I started to write a long comment on my last post, in response to the awesome comments I'd gotten. But then I thought, "Hey! This is my blog. I can make this into a new post." And so here it is.
First of all, I didn't mean to imply that I think we should never try to educate the sexists, or call them out. I just think that it is smart to choose your battles carefully. At least in my career, there have been times when calling out the sexist would have done more harm than good- I wasn't going to change his mind and the kerfuffle it caused would have been more damaging to me than him. I think it is better in some cases to just go around the sexist, particularly if you are trying to get ahead in a very male dominated field and will need male allies. This is not right or fair, but it is not my job to make the world a fair place. I'm just trying to live my life and work in my chosen field.
Second, on the question of which careers are more friendly to mothers... I think I was unclear there, too. I don't think teaching is a worse career for a mother than mine, I just don't think it is a better career for a mother than mine is. They both have challenges for mothers- they are just different challenges, and I do not agree with the view that the challenges I face are harder or worse. Sure, teachers get the same random days off and holidays as their kids (if they are in the same school district), and I do not (unless I take my vacation days)- but that is a problem that money can actually solve fairly well, in the form of camps and babysitters. And on the flip side, my friends who are teachers had a much, much harder time pumping than I did. Their pumping schedule was dictated by their class schedule. Mine was set by me, to closely match my baby's nursing schedule- and if my milk was flowing slow one day, I could usually extend the session, or add an extra one. My teacher friends got their allotted time and that was it.
I do see that teaching is a very mobile career, and one that it is easier to interrupt if you want to stay home with your kids before they reach school age. But, as I said in my first post, on the other hand, teachers have a much harder time scheduling doctor's appointments and the like, and can't work from home with a sick kid. And I guess I don't see the portability thing as being an issue, since I am actually considered the breadwinner in my family (I make more money than my husband). I think it is easiest if one spouse has a portable career, but I don't see why it has to be the woman.
So- my view is that no job is perfectly easy to combine with motherhood. But very few (if any) jobs are truly incompatible with it. And yet we scare young women off of perfectly good careers because of this idea that some jobs are too hard to combine with a family.
And I stand by my assertion that we mislabel a lot of jobs in male dominated fields as hard to combine with motherhood. Mine, for one. But even more puzzling to me, I've heard people argue that computer programming is a job that isn't compatible with motherhood, and that just boggles my mind. It is extremely portable. If you decide to take some time off to raise kids, you can actually keep your skills fresh (and your resume up to date) by volunteering some hours on open source projects. The work can largely be done from home, and usually has very flexible schedules. Sure, working at a start up may require more hours than most mothers would be comfortable with- but there are lots of other places to work as a computer programmer. It is also one of the easiest fields I know of in which to strike out on your own as an independent contractor, which gives you even more flexibility over hours. And yet it is a heavily male-dominated field, and supposedly one of the reasons women don't go into it is worries about "work-life balance". I don't get that at all.