This isn't a gotcha question, I'm truly attempting to divine where the value is in this equation, other than the utility gained from self-actualization.
For my male readers out there, why would you entertain thoughts of hitching yourself in today's legal climate to someone who thinks that her choices shouldn't have consequences, that others exist to underwrite and enable her choices, who doesn't grok that running a household with children requires time, and who evidently takes your lack of choice for granted?
Honestly, the latest mommy-wars salvo linked above would be amusing if it weren't so sad--doubly so because it's so entirely avoidable. The professional woman's life is hard because her choices trammel tradition and received cultural wisdom, flout the genetic predisposition of both sexes, and attempt to dodge the laws of economic resource allocation. Mind you, the problem can be partially papered over with various legal and socialized compensatory measures intended to support the "working mother" in her effort to be economically "independent", but at the end of the day, between lower productivity and higher overhead costs, I have to wonder if we collectively are trying too hard to make a broken model work.
Of course, no "working moms have it worse" urinary Olympics/pity party would be complete without spears lobbed at those lazy husbands who won't "get off their ass" and/or are "get[ing] away with murder" in shirking their share of the household duties. But at least this time around, someone weighed in from a man's perspective:
I've been a Biglaw associate, and a Biglaw spouse, and let me tell you, it's not as easy as it looks. Just because a lady "loses" the negotiations on domestic chores doesn't mean that she's married to a sexist pig, and it doesn't mean the guy is "getting away with murder".Here, at the end, is the key point. All those high-powered jobs that apex-fallacy-subscribing women covet generally have the SAHM family model built into the job description. Which then begs the question: Why again does one pursue a job, in which those who have been successful in the past hail from the Industrial-age working father/SAHM family model, as one half of a two-earner-with-kids couple, and expect the same outcome as those fellows you spy at the top of the pyramid?
First of all, I'm assuming that Ms. X's husband works, and works in a fairly well-paying, high-stress job. Why am I making that assumption? BECAUSE MS. X IS QUITTING HER WELL-PAYING, HIGH-STRESS JOB. Guess what, most women aren't going to leave their careers as Biglaw lawyers so they can live on one salary when that one salary is schoolteacher, or dog walker, or (ahem) legal blogger. If this woman has the "freedom" to quit, then chances are her husband is making enough bank to support the family by himself.
Now, other commentators have pointed out that not only did Ms. X have to do the bath time routine, she also had to drop the kids off at daycare, pick them up, and put dinner on the table. And that is a lot to do, without question. But it's wrong to assume that the husband was in any better position to do any of those things. Ms. X says that because she dropped the
kids off in the morning, she was five minutes late on a conference call. To pick the kids up, she left work at 6:00 p.m. And when she finally got home, she made dinner.
Sucks to be her, but do we know that the husband even has that kind of flexibility? The flexibility to sometimes not do a good job at work because of family concerns? Employers can be dismissive and sexist towards women who show up five minutes late with spit up on their suit to meetings. But some employers won't even tolerate the same offenses in men. By all means, fellas, start leaving work at 6:00 p.m. everyday to "go pick up your kids," and see how quickly you're on the outside of leadership opportunities, promotions, and more money.
We talk a lot more about making work environments respect working mothers, but we don't spend a lot of time trying to get old men who had their stay-at-home spouse raise their kids respect "working fathers." And it's worse the more money you make. For a working father making a certain salary, the employer assumes that you're being paid enough to "afford" a stay-at-home wife or live-in nanny. You know, unless you are a beta-ass male who doesn't have what it takes to run my company or win my business because you'd rather be spending time with your kids.
Do we even know if this guy was home for the chicken nugget dinner his wife managed to throw together? Isn't it possible that Ms. X "lost" the negotiation over bath time because the husband spent all his political capital just making it home, and now he has to go right back to work?
And besides, as I'm learning, all the household chores that had to be done before you had kids still have to be done after you have children. Maybe while Ms. X was bathing and reading stories to the kids, the husband was doing the dishes (dishes, by the way, were not on Ms. X's tick-tock), getting the laundry done, and taking out trash.
Ms. X had a busy day, but there's every reason to believe that her husband did too. Just because he wasn't actively involved in the managing of the children on this particular day doesn't mean he wasn't contributing, mightily, to their domestic output.
The point that I draw from the Ms. X story is that a Biglaw job is almost impossible without a stay-at-home spouse or a full-time nanny. These jobs just aren't oriented for people who don't have significant support at home.