Tuesday Thoughts - Gender Roles and Having it All
Last night, I had the pleasure of hosting JP's boss and one of his co-workers for a last minute dinner. It was one of those moments where I wished that I had done a variety of things including gone to the grocery store over the weekend and organized the pantry which is one of the areas of the house that really hasn't been unpacked yet - I swear I will get to it though. It was nice to get to spend some time with his co-workers but it also reminded me so much of the dichotomy of being a lawyer and being a wife. I don't talk about my job on this blog for a lot of reasons, but you can make the assumption that being a lawyer is very much a part of who I am, as well as a pretty time consuming profession. I don't get home very early and many of our meals are take out/eating out or as you may have noticed lately - slow cooker. I do have a small repertoire of really easy to make dishes that I can whip up quickly if need be, but certainly poaching chicken in salsa with microwave rice is not something that I would serve to JP's boss.
Interestingly today there was a fabulous Op-Ed in the NY times. Back in 2001, the Times did piece on 21 women who had just graduated law school and went to work for a large firm. The Op-Ed is a follow up to that piece - where are these women now? How have their lives ended up? What would they potentially change? [Side note: the piece closes with the fact that only 4% of the world's law firms are led by women - mine happens to be one of them]
How does this Op-Ed relate to my cooking dinner last night? Well, tangentially, everything. We, as women, are expected to be all things to all people. My boss and I had a call during lunch with the west coast and we ran out to grab something to eat together. Over lunch, he inquired about my plans for the evening to which I replied, "I have to go home and entertain my husband's co-workers". He looked at my quizzically, confused over my consternation. And then I clarified, "I'm the wife, so I have to go home and cook."
I think that men sometimes, especially older men in the workplace, don't think about the effect that women working has on their home life. One of the women in the aforementioned Times piece said that they key to her success is having good support. I've heard that from almost every successful woman. You can't do it alone - you have an army of staff or a husband who works from home or has extreme flexibility. Someone or something is always going to be a sacrifice - time, money, jobs, household roles. I know at some point, probably in the near future when we have children, the above sacrifices are going to be have to be flushed out. It's sad to think that after all of this hard work that both my husband and I have put into our careers that in order for us to spend time with our "hypothetical" children, we will either have to slow our careers down (read for me: mommy track or go part time, read for him: travel less, aim to have more "flexibility") or spend a fortune to have at home care.
But for the purpose of this post, I will talk about how I became super wife. I burst through the door with a small bag from Trader Joe's containing some fresh lettuce and oranges and off I went to cook. And cook I did (did I mention that one of our guests was vegetarian!). Fresh salad with supremes of orange, pomegranate seeds and a homemade champagne vinaigrette; mushroom and black garlic risotto, and homemade soft molasses gingerbread cookies. And yes, I made everything between the hours of 6:15-7:10 pm and in my 4" heels.
I am pretty sure that I am far from the perfect wife at times, but I went to bed last night feeling like there was some semblance of being able to have it all. I know that is probably far from the case, but every once in awhile it is really nice to pretend that it is.