I was chatting with a woman yesterday, someone I had never met, who also works in the banking industry. She's probably 5 years older than me, very polished, seems successful in her career. I don't know anything else about her. We were talking about life and careers and marriage and I mentioned that I probably won't be working in banking in another year or two. She asked why, and I said that I was planning to have kids in a couple years. She turned a surprised face to me and asked incredulously, "you could stay home?" as if that was the most shocking thing she had ever heard. Why yes, I am a fairly successful woman in business and I would rather be a stay at home mom.
We continued to chat with the other woman there and a reference was made to life at home and how if I wasn't going to work every day I could "make a nice dinner" for my husband. I said that I already love to cook for him, and that the night before I had made butternut squash ravioli from scratch. At this, the woman's jaw hit the floor and she said, "who are you?" Somehow it was inconceivable that I would choose to head home from work, roast a squash, knead pasta dough, saute mushrooms, and put it all together for dinner. Yeah, that was one of my more elaborate meals, but I make dinner almost every night, unless I am really tired or busy, and then Jer steps in and cooks me a tasty frittata.
Am I really that odd? My perception is that there are thousands, maybe millions of successful women who every night leave work, pick up their kids, and make a nice meal for their family. It might take effort and planning, but they make it happen. I also know for sure that I am not the only gal out there who is or will be satisfied being a stay at home mom. The blogosphere is more than enough evidence of that. So why was I such a surprise to this woman?