Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to work baby mama

Congratulations! You’ve had a baby. Oh, the joys of parenthood are just too many to list. You’ve had a year off, watched junior grow, watched your baby take that first gulp of pablum, changed hundreds of diapers, lay awake nights waiting for the next wail for feeding time, and marvelled at her little toes and hands are wondered how you ever created such a breathtaking human being.

Reality sets in and it’s time to go back to work. Time to dip back into stockings, high heels and plastering on the war paint (I’m obviously speaking to women here, but if you’re a guy and this sounds like you, too, call me – we need to talk).

Integrating back into the work environment after cocooning with baby and family can be rough if you’ve been completely cut off from the mother-ship. You see, while you’ve been off at Gymboree classes, your office hasn’t stopped winning business and supporting clients. And this whole Twitter thing you’ve been hearing about? It’s very real and pervasive and you should have been tweeting on MAT leave!

So now you’re back and ready to take your rightful place back in the office as you should. But you’re not the same you! You’re a mom now and proud of it. You want to tell your co-workers, managers, clients, media, suppliers, the janitor, and anyone who comes within ear shot just how wonderful baby is and motherhood.

Well, I feel for you and have been exactly in that position. I love babies, baby stories, stories about how you had to leave a party due to baby’s mudslide incident on the back of the sleeper. I love baby pictures, mom stories, baby talk, cool new baby toys ... you name it, I can spend countless hours talking to you.

But guess what? Not everyone wants to hear about bambino. So, let me share with you my Top Five Baby pointers for being a Baby Mama at the office:

1. Don’t build a shrine to your baby with a collage of photos on your desk. A couple of choice photos makes for a nice display. Show the baby-in-the-bath pix only to your best friends.

2. When someone asks you how your weekend was, remember, a one-syllable answer is what is expected (fine, good, great ..etc.) Start in with a telethon of “let me tell you what junior is up to” and you may lose everyone at the first hello.

3. Don’t complain to your boss that you are very tired ‘cuz junior was teething all night so you didn’t manage to get any sleep. This is a big no-no. Never blame the kid for anything. You are Super Mom and that’s why there is Red Bull, eye concealer and, hopefully, a helpful husband or night nanny in the evenings.

4. Wash out your clothes with the dried spit-up milk on the shoulder before getting another wear out of it. The aroma of rancid milk wafting in the boardroom is a turn off. Your nose may be used to it, but others don’t want that whiff in the air.

5. And never, ever, ever discuss lactation issues, birthing horrors, stretch marks or stitches around men. Women who have been there can sympathize and often relish in a new mom's misery.

Hope this helps! Welcome back mom.


Shanna said...

Hi! I came here by the Twitter Moms Blog Network. Funny post. Serious and true, I know, but still I find it humorous.

Twitter didn't exist in '05 when I was having my babies and work didn't want me to miss a beat, so they were so kind as to set me up to work from home within two weeks of delivery. Both times!

Since I had known my co-workers for close to 10 years at that time, I was most guilty of number 5. Hey, they'd ask! So I told 'em like it was.

I'm laughing about it now and when I think of it, cause I can only imagine what they were thinking as the words were coming out of my mouth.

Your post is a harsh reality too. I left my career a couple of years later to stay home with my babies. I couldn't take the heart break everyday.

Thanks for sharing.

Julie Rusciolelli said...

I made every single error I pointed out in my blog, and then some! I once brought in my entire baby photo album to a client meeting and went through every shot, detail, by detail! Ugh.And whenever anyone wanted to hear about my birthing story I usually went through it minute by minute. The entire 31 hours of pain and torture! I've learned my lesson ..! Thanks for commenting Shanna.

Grissell said...

LOL, oh man I am guilty of some of these. I found you on twitter moms network widget I have on my page.

What a cute write up and very funny.

I am in transition right now, contemplating going to work after being home after a year. This time (this is baby number 4, I know crazy huh) it is so hard I LOVE being at home with the girls when they aren't driving me crazy. :)

I will keep these things in mind if I decide to return. OH man my poor co-workers of the past ROFL.

Louise said...

Good to have you back blogging Julie. As someone who has been both a non-mom and a mom in the PR agency world, I agree with everything you say here. I might add "be flexible". Agency work is never 9 to 5 but there are options for moms. Many of us might leave early to catch a soccer game or have dinner with our kids but that usually means booting up the computer once they go to sleep to make sure deadlines are met. The juggling never stops.