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.