Something happened at work today that really offended me. Not in a “turn your face all red and feel the blood boil” way but to a point where I felt like I could not just let it go.
I went to a meeting with five other people. We are all fairly senior in our jobs, work in the same industry, and have known each other, to varying degrees, for years. In other words, this is not a story about how I was mistaken for someone’s assistant until I explained that yes, even though I am a woman and wearing heels I do have the power to make decisions. (Perhaps more on that another time.) As everyone waited around for the meeting to begin the usual chit-chat ensued.
“So Brad, what’s the latest? Any interesting deals?”
“John, I heard you guys invested in XYZ company, how is that going?”
“So, Nataly – (that’s me!) – how is mommy life?”
Pause here for some devil’s advocate role-play.
The person who asked me this question is someone I’ve known since before I became a mom. He is a smart guy and I respect him. He has never previously made any comments that led me to believe that he did not respect me back. He is generally a likable guy. The last time we saw each other was a few months back and so it’s conceivable to believe that he was genuinely wondering how I was doing in my ongoing battle to balance work and my family.
Devil’s advocate out. I am back. And what I felt when he asked me this question was disrespect and offense. Why didn’t he ask me about my last deal or how business was going or even say, how my daughter was doing? He asked me how my mommy life was going. What the heck does that mean anyway? What is my mommy life? Aren’t I one person, living one life, which includes going to work and being a mom, wife, daughter, friends, and oh, a person?
You might be thinking I am overreacting. Or maybe you’re wondering what I said in return. (Regretfully, absolutely nothing worth repeating here.) But I was really offended. Not as much as when I brought my breast pump on a business trip and some of the people I was meeting asked why in the world I’d lug that thing around. But enough to make me wish I took that glass of water I was holding and let this guy’s face have a water bath.