I've been a working mother since I've been a mother, so the comments and questions and assumptions about my role as both employee and parent are all things I've, honestly and sadly, grown accustomed to. Once you push a human being out of your body it seems that the judgment is never-ending. It should end, though. Like, yesterday. Which is why I have no problem saying with absolute certainty that there are things men need to stop saying about working moms, and immediately.
I had a taste of this obvious sexism when I was pregnant. I was working for two brothers who owned their own real estate company and, honestly, I thought I was working for two of the best, most understanding people when it came to the demands of parenthood. After all, both of my bosses were parents themselves. My pregnancy was a difficult one, and around 16 weeks into my pregnancy I was hospitalized for a week with a serious blood infection. I worked from the hospital; a coworker dropping off my work computer so I could answer emails, plan meetings, and do whatever else my employers needed from me, all the while hooked up to IVs and worrying about my life and the life of my twins. I went to work the day after I was released from the hospital. Not long after I walked into my office, I found myself being fired. I was told my "condition" was "too unpredictable." In other words, I was being fired for being pregnant. It was a rude wakeup call, and one that I have carried with me outside of the home, into the office, and especially now that my son is a demanding 2-year-old toddler.
To those two men, motherhood was a hinderance. To those two men, pregnancy was a burden. Something they couldn't experience was something they didn't want to accommodate, so I was "let go." Never mind that I had worked in the hospital. Never mind that I was growing a human being and still doing my job. All those former employers were able to see were the possible complications of pregnancy, labor, delivery, (probably maternity leave) and motherhood. They bought into the sexist notion that mothers shouldn't work outside the home, and that notion is why I lost my job. Honestly, if we want to affect real change, men are going to need to do their part. So fellas, if you could stop saying the following things about working mothers, that would be just the best.