Someone said this to me recently. I was joking about how I'd like an intern to help me with my housework so I could have more time to play with my kids and write. I laughed it off at the time, but I shouldn't have.
The correct response: I already have one. Or two. Or three. Just as it's not cool to let a racist comment slide unnoticed, we shouldn't just accept sexism.
I've seen both sides of the mother story. I was a working mom when I had just one child and chose to stay home as our family grew. And at the time I chose to work, I had people make the comment, "Be a mother." This is exactly the opposite of the comment made to me recently, and it illustrates a glaring fact:
Women, we're damned if we do, damned if we don't. And society thinks it's OK to judge us in a way they'd never consider judging fathers. (They unfairly judge fathers in other ways, like "he shouldn't stay at home with the kids or be a Brownies leader.")
So, just to make me feel better, here's my snarky response to my former male co-worker who thinks I need a job to justify having help around the house:
The minute you can nurse my infant, feed and dress my children, start a load of laundry, interview sources, write an article, take the kids to the doctor, visit Santa, drop off my husband's dry cleaning, cook dinner, play trains, attend a play date, and get everyone bathed and to bed in a timely fashion, feel free to come over and judge my schedule. Until then, I'll be doing the best I can.
And I still think I could use an intern. So there.