It doesn’t matter how hard you try and separate your work life from your family life, like the inevitable movement of the tides, the two keep flowing right back into one another. When I set back off to work last year with every intention of being super career woman, I failed to take into account the influence the months and years of full-time motherhood have had on my persona. You can take the mom out of the house, but you can’t take the mom out of the mommy. Here’s a list of some of the more humorous reminders that you are indeed the mom in the office:
1. You pull out some random scrap paper to make notes in a meeting and then realize it’s the chicken pox and lice warning from your kid’s school. “What’s that you’re writing on? OH GOD! Does anyone else feel itchy?!?!”
2. You use a pen with a wild-haired troll as the eraser, not because you’re being ironic, but because it is the only functioning pen in your work bag. (Personally, I’ve been known to use crayons, scented markers and #2 pencils. Can someone please explain why my kids beg for the troll pen and then only use my black bic?)
3. You sometimes accidentally refer to your department as your kids.
4. You find yourself using your best toddler crisis management skills to calm down an angry coworker. “Sshhh, why don’t we go and sit down over here and have a little snack. Do you feel better now? That’s a good boy!”
5. In the heat of the moment, you go through 15 names trying to come up with the one for the person you’re yelling to…including the names of your own kids, pets and a few cartoon characters. “Billy, Sandy, Dora, Peter Rabbit, aw hell, whatever your name is, you forgot to bring your notebook!” (Oh wait, maybe it isn’t an accident that you refer to your department as your kids.)
6. You’re secretly thankful when your co-workers stayed out partying the night before and are now all hungover because you were sick of being the only one in the office with bags under your eyes. (Our kids will all start sleeping someday, right? RIGHT?!?!? Aw, damn.)
7. You stay in the office past 5pm because it is the only place you can get some peace and quiet. (I’d like to take this moment to thank my own daycare for staying open until 6pm.)
8. And on that same note, you actually look forward to Mondays because it means you get to go somewhere you can finally get some peace and quiet.
9. When everyone else is talking about what they watched on TV the night before, you are the only one who says “Nick Jr.”
10. When the management need a project done with no notice, no budget and little oversight, you are the first one they pick. (Because really, after juggling two kids, two schools, fourteen after-school activities, a house and a spouse, what’s a little work project?)
Hmmm, maybe being the mom in the office isn’t so bad after all.