Working-mom shame comes from many sources—but it’s especially disappointing when it’s another mother.
On Reddit, user ImaginaryDocument5 says a woman at her office judged her for going to her job while her 9-year-old daughter was home sick—even though her husband had gotten permission from his boss to work from home all week to watch her.
The colleague took issue with the arrangement, thinking it was “backwards,” and telling the OP she wasn’t doing her “job as a mother.” ImaginaryDocument5 explained how her coworker believes it’s the husband’s job to provide financially and the wife’s job to nurture the kid. The OP and her spouse fulfill both criteria.
“It’s so odd how people view the two parents’ roles as being so different even still,” the Redditor wrote.
In the comments section, users shared similar experiences of people preaching or hinting at their outdated views on moms’ and dads’ roles.
“My coworker once told me that unless the woman is working like 80+ hours they are still responsible for making all the meals and cleaning,” wrote user Applejuiceinthehall. “I asked, even if the man works less than she does? And she said yes. I didn’t really talk to her after that, but I know her daughter ended up running away and not speaking to her.”
“I worked an hour’s drive away and at times worked overnight shifts. My husband (who worked 10 minutes from the school and often worked from home, which was even closer) was supposed to be the primary contact. But for some reason, it’s MOM who gets called no matter how you rank it on the contact list. I finally started getting pretty rude about it,” added user SilverDarner.
Several called the colleague out for being rude, and suggested the OP report her to HR.
Dads also chimed in. “I have my own business, and need to be in the office every weekday. But if my daughter is sick, me and my wife talk about who stays at home. At that point my job [is] not more important than my wife’s,” wrote Redditor luffemayn.
As user loljetfuel reminded, strict gender roles are sexist, not just to women, but to men as well. “Any arbitrary ‘only $gender can do this thing adequately’ standard harms everyone, because it creates an impossible standard that limits options for whomever is supposed to do the thing, and treats anyone else who tries to do the thing as though they’re substandard.”