This is a guest post by Abby Heugel of “Abby Has Issues” – A great, and practically daily, personal blog featuring pond-wrecking yard gnomes, raccoon, swiffer-jets and asparagus (not necessarily in that order.)
TO: Coworkers who want me to love their children as much as they do
by Abby Heugel
SUGGESTIONS: I’m a writer/editor and generally go to work to produce things. In fact, I’m even paid to go to work to produce things. One thing I will never produce is offspring, and no disrespect, but I am not paid to find out exactly what the offspring you produced said that was “so cute” or what they produced while sitting on potty.
I have it written in my contract.
Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy personal interaction with you and other coworkers in minimal doses, and although I would rather have a root canal once a week for the rest of my life than have children, I respect your decision to reproduce. Casual conversation about life outside the office can be lovely, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
What we’re talking about is when you invade my space and force me to hear stories of possible allergies and prolific artistic talents with macaroni and glue, forcing me to concoct ideas on how I can use office supplies to plot your untimely and mysterious disappearance.
I can block you on Facebook, I can choose to “leave discussion” or “delete conversation.” But this option is not available in real life and any attempt to implement these solutions in the office is apparently frowned upon.
So in the interest of keeping the peace in the office—and resentment and homicidal tendencies to a minimum—I thought I might make a few suggestions to help us move past this:
1. Take off the baby blinders and look for the signs. Perhaps you think I’m interested because I’m looking past your head, pretending to look busy at my computer, breathing deeply (sighing, not in a creepy panting “What are you wearing?” phone call way) and occasionally nodding my head politely. I’m not. In all actuality, I tuned out the second the words “kidlet” and “breast pump” were dropped into conversation as you dropped off my mail.
2. Keep pictures to a minimum. If you bring in normal pictures and the situation is casual, I might take a genuine interest in seeing what the little bugger looks like. I do not need them emailed to me from your office account and I do not need to receive a mouse pad with your offspring’s picture on it. No one not related to you does, and even your relatives are just being polite.
3. NEVER force me to look at an ultrasound picture, as all embryos look like aliens and freak me the heck out.
4. Understand that when I say I don’t want to have children, I really mean I don’t want to have children. Please do not look at me as if I just declared I don’t want to ever have fun or time to myself again, as for me, having children would amount to never having fun or time to myself again. To put it in parental terms, it would be a permanent “time out” for me.
5. Finally, if you bring your child into the office to show them off, please do not be offended if I don’t immediately come running out to make conversation in a high-pitched voice, hold them or pet them. I understand that you’re proud of the little mouth breathers, and I’m sure they’re lovely, but kids are not my thing. If you bring in a puppy, it’s a totally different story.
If we can reach a mutual understanding that my office is a kid-free environment, things will go much smoother in the future. If not, the personalized mouse pad will be used as a dartboard.
You’ve been warned.