I met my former colleague and now friend for dinner tonight in Elmhurst, and we caught up over Northern Thai food (which was so good that I’m still thinking about it now). She was based in our company’s Amsterdam office, but she is temporarily here in New York with her husband and baby daughter, waiting for their visas to be cleared so that they can relocate to Hong Kong for his new job. We lamented all of the ridiculous drama at the company where I currently work at that she has left, and discussed all the hate in the world for women, and particularly, women who are mothers.
At our company, we get 17 weeks of fully paid parental leave. Given that the Netherlands is, well, in Europe, they clearly have better laws that allow mothers more time off, so she took an additional three months of leave… and it was really clear that the leadership on our team was not happy about this. When she informed our leadership team that she would likely be relocating back to New York City, which is home for her, a leader on our team responded, “Oh, so you want to do the easy thing when moving home, then?” and asked her if her views of work and work ethic had changed since becoming a mom. What the fuck kind of question is that? It’s almost as though since she became a mom that she had less respect on our team. And it didn’t help when someone said that in the last year, she had become “less ambitious.” Why — because she… gave birth and became a parent?!
On the flip side, she has friends who have sleep trained their babies, and they are judging her left and right for not sleep training her own daughter, who is just over a year old now. They send her passive aggressive text messages, saying she should really consider sleep training. To me, she’s not any different pre or post baby, and she is definitely not more tired or grouchy. I don’t really get what all the fuss is about. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do or what you say, but as a woman, and especially as a mother, someone will be judging you very openly, and implying you are failing or just not good enough.
You’d think that in 2019 we’d have made more progress than we have…. but even at “progressive” companies and cities, we really just have the facade of progress, but inside, we’re just as backwards as any other place.