The status update was going to say this:
"Debbie notices that 'family' is sometimes deemed a sentimental category at times when it is really a category of labor."
But I quickly realized that this was too cryptic, and that the update probably belonged over here at blogos. What I mean is this: JM and I are unable to meet requests to do work-related things on weekends [updated to add: and] between the hours of 5 and 7 pm (because this is when we are feeding and putting the Bean to bed, and that process is best handled by both of us and pretty much has to involve me at this point). My most immediate colleagues get this limitation, and we work around it. As an example, I am taking the Bean over to a colleague's house tomorrow afternoon (a Saturday) to talk with that colleague about promoting the English major. This is how we planned it from the beginning (at the colleague's suggestion).
Even so, others don't get it, and I suppose they wouldn't really have any good reason to get it. Weirdly, though, the way they don't get it is by claiming to get it, and then saying something about the sacredness of family. Sacred my ass. It's work.
Departing from carefully divided weekend childcare routines is not only difficult, it is often unfair in that it leaves the other person trying to take care of house-related stuff while keeping a toddler from falling down the stairs, and it means leaving the other person to do that without a break (which in our house means a break to go do work). It is difficult because "trading" time means losing double the amount of time one spends doing whatever one has committed to do. That childcare time needs to be made up in the name of equity. And without equity this whole family thing does not work--not for us, anyway.
So that's what I mean: it's not about a sentimental or sacred protection of time with family, it's about work and an insistence on familial equity. Which are, come to think of it, sacred.