Thursday, April 03, 2008

Excuse Me?

Yesterday I had one of those moments that blew me out of the water in its unexpectedness, and not in a good way. I was at work yesterday morning and had a meeting. As I was saying goodbye to the folks I met with, I realized my phone, which 'til then had been in my bag next to me, was buzzing; it was Mike. Will wasn't feeling well and could I pick him up from school? Since Mike works all the way downtown, I was the closer parent, so I told him I'd get him. I got the okay and left, arriving at school approximately 10 minutes before dismissal. He was in the office with the "gloom and doom face".

As I signed him out, one of the office aides - a woman who I've known and gotten along with the entire time Will's been in the school, mind you - says, "I tried to call you three times." I responded that I had been at work in a meeting, so I didn't have my phone right next to me. She repeats herself, and then says, "I finally had to call your husband when I couldn't get you... I felt bad, because I hate calling working fathers."

Excuse me? My blood starts to boil, so I quickly say, "Well, I'm a working mother." She gives me what I feel is this simpering, patronizing smile, and says, "I know, but I hate having to call a working father away." I signed Will out, looked her dead in the eye and said, "Well, I'm a working mother, and I was in the middle of a meeting when Mike got me. I have a JOB, too." I grabbed Will and walked out, and that's when I realized I was shaking, I was so angry.

What the hell? I felt so judged. How dare someone make me feel like I'm less of a parent because I work, or that because I'm a woman, my work is less significant than my husband's is? Especially from another woman?

Now, I know this is her issue and I shouldn't take it personally, but I do. I have been an active member of that school's parent community - a HELL of a lot more active than most of the at-home parents there, that's for sure - and that comment just pissed me off. It ate away at me for the rest of the day.

The assistant principal is having a baby - will this same office aide treat her like she treated me? Is it okay for the principal to be a working mother because her children are grown?

I haven't felt like a casualty in The Mommy Wars for a long time now, but that shot really got to me yesterday.


Nancy said...

You should have told her, "Not that it is any business of yours, but I make more money than my husband so my job is more important to our family." See what her reaction to that would be.

Theresa said...

Hell, I would have reached over and smacked her hard. Okay, so I would have wanted to, but not really have done it. sigh. Next time try the line, "What? Doesn't prositution count as a job?" Wait, you can't say that - it's a school. Aaarrggghhh, freaking frustrating!!!

Lauren said...

Unbelievable! I wouldn't want her working around my kids.

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of the quote by Madeleine Albright "There´s a special place in hell for women who don´t help each other"
Clearly she's a pathetic woman, stuck in time and a victim of the norms of "back in the day". Hopefully these sort of women (and men) will phase out quickly!
The Gab

Linda said...

WOA. That's one for the papers or your magazine, seriously. Just ask her "can I quote you?" THen she might feel like a jackass. Maybe she'll feel the chill at work. How old is she, 80? Every now and again I'm shocked at the things people say.

Stacey said...

Seriously, this isn't the 50's lady, and women working is just as important to the family. That's insane, and it's making me angry.

(Not-So) Cynical Gal said...

What the he-double hockey sticks! That is just nuts.

YOU, on the other hand, are amazing!

Yarn Thing said...

OMG...Good for you for letting that woman know that you WORK TOO!!! THE NERVE!!!

Mommy Wars suck!!!!!