Linda's blog: "She's a proper mum"
Most of the time I don’t think much about being a working parent or the fact I’m half of a couple of working parents. Our daily juggle is not remarkable and has been our life for over a decade.
But sometimes there are moments when I am kicked into touch. Moments when I realise some people just don't get it.
I was out at a work event when a man about my age (early forties) asked what my husband did. Although I could have been offended, I saw this as harmless small talk and simply answered he’s a lawyer. Without pause the man said “So you're both lawyers! My wife stopped work when she had our first. She's been at home ever since. She’s a proper mum. You know what I mean?”
I really hope he didn't mean I am not a proper mum. But that's exactly how it felt. One comment and he totally derailed me. I was so incredibly hurt and shocked that I couldn’t even respond.
I made my excuses shortly afterwards and as I travelled home, I became angry. But not with him: I was angry with myself for letting the comment pass, for not asking him what he meant and for not challenging his sexist language.
I haven't worked out how I can raise his comment after the event, but I feel duty bound to do so. Not for me, but for other women at work, especially more junior women, and for his sons as well as his daughters. I won't write a note but if I did, I would sign off, "From Linda, a Proper Mum".
Linda is a lawyer who has two children aged 4 and 7. She and her husband work full time and juggle the school run and everything else between them.