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Annoyed with comments like: "You are a mum now so don't bust a gut"

(17 Posts)
SarahG41 Tue 23-Oct-12 08:39:06

Background to rant: I've been back at work now for a month, after 7 months maternity leave. Since returning I have been demoted, so my boss (Director) is now the manager of my department that I built up from scratch, over 4 years. Alas I still get the same salary and my head of department signature is still on my emails. The reason for this is that I now work a 4 day week, so the thinking is I can't manage a department, although I am available every day. This situation is annoying me somewhat, and I feel devalued. But I can live with it for the first year of my babies life.

What is really getting my goat, is that I keep getting comments like the below, from someone I recruited:

"You are a mum now don't bust a gut"
"It must be hard for you to get organised at work, now you have a baby to organise too"
"Your priorities have changed, you focus on being a mummy and don't worry about creating new strategies"

I don't know how to handle it, or respond, without swearing, or coming out with a comment, like "you are a pain in the ...now"
Looking for some advice, or a few lines that I can say to combat, what I see as negativity, as it winds me up.

When I am at work, I am at work, I take off my mummy hat and focus on job at hand. It hasn't made me a poor performer, in the contrary, it has made me aware that I can achieve a hell of a lot.

What do you think?? How would you respond to a co-worker devaluing you as "you are a mummy now" ?

Thanks in advance for your support smile

SarahG41

BloodRedAlienReflux Tue 23-Oct-12 08:42:30

Grrrrrrrr!! How fucking annoying!!!
Really hard to believe you are demoted too? So that 1 day a week, has meant you are unable to do a job you built up? that sucks, and you are taking it very well.
Someone really hilarious and cutting will be along in a minute with some excellent retorts grin

TiAAAAARGHo Tue 23-Oct-12 08:46:18

My response would be to compile a list of their comments and email them, copying HR, stating that you find their comments offensive and derogatory and request that they stop immediately and stating that any further such comments will result in you making a formal complaint.

At the time, I would take the mumsnet approaches of "did you mean to be so rude" and "sorry, could you repeat that please". In as public a forum as possible and loud enough that everyone will stop to listen in.

But then this kind of thing would always make me go nuclear.

slartybartfast Tue 23-Oct-12 08:51:30

pehraps they are being sympathetic?

SarahG41 Tue 23-Oct-12 08:52:14

For the record: I am not taking it well. New member here so not sure of etiquette. On the way home from work, I keep randomly swearing in my car, like really really bad...I find coming home and throwing the balls from my babies ball pool around the house, helps alot. Really need to resolve it the negative feelings arising ain't good !

Some good suggestions above, keep them coming ;)

SarahG41 Tue 23-Oct-12 08:58:16

Hi Slartybarfast:
I am not looking for sympathy. I get paid to do a job. If I was the type of person to go, "oh I am so tired, up at 4am, I am finding it so difficult to work" Then yes I can understand that point re: sympathy. I am not that type of person.
But you have a good point perhaps a line could be "I can see you are trying to be sympathetic, to my new life scenario, but I am not looking for sympathy thanks, we are doing just fine"

Leftwingharpie Tue 23-Oct-12 08:59:35

How about saying to the director something along the lines of "I've been getting these comments [list them] and if things like that are being said to me it could be the tip of the iceberg within the company. it is opening us up to a discrimination claim - it would only take one disgruntled employee. We built this team up from scratch and I don't want to see it put at risk for the sake of some thoughtless comments. What shall we do about it?

slartybartfast Tue 23-Oct-12 09:00:08

are these parents themselves. perhaps they remember the difficulties. have you had to cancel work due to dc's sickness, or will you have to drop work for that? i would tread carefully in your retorts, just in case the ofllowing week you cant come in due to child care problems.

slartybartfast Tue 23-Oct-12 09:01:26

or do you think there is an agenda?

SarahG41 Tue 23-Oct-12 09:09:42

Leftwingharpie: I am getting similar comments from my Director too (feel like these are fueled) he is a parent and fortune enough to allow his wife to stay at home and look after the children. I have directly said to Director, I am still the same person, my life focus is on my child, but I still have the same amount of ambition and drive if not more as I have someone to support.
Slartybarfast: No not a parent themselves, and being off next week as child is sick is not an issue. My sick leave is empty in comparison to other employees.
I never thought of an agenda! But you maybe onto something there.

FireOverBabylon Tue 23-Oct-12 09:10:09

my understanding was that you're not allowed to be demoted because you've been on maternity leave / are working part time to accommodate children. You can be offered a different job if your original post isn't suitable for full time hours, but that doesn't sound like the situation you have at present.

Here

SarahG41 Tue 23-Oct-12 09:18:33

FireOverBabylon
To clarify: I am working 2 days at home and 2 days in the office. 2 hours contact on a Friday. I can go into work on days at home, maximise my hours with homeworking as cut down on travel to work. I work in digital so it is possible for me to do this.

The reason for part time hours for first year is.
A: Baby can't be in forward facing car seat until his head is at top of current one, all about spine development. Partner has a 2 seater van, so I need to have the car at home for him to do pick up.
Extra point: Found out at shop the other day that we can't turn air bags off in his van, so they don't recommend we place a car seat in there. So will be looking at going part time for longer, as the van he has is from work.

My flexible plan sees me going back full time in March 2013 (which would equate to legal entitlement of a year off). I will have to train it into work.

Thanks for advice.

I can deal with the above scenario.

Just not the comments.

Zombieminx Tue 23-Oct-12 09:20:24

That sort of attitude from colleagues boils my piss too.

The kindly way to look in it is that they are making chit-chat, so respond quite lightly along the lines of "ah, it's ok, I could do the job before I had a baby and my juggling skills are even better these days haha"

If they persist, a silent hard stare, followed by a head tilt and loud "did you mean to sound so sexist and rude?" usually stops the fuckwits them in their tracks.

Hope things settle down a bit. If they don't a nice formal complaint to HR should put a suitable rocket under them grin

maternity action website has useful guides on your rights

direct.gov employers's advice states "The rules ...if the employee takes:

Additional Maternity Leave (more than 26 weeks off)

In this situation, employees have the right to their job or a similar job (if it’s not possible to give them their old job). Similar means the job has the same or better terms and conditions."

Zombieminx Tue 23-Oct-12 09:22:08

X-post, flow typing on phone! grin

flowery Tue 23-Oct-12 09:29:38

Well I disagree with a lot of advice here. I really don't think complaining to HR or directors or whatever, or making threats about discrimination claims is going to do you any favours, at least not as a first step. Seriously?

If you have a problem with comments someone is making to you, firstly don't assume there is malicious intent. Some people are a bit ignorant, that doesn't necessarily make them nasty.

Surely as a mature, respect-earning first step, the best option would be to ask the person to meet for a coffee, and nicely explain that although you appreciate the support, you wanted to let them know that actually their comments are coming across as implying that you are not as capable of doing the job as you were previously, which is a bit undermining. Emphasise that you are pleased to be back at work and contributing, and the most supportive thing they can do is treat you exactly as before.

With any luck you'll get an embarrassed apology and that will be the end of it.

If not, you will know you have done everything reasonable to address it yourself in a mature manner, and can look at speaking to HR or whatever, if either that person persists, or others do the same.

BloodRedAlienReflux Tue 23-Oct-12 10:33:47

yes, agree with flowery

SarahG41 Tue 23-Oct-12 21:17:50

Great mix of responses here. Will have a chat in a nice way and try to resolve ;) love Mumsnet. This has really helped me x thanks so much to all x

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