Hax Philes: ‘The mommy wars – sidebar’

This question came in to the March 14 chat, related to the ongoing conversation about stay-at-home parents:

THE MOMMY WARS – SIDEBAR: I was recently in a position where I had to make professional small talk with a person who told me that they are a stay-at-home parent. I have complete respect for that choice, but I found that I didn’t know what small talky questions to ask, as I would have if they had said where they worked. This person also told me their former career, but it seemed rude to jump past their current status to ask about that. Asking about the kids seemed too personal for this professional conversation. What would you suggest?

Thoughts?

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Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers.
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