone has a truly perfect life, whether they are balancing work and home or juggling the demands that come with staying at home full time.  I doubt that any of us could live in a glass house, and could afford to throw stones at an acquaintance.  So, the next time you’re even tempted to ask someone when she sees her kids after she explains that she works outside of the home, resist the urge to be a complete pain in the ass and instead ask her what new and interesting things are going on in her industry.  I assure you, it will lead to a much more meaningful conversation (and a possible friendship).