When I talk to some colleagues and read some blogs, there are a couple questions I always want to ask, but I know you're not allowed.
At the risk of sounding mean, though, I still want to ask.
Picture: Professional woman, straight, married, kids (usually at least two, not twins), talking about how she gets up, makes breakfast for everyone, irons her husband's clothes, packs lunches for everyone, takes kids to day-care/school, goes to work, works, works, and works some more, gets off work, picks up kids, takes kids to activity, does grocery shopping, makes dinner while supervising homework, cleans the house, serves dinner and does the dishes, puts the kids to bed, and then gets up and does it again every day.
Picture me: "Um, what is you're husband doing to contribute?"
That's it, that's the question I want to ask.
And if you did, you know you'd hear that he babysits sometimes, or does his own laundry, or helps pack lunches. But it's never anywhere near 50%.
Picture me: "So why did you choose to breed with this person? and more than once?"
Yeah, that second question. We're never supposed to ask about breeding choices, except that those of us who haven't, we get told how miserable and empty our lives are, and how we need to make up the extra committee work because we don't have kids, and how could we just pick up an extra class so a new parent can do the parental leave thing. (Though non-breeding males don't get asked to make up extra work, ever notice that?) (And yes, I've picked up an extra class to help a new parent. I support parental leaves in theory and in practice.)
Picture me, the question I really want to ask: "Why the hell do you put up with him?"
But we're not allowed to ask, not supposed to ask, because asking de-romanticizes the whole straight marriage/happy mom paradigm, and asks women to think about why they make the choices they do, asks them to recognize that they really are making choices, even if those choices are based on strong ideological impulses. Because if we recognize the ideological sexism of straight marriage, then people, women specifically, will realize how really sexist their husbands are, and how unequal their relationships. And men can't have that.
So don't ask.
*Yes, there are single fathers who do a wonderful job taking care of their kids. But I don't know any straight, married fathers with working wives who contribute anything like 50% of household/family maintenance. They may be out there, but I sure don't know them or hear about them on blogs.