September 21, 2011
KID OR CAREER?
I am 36 and am having my first baby, due in December. I am thrilled out of my mind—I have always wanted children—I can’t wait! The problem is, my husband wants me to quit my job and stay home with the baby. I think it is because I make more money and have a more powerful job than he does. I think he has always felt threatened deep down. He makes enough money that I could quit, but that is not the issue. I have worked really hard for my success and am not sure I want to give it all up to be a stay-at-home mom. It makes me feel like I’d be a quitter, as if I would be admitting to defeat. What do you think?
—Quitter? in Quebec
Dear Quitter? in Quebec,
You need to wait until December so you can make an informed decision. At the moment you have no idea how your little baby is going to change your life and your perspective. I promise you it is life-altering and you cannot even begin to imagine it! It should not be about whether your husband harbors fears and insecurities about you being the more successful breadwinner. It may make him feel good and more of a man to be the only provider, but hopefully he is suggesting you stay home because you can afford to. Maybe he simply wants his child to be raised by a woman he loves and respects rather than by a fresh-off-the-boat Filipino he has yet to meet. As for feeling like a quitter, think again. Being a hands-on, stay-at-home mom is much harder than any other job on the planet. It is exhausting, consumes 24 hours every day, and there is no room for bad moods, computer games, Facebook, gossipy phone calls, after-work cocktails, or even a shower. Your notions of being a quitter will melt away about as fast as a popsicle does in Texas on July 4th! Then you will have to ask yourself: Which job do you really want to do? A lot of women go running back to work after maternity leave because they can’t handle it and are desperate to have a shred of life as they knew it way back when. Raising a child is so difficult it will bring you to your knees, but the payout of watching your child grow is priceless. Wait to decide.
CRINGING OVER COLOR
The other night while discussing one of our favorite clubs with my friends I said, “The light black man was a better DJ than the dark black man.” Everyone got upset and stared at me as if I had just exited the bathroom with a smudge of poop on my cheek. I really had no other way of distinguishing between the two! I thought it was as basic as saying taller or shorter. Seriously, how else could I have described the men without using color as a descriptor? They were roughly the same height, same build, same color hair, and same color eyes. I feel terrible that everyone got so upset, but I really don’t think I said anything wrong or racist. What do you think?
—Accidental Insult in Los Angeles