How Colleagues Treat You After You Have Kids
If you’re a new mother who is just about to or just has returned to work after maternity leave, you may find that your coworkers treat you a little bit…differently. You’ve been at home, mentally preparing yourself to go back to the way things were. You’re eager to dive back into work. Yes, you’ll miss being with your child 24/7, but you’re also passionate about your job and you feel like the office has probably been hurting without you. Maybe you’re even excited to get back to some of the quirky office characters and interesting dynamics around the workplace. But when you do slide your rolling chair back into your desk you may find that things aren’t as they once were. People can treat you differently after you’ve been gone on maternity leave. Here is how colleagues may treat you after you have kids.
Resentment over maternity leave
You might get comments about your “extended vacation” or your “break from work.” Um…hello! You weren’t exactly lying on a beach in Hawaii. You were barely sleeping and adjusting to the all-consuming change of having children. But your colleagues may not think of that; they may act like you’ve been off, relaxing somewhere.
Presuming mistakes are due to motherhood
If you slip up, it must be because you’re sleep deprived due to a crying baby, or distracted thinking about something pertaining to your child. Even if you make fewer mistakes than the childless associates in the office, somehow, your kids are still to blame.
Coming to you with more personal problems
Ironically, while some coworkers might treat you less-than-kindly as a mother, they’ll also come crawling to you like babies when they need a compassionate ear or shoulder to lean on. Nobody can resist the nurturing touch of a mom when they need a hug.
Not giving you the tougher cases
You may find that jobs you were totally qualified to tackle were given to someone else—maybe even someone newer to the company. Why? Because people presume you aren’t up to the challenge now that you’re a tired, preoccupied mama.
Assigning you more domestic-type work
Don’t be surprised if, during a meeting, when someone spills something, your boss asks you to grab a paper towel and clean it up. Because that’s what moms do—apparently.
Coming down harder on personal calls
It may feel like the whole office is watching you like a group of hawks to see if you take a personal, child-related call. And they’re extremely judgmental when you do. Nobody says anything about the child-less colleagues who take far more personal calls every day.
Not inviting you to weekend retreats
You may find that the whole office did something together on a weekend and nobody invited you. They probably figured that you’d be busy with your family, but you still would have appreciated an invitation.
Blaming your raise request on your family
When you ask for a raise, people may begin to whisper that, of course, you want more money now that you have a child. But, first of all, it’s not their business what you need the money for—if you deserve a raise, then you deserve one. And second off, it’s better to spend money on your child than on, say, plastic surgery or designer shoes as some people do.
Calling you “Mother” for laying down the law
If you show the tiniest bit of authority or attitude, people call you “Mother” around the office. But you always knew how to lay down the law, even before you had kids. And nobody calls the child-less women “Mother” when they give attitude.
Treating you like you’re fragile
You’ll almost laugh at the way colleagues tip-toe around and elaborately preface bad news. You can handle it. You’re not some crying machine now that you’re a mom.
Matching you with other parents
You may just find that, any time a potential client or partner who has kids needs to be won over, the company sends you in. They seem to think parents have some mystical bond.
Blaming tardiness on motherhood
If you’re even just a few minutes late, people make jokes and comments about it being due to your children. Then, of course, there are people who are perpetually very late and do not have kids.
Saying kids are making you cranky
If you call people out on their sh*t or give sass where sass is due, people say you’re just cranky because you’re a parent. They can’t seem to accept the fact that maybe you’re just cranky because they’re infuriating.
Presuming work-from-home days are BS
If you request to have a few work-from-home days, people believe you’re just taking it easy on those days. In reality, you’re working just as hard as usual and managing kids.
Some don’t ask about your kid
For some reason, some colleagues seem dead set on not asking about your child. It’s almost like their way of saying, “Don’t pollute the workplace with kid talk.” But they ask other colleagues about their dogs, their dates, their new cars…