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.