I was only able to take a 3 month mat leave with my first child ( in my country you get a year off but it's only 50% of your pay ) because of my financial situation: I married a man from another country and we have to wait for his immigration to get back to us before he is allowed to work in this country. We decided to have baby at this time because we knew he would be able to stay home for about 2 years waiting for the immigration so why not right? No need to worry about daycare or nannies etc.
I didn't tell my coworkers that I was pregnant until I could no longer hide my condition. Why? We never talk or even eat lunch together and it's a bunch of unmarried young guys. Why would they care? Also, they were very rude to me when I first started working there because I was new and didn't have a clue what I was doing. I was a new grad out of university and their ENTIRE perception of me changed when they found out I was married and having a baby.
I told my work that I could only take a short leave and they seemed very glad to hear this. When I came back to work boy did they have a different attitude!
My coworkers were horrified by my 'short' leave and highly suspicious.
Without any evidence that I might not be able to 'handle it' they assumed that I wanted to come back part time and not full time and they said stuff like 'not too any new mothers...' and trailed off in an awkward pause.
My project manager asked me on the first day back 'who is home with the baby!?' 'well... if you are not happy the baby is not going to be happy...' etc. Etc. He was horrified to hear that the baby was 'home with daddy'.
When my other coworker somehow found out that my husband is not working right now she was ASTOUNDED and sympathetic. Why? It's not her problem and it's not that bad.
I don't find these comments to be very supportive, helpful, or productive.
Basically what I am getting out of these people is that my life must be horrible and difficult because I am not able to 'stay home' and my husband is not bringing in 80k so it's all terrible.
I live in CANADA and it's 2015 so I really don't understand what is going on here.
I was extremely put off by all of this and I have a very negative feeling about my workplace now. None of this has anything to do with work at all. They are basically assuming that I have a 'choice' to not work because I'm married.
Even if I was a single parent and blatantly lied about everything to 'sound professional and together' it's private and not really their business. I also find it kind of sexist – I went to university for 7 years so why does mommy always have to be the one to stay home? Some of my coworkers are disgusted by the thought of a 'stay home dad'.
I don't know how to deal with this as it keeps coming up every couple of weeks. They didn't do anything illegal and it's not enough to be considered harassment.
I guess it bothers me for 2 reasons: 1) they are questioning my choices about my life at work where it has nothing to do with work 2) they are stereotyping people and using the 'upper middle class model' as a standard for life 3) lack of privacy – what if someone gave a baby for adoption and didn't want to tell anyone about it?! Etc. Etc. Or any other 'non-ideal' situations like not too happy about motherhood etc.
As a computer programmer I'm not very good with people and I'm certainly not equipped to tactfully deal with this because it never occurred to me that it would be an issue. How would you handle it? Would you classify it as sexism?