Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Parity, Childrearing, Expectations, And Stuff

Where's all the female entrepreneurs at, yo?

With no demonstrable differences between men and women when it comes to motivation and education, what's left to explain why the Valley (and like areas) are dominated by men and nearly devoid of women?

One writer says: It's the babies, stupid. The overwhelming assumption that women have babies and leave the workforce prevents them from being taken as seriously or expected to hang around long enough to put in the hours and years required of a successful venture:
We can bemoan a scarcity of female role models in tech, entice women into the math and science professions or even blame women who leave the work force to take care of kids for the lack of gender diversity, but to fix the problem, we're going to have to discuss the lack of parity between men and women when it comes to raising children.
Sounds about right to me.

Nothing emphasizes all that more for me than last night's birthing class. It was - blessedly - the final of five classes, a wrap-up edition covering whatever questions were left as well as what to expect after you've delivered. It was one of the more enjoyable evenings out of the series, complete with that great last-day-of-school feeling. Yet, the swirl of foregone conclusions and generalizations left me - predictably - thinking less about the mechanics of my impending labor and delivery and recovery and more about These, Our Times, And What Is Expected.

The instructor devoted a notable amount of time to warning Dads that they should be prepared to jump in and help as soon as they get home from work. If they need 10 minutes to unwind after a day at the office, better do it in the driveway before you come in the house.

The teacher explained most of the stressful aspects of adjusting to life with baby from that vantage point: woman home on maternity leave, man home, maybe, briefly, man back to work, woman stressed. Maybe woman goes back to work, maybe not.

I should mention that the discussion made me more appreciative than ever that my partner won't be going back to an office and will be able to stick with me during the first few moths. So very, very appreciative.

But then I started to worry: who will support him when I go back to work? The local hospital has a mom's group. The only "parents'" group is some random evening up in Roseville. Unlikely. My husband will be in completely uncharted territory - or at least, infrequently and inadequately charted territory - once I'm back at the office. The birth class narrative doesn't suit him any better than it suits me.


Kerri said...

Great post and great questions. I belong to a Mom's Club, and while technically it is for moms only (I think) ours is very open to dads attending playgroups and other events. You might try feeling out some groups in your area before you have to go back to work to see if any seem like a good fit and if they would be cool with Rob hanging out. Some of our current best friends have come from playgroups.

Pazzer1 said...

Great post! and...
papa can now make a great pie, once babe's on solids!