I have never understood the concept that we are a family at work and the idea of a "work" wife as if you are a genial dad who needs someone to pick up their socks and give them a good stare when they they are being naughty.
Families are dysfunctional, they are imperfect, they are supposedly unconditional and you may or may not go out of your way to avoid at Holidays. Family are related by blood, marriage, purposefully and through sweat. Your co-workers may share some of those but in all honesty I have never "got" that and maybe that is why I lost the whole career ambition, mommy track and all conventional apparatus that marks Women and my generation.
I am not sure if I became a Gypsy at birth and in turn over years of observing my own Mother and the Women who were her peers and realized that this is a load of shit and I want nothing to do with it or just time in a combination of Catholic schools and working as an office temp for decades that enabled me to see a wide variety of work environments and recognize the bullshit politics that define the workplace. And I work in Education today and see it magnified times ten so if this is what a family is like too then good thing I have nothing to do with that either.
Despite all the blather that this is post racial, equality rising society I think we have seen the contrary in the last few years. The slow erasure of voting rights, then the move towards women's freedom of choice and the hatred towards those whose sexuality and gender led to a revolution but quiet ways that the same freedoms earned have been slowly eradicated in other ways and lastly a President who openly supports anyone who professes loyalty and praise regardless of the source.
My Mother used to say, "Take it from the source." And that in turn meant when someone leveled a criticism at you take a look at them and think, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Let's face it my life was ruled by idioms. But there is truth in that and in turn why one should realize the same when complimented by a group of white nationalists or crazy people, it might mean you are crazy.
I do think that what happens as a result you do become crazy. It is akin to Stockholm Syndrome or more of the Lucifer Effect, when a good person turns bad and does crazy shit. Add the ability to insulate one from any outside forces, money, religion or a job that enables one to immerse and change will not come and in turn the lives around them are sink or swim in order to survive.
As I watched the Handmaids Tale I thought how appropriate and well timed as this shows the way the culture prefers hierarchy and order and in turn the biggest torturers were women towards women. I also found it interesting on another level as Elizabeth Moss who plays Offred is a Scientologist. If of all people she cannot see the parallels of control and manipulation then there is no hope for any of us.
And yesterday I read this great article in The Atlantic, Why Women Bully Each Other. There are salient points and why over the years in both the private and public sector I have worked for both men and women and thought women could not be more horrific to work with and for. I can handle sexual bullshit and you learn to cope but turning it outward seems to be the strongest way. It is what you see in Charlottesville or other screaming histrionics that have led to safe spaces, women wearing mattresses all over campus and crazy shit like driving cars, taking to guns or suicide. We all do what we have to do. Hey that opioid crisis is working out well and we can thank Big Pharma for that one. Out of the hands of Doctors came the baby and the pill in which to deal with said baby. That is what a work wife should do - lean in and hand the CEO a giant Oxycodone or maybe a Quaalude and Cosby them. Fun times.
But women need to lean in and listen to each other. Try it and actually hear what the other is saying. Men don't so be different. Men bully so why do you feel the need to emulate the worst trait and characteristic of men? I see it everyday in schools and frankly the girls are the most lost, angry and tragic as they do it all for attention and kind words. Who does that too? Oh yes look to the White House and see what you could become. He has no work wife and it is too late for him but is it for you?
***ETA** since I wrote this this morning I found this article in our local rag about a School Teacher in Williamson County (the rich one!) who was literally bullied out of a job by her former Administrator. This is what gives the catty reputation and in turn validates the worst aspects of Education, petty and political. Where do you think Children learn to bully?