When you have young children, going to your office job can sometimes make for a really nice change of scenery. Being among co-workers instead of children can feel like an entirely different world. For example;
- There’s no requirement to tidy up after everyone else, clean up their spills or wipe their bottoms.
- There’s no piercing ‘muuuuummm’ requests stabbing at your eardrums every four minutes.
- You can go to the toilet and no-one will follow you into the cubicle and try to climb all over you.
- There are adults there, with adult things to say, and nice sophisticated conversations that do not involve the words bum, fart or undies.
It can be really quite lovely.
When you have young children, going to your office job can sometimes make for a really nice change of scenery
But while you may circulate in this whole other world, and even relish in it, you are not entirely inconspicuous. There are clues to the parenting world in which you also exist. You may try to cover up as much as you can in the name of professionalism, but there are some tell-tale signs.
Here’s 10 that might sound familiar:
- You look in the bathroom mirror a few hours after you arrive only to find that your top is on inside out.
- You have baby wipes in your handbag.
- You gasp at your phone when caller ID shows it’s the daycare centre calling, imagining the worst-case scenario.
- You only wear jewellery which cannot be broken with a swift yank of a small hand.
- You randomly laugh out loud when recalling something cute your child said that morning.
- You work super-productively because staying back late is not an option.
- You have narrowed the possibilities of the stain on your black pants to be either snot, toothpaste or vomit – none of which would be yours.
- You spend your entire lunch-break running errands.
- You have a strange nostalgic smile on your face when your co-workers complain of hangovers from bars and clubs they went to last night.
- You probably consume more coffee than anyone else in the office.
However, there are some things your co-workers may not know, and might not want to either.
Like how when you sat down at your desk to begin the day at 9am, you had already been up since 5am. You bathed, dressed & fed multiple people, did two loads of washing, cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, walked the dog and managed the school drop-off without forgetting the show & tell. Give yourself a pat on the back for this, but perhaps don’t expect your colleagues to – they will find this information excruciatingly boring.
Another thing they might not want to hear about is how the pictures on your desk represent the little people who give your life a depth and meaning you have never experienced before. They are the reason you are doing all this. They are your little rays of sunshine and you wouldn’t have it any other way … and you simply can’t wait to get home for cuddles, giggles and to pretend to be the pirate queen of the dining table ship.
But you don’t need to tell your colleagues that, keep some stuff to yourself. They know enough already.
What do you share with your co-workers about your life as a parent? Share your comments below.
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Sally Miles – Sally is the Women’s Editor at Leaders in Heels. She is a wife and mother to two children and spends her working hours as a publisher at a global education company.