Want to hear the five words I secretly loathe the most at work?
“So, how is the baby”?
Here’s the thing: I got up at 5 am today, gave my hair a half-assed blow dry, did my make-up on the train, and drank two espressos to combat the sleepless night I just had. But, I don’t want to talk about any of that, because I’m just trying to fit in. I don’t want to be perceived as “different” because I pushed a baby out of my vagina a few months ago. I did the job well before I was a mum, and I can do it just as well now that I’m a mum.
Does that sound harsh? Well, I’m really not trying to be a b*tch here. I get it; you’re probably just trying to be nice and shoot the sh*t, as my husband would say. But for those of us just getting back in the swing of water-cooler talk, asking me about my baby is a majorly loaded question. If I share too much then it looks like my mind is not in the game. Share too little and I’m an insensitive working mum.
See my dilemma here?
Instead of talking about my baby, let’s chat about the latest celeb scandal, or that trashy reality show that was on last night. I’m probably not up to speed on any of these things, but I can wing it (really, I can!).
Now, if you still insist on asking me about my baby, I’m going to assume that you fall into one of these three categories. Here’s what I’d say to you:
The baby lover
You want all the gushy details, down to my kid’s last poo. It’s not going to happen. The second I tell you too much, I’m going to worry that you won’t take me seriously at work anymore. I might also be paranoid that you’re talking behind my back about how I had to sneak out of work early the other day because my nanny wasn’t feeling well. So, please, indulge your baby love with a friend instead.
The other new mum in the office
Some days you’re going to strike that balance much better than me, and that’s fine (I just don’t want to hear about it). I also don’t want to feel like I’m in a competition to see who can pump more breast milk in the office break room. Nor do I want to get into a game of “My Kid is Doing X, What About Yours?” See, every baby reaches those first-year milestones in her own time. Let’s just coexist as coworkers.
The 20-something assistant
I get that we used to gossip about all the latest hot spots in the city, as well as the best sample sales. But, I know you stalk my Insta feed, which means that you know I haven’t experienced any of these things in months. So please ignore the fact that I’m still wearing my maternity jeggings, and sweetly pass me this week’s sales numbers. You’ll understand my suburban mum plight soon enough.
Bottom line: Let’s stick to the job. I’m here to work and massage the grown-up part of my brain for a few hours, and I’d really appreciate it if you’d help me out with that.