Thursday, November 15, 2007

On going back to work, Part 3 of infinity

When I was on maternity leave, I met a woman, V, who had a baby girl just a few weeks after the Bean was born. We went walking together a few times and had a chance to chat about babies and work.

V, it turns out, is a neurosurgeon. Yes, a neurosurgeon. Neurosurgeon is one of those careers (like astronaut, physicist, or rodeo clown) that automatically gets respect no matter who you are or what you do. You have to be incredibly devoted to your career, put in ridiculous hours, and deal with the mother of all Old Boys Clubs to become a neurosurgeon. And V is just exactly the type of woman you'd expect to make it as a neurosurgeon... marathon runner, cellist, self-confident almost to the point of narcissism... but I digress.

So anyway, V and I were talking about the return to work, and she told me that her husband, a physical therapist, was leaving his job to be a stay-at-home dad while she returned to her very lucrative career. I was beyond shocked. Not that I don't approve, but it's not too often that you hear about a man with a very viable career, presumably one for which he too studied hard and trained for, who leaves his career while his wife returns to work.

But WHY should I be so surprised? Why should it be so rare that the man gives up his career? Women do it every day. Every day.


EcoGeoFemme said...

I've got a friend with a new tt job and an infant. Her husband has all but stopped working (he did freelance). And he LOVES it.

Newsweek had a piece on this about 6 weeks ago. With it becoming more commen, I hope that we are less shocked with each new example.

ScienceGirl said...

I know a couple where both the guy and the girl chose to tone down their careers so that neither had to quit entirely. They are not taking tt positions while the children are small, but hope to ramp up later. I am curious to see how it works out for them in the long run.

Rebecca said...

I am a computational scientist and my husband is a stay-at-home dad for our 13-month-old son. It is a great arrangement for us. He loves spending time with the baby. I love thinking about math. My field is a lot more lucrative than his, and I have more career ambition than he does. It only makes sense for us to arrange it that way.

There are more and more men who are giving up their careers and becoming stay-at-home dads. A blog focusing on stay-at-home dads that I often read is . It was there that I learned that there's even an annual stay-at-home dad convention every fall.