Halfsies

OK, what? I know that this is a closely held issue for many parents, especially moms. A friend of mine told me years ago that you should never tell a woman that her baby looks just like the dad because no mom wants to hear that. But I feel like I’m missing something here.

My kids are half Chinese, and despite the well-meaning comments from people who say they look just like me, they really, truly don’t. They have dark almond shaped eyes, dark hair, and olive-y colored skin. I am pasty white with light brown hair and eyes. Their appearance seems to change by the minute, so some days I’ll see myself in an expression they make or in the way they walk or gesture, but for the most part, they look exactly like their dad. Which is fine, because, well, I like how their dad looks. A lot. Rowr!

I’ve only had a few questions about my son being adopted or my being his nanny, but have had lots more people ask if my daughter is adopted, presumably because more girls are adopted from China than boys (although I wonder how much people really think through random comments they make to strangers). But I think the moments are just comical. For example: I may have told a couple people who asked where my kids were adopted from that they came from the country of Myuterus. (It is lovely this time of year.) And I will always remember the insane look of pride in my Chinese father-in-law’s eyes as he held my son for the first time and announced to everyone in the room, “He looks VERY Oriental. Not even half half!” It’s like he was openly celebrating his Asian genes’ victory over my wimpy white genes. But my favorite moment — when my daughter was about a year old, I was at the drug store getting a prescription for her. She was totally transfixed by an Asian woman sitting next to us. As we were leaving, I said to the woman, “Wow, she really can’t take her eyes off you!” The woman didn’t miss a beat, and with all seriousness said, “Probably because I look like her mother.”

Should I care about this more than I do? I don’t think so. While Nicole Blade’s emotional statement on Motherlode about why these comments hurt her feelings is understandable, I guess I’d rather have the “teachable moment” in these situations to be that it’s silly to get too worked up over a stranger’s passing comment. Particularly when it’s often preceded by, “Oh, your baby is so cute!”

Maybe I’ll start feeling differently when my kids realize that strangers don’t think I’m their mom at first glance. But I doubt it. I know that anyone who actually knew us would have no doubt that I am their mama. My son’s affinity for fart jokes and my daughter’s completely irrational behavior is a dead giveaway.

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World Without Love

You must hear this! I haven’t stopped thinking about this song since I heard it on the radio a few weeks ago. It’s so catchy and the lyrics and just…good. Watching this video makes me love it even more – can you imagine the chutzpah it takes (I’ve talked enough about balls lately, so I’m using the word chutzpah) to just sit down and sing for people in some random conference room (seriously, where is this filmed) with a keyboard and a dude playing guitar next to you? Anywho, prepare to have a new song in your head for the next week. You’re welcome.

They really do look alike

After that last serious post, I have to bring things down a notch.

My son told me a couple weeks ago that a shrivelly blueberry he was eating for breakfast looked like a tiny blue scrotum. He wasn’t trying to be funny, just stating a fact. And you know, he was kind of right. It is safe to say that I will never look at blueberries the same again. Or scrotums, for that matter.

OK, definitely brought things down a notch.

Beating the odds

I have a couple of things to say about this article. First, Sonia Sotomayor’s teeth are amazing. Like a force of nature. And second, this is totally depressing but not really that surprising to me. I’ve heard smart, hard working people (both men and women) say that it’s only fair that women earn less because they get to take maternity leave and don’t work as hard once they have kids. Which – AGH. I just am always dumbfounded when I hear these words come out of someone’s mouth. I mean, I get that if you don’t work as much, you don’t get paid as much, and you don’t advance as quickly — but the fact is that women disproportionately work less (or drop out altogether) and suffer the consequences. And this study pretty clearly shows that these are women who are just as qualified and skilled as their male counterparts.

As someone who recently cut back her work schedule (and paycheck) to try to find some work-life balance, I wonder if I’m part of the problem. Post-baby #1 I tried to bill just as many hours as I did pre-baby, but (1) there weren’t enough hours in the day, and (2) I ultimately decided I didn’t want to. I wonder if my choice to cut back is coloring some hiring partner’s feelings about working moms? Hope not. I’m just lucky I had the chance to try a part-time schedule. Lots of my friends didn’t have that option and felt like giving up their career was their only good option, and articles like this explain why.

Semi-related: I remember when I was in law school and beginning the hellish “fall recruitment” interviewing season, a woman attorney who I really respected told me two things that totally apalled me: one, I shouldn’t wear my engagement ring in interviews because it would be a red flag that I would be “one of those women” who gets all wedding crazy and isn’t committed to her career. And two, she told me that while guys could talk about their family plans or kids in an interview, women never could — for men, getting married and having kids is a plus and shows that you’re stable and grounded, but for women, it just shows that you have a distraction outside the office and won’t be as committed to your career. I have had that story in the back of my mind for almost a decade now, and I’ve seen more things that support those anecodotes than things that discredit them. Hello, my name is Jaded N. Cynical.

Anywho. I don’t really have any answers, but these articles just always get me fired up. I keep hoping that one day we just won’t see stuff like this anymore, about odds being stacked against talented successful women. Women who are raising kids, which society says is noble and important, blah blah blah, but doesn’t do much to back it up. I agree with Leonhardt’s optimism — things are bound to change, especially with incredible numbers of women coming out of college and grad school these days and employers beginning to see the benefits of flexible work arrangements. Here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later.