I'm in a small department at a SLAC. We only have but so many people to go around, and with many of us in our 30s and 40s, this means a fair number are 'with child,' so to speak. When one of us is absent (for whatever reason: a broken leg, a broken car, a hurricane in the East that grounded planes, a hospitalized spouse, a sick self, a teething baby), we cover for each other if the absence is likely to be longer than one class period.
Parents aren't even asked to cover for missing colleagues. And my child-free/spouse-free colleagues; they have NO excuse. And while I'm restricting this entry to their not having to cover for a (missing) colleague, they're also exempted from certain weekend activities, having to clean up after departmental outings, exempted from campus meetings after 4 p.m., exempted from having to advise students (it's a longer list than I'm including here, but I'm tired of it).
In no way am I saying that parents have it easy; we don't. And it's not the fact that the parents have a child that is bothering me this time; it's that my chair doesn't even consider them a viable option to cover for a missing colleague. They aren't even given the opportunity to feel guilty about having to say no. They're just automatically exempt in the eyes of our chair. This leaves the rest of us, those without young children, having to:
(a) feel like an asshole because we're just too damned tired (or selfish) to even contemplate covering someone else's classes when we barely made it through our own;
(b) scramble to change our schedules to cover someone else's classes that make no sense to us because their syllabus is incomprehensible;
(c) be resentful towards parents who are not even aware that they have been accommodated;
(d) blog about it and sit back, waiting for responses.