Look, most grown men are still 12-year-old boys inside. Most men still expect their working spouse to assume responsibility for the household chores. Most men turn immediately to their wives when their kid has the sniffles (“you don’t expect me to miss work, do you?”). Most men raise their eyebrows and give each other a nudge when a good-looking girl appears at a meeting. We check out the way they’re dressed. We’re shocked (still) when they make off-color jokes (she seemed like such a nice girl!). And most men still don’t feel comfortable golfing and drinking with their female colleagues because we can’t make jokes about sex and farting.
First of all, you're not talking about most "grown men." You're talking about the caricature of idiot man-child that the sitcoms of the 90s have tried to convince us is the true picture of most men, a caricature lots of lazy, entitled assholes use to excuse their crappy behavior instead of being grown-ups and taking responsibility for themselves.
I keep saying this: I HATE THIS FUCKING DODGE THAT MEN ARE CHILDREN OR PETS. Men are not secretly little boys. Men are people. They are insecure, or confident, or good at stuff around the house, or bad at stuff around the house, just like women. Just like everybody. There is no goddamn two-for-one deal in the womb on a penis and a Peter Pan complex. As sick as I am of how this allows lousy shitheels to get away with treating women like dirt, I'm also sick of how it disappears the good men who don't try to make themselves out the intellectual equivalents of a bucket of KFC because herf derf According to Jim.
(If you're not comfortable drinking and golfing with the chicks in your office, consider why they don't seem comfortable drinking and golfing with you. Possibly they can drink you under the table and don't want to embarrass the boss, and fuck golf, seriously, it's the dumbest thing ever.)
How could this story get worse, you ask? Oh, just wait, because sometimes dumb bitches who bring themselves to the office to make men feel uncomfortable go and get themselves pregnant, apparently by magic, and men who are not fucking them are not always privy to when this will happen exactly:
I am not embarrassed to say that when I interview a young woman, my first thought is “what happens when/if she gets pregnant?” This is a legitimate business question. Right or wrong, the fact is that men delegate mothering to women. And most women (thank God) want that job too—it’s natural. So am I wrong to ask if that smart young lady who I’m about to invest in plans to start a family anytime soon and whether she will actually come back to work in six weeks after she gives birth? Or ever? I need to make plans otherwise. Allow me to ask that question. Oh by the way, guys should face the same scrutiny about their “paternity” plans too.
But they never do, do they? Does anyone look at a young man, married or engaged, and start calculating how long he has before he knocks up that pretty girl and starts needing to get home for soccer practices? PLEASE. Men who love their children and want time to participate in those children's lives are like UNICORNS, amirite laydees? Women are just naturally made for that sort of shit, whereas men are made to drink, golf, and talk about sex and farting.
(If only men participated in creating a pregnancy in some way. If only they had some role in the process, then they might not be so terribly inconvenienced by it all. Like, say they had an appendage, like a penis, and they could choose to use or not use it for its reprodutive purpose. And then, if they insisted on using it, if only there was some way to legally and safely prevent pregnancy, like, say, sheathing that penis in some kind of protective garb.)
If you want to ensure a woman in your employ comes back to work after maternity leave, here's a radical fucking idea: Try to make the job worth coming back to in comparison to an itty bitty human who she likes very much. Try to give her enough paid time off so that she can decide how best to arrange her life around the new person in the house and no, six weeks is not enough time. Try to value her as an employee, as if you know her and care about her well-being.
Most of all, try not to make out like she's done you a personal wrong by reproducing, unlike a male boss of mine from a few years back, who used to act like women got pregnant to spite him. First of all, fucko was the one making the hiring decisions, and second of all, I sincerely doubt any of the female employees who did get knocked up were thinking of him in their moments of wedded bliss. Sometimes it's not all about you, boss.
BE A GOOD BOSS, and maybe she will come back. Or she won't, in which case you've lost an employee, and the world will not end, and the earth will keep turning and we'll all get over it someday.
But hey, maybe it's all hopeless anyway because women are so PRIVATE about this stuff:
Most women will not become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. The numbers already prove that. A significant reason why is that grown, responsible men are still adolescent boys at heart. But it’s not all our fault. Because while we are still prohibited from asking reasonable questions like “do you plan to start a family anytime soon and what impact will that have on my business?” there will always be discrimination in the workplace.
What does this guy think a woman who is being nattered at by an interviewer about pregnancy plans is going to say? WHY YES I PLAN TO GET PREGNANT IMMEDIATELY UPON BEING HIRED. Nobody's gonna say that. And preventing you from asking is not oppressing your freedom to do business. You are not Rosa Parks. Nobody is victimizing you with a nursing bra.
Though after reading that, I certainly wish someone would.