Pesky Parental Priorities.
If you go by recent episodes of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters and TNT’s new show Trust Me, we still live in a culture where men can have kids and not have fatherhood affect their careers, while women sustain substantial career setbacks once they have children.
Brothers & Sisters has been nurturing a storyline for the past few weeks dramatizing the impact of adding a child to a home. When Brothers & Sisters first started, Kitty Walker (Calista Flockhart) was a well known conservative talking head on cable TV. She met a handsome U.S. senator, Robert McCallister (Rob Lowe), joined his staff, helped him campaign for president, married him, after he lost the GOP presidential nomination suffered through infertility and then wrote a book about politics which led to her quitting her husband’s staff. When the couple found a pregnant birth mother willing to let them adopt her child, Robert began secretly planning a bid for California governor and Kitty was offered the chance to run a new broadcast journalism program at her alma mater. What was interesting about the turn of events was that the imminent arrival of a baby did nothing to stop Robert from planning his campaign, or even pause to think about it, but it did cause angst for Kitty.
Upon receiving the job offer, to start immediately, Kitty didn’t tell the university that she was expecting a baby in mere weeks. “I didn’t want to scare them off,” Kitty told her sister Sarah Whedon (Rachel Griffiths). “I can do this. I can do both. You do.”
Sarah, a divorced mom of two who’d been working since her children were born, reminded her sister that she’d taken maternity leaves and had an at-home husband to watch the kids when they were very young. “You might want to get a handle on how life changing [parenthood] is,” Sarah said.
Meanwhile, her husband Robert downplayed Kitty‘s worries. “Our plan has always been to keep pursuing our careers,” said Robert, a divorced dad of two who rarely sees his children from his first marriage. “I think you can work and be a dedicated, capable parent, right?”
After much pondering about her long-sought-after child, Kitty turned down the offer. “We are being invaded by this strange and marvelous thing called a baby and I just wanted to be there for it,” she said.