The Big Cheese is a Lady

November 4, 2009

Last week, I’m pretty sure I walked into the building behind the New Big Cheese.  I didn’t know it at the time because I have never met her.  When I logged on and went to the agency’s homepage I saw her picture staring right at me.

‘Woah,’ I thought. ‘I just saw her in the parking lot.’

She was wearing a gray pants suit and matching suede heels.  She is not much taller than me and similarly thin.  She walks fast.  Maybe that’s how she’s gotten ahead in this world.

I’m kidding.

Anyway, I didn’t know I would be so inspired by the new Director.  I wouldn’t have said that I cared that much, but maybe the fact that she is a woman and so accomplished spoke to me.  I don’t know how she has achieved as much as she has in her career.  Truly, it is awe inspring. 

I don’t know about her family life, though, because she hasn’t mentioned it.  Is she a mother?  How many children does she have?  What are her children like?  How did she manage to accomplish so much while balancing her role as a parent?

These are the questions I want answered. 

Why?  Well, the fact that she has a stellar career is inconsequential to me if she is not also a mother.  I know I shouldn’t say that, but I would view her success differently.  I would still admire her and be inspired by her, but I wouldn’t attempt to emulate her. 

As a mother, I have constraints that working non-mothers don’t.  Rather, I choose to have constraints.  After all, I could schlep my kids off on a full-time live-in nanny or send them to a boarding school (when they reach school age, that is), but I didn’t have children for no reason.  I had children because I wanted them and I believe it is my responsibility to raise them, to instill in them the best values my husband and I deem appropriate.

The workforce needs stars and I’m glad that there are female stars.  Not every woman wants to have children.  Those women should be allowed to forge ahead, to perform at the same level as their male counterparts.  They should be able to get ahead of them, too. 

At the same time, I long for a work environment where our children are considered assets instead of hinderances.  I long for a time when being a mother doesn’t hold a woman back.  Not because she is overcompensating and scrimping on sleep and quality time, but because she is living in a society where the standards are congruent with a realistic world view.

Then … THEN, I might feel like I belong here.

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